“Wanna ride with me to the gas station?”
Instantly I began regretting asking.
As she talked at me (because lately she has conversations at me and not with me), I began to realize something about getting older. You are limited in your conversations the older you get. At least in subject matter. I could almost trace the pattern from health issues, to stuff they own, stuff they want to own, to nostalgia back to health issues. It was very circular. Very narrow. Very annoying.
Not once in her whole conversation (which was very one sided I case you didn’t figure it out), did she ever ask me how I was doing. Never was my opinion asked for. Never was the fact that I was even listening a factor. I began to wonder if she even cared if I was listening or just wanted to hear herself talk. So I sat and daydreamed offering affirmation of my attention in soft hums. Just in case she actually did want me to listen. I zoned out as I drove. Just trying to get to the gas station.
A pause in conversation to get gas. Return to car. Instant assault of my exhausted ears and she began to talk again. I began to have a conversation in my own head. One completely honest and open. No tact. No filter. Wondering what it would be like if she had asked how I was doing.
How are you?
Not that well.
Because I’m very depressed.
Why are you depressed?
Oh well, no particular reason, which makes it even more painful and upsetting.
Well, what’s been going through your mind lately?
How painful life is. How much it hurts. How inadequate I feel lately and under appreciated I feel. How tired I am. How much it takes out of me working as much as I do, even though I know it isn’t a lot. How I feel like, in most things I do, I am a failure. How I feel like all I do is hurt people and let them down, because lately it seems all anyone wants to point out to me is everything I am doing wrong. I feel super misunderstood, and often I don’t want to wake up in the morning.
I’m sorry. I wish there was more I could do. You are loved and appreciated, and we support you no matter what.
*insert me feeling a little less overwhelmed with my emotions and a small smile on my face*
That isn’t even close to how the conversation would actually go. By the time I would finish saying I was depressed she would have listed off all the things I should be doing to feel better. Telling me it’s my diabetes fault because I’m so out of whack. Probably a comment about how I should exercise more for the endorphins with a “that’s what I should be doing” thus turning the conversation back to herself and her health.
I pulled in the driveway. She got out calling to him about an idea apparently I had helped her come to about something in the yard. Part of me was glad she never asked me how I was doing. It would have filtered down to my default response “I’m tired.”