I drove home with groceries from Costo, arriving at 1:30 pm, with dread and sorrow in my heart, worrying that he, they, would still be sleeping. I have this bad habit, or sense that is true, that it is the girlfriend who drags him down, and who keeps him up late into the morning hours, and who prevents him from following his normal diurnal rhythms. Surely many if not most mothers have had these suspicions about girlfriends who don’t quite measure up. I am not proud of myself. But it was with dread that I came up the back steps into the yard, and with surprise that I greeted y son, standing on the ladder, scraping away.
He has taken a job from me to earn money to help pay his way where he lives. And the job is not as easy or as quick as the thought it would be. And he took his time getting to work. But he did get to work, today, before I got home, and he worked steadily at it, all day, taking occasional breaks from the sun and the heat. And when he thought he was done and I pointed out that there was way, way more to do, he didn’t complain, but set about the work, and worked well after dinner time, until just now, 8:20pm.
I told him, “hey, that was good work. You worked hard, and I’m proud of you.” He was tired and heading for the shower. It was the first time in a long time that I have complimented him in a way that he could and would accept. He took it in and acknowledged the good in him. Because he knew it wasn’t bullshit, knew I wasn’t trying to build up his ego. He worked hard and got the credit for it, and that was good for him and for me.
It is a platitude but there is nothing like honest work, done well and appreciated. I felt we both succeeded tonight. Small steps. Perhaps you would laugh at me–or at him–because you don’t understand how difficult it can be to do anything at all when you are depressed, and how even the smallest movement feels like an achievement.
Nothing is more difficult to treat than depression, because depression is an illness in the brain, a faulty logic, a disaster in the motherboard of the brain, a crossing of circuits that no genius can fix. We don’t understand it, depression, and therefore we have nearly no sympathy for it.