Skinny barged into the apartment and found me crouching on the sofa while my one year old was busy tearing down – and tearing up – any books in her reach. Skinny didn’t live with us anymore – but he still had keys – and he still came in whenever he felt it appropriate. He still does, actually. And that fact, and he, are a God-send.
“Yeah, I know how you feel,” he shared in his slow, low, slightly-Spanish accent.
That meant something profound and significant.
At a time when I felt I couldn’t find anybody who understood my depression – not even myself – Skinny was there. He knew of the ravaging effects of depression. He spent months in solitary confinement, and was still feeling the effects of that. I couldn’t hide who I was or what I was going through with Skinny.
During the swank of the summer, Kiki swung by as a respite from the swamp-like heat-wave invading her non-AC apartment. I asked her to spend the night so that she could finally get some sleep. But after she accepted (yeah, I really had to twist her arms to do that), I wondered where I would sleep if my wife and I had a fight that night. There are times when I grab a blanket and lay on the couch more often than I care to admit.
It’s easy – when neither of us are at a place where we can communicate fully and well – for me to move my frustrations to the couch. Lot less messier than yelling or letting my frustrations get the best of me, and maybe a spot in the wall as well.
In my depression, I just want to be left alone.
But living in community does not afford me that option. It doesn’t allow me to hide. To cover my shame. Or desperation. To be secretive. Or to disappear all together.
I bring up both Skinny and Kiki because, both being chronically depressed, they have both benefited and assisted our community.
And because, in times like now, I am deeply indebted to them for their support of me and my family.