Over the weekend I developed a sinus infection and bronchitis. The sinus infection came first, only I thought it was a cold, and I thought on Monday night that I was improving.
Wrong. Oh, how I was wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong-ity wrong, from Wrong-town, Wrongania. (Thank you, Doctor Who.)
And now the word wrong looks, well… wrong.
On Tuesday I went to the doctor, because when I woke up, I felt worse. Like, ‘Oh, my God coughing and sneezing hurts and I want to curl into a ball and sleep for a million days,’ worse. So I took myself to the clinic and was seen, and was told sinus infection and bronchitis. Scripts were called in, et cetera.
But that’s not the focus of this story. The focus of this story is the gentleman with whom I shared a waiting area. He was a perfectly nice man. A pastor. A parent. A coach of a sportsball team. A nice guy, and the conversation was pretty run of the mill until he hit upon a subject that he, apparently, felt very keenly about. He couldn’t understand, he said, why there are some people who just lay around all day in bed. Why didn’t they, he continued, simply find something that they like doing and go out and do it? It’s simple, he thought; you’re lazy if you lay in bed all day and do nothing.
Undoubtedly, some people who lay about all day are, indeed, lazy. But I couldn’t help but latch onto the thought that he clearly — to me — has never suffered a bout of depression. He’s never had to wonder why it seemed that the entire world had abandoned him, and without even telling him what he’d done wrong. He’d never cried for no discernable reason.
He’d never been depressed. I envy him, because depression is not fun. It lies. It holds you down and whispers insidiously in your ear until you believe them and you also believe that there is nothing that will ever make it better.
I wanted to say this to him, but I’ve also dealt with people like him before, the ones who really do not understand. They believe, however kindly, that a depressed person really only has to find something that they enjoy doing. Something happy. And that when they do these things, they’ll discover that they weren’t actually depressed, they were just lazy. But trying to explain that to a person who does not or can not understand depression or any other mental illness is like giving directions to a person who doesn’t speak the same language as you. They smile, nod, and have no idea what you’re saying.
If I’m lucky, that gentleman will read this blog entry and will come away from it with a new understanding of people, and a new tool in helping the people that he pastors.
As for me, today I took a step towards becoming the person I know I should be and can be. I feel hopeful, but I’m still so very, very weary.