Many people have seen Kevin Breel’s Ted Talk about depression that went viral last fall. If you haven’t, I highly recommend it. Recently, he wrote a blog post for TWLOHA marking the third anniversary of the day he almost committed suicide. He writes, “I found out that our deepest struggles don’t also have to be our deepest secrets.” That’s a lesson I’m slowly, often painfully, learning.
I’ve written before about my journey this year in vulnerability–necessary, I’ve found, for real friendships to work. It’s not all about how much I have done/can do to be be vulnerable about my story; it’s also just as much or even more about the people who were willing to listen and make themselves vulnerable, both in the present and in the past.
The people who told me they would listen–and did. When they said, “If you want to talk, you can.” The person who said, “I won’t judge you,” when she knew I didn’t want to talk. The acquaintances who asked me if I was doing alright because I seemed to be acting a little oddly (of course I said, “I’m fine, just tired,” but I appreciated their words more than they knew.) The person who was brave enough to tell me she was worried about me and then to ask if I thought I was going to hurt myself, even though we weren’t super close friends. The people who keep listening to me now as I’ve been processing my thoughts and learning that “embracing your light doesn’t mean ignoring your dark” (Kevin Breel’s Ted Talk) and that “brokenness does not define us, but it is a part of how we fit into God’s story” (Scotty Smith at RUF Summer Conference).
To these people: thank you.
To the world: we need to become more like these people. People who notice when something seems off–and aren’t afraid to say so. People who care more about people than about issues. People who cross the no-man’s land of stigma and silence. People who are brave enough to make themselves vulnerable by asking other people to share their vulnerabilities and struggles. People who know that small words like “I care about you,” and little actions, like a hug, make a big difference, like a life.
The video embedded below expresses this more eloquently than I ever could. So take two and a half minutes of your life and watch it–it’s worth it. It’s another Ted Talk, this one by a man who lost his son to suicide. The entire presentation is good–the rest of the time motivates what he says in the clip–but if you’re pressed for time, 11:44-14:17 is one of the parts that needs to be heard most.