To the Little Ones Who Might Not Understand My Depression
Dear Little One,
I get sad sometimes. Sadder than when somebody you love lets you down.
Once upon a time, I was so sad that I had to go somewhere. Somewhere where people like me and people different from me “get better.” Only, I don’t like to say “get better.” It feels a lot like saying I am an action figure amidst the abyss of the toy box that will never play again without new batteries. And “getting better” will always linger along the seashore of being bad again; that there is room for the waves to wash you away again.
Instead, I like to say we are “learning how to understand.” When you understand something, like how to subtract numbers or how to ride the bicycle the holiday season gifted to you, you become friends with it. You see it — it’s eccentricities, how it works and doesn’t, and how to calm the storm when it gets mad. Even if that means standing up for yourself.
Most importantly, I don’t want you to be afraid of me, or the people like me and the people different from me. Because we are good. We are bright, and we are humorous, and we are artistic. We read and we write and we engineer. We love and we desire and we destroy.
Above all, we are lionhearted. We take care of one another the minute we walk through those locked doors, pamphlets and brown paper bag wrapped tightly in our arms. And we don’t stop loving each other just because we leave.
The next time you or somebody you cherish gets sad, whether it’s again or for the first time, please remember we do not end or begin when we are told. We end or begin when we decide. And I decide to begin.
You will, too.
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