1 May 2014


It was a girl, or a young woman I suppose, aged 19 I think, sitting in a big room with me and trying to explain what was bothering her.

'It is depression,' she said quietly, 'It's just depression, and that I just can't handle...'

Her voice trailed away into a silence broken only by quiet sniffles while tears began to form in her eyes.

'Can't handle what?' I asked, quietly, while wondering if I should find some way to bring this conversation to a halt.

'Life,' she said, simply. 'I just can't handle life.' And those few words conveyed an utter despair.

'Ah... I understand.'

'Do you?' And as she asked that her moist dark eyes looked up at me, full of misery.

'Yes. Believe me. I understand.'

'But you are so...'

'So what?'

'Well... Just so... together.'

I sighed, then said, 'Hah... You think so? Don't be fooled. Don't be fooled by what anyone looks like on the outside. Many of us learn to put on a show, you know, when necessary.'

And then wishing to turn the focus away from me I asked, 'Have you seen a doctor?'


'Did you get medication?'

'Yes, but it doesn't help. Not yet anyway.'

'Oh... but things can get better, you know.'


'They just can. Surprisingly simply sometimes. They just can.'

'I wish they would,' she said.

'I hope they do,' I said.

Two very different minds, hesitantly, awkwardly, exchanging thoughts, expressed by words, with sounds formed by vibrating muscles in throats that were both, I expect, somewhat dry with apprehension. What should they say? Should they say anything?

'Thanks,' she said eventually. 'I'm sorry.'

'Don't be sorry. Just take it moment by moment, day by day, and things can get better.'

'Thanks,' she said again, and then she smiled.

'Ah... You are smiling,' I said.

'I am,' she agreed, and then she laughed. Just a little, but she laughed.

And then some others arrived, and the moment was done.

But the next time I saw her, while I walked through a coffee bar, she was engaged in animated conversation and she was laughing again.


Elephant's Child said...

Thank you Andrew. This resonates strongly here today.

Sean Jeating said...

To cut it short: Well written. I do feel touched.

Andrew MacLaren-Scott said...

Thanks Sue and Thanks Sean.

Claude said...

Full empathy! What a fortunate young woman...