Depression behind the laughter

Last week I received a phone call from a college friend. She was asking me for help getting her child into a behavioral health center. The reason – he didn’t want to live anymore. He asked for help because he wants the pain to stop. What pain? The internal pain that he carries inside is heart and his mind. So of course I immediately began to help.

I made a phone call and got the child a bed in the hospital. Child? Wait, he’s 18 years old. He’s legally an adult. But he’s still her child, her baby, a child that I’ve know since he was 4 years old. Yes, he’s a child.

We went to see him during visitation. He was the same “happy” person, full of laughter, telling jokes, being “himself”. But then he says the saddest statement of all. He said “I laugh and joke but I don’t remember ever feeling happy. I always feel sad”. Devastating to hear from anyone you love and care about. He’s never felt happiness. He’s gone through 18 years of life and has never felt happy. How did everyone around him miss the signs? It’s easier than you would think.

Now I realize that I’ve probably encountered someone seriously and clinically depressed in my daily interactions. I am saddened that I didn’t see the pain in their eyes in spite of the laughter.

Depression is real. Depression affects people around us, people we know, people we interact with every day. Depression can be hidden behind laughter, jokes, and a bubbly personality.

Be kind. We don’t know the sadness that is buried inside someone’s heart.

God bless, and be blessed.

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