“There are some days where I can’t focus on the book I’m reading. Or I keep changing the radio station. Because nothing sounds good. I flip aimlessly through channels. Nothing can keep my mind focused. Because I know a storm is brewing. As surely as when your bones feel the cold temperatures creeping in. My mind knows when its about to be hijacked. Where I will once again have to fight to have control of it. These are the days that I hate the most. The days where I loose another piece of myself. Someday there will be nothing left of me. But a husk of a person I once was.”
The biggest misconception about me is that I’m just the most social and funniest person around. That I would be a blast to hang out with. The truth is I battle to share that smile or make you laugh. That depression is always lurking in the shadows. Waiting for me to let my defense down. You see depression feels like an extension of me. It’s something that has shadowed me for decades. The funny thing there is no “face” to my demon. And it’s not something most people can understand or relate to unless they have experienced it themselves. There are a lot of misconceptions to it. But today is not the day I try to pick those apart for you. Or try to make you understand what I struggle with. Today, I want to show you how we all have the capability of impacting someone’s life with just a smile or with kind words.Today, I want to share something that happened a little over a month ago.
Before I share that day. Let me share a little fact with you. When I’m out and about I always try to smile at people I pass. It doesn’t matter if I know them or not. And it doesn’t matter if on the inside I don’t feel like doing it. I feel it’s important to do. Because there might be someone out there hurting worse than you. And that smile might make their day. Some people smile back in return. Some squint at me like they are trying to picture where they know me(surprise you don’t) and other’s look at me like I’m crazy! But that doesn’t deter me. And I never really thought about how a stranger’s smile could really impact a person. I mean in my head I wanted to think it helped. But it wasn’t until I was the recipient of those smiles and a compliment that I understood the power behind it.
Last month I was kind of in the funk. Depression was circling around me like a vulture. Those days are the most exhausting. So, I try my hardest to stick to routines. Like grocery shopping. Did I want to get dressed? No! Did I want to be around people? That would be a No too! But if I knew if I didn’t I would be allowing the demon in. So, I went to the store. But I couldn’t even offer up smiles to anyone. Because my mind was still in a dark place. I was questioning my existence. If I even mattered. And as these dark thoughts ran rapid in my mind. I was lost in the “fog” until I turned the corner and a stranger smiled at me. They did something that I always do. Something that I hoped mattered but wasn’t sure if it did. And you know what I got a few more smiles my way. And a lady complimented me on my necklace. And that might not mean much to you. But on that day it meant the world to me. Because it validated that I was seen. At a time when I thought it didn’t matter if I existed or faded away with the setting sun. Someone took the time to see me! Their smile Acknowledged my existence! And to some of you. This might seem like the most idiotic thing that you ever heard. But to a person who is struggling with depression. A smile is like the sun. It can chase the dark clouds away. It might not end the war. But it can help win the battle for that day.
Never underestimate the power your smile or kind words hold. They are free to give but the reward is much greater than you will ever know. And to those strangers who probably went on with their days. Thinking nothing of what they did. I want to thank you. Thank you for giving me a gift that day. The gift to realize I do matter!
And for those of you out there who struggle day to day with depression. I want you to know you are not alone. Your story is not over. That is what the semi-colon represents. “It is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.” This is your story. Make it whatever you want. But at the end make it about a person who was brave and strong. A person who fought daily with an unseen force. Some days they lost and some days they won. But no matter what they never gave up!