Life is hard, life is discouraging, but life is also a blessing. Whatever you are going through can be faced and triumphed over. I know, you’re tired. You’re tired of the storm and you just want the sun to shine on you. I want you to believe that you don’t need the sun to feel happy. You don’t need the storm to end to find peace. In the midst of the storm there is hope, in the midst of the battle there is courage, and in the midst of the loneliness there is love.
There is Hope
When it comes to undermining hope, depression does it with the precision of a scalpel. Whether you have a chemical imbalance in your brain that brings it on without warning or reason, or circumstances that leave you with no other option than to be depressed, depression robs you of hope. You get wrapped up in the pain, thinking there’s no hope, no end to the misery. I have no easy resolution except to remind you that there is hope. There was likely a time without the depression even if it seems like it’s been there with no beginning or end. There is at least a chance that with medication and/or time the depression will ease. I don’t know which is harder: knowing there’s a good reason for your depression – losing your loved one or your job – or when there’s no reason whatsoever for the pain. The depression is simply a state that you’ve been in for so long you can’t imagine relief. For all of you I say, there is hope. It may be hiding right now, but it is there. It can be reached.
There is Courage
In the midst of the pain that drowns you until you can’t breathe, I call you to hang in there - don’t give up or give in to the pain. Have the courage to stick it out and cling to the hope that an ending is there, even if it’s not in sight, yet. I think we all have that courage. I see it in my friends that struggle. The willingness to go to the job, go to the class, meet with the doctor, AGAIN! The courage to keep going when it seems like life has become a useless exercise in pain. But if you haven’t given up yet, you have courage. If you haven’t let the depression become all you know – even if it’s a secret you keep to yourself – you’re showing courage. If you have the courage to face those who disparage you or to face that metaphorical wall that stares you in the face every day, you are doing well, my dear friend! If you’re getting out of bed, taking a shower, getting dressed – or if you’re just dreaming of that – you have courage. I say that because courage is not the grand gestures we often think of when we hear the term. Courage is in the little gestures, the quiet dreams, the thought of survival over despair.
There is Love
I know loneliness. I know what it’s like to have no friends and I know what it’s like to be surrounded by people and have no one to connect with. Loneliness is not just an absence of people in your life, it is the absence of connection with the people in your life. Through it all though, there is love, there is connection. It can take a lot of work, time and risk to find that connection but it is there. We live in a time of connection. Some would disparage social media but I think it can be a haven to those who suffer with depression. At least for me, getting out of the house can be an overwhelming task. I much prefer to stay in my home where I feel safe. Social media allows me the opportunity to connect with people – even on a superficial level – at any time. I love to hear how people are doing and what they’re up to. Don’t get me wrong, Facebook can be a source of depression if you only see posts of happiness from others BUT if you use online resources for connection, if you use it to reach out in a relatively safe way, if you utilize online support groups, it can be a way to connect with others even when you can’t get out of bed.
This blog isn’t written to give you the answers to life. I don’t even have answers for my life, let alone yours. It’s here to encourage you. To remind you, even when you’re struggling, that there are reasons to keep going, there is hope, you do possess courage and you are deserving of love. See the hope, see your courage and know you are lovable. Regardless of what you’re facing, those three truths are there. See them.