I’m forcing a smile at you despite the ache in my chest.
I assume you know what I’m talking about – that stubborn heaviness over your ribcage that makes it hard to breathe more often than you care to admit. You sigh and heave, inhale and exhale, inflate and deflate those lungs in hopes of clearing away that weight on your chest, consuming your senses, clouding your mind, but it’s still there. It doesn’t want to go away.
You try to explain to others, or even just to yourself, that you’re fighting, you’re fighting to make it go away, but that heaviness is a deep sadness that has coiled itself around your every bone. It’s an inexplicable misery that poisons your every interaction. It’s a soundless voice pumping lies into your veins. It’s hard to keep fighting when the fight happens within. The battle is invisible to those who refuse to see. But you feel it as a constant presence, a taunting companion.
It’s exhausting, I know.
I want you to know that I’m amazed that you were still able to get up this morning. I understand if you weren’t.
It’s not easy, is it? To be depressed.
People aren’t really aware how much of a feat your forced smile is. They don’t know what a triumph it is when you’re able to smile, really smile. I almost want to cry imagining it, because that smile, that rare, genuine smile of yours – it’s beautiful.
I hope someone’s around to remind you of that.
I hope more people around you begin to understand. I hope they give you a lot of genuine reasons to laugh spontaneously and to celebrate all that is beautiful about life. I pray they are able to find words that will give you enough hope and strength to get to the next day, hour, minute… even second.
Because you are worth fighting for.
Even if it feels like the only person fighting for you is you.
But maybe that’s a lie from the soundless, insidious voice too.
Because I know someone’s fighting for you. Not just you.
They may be people you know or people you have yet to know, but they need you, and maybe they’re not even aware of it, but they’re fighting for you. They’re getting through the battles of each day to get to you.
I don’t know how long you’ve been fighting. I don’t know how tired you are. I do know that after years of being as you are, I thought I reached the end of my strength. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t live like that anymore. I slept, with my last thought being that I wish I wouldn’t wake up. I woke up, greeting the morning with a question: “Why am I awake?”
I was at my weakest, dear depressed, but Someone became strong for me. He took me out of the rut I was in. He gave me hope. He gave me purpose. He gave me a reason to rejoice.
Sometimes, I still feel that weight on my chest. Sometimes, I’m haunted by yesterday, and I find it hard to breathe, but I know… I know… There is hope yet. I know that my depression can die without taking me with it.
I’m worth fighting for. I have been fought for.
The same is true with you, dear depressed.
The depression ends. It won’t have its grip on you forever. There is a way out.
Remember that you’re not alone. Many have gone before you and found a way out that didn’t include darkness, misery and death. They found a way towards light, laughter and life.
I pray that you find that way, that better way, the way. I pray that one day, you’ll wake up and find Someone there, Strength in your weakness, Power in your exhaustion. I pray.
But today, dear depressed, as you read these words penned by one who knows what it’s like, I hope you realize you’re not alone. I hope that at the very least, this will help you get through another day or maybe even give you a reason to smile that rare, radiant smile of yours.
I hope that you find hope.
Hope, dear depressed. Hope. Live to fight another day.