One of my earliest childhood memories is my five year old self coming back from school, and entering into my mothers dark room, at the end of a very long corridor.
I would always open the door as quietly as I could. The heavy backed-out curtains were closed, and yet, some rays of light, painted the floor. I always thought they were trying to let her know that there was light outside.
But she wouldn’t listen.
Her face stuck deep in her pillow, wet with tears. I often just stared at her. Sometimes she would pretend she was sleeping. Others, she would kiss me and tell me I should go out and play. My nanny said she was just tired. For me it was just the way it was.
I would just climb up the drawers of my closet, and hide at the top. I created a little universe up there filled with my stuffed animals and a night lamp.
A couple of years later, I was no longer living with her. It took her a long time to recover, and she knew she couldn’t take care of herself and take care of us at the same time, because as much as she tried, she just couldn’t let the light in.
We’ve all been touched by depression in some way. We are all recovering from something. Life was kind enough to send me my first child, and with it a very heavy postpartum depression that helped me understand (at least a little), how she felt. Having been on the other side, as the little girl that just happened to exist in a complicated moment, and often believed that if she had never happened, things would have been better, I was able to go through it and fight for my mental stability, and be there for my son the best I could. I also had great support from my family, including my mother, which was also key to overcoming that stage.
But I know I was lucky.
Someone I loved, gave up his life to depression not long ago. It’s not the first time this happens to me. Way too many people in my life have lost that battle.
One of the persons I love the most, called me a couple of weeks ago, to let me know that she was going to intern into a clinic for a bit. She has been fighting every possible psychological challenge for the past 15 years. I just said, “It will all be all right, and I love you,” even though what I actually wanted to say was, “what could I have done differently to help you feel better?”
It’s easy to speak of light when you are on the other side, but so hard to see it when you are in the midst of darkness. I still have dreams in which I see myself entering my mothers room and pulling the curtain down, light goes in and we live happily ever after. But the reality is that it was until I was an adult that we were able to reconnect, and I missed her every day while growing up.
Regardless of how your life looks like right now, just remember that chance and choice make us who we are, and we are all fighting a battle. Every day you have the choice to act differently, and you have to keep the motion, and don’t be afraid of the dark.
It’s a matter of alchemy: turn it into a resource to bring light to others, and eventually, you’ll find a ray of light in your own journey as well.
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