I’ve been there.. that dark place hidden deep behind the densest of thickets. Each day, I try to crawl out through the forest toward the light, but the more I crawl, the fainter the light becomes... so faint, in fact, that I cease to be able to find any light at all. I am lost; am I headed north or south? Maybe if I could see the sun, I’d be able to get a sense of direction. It’s so dark now; I can’t see at all. I’m stumbling blindly and trip over every small obstacle in the way. Am I on a trail? It doesn’t seem like this could possibly be the right way. I’m so tired; battered, my body and mind beg for relief. Is there even a way out? Surely I would have found it by now. Defeated, I give in to the realization that there is no way out.
A snap is heard in the distance. It’s been months of silence. A sign of life, perhaps? I follow the sound. There are broken leaves and small branches on the forest floor. Was I here before or did something else tread here? Another snap... summoning all energy I can muster, I break into a sprint in the direction of the sound. I trip along the way several times. A faint light can be seen in the distance. It is beautiful; I want to cry at the sight, but I force my legs to continue. Gasping for air, I am finally at the thicket’s edge. I hear all kinds of sounds coming from the other side. The brightness overwhelms me. What’s over there? At least I’m familiar with what’s behind me. I start to turn around. My back to the light, I feel warmth in my hand, and I enjoy the feeling... the warmth guides me, and I follow. It takes me into the light. It’s a hand; I hold onto it, knowing it will be alright. I feel the sunlight kiss my pale, cold skin, and over time the bruises and scars that plague my body and mind fade. Some scars stay with me. They act as reminders of the battle won. I still dream of the thicket, a recurring nightmare that haunts me at times. But when I wake, I know where to find the hand to lead me to the light.
Depression is a dark and lonely place. Overcoming it is not a battle that needs to be fought alone. If you need a hand, I offer you mine and hope you take it and follow me into the light.