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Why Being Crushed by Depression Could Be Worth It After All

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Today I held a sprig of a pine tree in my hand. It had been cut away from a tree, although I don’t know how long ago. I looked at the small piece of pine in my hand and it looked nice and green just like you would expect.

I wanted to smell the fragrance of this bit of branch with its pine needles. So I held it to my nose and sniffed — I smelled nothing.

“What is wrong with this bit of tree,” I thought. I sniffed again — still nothing.

Then, I heard a voice in the room say, “If it is crushed or broken, its fragrance will come out.”

I took the sprig and bent its needles between my fingers. Sure enough, I could slightly smell the fragrance that came from within. The more that I bent its needles and crushed it in my hand, the stronger its true fragrance emanated from the inner core.

The sprig didn’t look quite as perfect as it had been at first; untouched, with each needle in place. I smelled the sprig that was now partly bent and broken. The more I smelled it, the more I noticed something that had not been there before. A pleasant sweetness lingered in the air. The sprig did not have the rough, harsh smell I had remembered from other trees.

The beauty of that sprig of tree extended further than it could before because of the fragrance that came from being crushed and broken. That brought a comforted smile to my face.

I, too, have been crushed and broken. In the beginning, I thought that everything in my life was OK and in order. I went along like everybody else. Then depression and mental illness came crushing into my life. The pain and struggle broke me. I didn’t think I was of any worth anymore and I wanted to die.

Time continued to go by and I still lived. A new strength arose from within me after experiencing the brokenness. From being crushed and continuing on, I started to see the beauty that healing brings. Maybe I was (and am) crushed and broken so that the true, sweet fragrance of the life I choose to live can emanate from the inner core of who I am. Maybe my life can become a fragrance that can be taken in by others and become something beautiful.

Being crushed and broken could be worth it after all.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “HOME” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

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Thinkstock photo via kevinhillillustration

Originally published: August 21, 2017
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