A friend, who is to remain anonymous, recently sent me the following message and attached the photo above:
(This message was posted with permission)
I was looking through the Before I Die UCI tumblr today and saw this picture. As a result, I want to thank you.
Thank you, and your Before I Die UCI and Up Lab team, for being a voice of encouragement. Thank you for being an example for those who are lost, stressed, and in need of motivation, compassion, and understanding.
I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder about two and a half months ago, after many years of being silent about my depression. In the past two years, I’ve tried to break the silence caused by the stigma of mental health issues. Honestly, talking about it is hard, especially when it comes to trying to explain the darkness, or even the fog, depression has put me through. During my battle with depression, there have been many times where I’ve forgotten my significance, where I’ve lost my sense of self-value.
And that’s where your picture comes in. While I rise from the valleys depression has put me through, I find, day by day, my significance, and more value in who I am. A lot of this comes from seeing the compassion and drive of people like you, who strive to share and give back. I see you and your team and I think, “This is the voice I want to be.” I want to take my experience and my struggles and use it to help others and myself.
So thank you, David. Before you die, you want to make me realize my significance. You’ve done it.
Keep doing great things.
What do you say to this? What can you say?
This awesome person whom I have the utmost respect for who just admitted to being in depression. Talking about such hardship already requires a significant strength. Fortunately my friend is better now, though everyday is still a fight.
But everyday is a win so long as you try.
The message made me remember that we each are met with various situations each day that allow us to influence someone’s life. Whether the influence be big or small, the opportunities to improve someone’s day (or life) are all around you.
Don’t brush off the fact that you are capable of having an influence on someone’s life.
That photo of me was taken in January of 2013–a year and a half ago. It’s, for lack of a better word, surreal, to realize that the project is still remembered and has impacted someone so deeply.
It’s an honor to have had such an influence on someone’s life, to indirectly help an individual realize their self-value, to have helped someone realize their significance.
I can only say thank you for letting me be that person in your life.
I can only have faith that I’ll continue to do what is right.
I can only keep doing what I’m doing.