So many things to so many people. For some it’s the warmth of love, an embrace, a helping hand, support in the bad times and all of the things that make a mother.
For some, it will always be pain: of abandonment, of abuse, and a gaping wound that seems like it simply cannot heal.
my wish for you
and the sure knowledge that there are those of us out here
in the dark between the lights
It cannot be rushed
leave you spent and floating
just when you think
comes raging back
Have you ever been depressed? I’m not talking about one or two blue days. I’m talking about soul crushing depths of despair, in a hole so deep that the sun, even light is a myth. If not, you may be one of the people that sees, but doesn’t really see someone who is.
It’s easy to judge and give advice. “It’s all in your head.” “If you just see a doctor, you’ll be fine.” And there’s my personal favourite, “tough love”, as in: “I’m not going to talk to you until you get your act together and see someone,” punishing you for being sick. It’s as if they think that the depressed are stupid, or willful. They’re not. But until you’ve been in that dark, you just don’t know. You don’t know about feeling paralyzed about pretty much everything. Just getting out of bed and feeding yourself is an effort on those days when all you want to do is face the wall and sleep it all away. You feel like a burden on your friends, your family, because you feel like you’re a burden even to yourself. You don’t believe that you could possibly be loved or cared about, because you feel like you don’t deserve it. In that situation, it’s as impossible to call a doctor as it is for most of us to scale Mt. Everest.
Patience. This is what the depressed need. Love. Support. Just let them know you’re there, if they need to talk. And then really be there. Knowing that someone truly cares can help get them through a particularly bad patch. Ask them how you can help, but don’t be put off if there isn’t anything at the moment. Maybe make some easy food, to make sure they eat. Offer to make calls for them. Just be there. Don’t let a friend or family member slip through your fingers when you could, literally, save a life.
Our basement leaked in the last rain. I hadn’t noticed until today, when I started moving things around for a party we’re having. Of all the things that could have been damaged, all of the silly, frivolous things that could be easily parted with, the one thing that took damage was a box.
At first glance, I thought it might hold fabric, that I could throw into the wash or the trash, depending on the condition. But no. Out of everything it could be, it was a little box of things, belonging to my darling Steffan. He was my housemate, the little brother I’d never had, the girlfriend that stole my clothes, my sweet, fragile gay friend, who passed away of AIDS in 1994, at the unthinkably young age of 31. So much time gone by.
You would think, that after almost 23 years, that I’d be able to deal with a box of things rationally and dispassionately, but seeing his things, wet, his ID cards, his little statues, it was, somehow, like losing him all over again, sitting with him, holding his hand and breathing with him…until he didn’t anymore. And I am, for a moment’s time, drowned in the great wave of my grief, that ocean of sadness and tears.
I’ll be better, salvage what I can and move it to a higher, better spot, but oh, my Steffan, I miss you so much.
Does he really think I’ve forgotten? Even after almost 50 years, the thought of his hands all over me burns me like a brand, indelible, still raw, the scab so thin that a good breeze, a careless word could blow it away and start the flow of blood again. Every day is a battle. Every day so far, I win it. Stuffing it in the box, behind a door, behind a wall. Don’t think about it. Don’t talk about it. No one will believe you anyway. That IS what he said to me. I was believed, but it still must be my fault. Never speak of it. The family must never know. And so I deal with it alone, as I always have. And if sometimes I seem hard, or cold or dark, you must know the dark that I live in, the dark that always stares back at me, comforts me. The dark does not judge. It’s how I survive.