In her documentary Crazy Sexy Cancer Kris Carr says, “I don’t think cancer is a gift because I wouldn’t give it to you.” When I heard that, I immediately thought you could replace “cancer” with any other illness and the sentence would still ring true. People who have recovered from anxiety, depression, eating disorders and other mental health issues usually say that going through it was one of the best things that ever happened to them.
If you’re going through the worst of it right now, you may think people who say that are liars. How could there be anything beautiful or beneficial from the pain, stigma and suffering that it caused? The fear of you’re life never being the same again. The constant worrying about your health, your finances, your loved ones who will be forced to deal with it. The frustration that comes with dealing with depression over and over again.
I sometimes get caught up in that way of thinking too. And then I think about my grandmother. You probably heard me mention her before and I think it’s fitting that I talk about her again. Alzheimer’s disease is not a gift because I would never give it to you. It is only through gratitude, a piece one of our blogger talks about this week, that I could find the silver lining in an otherwise dark and depressing disease. While Carr says that cancer is not a gift, she said it was a catalyst that wasn’t killing her, but forcing her to live her life. What I realized is that my grandmother’s disease created a undeniable wave of both intense sorrow and love, emotions my family rarely expressed. Her inability to remember the past, worry about the future and ability to stay in the present were a gift. It was a gift that changed all of our lives.
If you’re feeling discouraged, I hope you’ll discover insight, gratitude and appreciation in her story and in one of our posts this week. Hope is there. Sometimes we just need to dig deep to find it.