I was by the refrigerator pouring water into a jug and suddenly I felt tears sliding down my cheeks. I don’t know why I started crying and at the same time all the reasons in the world. My father walked in and saw me crying. He asked what was wrong. I had no idea how to explain to him. I don’t know what is wrong. I don’t know why I am crying. I am crying for no reason and simultaneously I am crying about everything.
I know I’m depressed. But how do I tell my dad that I am depressed. As a father, he feels like he needs to protect me. But for him, there is no depression in his culture. Depression does not exist in his religion. How do you explain depression to someone who does not know depression exists.
I know at one point in life, and random moments in life, like me, my father gets depressed. His first child, his first son died. Within months, his father died. His entire world changed and he did not know how to deal with it except by well living because that is all that he knew how to do. Now that he is retired, he is aware of how much his life is affected by the decision he made in the past. Now I see my dad, and I see it in his eyes. He is lonely and depressed. But there isn’t such a thing in his world. So he does what he as been doing. Just living. Some days, he is up and smiling and so happy to see me. Some days he looks like he is wondering where things went wrong in his life.
We don’t talk about depression in our world. We just live. I wish there was a way I could tell my dad, “I am sad for now but don’t worry I will be fine.”
So as the tears fall down my cheeks and he asks me what is wrong, I smile and say nothing because my dad can’t protect me from depression. The most he can do is just be there like he has been. Smile when he sees me walk through the door. Be mad at me when he hasn’t seen me in days. Tell me he made my favorite meal with joy. This moment of sadness will pass. I am forever thankful he is in my life even though we don’t talk about things that don’t exist in his world even though they exist in mine.
May the future generations learn to have better communication in things that exist in both their worlds.