When the Japanese mend broken objects they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful.
Now there's a concept I can sometimes wrap my head around; other times, not so easily! It makes sense to me from the standpoint that some of the most interesting, soulful, compassionate and, yes, beautiful people I know are those who have gone through the most...who have their wounds, but have somehow survived and thrived -- not only despite them, but alsobecause of them.
No, I'm not here to diminish the invisible wounds of those of us who you could call "mentally ill" - we may not be minus a limb or suffering with pancreatic cancer, but we certainly know what it feels like to experience "brokenness."
In the midst of her own despair, a friend of mine recently said:: "I don't think I'm ever going to get the old me back again...I don't know where she went or how to find her!"
Crazy as it may sound, it is just the nature of the beast that our minds sabotage our belief in ourselves and our ability to bounce back - THAT is the illness of depression.
When I'm in that space, I find it helpful to believe that my essence, or my soul, which I value as the best part of myself, is always weathering the storm intact.
While I always try -- even when I am particularly down -- I can't always hold fast to this belief about my true essence. On the other hand, I am always amazed at its veracity when I am healthy again. I have so often witnessed this deep inner resilience in myself and in others, I have no doubt as to its existence - I just temporarily lose my confidence in it and have to wait until I can "see" the truth once again.
Our feelings are not always facts. Our soul can sail above the storm because our soul is never affected by "mental illness " and our feelings of depression are only temporarily obscuring our soul's beauty and strength.
Or, as one of my favorite songwriters and performers, Leonard Cohen, has to say:
"There is a crack in everything...that's how the light gets in."