I have been in the company, on and off again, with an unwelcome friend for over twenty-five years. Truth be told, while I know this friend quite well at least from the outside, I have had very little idea of what this “friend” is truly like. It is only recently that I am starting to truly get to know this “friend” intimately, and not simply through association. Who is this crappy friend, you are thinking? Don’t worry it is most certainly none of you.
This unwelcome friend that I have had an acquaintance with is depression. For over a quarter century I have watched my warrior wife battle the company of this unwelcome friend, and any who know her would attest to her ability to wrestle and mostly triumph, despite it all. I have watched from the sidelines, at times cheering, but silent for a lot of those years, an onlooker, baffled and bewildered at how this “friend” could be so persistent, so unrelenting in its quest to control.
Until recently, I was merely a bystander, someone familiar with the unwelcome effects, the morose fog and invisible weight, but never intimate, never truly comprehending. That friendship was never really mine, it was alway vicarious. That unwelcome friendship has become something intimate these past few months. Thankfully not persistent, not debilitating, but far more real and unwanted than I ever imagined. I euphemistically have taken to calling these occurrences “one of those days” but they are more than that if I am going to be honest.
I am still getting to know this unwelcome friend, but what I dislike the most about him is the energy that he demands from me. Take yesterday for example. The day started like most, my routine in tact, breakfast, emails, typical Monday tasks. As the day progressed though, I found myself struggling more and more with this invisible weight, bearing down on me, trying to pin me to the ground. Just the thought of going out for a walk later in the afternoon seemed daunting. I ended up outside, thankfully, feeling somewhat relieved afterwards, but the effort to achieve that goal seemed disproportionate. I have no idea why this “friend” has decided to inflict himself upon me, now, after so many years of simply staring blankly at him. Regardless, I have a new perspective of the heroic efforts of my warrior wife all these past years (hopefully migraines aren’t next for me, sporting a headache as I write this post).
What I am not willing to do is let this friendship evolve in secret, in the dark corners of my world. I have no illusions that this friendship that I have recently discovered will be embraced, or understood, but I will let HIM be seen. I am not sure how long HE plans to hang around, how hard I will have to struggle against his whims, but I figure that writing about him, and pulling him out into the light might hopefully have some effect. It is now an unwelcome friendship for us both. One that I hope will end sooner rather than later. But until then, I am going to keep up with my walking, I think with a real backpack, perhaps even filled with some actual weights.