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The One Question That Got Me Through a Bad Depression Day

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I recently reached out for help with my depression during a really dark time for me. I live alone, so a nurse would call me every day to check in. Having that extra support helped me make it through that dark time, but one simple question she asked me really made a difference.

She asked me the question during one of our daily calls on one of the worst days I’ve had. I didn’t want to talk that day. I hadn’t had much sleep. My boss thought my worsening mood was because I didn’t like my job and suggested I look elsewhere for work. To top it all off, the morning had been filled with people misgendering me and using the wrong pronouns.

When the nurse called and asked how I was, I gave the answer I always do when I don’t want to talk about it. I said, “I am good.”

That is usually enough for most people, but this nurse replied, “What does good mean?”

I was taken aback. No one had ever asked that before. This was my first conversation with this particular nurse, so how did she know I just didn’t mean good?

Because I was taken by surprise, I didn’t have a stock answer for her. I had no choice but to admit that it had been a horrible day and I was worse than ever. She talked for an hour with me, allowing me to get my problems out. She listened with empathy and suggested that I try some distress tolerance techniques. It didn’t magically fix everything, but it helped me survive, which is what she was there for.

It amazes me how such a simple question can open up a much needed conversation. It’s not that she thought I wasn’t telling the truth, she just wouldn’t take it at face value without discussing it. She also didn’t ask any questions that may have been unwanted, especially because I had never talked to her before. I am very thankful that she had the experience and kindness to gently open a conversation that helped me when I needed it.

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Thinkstock photo via Sylverarts

Originally published: August 25, 2017
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