The Oxygen Of Solidarity

imagesI hadn’t planned on posting something by myself today. I did have another guest post lined up – which you’ll now see next Monday. You see, this morning something happened which changed my plans. An experience, a story, I knew I had to share with you today.

As I write, it’s 7.26am on a cold Monday morning, three days before Christmas. I can hear the rustling of the wind outside, the quiet hollows of a force so much more powerful. But this force of nature feels as nothing right now, against the power of the many noiseless but resounding voices of support I’m feeling through social media.

The oxygen of solidarity. Shining a glimmer of hope.

And I understand in an instant the power of two of the most powerful words in the universe:

“Me Too.”

Recently I’ve been struggling with a form of depression related to my medical condition, epilepsy. I’ve never felt so low as to be suicidal, but I have had the moments where I’ve wanted to give up. Where the ‘black dog’, as Churchill called it, of depression, has overwhelmed me and tempted me to stop caring.

Some with depression respond to this by under-eating. I do the opposite. Comfort eating is my own way of giving up on life.

I was having a particularly low moment yesterday. But I didn’t share it on social media in all it’s detail. I didn’t want to start hosting pity parties on social media, or anywhere for that matter.

So I just posted the following:

‘Depression sucks. That is all’.

I didn’t expect or even desire a response. I just needed someone to hear where I was.

In hindsight, all I wanted was someone to say ‘Me too’.

I have several friends who have either struggled with depression or are currently struggling with it. Many of them posted messages of support, offering prayer, in the comments on my post. Many who had never struggled with depression did the same.

The strange thing was, I began to think of the loss of my Mum, nearly 15 years ago. Not because it’s linked to my depression – it’s not – but because since then, I’ve been able to help others going through something similar.

And sharing my story, being able to use the pain I experienced to support & love others, somehow made sense of my suffering.

Being able to say ‘Me too’ to someone made me feel like there was a purpose to it. That my loss was not for nothing. It gave life to the death I’d been through.

And now I was experiencing the other side of this.

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting such an outpouring of support. My self-worth isn’t that huge, and I often resign myself to the so-called truth that I’m just never going to be Mr Popular, well-loved, hugely respected. I kind of accepted I just don’t matter as much, and any attempt by me to share my struggles is just attention seeking and a pity party. And I’ve always struggled to trust people – a remnant of a painful childhood.

But this thread on social media – and don’t anyone tell me social media isn’t real, ever, because this was real – killed these thoughts stone dead.

I felt as the evening wore on and I read more comments, that I was not alone. I realised I did matter to a lot more people than I realised.

I heard the voices of others who had been in my shoes – or were even in the same shoes I was right now – saying ‘Me too’. And suddenly I felt alive. I felt I mattered.

My pain was validated. It wasn’t a pity party, and I wasn’t alone.

The pain was real, it mattered, I mattered, and I wasn’t alone.

I saw the power of solidarity. Knowing others had been where I was and come through, and hearing people’s prayers pour over me, gave me hope.

And I also knew that one day, I will get to use this to help someone else. Maybe sooner than I could ever predict.

The powerful, healing wind I breathed in, will be breathed out and carried along to someone else.

Because this is how it works. There is, in some mixed up way, a purpose to our pain.

My pain.

Your pain.

It means something.

Just as others pain gave me hope, and provided oxygen to sustain me in this time, so mine will do for others.

And in some absurd way, this promise that my pain could give life to others, gave me a glimmer of hope for myself. I saw that darkness doesn’t have to be death. Suffering is neither eternal nor final, even if it often seems this way.

You are not alone. And your suffering isn’t the end of the story. (you can tweet that)

The Absurd Hope

There are others who have been where you are, who want to share their voices with you. And one day, your story will give life to someone else. Even in the midst of depression, I see now there could be a time when this darkness might become light for someone else.

And this truth reminds me my darkness can, and will, come to an end.

I understood, finally, the truth of one of the most life-giving phrases in all creation:

Me Too

This doesn’t make the pain easier to endure. It doesn’t make it any less real. But it provides a ray of light in the darkness. And, although it sounds cheesy, one ray of light can make all the difference.

Once the room was pitch black with no hint of light. Now there is, at the very least, a faint glimmer. And as we all know, even one small chink of light in a dark room changes the view entirely.

That’s why I’m sharing this post today. In the absurd belief my story might provide hope to someone else.

Light has shone in my darkness, through the oxygen of solidarity.

I know darkness doesn’t speak the final word – but instead, the faint light of hope, in knowing we aren’t alone in our suffering. In knowing there is hope beyond the blackness we see this day.

And sometimes, that’s all we need.


Here’s two short videos on the power of solidarity, and how sharing our story, and hearing others’, gives hope & life to us all. Check these out today:

Like this post? Share it on Twitter.


(Picture Source: WordPress)

Share this post:


  1. Elyse Salpeter on December 22, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    “Me too,” James. I’m sorry you are going through this. I can tell you that I think so many people have moments in their lives where things are very bleak. I’m going through some issues right now where I’ve relied so heavily on my “friends” via social media the last few days because I get from them what I can’t get from others in my life who should be there. I get it. We reach out because we’re human and interaction is so important. Please know we are always here for you. 🙂

    • James Prescott on December 22, 2014 at 1:11 pm

      “Me too” Elyse. Thank you. This means so much. I’m sorry to hear about your situation – just as I know and am grateful for you being there for me, I am here for you too. We’re all friends, and we’re all on this journey together. Thanks again.

  2. lisajey on December 22, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Lovely post James. There are a lot of things I want to say about this, because there was so much here. First of all, many MANY people eat when things are tough (myself included). Its actual a primal instinct to feel better or “safer” when we can show ourselves “see? Things aren’t so horrible! Look at all your favorite decadent foods you get to eat!”. Haha. I WISH I was the type to lose my appetite when sad or worried. Alas, I curb the effects by exercising and eating healthy all the other times. I just know myself enough to plan for it, LOL.. But second, I am sorry for the loss of your mom. The loss of a parent is extremely difficult, no matter their or our age when it happens. It leaves us floundering for a bit. Third, I have never thought of you as anything but one to be respected — for your constant, relentless striving to be authentic and honest – two very rare and precious qualities. And fourth and finally, “me too.”. I want to be that person people remember long after I am gone. We never really know our impact. The next time you doubt yours, just watch It’s a Wonderful Life one more time (assuming you’ve seen it.). Merry Christmas James!

    • James Prescott on December 22, 2014 at 2:37 pm

      Thank you so much Lisa Jey, hardly know where to begin in response to this. Thank you so much for your kindness about me, my writing, the impact of my words. It means so much to hear this, thank you.

      Thanks also for your sympathies about my Mum. She died in 2000, nearly 15 years ago, and to clarify, her death wasn’t the cause of the depression – I was saying how I have used my experience of that time to help others in a similar situation, and I now hope to do the same with the depression too. Hope that was clear.

      And thanks finally for your encouragement and wisdom – and I agree with you about ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. What a movie, and been on my mind a lot recently.

      Merry Christmas Lisa Jey!

  3. Scott Bury on December 22, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Depression can wear so many faces. To some, it’s the black dog, to others, a cloud. I am sorry to hear what you’re going through.
    But what I see in this post is that, despite your depression, the loss of your mother and everything else that may afflict you, you are shining several rays of light of your own. That is an achievement in itself. And that shows an underlying strength you may not give yourself credit for.

    Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and to a happy, and productive new year.

    • James Prescott on December 22, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      Thanks so much for this kind comment Scott. Just to clarify, my Mum passed 14-15 years ago, and the point I was making was about how my grief has now been ‘passed on’ as I’ve tried to help others, hope that came across correctly. It wasn’t the cause of the depression itself.

      It’s so encouraging to hear how I’m shining rays of light even from where I am right now – thanks so much for your kind words about me, really grateful. Merry Christmas & happy holidays to you too, and best wishes for 2015. Thanks again.

  4. Charles Dougherty on December 22, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Nice post, James. Depression is tough — runs in my family. Hope is the antidote.

    • James Prescott on December 22, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      Thanks Charles, appreciate your encouragement – and agree, hope is the antidote.

  5. Tara Fairfield on December 22, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Me too. You are not alone. It takes courage to turn your pain into a testimony that will bless others. May God bless you for demonstrating such courage.

    • James Prescott on December 22, 2014 at 4:21 pm

      Thank you Tara, it means a lot to hear that. I don’t feel courageous for sharing this, but thank you for encouraging me, I needed to hear that. Good to know I’m not alone.

  6. Julie-Anne Mauno on December 22, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    James, thank you for these words. For saying “me too”. I deal with depression as part of my clinical burnout and it is so painful at times. It just really was a breath of fresh air to know I’m not alone. Watching all the support pour in for you on social media gave me hope that I could someday experience that kind of love and support. Depression feels like such a thick darkness (heart, soul and mind) and it is so true that solidarity, support, “me too’s” are the ray of light that pierce it and lessen it. Thanks again. I pray you experience more and more light, friend.

    • James Prescott on December 22, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      Julie-Anne, thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement and support. So glad this post was able to encourage you and remind you you’re not alone. And you know you always, always have my support – and I’m sure the support of many others, if you ever needed it. Many blessings on you today, friend.

  7. Bob Nailor on December 22, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Add a “Me, too.” I can only imagine what the depression you deal with is like. I have days where I feel alone and depressed. In fact, last Weds at our Worship Team practice, before we started to rehearse our songs, I’d been feeling “alone” and was getting depressed. It might have been pre-holiday stress. Anyway, I mentioned it and found that several of the others members were also “down.” We came together in fellowship and after a short prayer and discussion, we were able to move forth with practice and all of us felt better. Maybe it was the touch, holding hands, sharing and coming together as one in unity (solidarity) that allowed me to know I wasn’t alone. There is strength in numbers – Go, social media! Use us as you need us.

    • James Prescott on December 22, 2014 at 4:23 pm

      That’s an amazing story Bob. And I’m so glad my post was able to encourage you and give you hope – we all need to know we’re not alone. The depression I deal with can be bad some days, other days I don’t notice it. It comes and goes – it’s a specific type linked somehow to my epilepsy I think, and triggered by certain issues related to my past. Thanks again Bob, appreciate your support.

  8. Mikaela D'Eigh on December 22, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Powerful post – thank you for sharing the gift of your writing…and the gift of your suffering. “We’re all just walking each other home.” — Ram Dass

    • James Prescott on December 22, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      Amazing quote, and such an encouraging comment Mikaela, thank you so much. Really glad the post spoke to you. Many blessings.

  9. Rebecca Waters on December 22, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    I can’t say I’ve ever walked your shoes of depression, but I have grieved. I have experienced deep, serious pain. I can say, “Me,too.” I now understand the true meaning of “growing pains.”

    • James Prescott on December 22, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      Thanks for your comment Rebecca…know what it’s like to grieve deeply. You’re not alone.

  10. Jackie McKissick Johnson on December 22, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    James, I have been admiring your work since joining the Intentional Blogging Challenge. This post has made me admire you even more for your courage and honesty. I, too, know what it’s like to struggle with depression. We are to comfort others with whatever comfort we receive, and you are doing just that. Thank you.

    • James Prescott on December 23, 2014 at 12:14 am

      Thanks so much Jackie, really humbled & encouraged by your kind words. Really appreciate all your support, and again, good to know I’m not alone. Really glad also that I’ve been able to help you on your journey. Thanks again.

  11. mnicholeh on December 23, 2014 at 2:03 am

    Me too, James. Me. Too. I can relate to your post as I have struggled with depression off and on most of my adult life. It truly does help to know you are not alone. Our struggles make us stronger and remember on the hard days it’s okay to be sad. Just don’t stay sad too long. Pull your head up, take a deep breath, say a prayer and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Thank you for being so transparent. I appreciate your willingness to share.

    • James Prescott on December 23, 2014 at 7:29 am

      Thank you Nichole. It seems more people I know have struggled with this than I first realised. It’s so good to know you’re not alone, and I’m so glad this post has allowed people like you to come out and be honest about their struggles, and know they are not alone in them. Appreciate your honesty and encouragement Nichole, so glad I’ve been able to help.

  12. Allie Taylor on December 23, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Oh yes, I do agree! one of the worst aspects of depression can be feelings of isolation, and realising that actually, you belong, destroys them and provides the strength to get better 🙂

    • James Prescott on December 23, 2014 at 7:39 pm

      Thanks Allie, glad you agree & that the post spoke to you. Its amazing to know we’re not alone, isn’t it?

Leave a Comment