I spent years battling my depression and anxiety. And it’s one of my fears that they are traits I passed along to my son. Times when I watch his usual cheerful demeanor slip into a sulky state. Or when I see him anxious to join in the fun, but inevitably shying away.
I never speak of my battles with him, but I do ask him how he’s feeling. And tell him it’s o.k. to feel fear, but encourage him to break from his comfort zone. Never do I push him as that is often counterproductive.
At times, I try to be the person who wasn’t in my life. Not just a father, but someone who listened rather than gave me solutions to problems.
“Explaining My Depression to My Mother: a Conversation” by Sabrina Benaim hits home throughout the poem. Recognizing that my depression can be “as small as a firefly in the palm of a bear” while the next day be the bear itself. How I can focus on the thought that “every person I ever come to know/will die someday,” and that being unafraid of the dark is “part of the problem.”
There are many reasons to list why this particular poem resonates so much with my own depression, but it’s probably best if you hear it yourself.
mom, i am lonely.by Sabrina Benaim, from Depression & Other Magic Tricks
i think i learnt when dad left;
how to turn the anger into lonely,
the lonely into busy.
when i tell you i’ve been super busy lately,
i mean i’ve been falling asleep watching sportscenter on the couch
to avoid confronting the empty side of my bed.