five months into my last depressive cycle, Mary offered me a gift, a cruise to alaska. this had always been a life’s desire of mine. Mary’s gift made the statement, “you are special.” being in a screwed state of mind, i put my hands over my ears and yelled la la la la just as loud as i could. depression likes to steal and it took just about every ounce of self value that i possess. i did not feel worthy of this gift.
i came up with what ever excuses i could; we couldn’t afford it, who would take care of the boyz, our dogs, what if this or that? Mary had an answer for every question. she didn’t use these words, but the message remained true, “you are special and we are going.”
on the cruise, i did what i could to put on a happy front. i enjoyed much of what we did and had a fun time with Mary. no matter how i tried, the alaska grey skies had an extra cloud and it always seemed to be parked directly over my head. depression kept tapping me on the shoulder, “don’t forget about me.”
upon our return to the mainland, i tried to hold on to the experience, to the joy i felt, to the fun i had. unfortunately depression had soon dragged me back into its living hell. the nasty fire burnt within for another 15 months.
i can now look back and recognize the horrid events of the last 20, 20?, ugh, months. i can see how depression tricked me and took so much from me. just like any modern day robbery, i may or may not get back all the goods i have lost.
but, i can now look back on our cruise with clear vision. i can finally recognize Mary’s message that the worthiness resides within me and i deserved that special gift. i can close my eyes and try to reimagine the trip without our third bunkmate.
my message to the people suffering with depression, take in the special gifts no matter how large or small, from a dinner on any given wednesday to an alaskan cruise, and take it into your heart. you may not believe it, but accept the gift as a sign that you are special and worth it.
my message to the supporters of depression, keep at it. keep offering up the gifts. your friend or love one needs them. they may seem like the gifts are being rejected. perhaps the gift has snuck passed the mighty fortifications set up by depression and have found a place in your friend’s heart. after the many battles, after the months of black and blue, the gift can be looked back on with the fondness, gratitude and respect the special gift deserves. this process may take days, months or even years, but your friend or loved one will finally feel appreciation. it can become like my alaskan cruise, a special gift deferred.