The Odd Wife

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Depression of M

rainMy best friend, who I shall call M, is depressed and I am helpless to change it.

Depression scares me. Last year, my mother was depressed for the 500th time and tried to take her own life. So, I take depression very seriously.

I don’t think M would kill herself. She loves her children way too much to even consider it seriously. But what I do see is her withdrawing and suffering needlessly.

It has long since been proven that changes in hormone levels can cause depressions. There is a veritable array of colorful pills to combat this imbalance and restore a person’s sense of well-being. I see no shame in taking a medication of this nature, although I do wonder at the growing dependence of our society on chemical solutions. Still, I wish she’d talk to a doctor.

She refuses, slightly bemused at my suggestion.

“I’ll be fine,” she tells me.

“But, if you had pain – like back pain or a headache, you would take something for it, right?”

“I don’t know,” she replies tonelessly.

“Yes, you would. You know you would. You hit me up for Excedrin migraine the day before yesterday.”

She shrugs.

I know her. She’s not going to a doctor.

I’m confused by this. She’s miserable. Sleeping all day on the weekends. Stumbling miserably through work. Gazing around her unhappily and entertaining bizarre thoughts like wishing for Armageddon. (She had a whole explanation for why this would be a good thing).

Her home life is unhappy. How many times have you heard me talk about her getting a divorce? She hasn’t. She won’t. Her husband said to her “Why can’t you be more like Odd Wife” and I wanted to punch him. What a stupid thing to say. He really wants to change this brainy, brilliant, serene ad sunshiney blonde with a Penthouse centerfold body into a whiny, sarcastic, bitchy red head who thinks anything with sequins or rhinestones is better? Why? I think what he meant was that he wished she would (1) have more fun in life (she tends to deprive herself of fun) and (2) be more affectionate and playful with him the way I am with EH. So, what dumbass should have said is “Honey, I want to see you having more fun and enjoying life a bit more…and enjoying me a bit more!” Instead, he not only insulted her, but he put everyone in a rather awkward position.

EH has to wonder if dumbass is scoping out his wife. Odd Wife is flattered, but feels really uncomfortable around M and dumbass. M is pissed because she’s made to feel as if she’s not measuring up and as if her dumbass husband is wishing he was with me. Dumbass has inadvertently created and impossible social situation between us all.

M just wants to be M. She tells me this while apologizing and saying that she really likes me as a person, she just doesn’t want to have to BE me. (Believe me, I have days that I wish I wasn’t me.)

And meanwhile, M is sad. She feels stuck in a rut. When I feel this way, I do a makeover, cut my hair, dye my hair, change my makeup…but that is me, and we have already established that M and I are radically different girls.

“You need to take some time just for you and do some things that you want to do, not have to do”

M just shrugs again. She’s not even paying attention anymore. She knows I’m right, but she’s trapped beneath 47 layers of misery, apathy, lethargy and something else that ends in ‘y’ and sounds bad.

I fix her lunch, like usual. I always bring her leftovers and prepare a lunch for us both to share. I threaten to start adding secret ingredients…garlic, salt, Paxil, oregano, Wellbutrin…I tell her she can’t be certain that the spaghetti she’s eating isn’t “Happy Spaghetti”.

M smiles. It’s a small smile, but a smile. She even chuckles a little. She’s still in there somewhere.

But I’ll love her even through this. Even though she’s been a crank lately and even though I feel like she’ll snap and jump down my throat at any moment.

Because that’s real friendship. I might not be able to help her until she’s ready to be helped in some way, but I can be there. And for now, that might be enough.

But I still worry...

Posted by Red :: 7:29 AM :: |
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by Free Counter
Web Site Counter Take the MIT Weblog Survey Weblog Commenting and Trackback by