Speaking to my mom on the phone the other day, I started to tell her how I’ve been feeling really depressed the last couple of weeks – what I read is a “secondary” depression common to people with AD/HD who just get so fucking frustrated with the effects of the disability – the wearing down of small failures, disappointments, stress from bad planning, unreasonable expectations and so on and so on. I have also been reading about “high-functioning” depression and how invisible it is so that people who appear to be successful and together are not able to get recognition and support for also being depressed, how high-function and depression aren’t mutually exclusive.
With that in mind, it feels important to make visible my depression when it’s there. That has made for some awkward conversations. People most often suggest a fix. I don’t know what I want them to say, but it’s not that. I don’t want them to suggest things as if all I am is short on solutions. I am not short of ideas (no person with ADD is) but I am short of support. I think that what I want is for them to see the murky world I’m in, and to sit there with me. That sitting isn’t comfortable or easy to fit into conversational conventions and I don’t even know quite how you do it, but that’s what I want.
The other day I spoke to a very close friend who was feeling very bad. Having had this experience, when she told me about it I didn’t launch into my own list of fixer-uppers (and I have a few). Instead, I went quite quiet and then said, “I’m sorry babe. That sounds so hard.” She suddenly started crying, and I let her.