The London sun is radiant and fierce.
These are the warm, happy times when everyone feels free.
Everything seems so much brighter and everyone’s excited, even the neighbourhood birds.
They live in my roof and the neighbours’ and they sing fervently every day (even when I’m not secretly feeding them.)
Men are strutting around in cotton shorts and sandals, girls donning dazzling patterns of leggings that could dizzy any unexpecting eye, and peals of youthful laughter flood neighbourhood streets turned into cricket fields and playing grounds.
It’s all so appealing.
The right company
And all of it is so, so close to me – right outside my door in fact. Yet, last week it was so far away. I was here but I wasn’t here.
I had a meltdown you see.
It shut me out from everything around me. I wanted to curl inside my shell and stay there.
Some days later when my senses resurfaced from wherever they’d been buried, I inevitably got to thinking about the kinds of people we should fill our lives with (and those who are not good for us). Depression might mask who we really are, but being around the right people can often bring out our true selves.
Generally speaking, I’m sure you’d agree that in life we should surround ourselves with people who add good things and bring out the best in us. (Sometimes when you’re depressed you do need that little bit of help). But we don’t always recognise those who bring quiet joys and true meaning to this vacant existence.
On the flipside, I think we don’t always realise the people and relationships that are not good for us. The ones that water the weeds of depression.
It can be a tricky business figuring out whose presence draw out our happy inner selves.
I’m sure you have one, just as I have one. That’s the real you and me hidden well behind the mask of depression.
The real you and me
Contrary to popular belief, not all people who are depressed mope permanently.
I promise you.
Depression doesn’t have a fixed face.
When I’m around the right people, the real me – the happy-go-lucky, silly clown comes out. I laugh at my own bad jokes and I goof around with strangers on the street. I say ‘morning’ to even the grumpiest looking of grumps and they answer with cheer.
I can’t always put into words who these ‘right’ people are. I mean the people who bring out the real me. But I’ll guess they are the nurturing, loving, non judgemental people who see the real ‘me’ behind the thick fog of depression.
Like my friend Idriss who made me laugh so much till my tummy hurt, at a time when I didn’t imagine I could muster anything remotely close to a half a smile. Moments like those I bag away in mental storage for rainy days when depression’s giving me a hard kick.
It takes time learning to sift through the people who bring out the real us. I’d like to provide you with a checklist of criteria but I’m still figuring it out.
The true test that never fails though, inarguably, is looking at how people make us feel.
When you’re around someone who makes you feel like cow manure then stay away.
The next time you’re with someone who makes you feel good, and the real you reaches out to dominate the film of depression lining your persona, take a look at the friend with you then and there.
That’s who’s good for you.
Gentle Hugs 🙂
Sorry for my absence lately. I hope to start bringing you a new post every Sunday again soon.