How Do You Even Begin To Understand

I listened as she spewed forth the venom that poisoned her for years. My heart swollen, my hands sweaty, and my mind sickened by the details. Depressed? Of course she was depressed. To be honest, I was surprised she was alive. She had endured untold horrors. Things no one should ever have to endure.

How do you even begin to understand? To explain all of it?

frederick buechner butterfly

How do you go on? How do you live with the weight that smothers you so much you feel like you can’t breathe, yet go through the motions again for another 24 hours?

When you’re depressed, the hours roll off the clock like frozen molasses.

When you’re depressed, you often don’t want to go on.

The alternative, death, is much more appealing than the thought of having to endure. No one wants to talk about suicide. Depression. Very very dark days. Total eclipses of the heart.

And when we are depressed, we feel like no one wants to listen to our desperate saga.

So we masquerade in our darkness like nocturnal gypsies. In the dark of night when it feels safer, we cry into our pillows because we don’t want to be a burden…and pillows don’t remember or care.

When we’re depressed, what do we need?

We need to know we’re not alone.
We need to know we’re loved.
We need to know we don’t have to have it all together all the time.
We need to do our art.
We need to be accepted just as we are.
We need to not be judged for being different.
We need to share our stories with safe people.

Maybe if we know we are not alone, loved, okay just as we are, accepted, not being judged for being different…maybe that will be when we feel safe enough to share our stories. Maybe that will be a place where seeds are planted, shoots of green growth begin to painfully, yet miraculously pierce the ground, and vibrant life begins anew.

Loving one another is always dirty work. We’re all a mess if you strip us down to our basic selves. We’re all needy whether you want to admit you have needs or not.

I don’t believe in a “cure all” for mental illness. But, I do believe love and acceptance is always the best place to start. No one thing will cure all mental illness. But, one comment, one pay it forward at your coffee joint, one note dropped in the mail, one sincere “how are you”…these things will plant seeds. Seeds of change.

We need each other. We need grace. We need soothing grace to rain down and cleanse our souls. Be the gift of grace to someone today. And if you need grace, please don’t be afraid to ask.

My friend told her once “untold” horrors that day and I listened. Not because I wanted to, but because I couldn’t not listen. I was compelled by grace. Gripped by this familiar gift that I’ve been given so freely.

She spoke the unspeakable horrors that day and was so very brave. She spoke and grace rained down. Buckets of grace.


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  1. Amanda says:

    Wow Thankyou for sharing !

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