Depression steals time and money. It warps memory and love. It breaks the lenses of beautiful eyes.
Some of the most gentle and passionately creative people I have known carry the black cloud of depression with them almost everywhere they go.
I think we all have experienced some facet of depression. I like to call it “situational depression “. You know those times when you just can’t seem to muster the usual zip … or heartache has you paralyzed for a spell or… the mountain in front of you just seems so big and you’re not sure you have strong enough legs to hike up all that way. I have had those times.
Then … there is the other kind of depression…the “clinical “ kind. That word sounds so … well …clinical. I don’t really understand it fully because I have not experienced that one. At least not from within myself. I have however experienced it from people I love dearly. They are creative and beautiful and I marvel at how deeply they feel life in its beauty… they have melodies just pop into their heads and paintbrushes that seem to dance across canvases. They have the ability to think a thought and make it wearable or turn it into pages of a story that transports us to another place and time. The gifts of my loved ones are some of my most cherished moments and times of my life.
About a year ago … as I was in my own “situational depression “ … I heard a clip of Anthony Bourdain talking about his sudden success. He told his story about his book deal and how his mother encouraged him to send his draft to the NewYorker. She reminded him that he was just “one step away” from changing his circumstances and moving towards a life he liked better than the one he was currently living. Without believing he had anything to lose … he sent it. And two days later …his life changed forever. That video struck a massive chord with me. It inspired me. It reminded me that at any given moment … everyone is just one step away from something that they want. The moment we take that step … the next one is just one step away. The mountain in my head was doable if I just took one step. Ever since … each time I have felt discouraged or doubtful … I often think of that video and tell myself I am just one step away from feeling better and more capable.
I would have liked to meet Anthony someday to thank him for being right there on my phone that day. I would have told him how much I appreciated his words. I would have liked to have been able to give back to him what he gave to me.
This past week has brought many emotions. I have gone through anger … sadness … compassion … and even some weird feeling of relief for the inconceivable pain that people like Anthony and Kate must have experienced.
It breaks my heart to know some people have such great pain that they feel that there are no other options. There is always another choice. Always.
The biggest choice I can think of is to remember that you are not ever alone … EVER!
Maybe the brighter side of all of this sad news is that it opens a dialogue. It also reminds us that depression is an equal opportunity thief. It doesn’t discriminate against anyone. Maybe that is how I can thank Anthony Bourdain … maybe through kindness and compassion for ourselves and others is the best way to honor his life and keep his message of community and curiosity going.
If you are … or know someone who is going through a hard time right now … please reach out to someone you trust to help. Remember … you are never alone …and there is ALWAYS another choice. You matter. They matter. You never know who might be feeling down one day and stumble across some words that can make them less fearful and might even help them to take just one step towards a happier life.
Thank you Mr. Bourdain … you gave me a gift and I promise to pay it forward as my way of saying I so appreciate your wisdom, creativity, unique spirit and kindness.