I was sinking down into a depression-sized hole. I don’t think I am quite crawling out of it yet. But several surprising things happened.
(1) At Awesome Con, the wonderful Wil Wheaton talked about depression/mental health and… he said (more or less), “If any of you have not been touched by depression/anxiety/other mental health challenge or someone you love or know has not been — if it hasn’t affected you at all, then please clap.”
You could have heard a pin drop.
My eyes, personally, were pretty wet for some reason. It was a profound moment of both stillness and connection, silence and witness.
(2) While there are lots of reasons for my down cycle one involves a mistake I made. In making amends, I talked to a person who said, “Well, it’s a pain of course. But we all make mistakes. It is unlikely to be the last mistake or the worst mistake — you’ve got a lot more mistakes to make before life is over, right?”
For the first time in a while, I laughed.
Yep, I’m not now going to be perfect. There’s going to be more mistakes. The world will keep spinning.
(3) And for the first time, I recognized my pattern — when I am depressed (or whatever this is), when I am over-stressed, my go-to reaction is to not talk. Just when I need to reach out and talk to people, I literally have no words.
My parents used to tell stories of me as a little thing, before school. “You would only talk to us,” they would say. These days parents would rather panic, don’t you think? Mine thought it was kind of cute. And while I started talking in Kindergarten to lots of people, it isn’t my first response. My first response — not even on a conscious level — is to choke on my words. I almost think it cycles.
So I’m tipping a toe in the water of just — talking.
And trying not to think of how dumb it is to talk about the weather, trying not to think of all the wrong things I could say or more mistakes I could make, trying not to talk myself out of talking.