I suspected my touch of depression was related to me being on the verge of being sick, but I wanted to talk about it anyway. I tearfully told my husband I needed to grieve my losses from 2010, celebrate the wins and set intentions for the new year. He listened and empathized as I spoke. He knows how to communicate with depressed people – even if I’m the one passing through depression.
My husband is a natural health consultant, and he also suspected my emotion was aggravated inflammation from impending illness. So without a hint of dismissiveness about my rant, he prepared a cooling drink for me and asked me to try it.
A few minutes later I sat down at my computer ready to rock and roll, marveling at how much sunnier the world looked to me. I assumed it was the sweetness of how my husband listened to me, but then it occurred to me that the cooling drink played a large role.
It reminds me of a time 2 years ago when I was feeling guilt and pain over breaking up with a boyfriend. My friend Susan asked if I had eaten. I hadn’t. So Susan listened with empathy to me beat myself up over my decision, while rummaging through my fridge and pulling out a baked potato. She then spoon fed me between boo-hoos. Several minutes later I was back – feeling at peace with what I knew had been a wise and needed decision.
My grief over my losses in 2010 and in 1990 were legitimate. So was the fact that the intensity of my anguish was due to inflammation. Lesser communicators might have tried to push that perception on me – shove it down my throat – and dismiss the anguish that felt so real in those moments. That would have created a barrier to effective communication. Those who know how to balance directness with indirectness are far more effective communicators than those whose only path is a straight line. I am grateful to have people in my life who know the value of going indirect.