That Loving Step

That Loving StepSometimes I get so sick of depression metaphors. I really wish we could just call it what it is. Then I try to do that, and I’m back to the metaphors.

Is your depression a black dog? A mean voice? A wind tunnel? Are you over a cliff? Treading water?

A good friend recently told me about his evolving relationship with the “mean voice.”

Once upon a time, he agreed with the mean voice. He let it guide his thoughts and didn’t fight when it shaped his dreams. Yes. I’m worthless. I’m pathetic. Look at me now, fucking it up again.

Then, after a good amount of time in therapy, he began to hate it. He still often lacked the fortitude to fight, but he saw himself in an epic battle. A hopeless battle, because the voice was just as smart, just as patient, just as powerful as him.

Then, after years and years, he began to see the voice as scared, sad, angry, and childish. Where he’d once seen righteous strength, he now saw temper tantrums.

Eventually he realized that he could love the voice. He could love that poor kid who got a shit deal and was left confused and angry. He realized that, in fact, loving it was the only thing to do. Love the anger away.

I’ve known this friend for a long time, and I’ve loved him since I met him. I don’t actually know when it happened, but I think that that last step, that loving step, that’s when he became a man.

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