I recall a time not so long ago that felt like the end of the world, or at least, it made me feel that I wanted the world to end - so deep into the spiral of depression that the best I hoped for was an end to it that would leave those I cared for deeply, safe and secure, without me.
This morning I was watching the video linked below, and it brought back those feelings. But it also reminded me what it was, and still is, that others did, that helped me climb back out of that deep hole. It was empathy from people who cared to enough to take the risk of offering connection. They let me know that when I was ready, they were there for me - no ready solutions, no platitudes - but simply a hand held out that told me "you aren't alone".
I will never be done with the journey. If there is an upside to coming out the other side of depression, it is what I learned, and who I've become, by letting others know who I really am, and trusting that I would find some who would connect.
It is a huge risk to make yourself vulnerable with the truth. Some might have and did hate me for being who I am. But there were others who had survived; others who would take the risk of saying "I am here to listen and care", and in that way pass along their strength. They might not even have understood the details, but they cared, and would not judge.
If there is an upside, it will be my own willingness to be that person who takes the risk and holds out my hand to others and say, I am here. I've been there. I will stay with you.
Dr. Brené Brown narrates the following RSA Short, with animation by Katy Davis and subtitles in a variety of languages, thanks to Amara. Click on the cc for captions.