if you know me well enough, or have read any of my previous blogs, you'd know that i've struggled with mental illness most of my life. (you would also know that i have worked my tail off to combat it, and that, thankfully, i've been pretty successful at doing so).
but sometimes, even now, depression and anxiety have their way of rearing their ugly head, like they have off and on for me the past few weeks.
perhaps it's because mother's day and my dad's birthday fell on the same week, and even though i distracted myself enough during both (and tried my utmost to celebrate them any ways), the underlining sadness i felt was unavoidable.
or maybe it's because i've been feeling really lonely lately, overly busy (to no fault but my own), and quite depleted as a result, i don't know.
but what i do know is that i've been able to get out of bed each morning and do my best to do what i have to do to get through the day, which is more than i could say years a go.
some days required a few extra deep breaths, some self-talk, and a lot of grace, but most days, it took me being intentional about looking past my own feelings and circumstances and doing what i could to ease someone else's.
truth be told, for one, life is hard and we really don't know what anyone else is carrying, and two, when it comes down to it, we can let our pain cripple us, or we can let it fuel us.
i write on tim's cups because i know how much weight the words we speak hold and how much of a difference a two minute (or even less) interaction at a coffee shop in a hospital can make. (i spent a lot of time in the hospital with both of my parents).
i make people laugh at mcdonalds because i know that laughter is distracting and healing.
i reach out in a practical manner when someone loses a parent (or anyone else for that matter) because i know what loss feels like.
i make a point of talking to people on the street because i know what it feels likes to be overlooked at times.
i spread kindness because it's rare and powerful.
i listen because i know how rare that is, too.
but i wouldn't be able to do any of the above if i hadn't walked through what i have walked through in life and refused/refuse to let it cripple me.
the truth is, our pain will not only provide the fuel we need to connect to others in theirs if we let it, but it can also help us find some purpose in our own.
how can you use YOUR pain for good today?