Driving to our weekly support group, John and I get into one of our philosophical discussions. We tend to do this often. We’re both Harvard grads, so we love to insert the proverbial intellectual sticks up our asses.
Talking about the group, and our participation in it, John asks:
“So, Alan, what do you think this all means?”
“We’re just trying to save ourselves from oblivion, I guess.”
Without missing a beat, John responds: “Isn’t oblivion kind of what we want?”
I’m stunned by two things: that John doesn’t flinch when I mention oblivion. And that his response is so damn honest. Finally, I mutter, “Yeah, but everyone says oblivion isn’t the right answer for us. We have to keep trying to avoid it.”
To which John responds, “You’re right. I can’t think of oblivion now. There’s too much damn stuff to do before the holidays.”
We both smile faint smiles, then pull into the parking lot for our support group.
This is why I love John, and all my depressed friends. We can be more honest with each other than we can be with anyone else, even people who love us. Chances are, most others would be quite uncomfortable hearing the above conversation. John and I aren’t. We know how close we’ve come. And we know that, no matter what we do, the wars in our heads are still there. On good days, we can manage them. But we have not been able to get rid of them.
When I get together with my depressed friends, we do have one rule – we do not talk about any specific form of suicide. We know that can be very triggering. But anything else is on the table, and that’s good. We need to talk, and if there are still too few people who really understand us, at least we can understand each other.
In doing so, I think we really are saving ourselves from oblivion.