It was the perfect picture to demonstrate that hope can come after despair.

As Babble reported, writer Craig Stone shared a photo of his toddler son on Blackfriars Bridge in London. Eight years earlier, when Stone was suffering from severe depression, he stood on that same spot and thought about ending his life.

Now, he has a symbol of how much things can change. And he wants to share that insight with others who may be going through their own struggle. Stone wrote on Twitter:

See that bench. 8yrs ago I sat on it thinking about throwing myself off Blackfriars Bridge. Today, I took this pic of my son.

He went on to explain that at one point, he was living in the park and almost reached out for help, then decided his situation was hopeless:

At one point I was living in a park, and I walked to the local council office. I stood outside. I thought “just go in”, but then also thought “What’s the point? Nobody will help you. This is probably the wrong place” etc, so returned to the park.

Stone described the way that people with depression adjust to their pain and grow to accept is as their new “normal”:

I had no idea how to ask for help. Or where to go. The mind is incredibly skillful at making negative thoughts seem correct, or like they are the last life jacket. So even when the world is on fire, you just convince yourself heat is necessary.

His experiences prompted him to share a few words of hope and perseverance:

Tomorrow might be the same. But it might also be brighter. It might even bring unimaginable brilliance. Hang in there. Love is always coming. #depression

And just as he intended, his words had an impact on others. A few people responded with similar stories.

And more than one person thanked Stone for helping them fight through their own depression.

For his part, Stone was encouraged by the response, and he urged anyone who is struggling to reach out to others for help:

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is much more common than many realize. In 2015, about 16.1 million of U.S. adults (approximately 6.7 percent) suffered at least one depressive episode in the previous year.

Though depression is often associated with feelings of sadness, that is not the only symptom. Moreover, men, women, teens, children, and older adults may all experience depression in different ways. According to NIMH, some signs and symptoms of depression include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness.
  • Constant feelings of anxiety or sadness.
  • Changes in sleeping habits (insomnia, oversleeping, waking early).
  • Changes in eating habits or weight.
  • Fatigue or loss of energy.
  • Loss of interests in hobbies and activities you used to enjoy.
  • Feelings of helplessness, guilt, or worthlessness.
  • Memory problems, difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
  • Irritability or restlessness.
  • Thoughts of suicide, attempts at suicide.

If you believe you or a loved one may have depression, the first step is to make an appointment with a doctor or mental health specialist. Treatment for depression can include talk therapy and medication.

If you have been having suicidal thoughts or need immediate help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

As Stone wrote on Twitter, so much can change if you reach out for help: “My life is so different now. [Eight years] ago I was single, jobless, homeless, drank, ate badly. The world felt against me and my dreams. I was lost in life and mind. Now I’m married, have son, three books, plus my wife keeps an eye on me.”

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