You’re sad. Oh, you’re “depressed.” You don’t know how to deal with the world anymore. I don’t want to hear it. This, by the way, is me responding to myself during a particularly unflattering week of personal WTF! But it’s pretty true, right? We as a species generally don’t want to hear it.
Have you ever responded honestly to the question, “How are you?” when you feel like shit? The person who asked most likely takes on facial attributes that resemble a rotten onion crossbred with a blobfish. No one wants to hear it! Hearing it means that some of that contagious misery might infect them. It shames me to say that at times, I am “them!”
Loss and the ensuing grief are inevitable in this human life. Interestingly, inevitability doesn’t necessarily lead to acceptance, and certainly not to the sometimes desirable outcome of a warm, comforting embrace, a willing listener, or just someone to sit with. Hard things are hard. Who wants to deal with that shit?
Vulnerability, compassion, empathy are rare breeds in this kill or be killed world that some, if not most of us imagine we live in. Rare breeds that nonetheless may hold the key to our communal dialogue, emotional health, and survival. The next time someone answers honestly about how they are “not doing well,” once the involuntary wince has passed, I hope I will have the wherewithal to think twice before succumbing to the universal reactive response, “I don’t want to hear it!”