Originally published in “The Unwarranted Bachelor” in 2016.
Darkness creeps in and no one sees it. Why should they? They’ve all turned a blind eye to us. Depression is not real they try to convince us. Not real? Now I know you are a cold-blooded reptile, one who can neither sympathize nor empathize with others.
We all react to our (and that of others) depression differently. And the world reacts in response to it in just as many different ways. This I can tell from experience. During various eras of my life I’ve experienced and responded to the darkness in different ways.
As a child I went through phases of sulking in the corning and exploding at others, sometimes verbally and other times physically. (I’m not giving any excuse for my behaviour, just stating facts.) My actions did hurt others and drove away many so-called friends. At the same time their rejection of me and misunderstanding of depression did hurt me.
Sulking in the corner or withdrawing deep into oneself is a sign of low self-esteem or simply shyness. But children and adults like these tend to be number one targets on bullies’ attack list. In turn, a bully tends to dominate due to their low self-esteem with the explicit need to feel better by causing pain to others.
When darkness is given a seat in our minds it’s never satisfied. Depression wants to rule our lives and beyond. Shedding this lie is not easy, and for most people it is impossible to do on their own. During my early adult years I had friends who helped my through two episodes. For this I thank God.
My advice to anyone who is suffering through any mental illness or as a loved one who is experiencing such darkness is this: friends, family, love, understanding.
The times we desperately feel like being alone are the times we desperately need a friend in our lives. I’m not saying we need to be surrounded my people twenty-four seven but we do need people who won’t always push us aside.
With friends in our lives we need love as well. This love is from God and works through others and also in us. This love can change our depression into joy. Like the song says, “Joy comes with the morning.” This morning is the light at the end of the tunnel of depression.
I want everyone who is depressed to know there is hope for you. May God bless you even in times when you don’t feel His presence.