Yesterday I went into the bathroom to find a spot on the wall. It was white and looked like it was perhaps some toothpaste or a spray of soapy water. I took a cloth and started rubbing it and it wouldn’t come out. And to my horror, more spots showed up. I paused, looked again, and then realized that I was trying to erase spots of sunlight that were filtering through the blinds.
This incident – which caused a great deal of laughter on my part – carried a huge lesson for me. Recently we have been struggling with the effects of depression in our household. And when depression strikes, I take my trusty cloth and try to rub it away. But in taking that trusty cloth, I find that too often I overlook what is good about what is happening or I overlook the good in the person with depression. I try to rub away any sign of hope, of sunshine in the situation.
What that little bit of sunlight taught me is that in every situation there is a shred of light, a tiny bit of goodness if we only look. Whether it was a good word spoken by the depressed one to you or whether it was the fact that medications had been taken on time for a week or that there was the sound of laughter if only for a couple of minutes. Whatever the nip of sunlight, it is to be recognized and celebrated and cherished. They may be few and far between but by recognizing them, we don’t lose sight of the person who is there, the one suffering from this terrible illness, the person who deserves hope and happiness, the one that we love.
Don’t be like me and try to rub away the sunlight. Jump all the way in and relish those droplets of sunshine wherever they occur. It’s one of the best actions a caregiver can do to stay well.
Filed under: antidepressants, anxiety disorder, caregiving, Clinical depression, depression recovery, faith, health, Illiness of depression, Mental health, mental illness, stigma | Tagged: attitude, brain illness, caregivers, caregiving, depression, health, mental illness, mental-health, relationships, self-care, support | 1 Comment »