Have you ever been shopping in the grocery store, zig-zagging your way through the aisles, and then a song comes on that you’ve never heard before and your day is instantly ruined? It was a good day, you woke up feeling positive, and then inexplicably and out of nowhere, something that had no meaning to you whatsoever, crashed right into you and made life seem meaningless. A month or so ago I was in the mall with my wife, it was in the morning and she asked if I wanted a chicken biscuit from chik-fil-a for breakfast. For some unknown reason that question triggered my depression and it was all I could do to keep myself from breaking down and crying in the middle of the food court. That’s how my depression has been for as long as I can remember, sneaking up on me, appearing at inconvenient times, and for no conceivable reason. It’s a feeling in my stomach, a feeling in my soul, that I lack the power to shake off of me. I go through periods of ups and downs; sometimes I’m happy to be alive and other times all I think is “what’s the point?” Of course there is middle ground, and that is where I find myself most often in my depression, not excited about life, but not down on it either, just there, emotionless and numb as life goes on around me.
Right now I’m doing okay, but there are a lot of people out there who are not. This time of year, right around the holidays, sees more people ending their lives than any other time of year, and it’s no coincidence. I know from experience, spending the last three christmases in Florida, how tough it can be not being with your family during the holidays. There are people out there who just can’t take the loneliness anymore and make the choice to not feel that emptiness or pain anymore by pulling a trigger or stepping off a bridge. Don’t hesitate to be extra friendly as you go about your business this holiday season, making eye contact with people in the grocery store and giving them a smile. Tell them merry christmas, because while it probably means absolutely nothing to you, it could mean the world to that person. If you know of someone who doesn’t have a family or won’t get to be with their family this christmas, maybe you could make an effort to include them as an honorary member of your family. Invite them over for dinner, have a gift or two under the tree for them, or even just give them a call on christmas morning to wish them a merry christmas, and spend a few minutes of your time caring about them. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up saving a life.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression and having suicidal thoughts, please call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255. It’s never too late to seek out help.