I was listening to a podcast by Shaun T and he was talking about hugs. He was discussing how important it is to hug, connect, essentially demonstrating loving compassion.
After it was over, I turned on my typical instrumental music and let my thoughts go where they wanted to. They went on a tangent about connecting…and disconnecting…and depression.
Sometimes, understanding science and neurotransmitters, I really believe that some people have a chemical imbalance that causes them to be depressed. I’m no where near even partially convinced of that for a large portion of people who experience depression.
Speaking personally, I’ve battled depression, anxiety, and suicidality for most of my life, since I was probably 8. Why so long? Why such deep pits of pervasive depression? I think it’s probably the same reason as so many other people: a lack of a ‘soft place to fall’. For the most part, we live in a culture where we can’t be weak, where we HAVE to keep our faces plastered with fake, ‘strong’ smiles. We have to exaggerate our strengths and hide our weaknesses and things we struggle with so that even the people closest to us don’t know them; they only know our facades.
I’ve heard so many people discuss someone they know who committed suicide or attempted suicide and the shock in their voices is overwhelming. It is saddening to me that we will share joys and hide sorrows.
I hope that this post encourages even just one person to start creating a safe place for their friends to be real, not just happy. And in those safe places, to find and help to cultivate peace in the highs as well as the lows.
I’m coming to learn from my job at Cooper that one of the greatest gifts that I can give to people is to sit with them as they cry through an incredibly scary and painful and sad time. And to just be with them in that space, letting them be weak, exposed, real, and not alone.