Sunday, June 15, 2008

understanding

In a conversation with Husband earlier tonight, he said something that really got to me. He said that he could never really understand my depression.

And I didn't have anything to say to that.

Unless it's something that you live with 24/7, inside your own head, I don't think that you really *can* understand it. And that's okay. It's to be expected. I don't understand what it feels like to be dying of cancer. I know that it must really suck - I know that there are probably fear and anger and uncertainty and pain and incredible sadness. But that's all conjecture. I don't know, because I don't have to live it.

But I think that, if I needed to, I could probably empathize with someone who *was* living it. If I was put into close contact with someone living daily with a terrible disease, I'd like to hope that I would be able to *try* to understand what that person was going through, to realize that I *can't* understand, and to be there for that person anyway.

Of course, I might not be able to. Much as I'd like to think that I could, chances are that, in the moment, I'd be too selfish, too distracted, too frustrated to come through for that person. It's human nature - the spirit is willing, yada yada...

And so I can see how easy it is for him not to understand my depression. I understand, even, how hard it must be for him. But where I get hung up is this:

If I was put into a situation in which I wanted to understand someone's pain, but couldn't, and I tried to empathize, but failed, I don't think that I would have the balls, EVER, to blame my failure to understand or empathize on the person who was sick.

Hey, Joe, you're dying, and that sucks, but you have to stop bringing the rest of us down all the time! *We're* not sick, ergo why should *we* be bothered with all the doom and gloom? It's really starting to piss us off!

And, in effect, that's what he's done. He doesn't understand my depression, but somehow, that's not his fault, it's MINE. And I don't buy that. I don't care if he "gets it" or not - I just want him to *try*, to realize that maybe he can't understand, and figure out that it's okay.

3 comments:

Ninotchka said...

Your point is very valid. I agree with you 100%. There's understanding and/or the lack thereof and then there's blame. Sounds like he's blaming you for something that is not at all your fault. There are ways to deal on both sides with love & support and maturity. I guess now you know where you stand with him where the depression is concerned. (My sister went through the same thing)

Julie said...

I'm sorry -- you're absolutely right. I like Nino's point about knowing where you stand, though.

And who knows, maybe admitting he doesn't get it is a first step toward the empathy you need from him.

Anonymous said...

Hey captain foot in mouth here. My husband said the same thing when I was once where you are now which is the bottom of the sess pit of hell which is depression.

I literally just asked him (like 3 minutes ago) if he ever understood it. He said no he never would. I asked what he meant. He said "I am helpless to pull you from this depression thing. Its like an enemy I can't see sucking my love away. You are my love and I am helpless....how can I understand how my love isn't enough?."

You see you don't need him to 'understand" you. That's you avoiding the issue. All this crappy depression is about YOU understanding YOU. This is YOUR issue. You need him to be around while YOU go through this. Baby don't give reason to run. Tell him the truth "I don't understand this fucking thing either so if I don't how can I expect you to? Get on his level. Help him. Give him verbs etc he needs a map to guide him while your on this journey.