In the aftermath of the lose of Robin Williams, many have spoken up about dealing with the disease called depression.
I am not one of them.
I do not have depression. I have been depressed, but never have those feelings seemed endless, which seems to be the truly insidious thing about depression. It is not that a person is depressed. It’s that he or she can’t imagine not feeling that way. The tunnel is missing the point of light at the end that has always been there for me when I have been down. I can’t imagine that.
No, I mean I can’t imagine that.
I cannot know what that must be like because being depressed and knowing it will end is bad enough. And that, I think, is the key. I cannot understand. And it seems that what I can do to help someone with depression is more about what I shouldn’t do. I should not try to understand. I should not try to “fix” it or make suggestions on how to “fix” it. Because things like ice cream, a movie, a workout, a cry session do not fix depression like they might have fixed me when I was depressed. I can not flip a switch that will turn on their pinpoint of light to make the tunnel seem less hopeless. And so often we want an equation. If I do A + B – C and you find D + E then you will be able to enjoy life again.
I can not do. I can not understand.
I can love. I can accept. I can take what is given and not ask for more. I can understand that there is no cure, so that each small change for the better must be celebrated.
At least this seems to be the message those dealing with depression are sending. I am trying my best to listen.