Thank you.

Thank you for showing us what courage looks like.

Thank you for not giving up.

Thank you for being such a bad ass.

It seems as though I have been interacting with a lot of people who struggle with depression recently. I am not sure why it has been at the forefront of my mind lately but it has. As I have learned more about this extremely complex sickness I have had two reactions to it.

The first is frustration that there isn’t more I can do to help my friends who struggle with this.

The second is awe. I am completely awestruck by the courage and strength and beauty of my friends who deal with this.

To you, my friends, I want you to know I see you. I see you when you bust out of that dark cloud and are able to be fully yourself and I see you when the cloud feels too thick for you to do anything.

I also want to say I am sorry. Though I don’t think any of you knew me then, there was a time when I thought depression could be beaten with a little bit of prayer and determination. I am sure many of you have heard the accusations. If not from someone you know then maybe in your head. Those who would say that depression is demonic or that you are just lazy or whatever the lie is, I want you to know I am sorry for the times I perpetuated it.

To those of you who have shared your struggle with me, even some as a 2 AM text message, again I say thank you. Thank you for helping me understand. Thank you for trusting me with your pain.

I do believe God heals. I do pray for you. But I will not oversimplify this battle you fight. I recognize the beautiful complexity that is your daily life though I know I could never understand it.

I know you, my friends, will beat depression. You DO beat depression. Every time you laugh or make others laugh, you beat depression. Every time you crawl out of bed when every bone in your body is telling you to stay right there, you beat depression. Every time you use your pain to create beautiful art, you beat depression. Every time you brighten someone else’s day when yours feels as dark as can be, you beat depression.

But let me be quite clear about something. On those days when you can’t cope. On those days when you can’t handle anything and you shut down. On those days when you hate the world and maybe even yourself, on those days, you still beat depression. As long as you have breath in your lungs and love in your heart you are a champion. Depression is a nagging challenger that keeps coming back, but you are victorious. Not in the hyper-spiritual sense that that you are victorious so get over it, but in the sense that you are constantly having victory over that sickness. And I am so proud of you. All of you.

You are beautiful souls.

You are dearly loved.

You are stronger than most of us could imagine.

Thank you for your courage.

Thank you for fighting.