Someone Other than Me

As many of you know who read my columns, I was diagnosed with clinical depression many years ago.   My doctor treated me with therapy and counseling for over twenty years until one pill a day entered my life and saved it.  I was one of the lucky ones. 

My depression began when I was in third grade.  I wanted to be the girl with the shiny blond curls seated next to me instead of me.   She was smart, pretty, and happy.  She was only the first of many who I longed to become.   I was never comfortable or liked being me.  If someone teased me, I cried for days.  If a bully was mistreating someone else, I cried for them.  When I failed at anything, it was because I was a complete failure.    

Suicide entered my mind many times, and at one point, I attempted it.  I am brutally honest here because there is no reason not to be.  Becoming transparent is how we help those who suffer and who wish they were anyone else but themselves.  Depression creates pure hopelessness, and life is viewed behind a veil of sorrow and gloom.

Multitudes are suffering

Today, multitudes are hurting.  Because of the pandemic, daily doses of death, isolation, loss of income, and normality, play mental havoc with all of us.  The predictions for suicide, depression, and anxiety are roiling.   No one is immune from the sadness of this year.  The virus has brought with it the harshest of stings, and its poison is affecting us all. 

However, for those who are already enduring depression, it is far worse.  The other day, the blue depression monster jumped in front of my computer.  I was preparing to write my column when as I stared at the blank page, my first thought was, “Why?” 

Why was I writing?  The world is sick and angry.  Pessimism has risen to a new level, and those hard-headed political name-calling divisive folks are driving me crazy!  When I go into a store that requires safety protocols and notice a customer stroll by with no mask, who seems to not care about others, they cause me to question the world’s fate.  So why write?  It is hopeless.  Why talk about the kindness and goodness of God?  It is hopeless.  Why do I write about love when such selfish hate seems rampant?  Why?

The magic wand

I wrote one of my editors a note, “Is it time for me to put the pen down?”   Then, as if a magic wand were waved, a reader emailed me after reading a recent column, “Keep writing and being the voice of love and peace.  You are deeply appreciated.”   A stranger who had no idea I was ready to quit.  

The blue monster faded away, words formed on the blank screen, and the hand of God calmed my soul.  Once we recognize our purpose, were made for a reason, we become what our creator intended us to be.  Hopelessness fades to bravery, death fades to living, and we accept who we are and why. 

When we deliver unselfish, caring behavior to others, we become instruments of service to all. For those who watch the world through the fog of depression and only hear the angry and judgmental voices, they lose confidence in living.   God really does want us to care about the people we share this earth with.  He knows those who grieve and calls on all of us to render aid. 

Helping others

Everything we do is visible.  When we promote negativity, we damage.  We whisper, judge, and wonder why folks would die by their own hand.  Yet, we never ask ourselves if we had a hand in their death by taking away their faith in mankind?  Has our self-indulgence enabled us to not hear the cries of those who have experienced profound loss due to the pandemic?  Are we guilty of spreading doubt, hopelessness, pessimism, or rage? 

For those of you who are suffering, who would rather be anyone else but you, I urge you to hear my words:  There is no one better than you.  Each person was made by God to fulfill a mission.  Today, you may not know what yours is, but one day it will become crystal clear.  Do not buy into the world’s bullies, the naysayers, the name-callers because they no nothing except hurt.  You must never believe there are not good, decent, folks bearing kindness, compassion, and love because there are.  These are the folks who heed God’s explicit instruction to “love one another.”

Do I wish I were someone else today?  Some days I do, but I also realize if I were someone else, I might not then be strong enough to fight for those who want to be someone other than their valuable selves.

NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE:  1-800-273-8255