After my last post about my struggle with depression, I had several friends reach out to me and share their own stories of depression and mental illness. In most cases, I had no idea that they suffered from the same haunting demons of depression as I do. In several situations, I was pretty surprised to find out they struggled at all. As I was digesting this information and also attempting to come to terms with some devastating family news this week, I have been thinking a lot about how many private battles are going on around me that I know nothing about. This particular quote came to mind:
I think about this when I’m paying for groceries and the cashier cheerfully asks me how I am today. I sometimes think “actually I’m barely holding it together” but instead I force a smile and mutter “good, thanks.” I wonder how many people I have encountered today that are also going through something terrible? How many are struggling with mental or physical illness? How many are saying goodbye to a loved one or missing someone that is already gone? How many are stuck in an unhappy marriage or an abusive relationship? How many are trying to stay strong for their children through a messy divorce? I realize I’m not only standing next to these people in the grocery store checkout line, but they are also my friends and neighbors. They are your friends and neighbors too.
Ergo, be kind. Be patient. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Always.