The Ebb and Flow: Depression and Community

Sometimes, joy is found in a shoulder to lay on.

When I post the deepest parts of my heart, about depression, about desperation, my heart pounds as I hit “Publish.” It’s like taking the weak, pitiful child in the corner of my heart and putting her under a heat lamp. There’s comfort there, but the light. The light is so bright.

I’m so grateful that all kinds of people read here, but I don’t know how or whether I’ll be understood. I write it out and publish it to get some distance. It works. The lies and the struggle and pain aren’t so close; I’m not protecting them anymore.

Writing it out takes away a lot of their power. That’s why I do it.

But each time, I have to fight a strong impulse to set it all right again, to say that depression stuff was just a passing episode, no big deal, don’t worry about me.

There’s some truth there: I’m not where I was on Friday morning. But that doesn’t mean I won’t go back there this afternoon. (Depression seems so arbitrary, doesn’t it?)

But even though I might feel embarrassed, even though it’s a raw, vulnerable place where my wounds are on display, telling the truth is always worth the price. For me, living authentically is giving voice to the real, speaking it, diffusing its power over me.

And then, when my sisters and brothers so generously give me their love, their experiences, their hope — it’s like we’re a little community of truth-tellers and we’re building an altar together, these stones of struggle and pain that look at once familiar and unique. We all long for the day they will go up in flames, consumed by love, but until then we stand together and look at each other as if for the first time. When we build it together, there’s no reason to hide.

And I am thankful.

The gratitude comes in waves just after the darkness, when I look out the window and I’m astonished at the colors in the sunrise. When I hear birds singing their hopes of spring, when my heart can’t help but turn toward the light. Today, I live in the gratitude, and am astonished to feel real joy. Tomorrow, I may stumble backward again.

I know I’ll deal with the ebb and flow of depression for a while yet, some hours or days will be dark, but more and more will be light and color, a kaleidoscope of you, my friends. Your light blending into mine, bringing me back to life, your prayers lifting me up. Our stories are now woven together, stronger than the threads could have been separately.

Just stand back and look. With tears in our eyes we recognize each other and see ourselves, the pain and the joy and the love and the heartache all woven together, a swirling tapestry of hope, and we realize just how beautiful it all is.

Linking with Heather and Write It Girl.

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17 comments on “The Ebb and Flow: Depression and Community

  1. I am so thankful for your honesty, Kim. You are helping many by sharing your experience. You are helping me.

  2. Sarah says:

    Kim, it all is a tapestry of hope for certain. Grateful for your bravery and for sharing your stories. Know that your story is echoing in so many lives. You are courageous and I’m so thankful for it, friend!

    • Anyone who writes shows great courage — including you! When we show our hearts, we are all stronger for it. Thanks for your encouragement and love.

  3. oh, Kim. yes. keep speaking your truths. let us surround each other with our lives, the little we know of each other and the mysteries of life. We will hold on, deperately and other times, joyfully. It will make the difference.

    • Thank you Tara. This time last year I could have never dreamed of a community of women I’ve never seen face-to-face (yet!), but have become so important and dear to me. This includes you, friend.

  4. Julia says:

    My post was also about my bout of depression today. My “bad days” …so when I clicked here from the EO I was so relieved to read this. I haven’t been to your blog before or read your other posts but I’m a new follower and look forward to reading more of your honesty. Gosh knows – it’s refreshing.

    • Welcome, Julia. It’s amazing how powerful we can be in our most vulnerable moments, isn’t it? When we feel weakest, honesty can be the only thing that helps us stand.

  5. Writing in your voice bravely, you are helping others who need to read that others too, are in that place. That they are not alone. Keep writing.

  6. Yes, yes. Please tell the truth about this. Tell the truth for people like me who haven’t found the strength to. Yet.

  7. I know these days too and there really is beauty in sharing our hearts in this space and feeling that community surround us. Because some days all it takes is one simple comment or post from a friend that reminds me I will be okay. Thank you for this.

  8. Julie says:

    I’m coming by through Write it Girl! Beautiful post; thanks so much for your heart. I’m listening to the song “Your Hands” by JJ Heller right now as I read your post and it makes me think about what you said..that He holds us still through everything. Thanks for being real despite whether or not those of us on the other side will understand the perplexities; it does lose power when you unleash it to those in different forms of community. Blessings:).

  9. This is so beautifully written…I just finished my post titled Go With The Flow so when I saw yours at Write It Girl, I knew I had to stop by. I think sometimes it’s recognizing and admitting where we really are that is hardest…especially when it seems inconvenient to those around us. Thank you for being willing to put that little girl out into the light.

  10. Amy says:

    Visiting via Write it Girl. This really touched me. Growing up, my mother suffered from depression, but it was hard for me to understand as a child. Only now, as I learn from others, am I starting to appreciate what she went through. And I know the darkness is hard, but I am so grateful you tell your story, and so thankful for the hope.

  11. Nikki says:

    “Writing it out takes away a lot of their power….telling the truth is always worth the price.”
    YES!
    God has blessed each one of us with our own unique story. And even though we each have our own mold, some of our struggles are shared. Someone out there relates. And what a blessing you bring to them here. To let them know they’re not alone in this. There is hope. Relief is found on the other side.
    Keep sharing! It is worth the price.
    Thank you for blessing me today!
    All for Him,
    Nikki

  12. “today, the light equals the darkness. tomorrow, the light will stay longer.” may it be true for all of us.