One of the things I hate most about depression really has nothing to do with the illness itself. You probably understand how it is when you can’t explain how you’re feeling. Everyone goes through that now and then. Heck, I think even my yellow Lab goes through that.
I think most people can “get” that there are feelings too deep to convey in words.
I can’t understand motherhood, the military or Machiavellianism. I don’t get hermeneutics, hard drives or habeas corpus. I haven’t lived or studied these things. It follows that I would have no clue about them, and it doesn’t hurt me one bit to admit it.
People freely admit when they don’t understand visible diseases and disorders, like cancer. We see a poor soul with peach fuzz on their otherwise bald head and immediately understand that they are off-limits for teasing or interrogating. A cripple is almost never turned down for a free ride, nor is an old woman ever told she won’t be helped across a busy street.
But depression seems to be on another list.
I’m not asking for a free pass when I can’t peel myself out of bed in the morning. I don’t expect my job to let me off for calling in “depressed.” (Case in point: I was once hospitalized for a depression-related incident and was told I had to present a note from the hospital stating that I had suicidal intentions before I could be excused from work for a day).
But it would be nice if someone didn’t mind just sitting at the end of my bed and rubbed my forehead as I wept. Is that so much to ask for? You don’t have to understand … I just want you to be there and not question.