A few weeks ago I blogged about being broken. Tonight I completely understand why I share so much about my own personal struggle with anxiety and depression. I had a friend reach out because she is in the throes of depression. She is struggling and shared because she knows from my sharing I would not judge, critique, or try to fix it. She knew I would understand and merely listen. As we texted I stated:
We can’t always control the darkness but we can control if we are in it alone.
When you are struggling it is so lonely and isolating. The idea of sharing the darkness is so overwhelming, but yet you want someone to be there with you because the darkness is scary. The longer you sit alone the harder it is and the lonelier it gets. The more you hear others say negative remarks about those struggling from a mental health condition, the more alone you feel.
A little boy in our neighborhood is fighting for his life from cancer. I don’t know the family and I am drawn to tears everytime I read something about his dire situation. I see a community rally around not only him, but also his family as they are in the depths of an overwhelming darkness and this type of support is critical, healing, and therapeutic.
That same type of support can be critical, healing, and therapeutic for those struggling from a mental health condition. Those in the depths of depression are fighting for their life in the same way… their world is dark, scary, and unknown… yet we treat mental health in the completely opposite way as physical health. We are silent about our past struggles and we judge others who are struggling or have struggled. Each judgemental statement leads to someone to suffer alone in the darkness when in reality they are longing for someone to merely sit with them.
When someone is fighting for their life because of cancer we know we can’t cure them and are not the doctors who can provide treatment, but we know our presence in the fight is comforting for the one struggling and the family. Know the same is true for those fighting for their life because of a mental health condition. These individuals aren’t looking for you to fix it or cure what is happening. They do long for someone to sit with them in the darkness. Ask yourself are you the person they will share about the darkness or are you the person who they fear will judge their struggle? It is not hard to be a person who is open and willing to sit with those who are sitting in the darkness.
Until we as a society are as open about our mental health struggles as our physical health, people will continue to sit alone in the darkness.