In essence, he gave me permission to tell him what I was feeling. To tell him how I actually was.
If you haven’t been able to tell, I haven’t really been doing well lately. I’ve been weighed down and tired and sad a lot. The bad days have far out numbered the good. But when I try to tell people… well, people just don’t respond well. That was what my post titled ‘Letter’ was about. People just want to fix you. Or they just want to ignore your problems and hope they go away. Or they forget to check in with you. Or they basically just say you should get or will get better and leave it at that. Sometimes they really listen and I think they care, but they can’t do anything. So they don’t. And that’s fine. But they’re often the ones who forget to check in on you and see how you’re doing later.
None of those responses are very helpful when you’re feeling the way that I’ve been feeling.
Because with the way I’ve been feeling, the first thing I do whenever I get home is get into bed. Even if my roommate is home, I go straight to my room, put down my bag, take off my shoes, and climb into bed. And then for the next half hour to an hour, try to convince myself to get up and make dinner. My roommate usually calls from another room, asking if I’m doing okay. “Yeah, I’m just tired.” Or sometimes just, “Yeah.” I have no motivation. I just want to stay in bed all of the time. And life won’t let me.
Yesterday, when I was having coffee with him, he asked me how I was. That question is one I rarely answer truthfully. And if I answer truthfully, I usually don’t answer fully. Usually, I just distract. Usually, someone asks how I am and I say, “The class I was just in was so long today” or “I’m tired of my job” or “I didn’t sleep well last night” or “My weekend was really busy.” None of those things actually answer the question.
So when he asked me how I was, I told him how my face hurts because I had gotten hurt playing sports this weekend. And then I asked how his weekend had been.
He answered and we talked about a few different things. The conversation was kind of dragging. Sometimes… sometimes it just takes so much energy to have a conversation. But we were making it work. But after talking for a while, he asked me how I was again. He said he knew about my weekend, but how was I actually doing?
I told him I was afraid to tell him.
He basically told me I had nothing to be afraid of.
So I told him. Honestly? I had no energy to lie. I had no energy to hide what I was feeling well. I couldn’t mask it. Tears immediately came to my eyes as I admitted that I think I’m dealing with depression.
It was amazing how quickly his body language changed. A moment ago, he had been leaning back, a picture of leisure. He was so easy going and so relaxed. But when I made my confession, he leaned in, elbows on the table, giving me all of his attention. I don’t even think he realized what he had done.
The care he displayed for me throughout the rest of that conversation, through his body language as well as his words, was… I don’t know.
I know I needed it though.
He all but demanded I go talk to someone. He said he and I could regularly meet but he is not a substitute for a professional. He said the only reason he didn’t demand I go was because he couldn’t. I told him why I didn’t want to. He said he understood and even agreed that, if it were him, he’d feel the same way. He didn’t say I shouldn’t be feeling like this. He didn’t invalidate me at all. But he did say he didn’t want me to feel like this. He did say this wasn’t what he wanted for me. I got an email from him a few hours later, just checking in. Just reiterating that we should set another time to meet. Again, he took the opportunity to tell me I really should be seeing a counselor. He gave me people to look in to.
I just don’t know what to do. It will probably go away on it’s own, won’t it? I just need to get over myself, don’t I? Things like this just take time, don’t they?
I don’t know.