I’ve published another post at Health Central. The opening is below with a link to the full post.
Quite a while back, there was a TV series about a group of nurses in the Vietnam War. It was called China Beach. In one episode of this powerful drama, a soldier who had lost a leg from the knee down is back home, feeling lost and depressed about his life. Desperate for a loving human bond, he drives a great distance to find the home of one of the nurses who’d taken care of him “in country.”
He finds her and talks stumblingly about his hopes to be with her, and it’s clear he feels like an ugly reject whom no one will have anything to do with. She sees at once that what he’s looking for is an emotional crutch, not a real relationship and gently explains that she can’t be with him. Then she does something amazing. Understanding what he feels about himself, she wants to give him the one message above all that he needs to hear and believe.
Taking him into a room with a full-length mirror, she tells him to stand in front of it and to take off all his clothes. He does that numbly, mechanically, revealing what’s left of his leg, and she tells him to really look at himself, not just the leg. Then she says, in so heartfelt a way:
“You are beautiful.”
You can read the full text of the post here.
Image: Some Rights Reserved by wallyg at Flickr
Thank you! These all ring true to me and I am getting worse every month. Struggle to get basic things accomplished. Going to work exhausts me mentally and then I can’t wait to get home and hide or sleep. I shall read and hopefully draw strength from others who live this way.
I read the post on Health Central and it touched me so much and made me think of the same thing. The post had tearful as I want to be able to accept myself just as I am. Tough thing to do. I do find that when I’m depressed everything loses pleasure to me and I feel ugly no matter what…I do today, but depression has me today. And, I keep thinking that I shouldn’t be depressed.
Hi, CC –
I know how tough it is to stop believing that ugliness-worthlessness isn’t true but a symptom. It’s so important that you have an awareness that this is part of depression, and many people haven’t gotten that far. I’ve found that self esteem can also be smashed without depression, and childhood can really push that deep down inside. If that mindset is limited to periods of depression, at least you know that this wave will crash you on the shore but recede – for a time at least.