Letting our struggles be a strength for ourselves and others

One of our sons had quite a struggle with depression starting almost 2 years ago.  I noticed that there was a growing number of scratches and cuts on his arm.  After a few months, I had a more difficult time believing the excuses for these marks.  After a few different discussions, it came out that he had been cutting himself.  While this is not always a sign of depression, it was the first clue we got that something was going on for him.  When his depression got worse, I was so grateful that he felt open to talking and finding resources that would help move him to a more comfortable, confident situation.   He's done some hard work and been in some tough situations and I'm very proud of him for his courage.
A few weeks ago, he let me know that he had talked to a friend that said his support and sharing helped her stop cutting.  She asked if he would help another person she cares about.  He agreed and apparently had the same result.  I asked him what his advice was, and this is what he said,
"Let go of the past.  Don't listen to the bullies or people that make fun.  Accept the help of the people that care about you and love you.  Listen to the doctors.  I'm taking medication and that is how I got out of my depression."  I let him know that ultimately we cannot change another person or expect them to heed our advice.  We can do and say what is on our hearts, but we can't be sure that they'll be ready or willing to change.  He said he knew that and he was glad that he had the chance to try.  I asked him if I could share this experience here on the blog and his answer was, "Of course.  How can I share this with others who it might help if no one else knows?"
I never expected that we'd be where we are, what we might need to do to support him, or especially how much strength he'd gain from courageously meeting this head on.  I think that if more of us had the courage to not only share our successes but share our struggles, we'd be more capable of growing and strengthening, together.
I am so inspired by the teenagers I know.  I often think about the issues they face, the access they have to the condition of the world, and the methods of escaping it. Yet every day our kids teach us, inspire us, and become examples for us.  We often hear about the use of technology and its effect on the next generation.  Our son's face to face conversation with his friends were very powerful.   I'm not sure they would have happened if the initial connections were not made via texts.  I'm bringing this up because we participate in so many discussions about the next generation and technology and I just want to point out that there are positive aspects.  There is still the need to know when it is time to face each other.  I am just as proud of the two teens that were willing to talk about tough issues with my son, as I am his willingness and courage to share his experience and compassion.
When I told him how proud I was of him and his great advice, he put his hand on my head and said, "you know I got it all from you."  I am still trying to hear and accept that last statement.  The truth is, I think, I have been vulnerable with him and shared my struggles and weaknesses to enough degree that he knows we all struggle, we all do the best we can.  It is tough as a parent (as a human) to find those boundaries.  We all know the risks of over-sharing and of hiding completely.  I think it is much easier to hide from ourselves and others, especially in our culture that keeps us busy, entertained, tells us how we can and should be perfect, and keeps us wired to as many distractions as possible.  What is really tough is facing our truth, facing it together, and making a difference.  To me, there is no other way to get to authentic peace of mind and fullness of heart.  I think we could use a lot more of this as individuals and as a world community.

Grace in,
Peace out,
and Rock on son!