There is nothing more painful than watching someone you love go through excruciating pain. Physical pain isn’t fun, but it is the emotional and psychological pain that is really painful. I want to fix it. I even want to take the pain for myself. The powerlessness of not being able to do anything is frustrating.
I want nothing more than to have magic words that are easily said and magically take the pain away. It is all the more infuriating to say supportive things and see that the pain has not diminished an inch. It reels me back at how powerful depression and anxiety are, and that I can no more than stand there with my eyebrows drawn up shrugging at the darkness in the other person’s eyes.
I would go to Dagobah and train under Yoda for several years to learn the way of the Jedi to be able to stem the dark side from people I love. I could sweep my hand in front of them and simply say, “Depression be gone,” and the darkness would recede.
It is hard work to try to absorb pain from another person. I’ve never been able to sponge up the black emotions into myself like I would like to. I look at people who believe in praying for others and wish that a simple conversation with a deity could wash away pain and suffering from someone with envy, but I know that it takes a lot more than a god.
I hate being powerless. I hate it when I’m in the dark hole and am too negative to see the stairwell out, but it is even worst, in my opinion, when someone else is in the hole. I can see the stairwell clearly, but I also know yelling and pointing at the steps only makes the person dig a little deeper. I hate not having a rope. I hate that I can’t climb into the hole with a lantern and lead the person out.
I hate that I now have Stairwell to Heaven in my head.
I am sensitive. I wish I wasn’t. I’ve always wanted to be a stoic cowboy, but I feel too much. My sensitivity leads to anger and bitterness, but it also leads to creativity and appreciation for details. Because of my sensitivity, I’m in tuned with others who are sensitive. I don’t trust people who have an easy time at life. They seem ignorant or complete selfish assholes. It’s the only reason I don’t wear a gun on my hip and ride horses.
Sadness is real. Sadness is okay. I have to accept that I’ll feel sad and that others around me will feel sad. I have to be okay with how people deal with sadness differently. Some people take a long time to get over things while others spring right up or don’t seem affected at all. My experience is not other people’s experience.
How do I be supportive and compassionate without being codependent and bossy? How do I find the right balance of selflessness and strength?
I have my strengths and my weaknesses and I must know how to use them. I know a lot about the human experience. I have to use what I have to be helpful and remain true to myself.
I can be helpful because I’ve been sleepless staring frightfully at the ceiling while hearing garbage trucks and those awful birds that begin chirping before sun up. I’ve watched the windows go from black to grey. I’ve felt the aches in every corner of my body and have wished my heartbeat would slow down. I’ve looked at the front door and have taken every bit of strength I have to go through it to the awful world outside of it where all of you are. I have felt the weight of the world come crashing down on me and I could barely breathe.
I can be helpful because no matter how dark I’ve been or how far in the hole I was, I’ve always got to the other side and felt better. Most of the time I’ve been stronger and healthier than I was before I got depressed. I can be helpful because I am hopeful. Even when I look at the tally sheet and think that I don’t deserve happiness and serenity, I’ve felt it.
No one has to walk through the woods alone. I just happen to be right in front of you…