She was so young, vibrant and blonde – with an infectious smile. But she had no idea what type of darkness lived in my mind.
She bounced toward me after church and said, “Isn’t it a beautiful day? Aren’t you doing wonderfully today?”
I decided to forego the usual, “Yes, I’m fine” response that people expect and told her the truth. “No. It isn’t beautiful today, and I’m not doing wonderfully.”
She backed away from me and seemed scared of the reality I had shared. That was the last time she ever approached me, the last time she even tried to understand.
My depression colored everything gray, even my face looked gray. Each day was a nightmare of climbing out of the bed in which I did not sleep, could not rest. Panic attacks rotated with moments of lying on the floor in a fetal position. I cried buckets of tears and couldn’t remember the last time I felt wonderful.
Now to continue as an authentic woman, I try to stay real. When someone asks me how I’m doing, I don’t give the normal answer, “I’m fine”, unless I really am doing well. I want to tell the truth and hope that person won’t back away, won’t act afraid and won’t ignore me.
Real answers might include:
• I need a hug.
• Would you pray with me?
• I’m grateful that you asked.
• Today is a good day. I hope it is for you, too.
• I need a friend.
Depression doesn’t respond to easy answers, but we can help each other by staying real and honest. By reaching out to others and by responding truthfully, we can better deal with the circumstances of life and help each other move forward.
What about you? How do you answer real?
2013 Rebecca Thesman, GateWay of Hope Ministries – The Helping Place for Hurting Women