I know firsthand what it’s like to suffer from depression. One day, you are happy, in a great mood, blissful, and the next it feels as though a dark cloud is looming over you, precipitating on your spirit and numbing your emotions. Some days, it’s as if your whole soul is enjoying life, but the next you can feel so sad that it physically hurts – and you don’t even know why. The hardest part is trying to talk to other people about it. Some people, usually with good intentions, feel the need to give advice or say “It’s okay, it’ll all get better soon!” But those phrases are often times empty words to those who are depressed. They mean nothing, and the “better” days always seem to be contrasted with more sad days.
I never thought of OCP as a place where people would want to openly share the things that they struggle with, like depression, anxiety, trauma, abuse, and other things that can penetrate our joy and strip away our happiness, but that has begun to happen more and more in the past month or so. Every morning, from 9:30am-10:00, we do a Morning Worship. Normally in the past, we would just read a passage from the Bible and discuss it. But sometimes, reading straight from the Bible (as awesome as it is) can go over many people’s heads that didn’t grow up with it or may need more time to study to really understand and relate to the messages. With the morning worship that we used to do, only people that had some connection to the Bible or knew it well would chime in during the discussion. But we wanted a method of healing that could resonate with everyone, something that people could relate to without having to scratch their heads in confusion or give up because they couldn’t understand.
So Ron began showing videos. He picked a topic, usually things that he knew some of our friends at OCP struggled with, and looked for YouTube videos to share during the morning worship time. Short videos, usually about 5-7 minutes long, just to spur some discussion and get people to open up. Some videos involve an individual who struggles with depression and anxiety sharing their methods for growth and conquering the darkness inside. Some videos have people talking about times when they’d been abused, and their testimonies as to how they overcame. Some even talk about the importance of movement, breathing, and very gentle yoga and light exercise to calm nerves and acknowledge what’s going on inside of you.
It has been so amazing to watch how people have opened up and started to discuss their own personal struggles and feelings about all kinds of issues. I think the key in these videos is that no one is saying “it’ll be okay” or “everything happens for a reason” or “it’s not all bad”. These phrases, though well-meant, often come across as fake or insincere. Instead, these videos simply say “you are not alone” and “you can get help”. Those words are so impactful for many folks; to know that something horrible and traumatic that one has experienced has also been experienced by someone else that is willing to share that experience is its own kind of therapy.
People have become so much more comfortable knowing that they’re not alone in their hard times. An objective voice can be comforting, honest, and authentic enough that people can feel welcome, safe and – human. But don’t let me tell you about it. Come down and see for yourself! Join us at 9:30am. Maybe you’ll feel the safeness and want to share something, too.