A Night In
As someone who suffers from depression, moments of gratitude are often fleeting for me. While I know when I feel them, remembering those moments of immense positive affect is often difficult. In spite of this impediment, one moment comes to mind that thankfully appears to have stuck.
My first year of college was not easy, as one might expect for someone with depression. To be rather blunt, while it had some phenomenal highs, it also had some pretty terrible lows.
One of those lows, unfortunately, occurred on a night that my hall had decided to go to some fraternity party. As everyone was getting dressed to go to the party, an overwhelming sense of anxiety and sadness overcame me. I froze. Instead of getting ready, I shut off the lights, wrapped myself in a blanket on my bed, and turned toward my wall.
About twenty minutes later, my friend walked into the room to see if I was ready to go. I could hear the voices in the hallway asking, “Is he ready? Tell him to hurry up…”
My friend took one look at me, turned around to the others, and said, “Jack’s TV finally started working! I think we’ll stay in tonight, you know, and make sure we don’t sleep through that 9:30.” He closed the door, pulled up two chairs, sat down on one, put his legs up on the other, and just sat there.
We didn’t talk, he just sat there, and eventually we both feel asleep in those positions. Despite not saying a word to me, him being there was more than I could possibly have asked. In that moment, he provided me with a sense of belonging, a feeling that I wasn’t alone in the world despite the overwhelming sense that I was.
To be honest, putting this story into print does disservice to the emotions I felt that night.
No words can truly describe that sense of gratitude I felt toward my friend for his simple gesture, a presence that gave me that feeling of belonging. In my mind, that’s what makes this the story that comes to mind when I think about gratitude; it is precisely my inability to articulate the importance of that moment that makes it one I will never forget.
Winston-Salem, North Carolina