A man is measured by the quality of his friends and the choices that he makes when all hope seems to be lost.
When I was a kid, I had this silly idea that adults were perfect and that they always made the right choices. As I grew older, though, I realized that this notion was wrong. I realize now more than ever that the past has a direct influence on the present. We can’t do anything about that, of course, except try to understand it and learn from the lessons that pain brings about. Learning from pain is the biggest lesson life has to offer, because it ultimately shapes us and makes us stronger. Adulthood just means taking responsibilities for the choices we make. Beyond that, adulthood is about figuring out what the right choices are.
Growing up, I often told myself “if something doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” I found this to be true in my darkest days, but also in my best days. Challenges have a way of revealing the truth, which is what most of us are after. We want to know how capable we are of rising to the occasion and facing adversity. After all, isn’t that what depression is?
Depression starts when you’re disappointed in yourself. Or maybe your disappointment in something else. It eats away at your soul, discourages you and sends you down a road where you’ll feel helpless and pursue self-destructive behavior. That’s not all, though. Depression is a lot deeper than that. See, most people can strive to survive anything; Wars. Battles. Arguments. Why? Because they see a destination in sight. Depression disables you from seeing a destination. It makes you re-evaluate who you are, why you’re here and whether or not you deserve to find your destination. Depression is a lonely place filled with silence, pain, mixed signals, fear and anger. Depression is being scared of your own shadow. Depression is waking up every morning and wondering why you keep going.
What subconsciously drives people is not that they want the truth, but that there is no indefinite truth. Everything we see is based on perspective and everything we’ve been told is an opinion formed by people who have shaped their long-time research into their own interpretations. The truth is interesting like that; it teaches us patience, acceptance and kindness. So, if you look far enough, you can find most anything.
We all want answers, but what we don’t realize is that we often don’t ask the right questions.
The problem with finding out the truth is kind of like going on your first date. You don’t know what will happen by the end of it. You want it to go smoothly, you may even want her/him to be the one. But what you don’t want is to make a fool out of yourself. That’s okay. Making a fool out of yourself is what makes you human, just as vulnerability is what makes us strong.
People who suffer from depression think similarly. They want help, they want to recover and to be able to see their destination, but what they don’t want is to be seen as fragile, weak and helpless.
In order to succeed at anything, whether it be academically, professionally or in regards to your mental health, you have to let yourself be vulnerable. Think of a healthy family building a mansion. In the middle of building this mansion, Tom has an emotional breakdown and stops in the middle of the building process. Suddenly, part of the mansion comes crumbling down. The other family members clearly see that some parts of the building are fine and the other parts are crumbling, but they don’t really know what to do at this point. What do they do? What would YOU do? You can’t just pick up a random piece of something and hope it sticks somewhere. Think about this for a minute before you continue to read.
So, what should you do? Great question. You have to have patience, knock it down, take a break and completely rebuild the mansion together when you’re ready.
Behind all truth lies the possibility of vulnerability. It is the connection between strength and wisdom. It teaches us that if we really want something, we should think of the process, not the outcome.
Think of vulnerability and truth as a flower. If it’s locked up in a heated room with barely any air, it will die. We don’t know what will happen if we let it out of that room. People may accidentally (or intentionally) step on it, bad weather could destroy it, etc. It’s a risk. But the biggest risk in life is never taking one. What if we let the flower blossom? It could be the beauty to our landscape we were looking for. It could brighten up your girlfriend’s day by cheering up her mood. It could be used by someone to express their affection. It can help bees produce more honey.
At the end of the day, it’s all about the choices we make that will define us for the rest of our life and it’s about our willingness to go through a little more pain now to have an even better tomorrow. Because, whether or not we realize it, we’re never as alone as we feel. We’re just afraid to take a risk and see what lies behind the unopened door. Our truth.