The sadness comes in many guises: tears are the easiest, but the inability to care is a form of sadness as well. It is sad because you can’t feel anything. Sad because it’s a mark of a chokehold on what should be a full gamut of human emotions. You are stuck at a level that renders you useless as a partner or parent. Complete deadness where a feeling or a response is needed, but won’t come because your inner life is bogged down in inertia.

It’s difficult for people who haven’t given a second thought to the wide range of emotions they experience on a daily basis. They assume, incorrectly, that the friends, coworkers and family they interact with are moving through life with a similar toolbox. “What do you mean, you’re depressed but not crying all the time?” It’s the incongruity that throws them after they accept that you are genuinely trying to tell them how you are doing.

You can’t blame someone who doesn’t have much empathy. They know what they know through their subconscious motivations and their biases, along with their life experience. They might tell you they are sorry for you, but there is always going to be a limit to what they can compute. What good is saying you are sorry after all?

This is why I just say I am fine or that I am doing well when someone floats the innocuous “How are you doing?” I’ve learned that a real friend can sit back and listen when required or reach out to you to help. You are that person for me and I thank you.

© 2021 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.

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