A friend of mine has been in a deep hole of depression lately…suicide attempt, hospital…the works. I called him the other night and reached him at his Iowa home, where he was sitting alone, mindlessly watching TV, hoping he wouldn’t wake up tomorrow.
We talked for over an hour about everything from our mutual desire to understand why things in the world are the way they are to whether the Falcons were going to be any good this football season. At the end of the conversation, I felt the sense of impotence that my wife must feel when talking to me about my depression: I WANT TO SAY THE MAGIC THING THAT WILL CURE HIM, BUT DAMN IT! I DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT IS!!!
What’s ironic is that I, as much as anyone, know that when I’m depressed, no logical argument or perspective can drag me from the hole. Yet I still had to fight the constant temptation throughout our conversation to wrack my brain for just the right perspective-inducing comment…
“You have so much to live for!”
“Tomorrow is another day.”
“Let go and let God.”
Or even the guilt trip method: “Think how much pain you’ll cause if you kill yourself!”
But from an unfortunate amount of experience, I can say that none of that does the trick. EVER. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, simple human presence and preferably the presence of someone who doesn’t want to try to fix me, is the only thing that does much good.
That’s it. The end. I have no advice to offer you on this subject. I suppose my point in posting this is simply to say that depression is really fucking hard to deal with, both for the person suffering from it and for the person trying to find the right words that will help.