Posts Tagged ‘support’

The power of sharing my own experience.

A conversation with friend from earlier this week:

“You probably haven’t had to deal with stuff like this,” she said, after describing how she’d been feeling lately.

“Depression?”

She nodded. “Well, actually, I have,” I said, and elaborated about my own experience.

Afterward, she thanked me for sharing. She knew then that I could relate to how she was feeling.

This moment allowed me to see how incredibly validating it was for me to share my personal experience — for both my friend and for me.

When I was in the midst of my most severe depressive episode, I know that I often felt very alone and isolated in my experience. I think that affirming for someone that she is not alone may have been a powerful gift. Yes, it required vulnerability. It required me to tread into topics I don’t usually touch on in everyday conversations. It gave me the opportunity to rely on my inner strength and know that I could be — and was — okay to give support in that moment.

I felt cautious with this interaction, both during and afterwards. I know I am not necessarily fragile now, but I see the darkness within myself, the potential for becoming depressed again. These kinds of interactions have the potential to be draining and triggering. But I also realize that in many ways, this gives me an opportunity to establish boundaries when needed while also providing the kind of support that only one who has been through something similar can provide. I won’t offer solutions, but I can offer my own story and share what helped me.

It helped me to share, too. Sometimes I feel like I only give people parts of my story. True, not everyone has earned my trust to hear more. But it was important for me to have a moment where I let my guard down, especially when it seemed appropriate and needed. So perhaps I received a gift in that moment as well.

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Friday link roundup 7/21

A group of young women from Afghanistan headed for an international robotics competition were initially denied visas to enter the United States, but later received permission to come. During the competition, the team won a silver medal for courageous achievement.

Ever been told to change how you think when you’re feeling stressed out? This blog post talks about how the stress response is based in the nervous system, not in your thoughts.

A post with great wisdom on giving support: Hold your tongue and offer your heart instead.

In terms of discussing issues like drug abuse and addiction (as well as other topics), who tells the story and how they tell it can affect public perception and opinion and even policy. Here’s a post urging people to  Just Say No to Media Coverage of Drugs.  I would also recommend looking for alternate sources and seeking the bigger picture.