I say often enough that depression has changed me; and I can honestly say that I am a better person for it. I’m more empathetic and I judge less. I practice kindness now as a rule and not an exception. I am always looking for the good. I understand now that not all pain stems from evil. I appreciate every little thing.
But here is where I have been wrong this entire time: it is not the depression that has made me a better person, it is the people who were around me when it was at it’s worst. The ones who are still standing beside me today. It’s the people I continue to meet everyday that learn about my struggles and show no signs of judgement. It is you who has made me a better person, not this illness.
I try every second of every day to be kind, without exception. I don’t always succeed but I get better at it all the time. I get asked why I don’t just cut people out of my life or react with anger to hurts caused to me. Why I let them ‘get away with it’. And I say because I believe in kindness.
But really what I mean to say is that it is because I know exactly what it is like to be in the darkest of blacks and to say and do things that cut to the core of people; wounds that can’t be undone. I know how it feels to lash out at people, not because they deserve it, but because my own pain is too large to be contained. I know that the intention is not to cause others hurt but to release mine.
I mean to say that it is because, although I was mean and hurtful and 100% unpleasant to be around, I had people that stood there and took the abuse and turned the other cheek and then continued to love me anyway. People who treated me with kindness despite being unable to do the same for them. People who continue to love me today.
You know who you are.
So, now, I am kinder, and softer and stronger at the same time, and more positive and forgiving. I am all these things, not because I developed a chronic illness, but because I had you beside me for all of it.
And I will never forget that.
Nor will I ever allow you to forget that. I plan to show you my gratitude all of my life. And there are so many of you. I am so overwhelmed.
I can only hope that one day I can be kind enough and bright enough to do the same for someone else.
So, when I ask myself if any good came out of this horrid depression (and I do, over and over; because at times it gets hard to see), the answer will always be a resounding yes. And that good is the opportunity to learn from you; to bask in your light.
It is at the darkest moments that those bright lights are easiest to see. And I think that with the state of the world as it is today, this will become more evident. I just hope I can put into practice what you have taught me on a personal level to a global one.
Instead of seeing our governments fail the environment, focusing on those brave souls standing up to protect it with or without political aid. Seeing the good Samaritans instead of the terrorists. Focusing on the bravery of our people instead of the hateful words of their leaders.
I know now that there is always good. Sometimes we just need a little extra help to find it. We need that torch to navigate the dark tunnel. And a hand to hold as we stumble through it.
Thank you for being mine.