April 23, 2019

On invisible forces and rabbits

This is a continuation to part one, so it might make more sense to start there first.

On my drive into work a podcast was coincidentally queued up to make sure I didn't tuck this incident away and ignore it. The podcast in question was an episode of "The Anthropocene Reviewed". The premise of the show is "John Green reviews facets of the human-centered planet on a five-star scale."

Each episode has two parts. I had already listened to the bit on velociraptors and the confusion Michael Crichton created with the Jurassic Park movies, so the second half about the movie "Harvey" was waiting for me. I had actually heard John perform this episode live at PodCon in January, but now it was up in the feed for me to experience again.

In the Harvey segment John talks about when he was in his twenties and worked for Booklist in Chicago, and he was having a crushing episode of depression. Alone in his apartment, feeling unable to even feed himself properly, much less pull himself out of the tailspin, he reached out to his parents. Thankfully they were at his doorstep twelve hours later, and he would return with them to Florida to get the help he needed.

But first he had to go into work and quit. After breaking down in tears in front of his boss, the boss was quiet for a moment before telling John to consider this a leave of absence. His job would be there when he felt better.

Later in the day as he was packing up his desk he found a note his boss had dropped off after their discussion. Along with the well wishes and confidence that he would be back, he told John "now more than ever, watch Harvey."

After discussing the movie and its part in his recovery, John said something to the effect of "I hope you never find yourself on the floor of your kitchen, I hope you never cry in front of your boss desperate with pain, but I hope that if you do, you find those in your life are understanding and will give you the help you need."

Just a few hours later, I was crying in front of my boss.

He had come into my office to discuss the workload, which files to focus on, etc. At the end of this he must of recognized something, because he asked if I was doing OK. I couldn't get a word out before I was sobbing uncontrollably once again. He was kind about it, offering what he could, mostly just listening and staying with me until I had pulled the pieces back together.

I shared the story of this March day with a few people in person shortly after it happened, partly to be more open, partly to try and understand my story in the telling. They were all very kind, offering their time and support. I made it through the next month and a half of crazy work hours and now find myself with more time and energy to think. I told my boss in the moment that I didn't think counseling was the answer. It really did feel different that day, something beyond words to fix, but now I don't know. The episode was obviously primed by fatigue, recent sadness, and a few things outside myself bringing depression to the top of my mind. Was it just the dam breaking and unleashing a torrent, or was it something more chemical.

Next post we'll be back to running for a bit, but there is more to think about, more to talk about.

If you want to listen to the episode of The Anthropocene Reviewed, there is a little web player below.

Oh, and I have been waiting in line since PodCon in January to borrow Harvey from the library. I guess the movie is too old to show up on Netflix or Amazon Prime.

I get to pick it up tomorrow.

1 comment:

Kathy Kail said...

Please Sean, I know from experience - counseling is the answer. It may take a few different drs, but find the one that you click with and GO!!! It is a part of depression to think that it - and really, nothing - will work, but trust me here, it does. You gotta quit ripping yourself open.