I read a friend’s blog post today. I won’t divulge the name here; it’s not my place to share. However, it has me doing a lot of introspective soul-searching about who *I* am, and how *I* view life.
In short, I consider myself a rather happy person.
That is, by no stretch, a bragging point. If anything, I say it with a wipe of my forehead and a whisk of my hand to rid myself of the beading sweat. I say it because I just got lucky in that regard. Now … having said that, I think that I have had my bouts with depression. Nothing long-term or ongoing, but indeed, I’ve felt actual, physical pain from being in a funk. So I have to ask myself: is that what depression is? Was I, at that point, actually depressed?
I don’t know. I’m not really in a position to say with any degree of certainty that I was. Or wasn’t. I know what and how I felt, and I hated it. I hated feeling like I hated it. I hated facing the fact that I felt compelled to try to determine what this “funk” was. I hated that I didn’t want to be around anyone, including my wife and kids. I hated the fact that I wanted nothing to do with blogging. Or photography. Or Facebook. Or tie-dyeing. Or … anything.
But for as bad as I felt, at no point did I ever consider offing myself … and I think that’s why I feel safe about saying that, even if I was mildly depressed, I wasn’t nearly as badly depressed as I could have been.
Which brings me to my point: my friend’s blog post.
See, this person has been to the “contemplation” end of depression. This person has put on the brave face in public, and wept furiously when alone. S/he smiled at people, but inwardly frowned the ultimate sad face. Did any of this person’s friends know the depths to which this person had experienced depression? No. Because this person chose to keep it personal. To keep it close. To not expose.
To not let on just how bad the hurt had grown.
Now … that was this person’s way of dealing with it. Others act and react differently. Ask yourself this : on any given day, how many people do you see who are grumpy, sad, crying, or otherwise engaged in what is so obviously an emotionally/spiritually/psychologically tough time? A few? Dozens? ONE?
And here’s the logical follow-up–the one question you must have to ask yourself: what are you doing about it?
Do you just … I dunno. Walk by? Obviously turn the other way? Pretend your fiddling with your phone to avoid the awkwardness?
What if that person is literally praying for someone to just say hi? Or what if that person has just decided that their life has no meaning, and that their only relief is at the bottom of a ravine after a jump off of a very tall bridge, or at the end of a gun barrel? WHAT IF YOU ARE THE ANSWER TO SOMEONE’S PLEADING?
Why would you not try to help? Why would you walk by and not offer someone a shoulder to cry on? Or a listening ear? Or whatever it is they need? Why would you walk away
One word: don’t.
Don’t just walk away. Don’t turn a “blind” eye.
Another word: help.
Be that listening ear. Offer that small glimmer of hope. Give that hug.
Yes, it may take leaving your comfort zone, but the end result … wouldn’t it be worth knowing that you helped someone? Maybe saved a life?
People, all I’m asking is for some common decency. ALL of us have hurt at one point. Some of us have hurt exponentially worse and longer than others. You know how that one small painful experience was for you; imagine living every day like that.
Challenge of the week: find someone you don’t know at all and wish them a good day. Or buy his/her coffee/hot chocolate/morning drink. Or smile at everyone for an entire day.
Help. Help everyone.