Last Sunday I took a deep breath and sent my depression story out into the world.

In return I received a whole lot of love. 

I also heard something I never expected to hear. Several people said, "I have never been depressed before, but I understand now how you got there." Thank you for telling me that. I didn't even know I needed to hear it. The validation was powerful.

It was important to me however, to regroup this morning and remember why I told the world about climbing out of a church window in my Sunday dress, about meeting with the police while in my grandparents' clothes, about my appalling hair situation.

It was to expose what depression can do to a person. 

Depression can
warp your sense of self-worth
warp your very reality
warp your relationships with others
warp your relationship with God
rob you of your sense of self and your desire to exist
as you try to make sense of why you are feeling the way you do.

I wanted to create a place where the depressed could feel validated.

A place where depressed people could bring their family and friends and say, "This is kind of what it feels like. I want you to know so you can understand me better."

A place where people who have lost their loved one to suicide could come for comfort and understanding. To explain the dimension they were likely in. That it truly is like an alternate reality. That the things that make sense there don't make sense to a healthy mind no matter how much love is thrown at them. That they didn't fail their loved one, although they did lose them in a tremendously painful way.

And I write for those who are fighting. So when my happy face greets them on the front page and they think, "She can't possibly understand what it's like," the details of my story will tell them otherwise. And they will start to wonder if there really can be a good life beyond depression. Even after suicidal thoughts. If the desire to live can be restored. If a heart that is begging to give out could ever leap for joy again.

Because it can.

THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE. Do you hear me? I am talking to YOU.

Depression comes to every life in mild and insidious forms. No matter your circumstance, I hope you will recognize a little bit of you in my story and dare to believe that God's love for you is real. "It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there." And it can be the most motivating and inspiring force in your life.

I hope I've created a place where you can feel that that is true.

Because too many people have been bullied in the darkness for far too long.

And because I lost far too many friends this summer. 
And this is the best way I know to throw light at it.