I don't write extensively on here about depression. It's something I deal with and occasionally overcome, but it doesn't define my existence. And it certainly isn't my intention to be some self appointed poster child for a disease I'm constantly trying to unravel.
But, lately I've had some great, although heart wrenching, back channel conversations with people. It's complicated and I'm not pretending I know what everyone goes through, but these are the things I find helpful to remember.
1. It's harder than it looks to act happy. A lot of the time - much harder.
2. No matter how much support you have, you always feel somewhat alone.
3. It's exhausting chasing the light.
4. Tidal waves can't always be predicted.
5. Any chronic disease is discouraging a lot of the time.
6. If you do, great, but you probably don't have the solution.
7. God IS the answer. Not necessarily helpful when people mention it as a cure.
8. Depression is NOT a sin. It's a symptom.
9. There are absolutely things people can do/not do to help with depression. And there's a lot to it that feels like being blindsided. Balancing both realistically is important.
10. The opposite of depression is not constant joy. Sometimes it's just being okay. And that's okay.
And not just regarding depression:
Be willing to give grace to those in your life who may be dealing with more than you realize. Sometimes actions and reactions surface from a place of just trying to survive. The greatest gift you can give someone else is to be there unconditionally. Hope is always there. It's just sometimes hard to find.