Yesterday I learned, once and for effing all, that depression is a real-life thing that can knock you solid behind the knees and make you feel like if you don't run far away from your family, they will self-destruct simply from being in your presence because they are good and you are not and GO SAVE YOURSELVES.
And then, last night, deep in the well without sight on the top, I learned that Abraham GD Lincoln (likely not his real middle initials) was depressed for most of his life - and for all of his history-making years.
"Whatever greatness Lincoln achieved cannot be explained as a triumph over personal suffering. This is a story not of transformation but of integration. Lincoln didn't do great work because he solved the problem of his melancholy; the problem of his melancholy was all the more fuel for the fire of his great work."
That mofo used his melancholy fire for the fuel that it was, instead of letting the fire consume him. Which is, I suppose, the lesson. Keep the fire - or the pain - and just choose to use it instead of letting it use you.
The quote, by the by, is from page 162 in a book called Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom For Living a Better Life by Eric Greitens, Navy Seal. My step-mother bought it for me Christmas. It's the best writing I've read since my late uncle, Jack Falla, wrote Home Ice.
I picked up the book while my computer was updating and eyes-closed opened it, praying for the message to be the one I needed. The first line I read: "There is a time to be unhappy." The last line I read: "That tension and worry is part of a well-lived life."
And then, I thought: Lean into the hurt, Em. Lean so far in you tumble right into it. The tears you feel coming don't feel any different than the tears you cried for your dad; maybe they're the same ones, just again. You are hereby granted permission to actually do the thing you support others in doing: feel your feelings. You can feel them without believing any of the thoughts you're attaching to them. Just feel that aching, terrifying pain you felt today. Run safely away from your family so you can weep. The tears, just like the tension and the worry - they're markers of a well-lived life.
aka The Girl Who Survived The Day