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Spring 2019. I don’t remember when it happened or when I noticed the change, but suddenly, things took a turn. It felt like all the lights inside of me had gone out. I felt depression rearing its ugly head at me.
Hands shaking, sitting in my car, I text a friend. I am not OK. Do you think we can talk?
I am not OK. Do you think we can talk?
It was the bravest thing I had ever done—acknowledging that I wasn’t OK. I told someone else. I vocalized that I was struggling.
Tears rolled down my sleeve as I held my phone, glancing down at my friend’s quick reply. Thank you for telling me. Yes, can you meet for coffee today?
My friend didn’t do anything epically heroic that day, nothing that they’d write about in a movie script, but it made all the difference for me. She interrupted her day to sit with me. She invited another mutual friend of ours to come meet us. She listened without judgment and said a prayer for me.
She interrupted her day to sit with me. She listened without judgment and said a prayer for me.
There the three of us sat in a East L.A. coffee shop, with one of them on either side of me. They held my hands as the hot tears rolled down my cheeks, and we walked through the last few months—my thoughts and the heaviness I had been feeling.
Things did not change drastically in that moment, but what did happen was as I put words to the anxious and heavy thoughts I had been experiencing, I started to feel a little less stuck and paralyzed. It was as if by allowing other people in, I made room for them to help me lift a burden I couldn’t carry on my own. I was sitting in a dark room unsure of where the light switch was, and they turned it on for me.
It was as if by allowing other people in, I made room for them to help me lift a burden I couldn’t carry on my own.
If you are struggling with feelings of anxiety or depression, I encourage you to talk to someone you trust. Sometimes, we can’t lift the darkness on our own, and that’s OK. Perhaps, we were never meant to.
Stephanie Taylor, Online Managing Editor
Since 1949, May has been observed as Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, then visit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or 211. You can also call The Lifeline at this number for 24/7, free and confidential support: 1-800-273-8255.
Who are safe people in your world who you can share hard emotions with? Why is it important to not say silent when faced with hard emotions?
Image via Judith Pavón Sayrach
This was moving and beautiful, Stephanie. You’re definitely not alone in sometimes feeling alone. Thank you for sharing.