A friend and colleague wrote about depression and anxiety. About a fraught desperation that arises from being overworked and under-rested and overwhelmed. About a primal desire for respite from anywhere it might be found, in the car for ten minutes, in memories of college, or further back in a tree-lined, childhood neighborhood. In a nondescript coffeehouse for an hour during the day before everyone is home at this time on the weekend. In fantasy so appealing it must be shared with a child. Or perhaps the fantasy is a prescription for her own respite and, provecho, as a way to begin teaching a four-year old that, this, this fantasy of a quiet garden is one way you might find respite for your psyche when you need it. Sometimes it’s the only way if a real garden is more than ten minutes away.
I’m touched by the writing because I sometimes feel a conflicted desperation for respite, a condition fueled through competing needs. The need to withdraw and the need to remain. My circumstances are different, but I’m touched because those methods for respite are familiar. And as that familiarity washes over me I feel a sense of solidarity, as if I’ve been offered an open hand, an invitation to walk, and nothing else. For me, that solidarity makes the desperation for respite a little less fraught. Thank you.