Battling with depression can feel so real. Loss of energy, motivation, joy and sometimes, even the will to live. There will be anxiety, fear and hopelessness. It is a lot like staying in the darkness.
You have yourself a forest, and your mission is to light up the forest using only one tiny light bulb at a time. You get only one shot per day.
NOW PICTURE THIS:
The forest is pitch black. Deeper and darker than any other place in the world. Tall trees soaring up to the sky, crisp leaves rustling against the wind – quiet. The temperature is low and cold. Chilly enough to make you wrap your sweater around a little tighter. Eeriness sending tingly goosebumps over your arms. There is nobody else around, only the occasional sound of breaking twigs and nocturnal insects chirping. You hear the sound of water from a steady stream in the distance. The first night of your mission. The forest needs light.
You find a warm patch of land, reach deep into your pocket and gently pull out your first little light bulb. Going down on one knee, you carefully place it on the grassy ground. Your first light bulb is in place.
Standing, you look up to see the result of your first step, but there is NO difference. The darkness is still thick, it’s still cold, still eerie and lonely – BUT, you now know there is a tiny light somewhere in the ground. First day, accomplished
Second night falls, it’s time to add one more. You do it all again, carefully placing one more light bulb on the ground. Look up, it’s all STILL the same, but now there are two little lights in the darkness. Second day, accomplished
The same way, you go back each day, placing one more little light beside another. Over weeks, months, and years of placing just ONE MORE light, illuminating just one patch of grass at a time. Finally, the day arrives, when you look up and see that you have covered about 10 feet of land. The size of a small bus stop, enough space to set up a bench. Aside from that, the forest is STILL the same and the eerie darkness hasn’t changed. However, you have successfully lit up 10 feet of it.
That is exactly what overcoming depression or any other downfall looks like. The pitch black represents your state of mind, and those little light bulbs represent little acts of kindness to self. We often beat ourselves up for not being able to take BIG steps of change. For not being able to shine a spotlight into our forests, but we’re missing a point: It is NEVER about taking big steps. It is ALL about doing one small thing at a time.
More importantly, recognizing each small step as labour invested into your own well-being, into bringing light to your darkness. Over time, enough of these small acts of kindness will create in you an illuminating space. Enough light for you to invite another person to that bench you set up and to inspire them to be a sower of light – just like you.
Just ONE genuine act of kindness at a time. What can you do for yourself today?
-Juanita, Admin Intern.