To many people with depression, Sadness is a physical place, and I'm someone who lived there for many years and was able to make the journey back. That's why reading this book, by Anne Theriault of The Belle Jar Blog, resonates with me so much. Everyone's experience is different, but the depths of depression are pretty much the same no matter how you get there.
A woman who reads will feel no hesitation when accepting your coffee invitation. She's read this story before. You will talk about your lives during the in between. She will find comfort in your intonation. She appreciates tone, syntax and timing, and welcomes subtle moments of silence and awkward spurts of simultaneous sentence starting.
You're a good person. I can tell this about you already. You're kind to your neighbours and the people you work with say nice things about you when you're not around. This isn't about you. It's about the type of person that ruins your day by sucking the life out of a conversation, sucking the enthusiasm out of a room, and just plain sucking.
In my 17-year-old mind, nothing I am living through or reading in this moment connects. Disjointed words, phrases, and images of the places I have left and entered surface in my mind as I pour milk for the children, take notes in class, or wait, endlessly, for the bus to arrive. It will take years to understand how powerful these textual and lived journeys have been.
Reading is among the last truly subversive acts we can perform, time spent in our own minds, active and imaginative, alone with our emotions, judgments, and dreams, where no one can reach us. Yet frequent readers are also more likely to participate in community and to trust the people in that community.
Just in case you missed the first trillion times I mentioned it: giving birth was really hard. Now I am about to give birth again. This time, to a book. In some ways, giving birth to a book is harder than giving birth to a baby. Everyone loves your human baby because it's an innocent party in all of this. But many will hate your paper baby, because you made it, and you suck.