Imagine you're in an enclosed football stadium. All's well until everyone leaves and the lights slowly dim until you're in total darkness.
Now you're alone. It's pitch black. You're trapped.
But all hope's not lost. You were told when you came into this place that there's a door to the outside. You must find that door. Crawling in the complete and utter blackness, you search for that door connecting you to everyone you love and everything you know. After months of searching, you finally find it. You're weak from exhaustion, hunger, and thirst. The supplies in your backpack are dwindling, but you find hope again. You have finally found the way out! With a firm twist of your wrist, you turn the door handle.
Full of anger and frustration, you throw yourself against the door, trying to force your way out. It doesn't work. You only bruise your already-weakened body in the process. You try harder and harder to break down the door, but you're only more hurt and frustrated by doing so. You slump to the ground with your back to the closed portal that separates you from the world as you knew it. Despair sets in. Then a thought comes to comfort you.
If the door is locked, there must be a key.
Wearily, you crawl around in the murkiness of the stadium once again, this time searching for something unbelievably smaller. And now, after years of searching, something happens.
You give up.
It's an impossible task. Not only do you have to find this tiny piece of metal alone in a place as big as a football stadium, but now you must again search for the door. It's too much. So you lie there, waiting for your exhausted body to finally stop fighting. And you don't care anymore. Even if you found the key and opened the door, it might just be a black hole on the other side.
This is what depression feels like.
Imagine, for a second, what you can do to help that person who's lost all hope of escaping the darkness.
Friends. You're the ones equipped with flashlights, night vision goggles, and metal detectors. You're the ones who carry your friend when he or she doesn't have the energy to move on anymore.
Parents. You're the leaders in the hunt for the key. You organize search strategies, give hope, and communicate with people on the outside to get out of that stadium. You're experience in overcoming your own struggles is so valuable in this situation. You hold your child's hand in the dark and never leave his or her side.
Therapists and medication. You hear this dynamic duo on the loudspeaker giving advice. They search for the controls to turn on the lights and find the key that opens the door to break out of this prison.
By drawing a comparison between not having any help to escape and having the necessary tools, the difference is shocking. This is what you can do you to help the teens around you. This is the power you hold in your hearts.
You can be that instrument of hope.
You can help someone escape that darkness.
You can save a life.