It’s Hard to Imagine

I was thinking about a friend of mine the other day, a friend who struggles with depression. The more I thought about her, and the more I thought about her feelings and difficulties, the more I wanted to write down what I was thinking, so in the middle of rush-hour traffic, I whipped out my notepad, fumbled around in my center console for a pen, and steered with my left knee while I wrote my thoughts somewhat illegibly.

What you are thinking at any particular moment colors your outlook. When you’re sad, it’s hard to imagine being happy. When you’re alone, it’s hard to imagine being together with someone. When you are in love, it’s hard to imagine being heartbroken.

In the heat of summer, it’s hard to imagine snow. In the cold of winter, it’s hard to remember spring. But spring always comes. Always.

One time, lots of years ago, a close friend and I were driving around late at night. A friend of ours had killed himself a few days earlier, and it was so much on our minds that in the consuming silence, interrupted by the drone of the engine, he blurted out, “When do you think we’ll stop thinking about it all the time?” To us in that moment, it was hard to imagine a time when it didn’t consume our thoughts.

I am with Abby now, my wife of nearly six years. It’s hard to imagine life without her, life without being married to her. When I was single, it was hard to imagine being married, or even just not being lonely. All I could imagine was that my life would be lonely forever.

But spring always comes. Always.

That, then, is my message to my friend who suffers and struggles right now. It won’t be easy for her to believe, but in the end, she will believe it. Spring always comes.

0

7 Comments

  1. Richard,
    This is wonderful. You have put quite eloquently, what many of my counseling professors couldn’t. Depression is often the absence of hope in the belief that the Spring will come.

    0
  2. “I think that there is considerable joy to be found in embracing the winter.”

    I can relate to that, even metaphorically speaking. When I was alone, I was *very* alone, and when I was depressed, I was *very* depressed.

    But I beat misery by loving it. I defeated sadness by learning to enjoy its pithiness. As an experience-whore, I taught myself to relish each deep feeling, whether sad or happy, tucking them away for nostalgia at a later date.

    Not everyone’s brain works this way though. For some, it’s certainly better to become convinced that better days are not far away.

    0
  3. We have winter. Ish. Anyway, remember Emily Dickinson’s quote, “there is more joy in my sorrow than there is in your joy”.

    0
  4. See what I get for not reading your blog regularly? I was gonna make a smart ass comment about Nicole’s reference to embracing winter in New Orleans and you beat me to it. But then again, if I lived in New Orleans, I too would embrace winter.

    0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.