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“I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. I’m not overwhelmed or annoyed by you. God is using me and that’s an honor and privilege. I only pray that I serve Him well.”

This was the text I received from my selfless friend as I unloaded on her for the millionth time. I had been silently battling depression and anxiety for months, maybe even years, before the stark reality of my life slapped me in the face.

This wasn’t me.

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Calloused by a lifetime of heartache, I was surrounded by people, but I was alone. I wanted it that way. I thought the walls of protection offered more than a circle of support. No one could possibly understand how I felt. This was rock-bottom. And rock-bottom feels a lot like a death sentence when you’re in the midst of it.

It’s a scary thought, to be vulnerable. It’s intimidating to let someone see a part of you that you desperately want to hide.

But with my sweet friend sitting on my deck one day, it all started to spill out. I’ll never forget what she said in my brief moment of vulnerability.

“I hear you. I’m listening. I understand.” 

When depression has taken hold of your life, everything looks cloudy. Your husband doesn’t look like love. Your kids don’t look like blessings. Your friends don’t look like friends. Darkness overwhelms you. It misconstrues every interaction, steals every joy, and validates every insecurity.

In these moments of paralyzing fear, it is nothing short of a blessing to have someone with whom you can be raw and honest. Someone who listens without judgment and reminds you of your identity in Christ. Someone who has seen to the depths of your heart and resonates with every part of it. Someone who shows up time and time again.

Without knowing it, my friend saved my life.

People like these are one in a million. If you have someone like this, treasure her. If you don’t, I encourage you to be this light to others.

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Tearing down walls and taking off armor is a process. A difficult one at that. But it’s gonna be worth it in the end. We’ll get there, it just may take a while.

And to everyone out there battling depression, “We hear you. We are listening. We understand.” 

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Editor’s note: The following contains references to suicide. “It was without a doubt love at first sight.” It’s one of the first things Steven D’Achille said when asked about his wife, Alexis. At a mutual friend’s party at a private residence in South Beach, in what he described as a “swanky” scene, Alexis showed up around midnight. According to Steven, everyone was already dressed up and mingling, but Alexis simply threw her bag in a room and joined the party without putting on extra makeup, or changing into a dress to match the rest of the party’s attire. “She was...

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