Ick, friends, let’s definitely not talk about depression. Absolutely not. It’s not nice to talk about depression. It’s not nice to talk about lying on the couch for days (weeks?) in that same grey sweat suit with that smudge of salad dressing on the belly. Not that I’d know anything about it – ha, no. I’m just guessing, what it would be like.
How much better to say, instead, “I’m great! Did I tell you about my really great life with the stainless steel appliances and the job and the ski vacations? Oh, I didn’t? Where do I begin.”
Clearly I personally have never been depressed. But I’ve heard it affects lots of people. And my heart really goes out to them.
I mean, I can imagine what it would be like. For instance if you’re starting to feel that something isn't totally right – you’re starting to wonder if maybe the stainless steel appliances and your job and everything aren’t super completely fulfilling. And then, BOOM! Something happens. For instance, purely hypothetically, say, your grandmother – Bubbie, we’ll call her, we’ll use the Yiddish word, just for fun – gets sick, and you stand there, bedside, for a few weeks, just bringing her Percocet and snacks on tiny plates. You use so many of these tiny plates that they’re all dirty, so you grab a different plate, something from the back of the cupboard. And you put her snack on this new plate and head into the bedroom to try to coax her into eating a bite.
And she looks at it. She looks at the plate. She makes a weak gesture toward it, toward the plate you’re holding out in your hand.
“Those are the good ones,” she says. “Save those.”
Save the good plates, that's what she's telling you.
Save the good plates. For later.
And she dies and you can't believe she's gone. You go back to the job and the stainless steel appliances, but things aren’t the same. Though there’s a voice in your head that’s telling you to just buck up. “Get over it,” the voice says. “Quit wallowing.” So you try to get over it, like a normal person.
But, darn, that doesn’t work.
And you’re walking the dog one day – it happens to be a beautiful autumn day, let’s just say, hypothetically – a beautiful New England autumn with the trees all lit up in reds and oranges and yellows. And you walk the dog through the crunch of leaves and there are these views westward to the red tobacco barns of Whately and the green hills rising behind them against the bright blue sky.
And the dog poops over by the marsh where the cattails wave in the breeze, and you think,
“I should be happy. Look at all this. I should be happy.”
And then you’re afraid, all of a sudden. You’re afraid that you’ll always feel this way. You’ll always be sad.
Obviously this is purely hypothetical.
And you have trouble sleeping. You start lying awake every night. Which makes you think about how you’re spending these nights lying awake and thereby not getting enough sleep, and so now you’ll probably have health problems, for the lack of sleep. And you shake your head in the dark, thinking,
“Great, health problems, that’s all I need now, on top of all this. I'll probably get the flu. Or, no, Fibromyalgia. Or Parkinson's. Or a tumor – maybe I already have a tumor."
Or, at least, I can imagine. I can imagine you might think that, if you were depressed, and being depressed was something that we talked about. Which obviously we won’t. Because, ick, you know.