I made a new friend this week.
A lawyer from down south emailed me. He had found me through my website. He told me about some terrible and unexpected turns his life had taken recently which had plummeted him into a major depression.
I e-mailed him back and said that I would like to speak with him by phone.
I learned that his drop into the well of depression wasn’t his first experience with this terrible illness. He had gone through a bad episode twenty-five years ago, but since then nothing until his most recent crash.
During our thirty-minute talk, I felt the rawness of his pain in his voice. I recognized this sound all too well. It was the pain of depression.
He told me that the only respite he felt was when he fell asleep because it was only in this state of unconscious that he had some relief from the grinding wheels of depression.
I also learned that he was married, a father of four and had worked very hard for over twenty-five years as a lawyer. He was a Catholic who prayed often. He felt horrible about the pain and anxiety his depression had caused his wife and children. He told me that he felt comfortable talking with me because I was a lawyer and someone who had been through depression. As we talked, his voice became a little lighter and his tone a bit more optimistic.
I don’t attribute to anything I did.
Instead, I see it more as a testament to this central truth about life on earth: It is in sharing with one another our stories that we heal.
And I believe that we’re all called to be healers of one another.
And in listening to one another’s stories, we learn that suffering doesn’t have the final say.
And in this truth, we find hope.