Yesterday a friend of mine reached out on Facebook saying he’s hurting. And not the normal type of hurt everyone experiences. He’s become completely consumed by depression.
Comments poured in. Many gave virtual hugs, letting him know that unequivocally no matter how badly he feels he will never be alone—that our homes are open should he need to see a friendly face. Many of us explained that we also suffer from this type of depression—the all-consuming kind—and at times it can be downright debilitating.
Then someone wrote, “Better days are coming.”
And I cringed.
This is a perfectly reasonable thing to write. It comes from a kind place. It’s innocent. I have written this very sentence before. It’s been said to me before. There is absolutely nothing wrong with writing this.
I found myself thinking, “Are better days coming? What if they aren’t? What if we have to figure out how to deal with these days—the days we are currently experiencing, the right fucking now days? What if a “better day” is a day where you are strong enough to post on Facebook saying that you’re hurting?”
I realize that’s horribly upsetting for many people to read. Because why would anyone want to be told, “Hey, you know what? This might be it, dude. Your brain may try and make you feel this way for the rest of your life.”
I have stopped telling people to cheer up, not because I don’t want them to. I have stopped telling people that everything is going to be OK. Because I can’t assure them that everything will be. I don’t know what their brain is like. I don’t know how deep their sorrow runs or what their inner voice is telling them when they’re trying to find the will to get up and make all the necessary mundane life shit happen when all they really want to do is sleep or escape into that book.
I know at most what fits into the head of a match.
I think the best thing we can do for those suffering from depression is to listen. Maybe tell them that they’re not alone. Definitely let a person know that there is absolutely no shame in asking for help, whether it be taking medication; seeking therapy; electroconvulsive therapy; meditation; training for a marathon; climbing Mount Everest; weed—whatever helps that brain—I say go for it.
Sometimes the quest for “better days” can become a little too overwhelming, like somehow we’re constantly failing at attaining the elusive better day.
I don’t know what to say about better days, but I do have something to say about bad ones. On bad days, I just want someone to sit with me at my empty lunch table in a cafeteria full of people. You don’t even have to talk me.
On a bad day, I just need to know I’m still orbiting another human heart.