“Tell me you’ll stay by my side for all time (not just the moment).” – The Foreign Exchange, The Moment
This comic was shared across a variety of channels yesterday by several of my friends and loved ones with affirmations of “yes” and “perfect” and “THIS!”
As someone who has never struggled with depression personally but have often, over the years, been in the position of wanting to ease another’s burden, this speaks to me, too, but I imagine in a different way.
I’m all about those first three panels. I think I’ve learned to ask how I can help and that the most helpful thing is often to be available to listen or just to be there or to just clear the brush. To help make room for the feels (or the lack of feels or whatever way depression has chosen to manifest itself).
To build the nest.
I’m all about building that nest. Anything I can do to help you see your way through the dark places.
Except…that last panel. Oh, you want me to crawl in with you?
See, that nest doesn’t look like a nest to me. I think I get what it does for those that need it but, to me? It looks like the abyss. It’s the dark cave. It’s the muck. It’s quicksand. It’s the emotional deep end.
I don’t want to go to there.
I tend to mimic the emotions of those around me. If you’re snippy, eventually, I’m going to be snippy. If you’re over the moon happy, it’s likely I’m going to glom on to that, too.
So, you, in the nest (the abyss) beckoning me to come in (come down) with you? I’m scared.
I’m scared I’m going to lose my balance. I’m afraid I’m going to get lost down there with you. Without a flashlight. Or a rope.
And if we’re both down there, who’s going to dig us out? I need reassurances. Can I timebox my time in the cocoon (cave)? Can I leave as soon as the gloom appears?
Sometimes, I’ve got the fortitude to face those fears without asking those questions and come on in anyway but, more often than not, I don’t. That’s the realization I got from that comic. That that last part is hard and frightening and in an effort to take care of my own emotional well being, I’m rarely strong enough for it.
I’m trying, though.