Go Under

When I was in the hospital for depression in my early twenties I imagined that my depression would make me wise. Yet really, depression was like a great beast that stood in my way and prevented me from moving. I was utterly self focused; my pain had taken over the world. When I now read letters I wrote during those days, they read like the letters of a child, or the concussed.

Of course, in hospital — eventually — in the company of the grieving and a group of adults who have all made attempts on their lives — one still learns some lessons. But those lessons come slowly — we learn them obliquely, but surely.

At work the other day I found myself giving advice to a co-worker who wanted to quit after being overlooked for a promotion. But all she needed, I was sure, was six more months, and patience with herself. I found myself telling her to give herself time, to stop fighting.  This obstacle is like a wave, I told her. Don’t go up against the wave. Go under it.

She hasn’t quit yet. I hope it’s a good sign… And here, below Al Franken (Stuart Smalley) giving advice to Michael Jordan.

About louisewleonard

Author of 52 Men, 2015. Excerpts in The Rumpus, Tin House, Fiction Advocate and Gargoyle.
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