Depression is an opportunity for those experiencing it and those witnessing it.
To the one experiencing it, this can be a great journey into creating and transforming the bad into wonderful or the pale into colorful by tapping one’s inner warrior. For the witnesses, it is a brave chance to bring hope and show compassion even when it is not fair. It is a window of opportunity to fight for one another.
It has already been quite a while since my own journey to recovery has started after being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2008. I believe this is the best time to give back to those who mattered most to me (and probably to those also suffering from mood disorders) when I was walking my path to healing. If there are essential moments worth remembering in one’s battle, these are the moments with the people who helped. These were the great windows of opportunity devoted for helping.
I cannot speak for everyone else fighting the same battle I fight. But thus far, I can share some things others could relate to or even appreciate. What marked and mattered now that I have learned to thrive or at least cope a little better?
Random Acts of Kindness
These are fleeting moments that can stay forever. Great people treat you to lunch or give you gifts. Or sometimes, they just carry your books for you or guide your group as you cross the street. They leave some notes or letters to make you happy or help you pick up some papers when you drop them.
To someone who is depressed, this moment is like a tickle from heaven. It is like a smile from an angel. Like drinking sweet and warm orange juice (or whatever drink you like to have in a mundane day) when all they expected was the usual water.
Great Efforts to Help
These are like runner’s high. After some hard work or striving (at guessing or waiting or praying for a desired outcome), you see a gift, a prize, or a surprise at the end. These are efforts of your friends to treat you on your birthday. Or maybe, an effort of a loved one to write a book to help or inspire you and even dedicate it to you (imagine the pains of finishing a book). Or relatives you have not seen for years setting you up for a great dinner with your mom or dad. Or to me, it is like a mother who stayed with you through thick or thin and made every effort to make your condition better.
To someone who is depressed, this is like an unfolding of a dream or God answering one’s prayers. It is a moment of gratitude for them for having such loving people in their lives who chose to make an effort even if… it took some effort! It might still be not enough to lift the depression but it will be remembered.
Pointing Towards the Purpose
This is like coming home from a long search or battle. Great people build relationships to point someone to his/her purpose when everything is just hazy. They patiently teach, mentor, or lead when someone is at the brink of surrendering or suffering in the mill of failure. This is the remarkable opportunity when lessons are heard and learned. This is one of the best opportunities when great people reach out. To me, it is like my church, my professors, or my mentors who never ceased giving advice and guidance at my best or worst.
To a depressed person, this is like forgiveness and grace when most of his/her efforts seemed to have been wasted. The moments when the “student” is ready to bow down, repent, and listen. Great people love just because. Though it is difficult to guide someone who is hurting, they still do.
There are many more windows of opportunities. At home, in your school, in your church, at the hospital, or by the sidewalk. These moments mark and matter.
Great people, through goodness or kindness, have helped me build my future from the ruins of my life. For this, I will forever be grateful. I believe there are many out there who have always been ready to catch this window of opportunity.
About the Author
Sheena Kristine Cases was a depressed person who realized that it might be a great purpose to help others too. She is still figuring out how to do this best. She has served for the academe, the government, some NGOs, a church, and a support group. She wrote this article just because it might help. Lastly, she also wants to share that she found peace through this Bible verse: 2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV) [But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.]. Read her previous articles here.