Finding Hope Through Depression

Photo by Total Shape on Unsplash

Learning that Cheslie Kryst, Miss USA 2019, took a step off of her balcony from a NYC high rise apartment building into eternity meant the week began with a heaviness we couldn’t have anticipated. We’ve since learned that as her mother who is left to grieve the loss of her beautiful, talented, compassionate and gifted daughter described, Chelsie was dealing with high-functioning depression. These updates have caused us to reconsider what it means to cope with depression. One common myth is that depression is synonymous with sadness. But this perspective belies the chemical, physiological and emotional responses that distinguish the two. This news has also shed light on the idea that depression cannot be overcome by success however one chooses to define it.

A sobering thought that offers within it a gift — if success doesn’t keep us from feelings of utter hopelessness and despondency what can? Psychologists will remind us that positive thinking is no cure either but community, vulnerability, and faith offer hope. Please note vulnerability, community and faith do not keep one from depression. Collectively they offer a fabric of support against the onslaught of unexpected emotions to which any of us may be vulnerable. Such a fabric may be particularly helpful especially during this period of great disruption and uncertainty with regard to when we’ll finally emerge from this now two-year old pandemic.

Whether you have just received a promotion, entered or exited a relationship, faced un- or underemployment, grieved the loss of a loved one, or given birth to a child, find and cultivate spaces where you can be vulnerable and honest about your emotions and mental health. A trained and qualified therapist or counselor may offer perspectives that allow us to process our emotions and the past while preparing for a future that is more full of hope. You may also decide a coach rather than a therapist or counselor is better for a particular phase in your life.

Whether you have moved to a new location, have lived in the same place for years or have grown weary of some of your current relationships, find and nurture community — thanks to technologically community need not be geographically limited. Relationships with mentors, family and friends across time zones can help us feel connected to opportunity beyond ourselves. Even when we’re struggling with our own sense of purpose, community can help us feel connected to helping others continue to fight for theirs. Your role in someone else’s life may be invaluable. You have no idea how great an impact your life, purpose and presence (digital or otherwise) means to others in your life. Don’t give up on the idea that you can and will find people whom you’ll not only love and cherish, but also love and cherish you. All of you.

I didn’t grow up as part of a faith context. My faith journey included considering Islam and Buddhism because of childhood friendships and my experiences and interests abroad. I ended up becoming a Christian in college and that choice was the single best choice I have ever made; it radically changed the trajectory of my life. My faith has offered me a more nuanced lexicon with which to communicate that despite the challenges before us, there is reason to hope and to believe brighter days are ahead. And not just in eternity. I offer one such thought to you:

Cast all your anxiety on him (God) because he cares for you. — 1 Peter 5:7

May you cast your anxiety on a source greater than your strength. God cares about all that concerns you. God cares about you.

All of you.



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