Relating our brokenness

During the past 48 or so hours my social media timelines have been flooded with two types of posts from folks, those declaring their love for the work of Robin Williams and those declaring they share the actor’s reported struggle with depression.

The previous was extremely heart-warming, heck, I even jumped in and was happy to learn so many others loved “Hook” as much as me.

The latter, however, started to sit odd with me after a day or so.

To be honest, my cynical nature started to get the best of me and I began to wonder what folks really meant by the word “depression.”

I mean, was it possible that the majority of my friends and almost every blogger I regularly read was suffering, or had suffered, from the same horrible disease? My timelines were kind of starting to feel like an elementary school nurse’s office with kids lining up to say they too were sick.

Were they all seriously ill or they just trying to connect somehow to this tragedy? And if they were serious, what exactly had they, or were they, experiencing?

Were they talking about that brutal feeling that makes a person want to spend days on-end under the covers, hiding from the world?

Were they talking about panic attacks and battles with crippling anxiety?

Were they talking about abusing alcohol and drugs as cooping mechanisms for pain?

Were they talking about constant pains to that lead a person to feel death is the sole escape?

Or were they talking about one specific time in their lives in which something happened that caused them to temporarily feel as if the world had been ripped out from under them?

I wondered if I should take each person completely serious, as a threat to themselves and begin worrying and praying for them.

But that was the dark, cynical, and most often, stupid side of me talking.

They should all be taken seriously. Not that they all suffer to the degree that Robin Williams did, at least I pray not, but they all suffer in their own way.

They all struggle with something, and while it may come in a variety of different forms and have different exact names, they all, we all, feel some sort of pain.

I think sin has created a tragically flawed world and there’s really no escaping that impacting us in some way and for most of us, it seems, it’s manifested it’s self in some form of mental issues.

Of course you might disagree and say you can’t related to any of the questions I listed above. If so, that’s awesome. Also, you very-well may be a super human.

But I’d say most of us can. I’d say most of us have felt broken, scared, helpless and completely out of control at least once in our lives. I’d say most of us have been broken.

As I was thinking about that, I realized that’s a pretty bleak reality.

But then I also realized it kind of puts us all on the same page and perhaps our weaknesses could be used as a way to relate to each other, and more importantly, help one another.

Now I’m not going to tell you want to do or what to say or how to act when a person close to you is struggling because honestly, I have no idea. As much as we all have a common struggle, we’re all individuals and what helps some, might be awful for others.

So my advice is simple; be genuine about your brokenness and be empathic towards the brokenness of others.

Because at some point we’re all those kids in line at the nurse’s office and while some of us might be in worse conditions than others, we’re all need of some sort of healing.



About travman44

I work as a reporter for a newspaper in southwest Virginia. I play as a writer specializing in deep thoughts on shallow, and occasionally not so shallow, subjects. I'm also a former history teacher, bible college alum, and lover of the NBA and kids' breakfast cereals. It's a delicate blend. -- @TravisKWilliams on Twitter
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