Depression April 18, 2022 – Posted in: Blog, Bullying, Short Story

Short Story – Part 4

“Is there gravity on the moon?”

“What happens when we die?”

“Why do people smoke?”

“How do planes fly?”

Ever since she could talk, the questions would come thick and fast from Emma. I’d barely finish my explanation and she’d throw another question at me. But lately the questions were rare. The sparkle in Emma’s green eyes had gone and the house felt darker and eerily quiet without her chatter. 

Emma loved to dance in socks, spinning and sliding on the floorboards in her room. But now her floor had disappeared underneath piles of clothes and shoes. There was no bopping to music. She’d completely lost her rhythm. 

I knew it was pretty normal for kids to have messy rooms and go into their shell sometimes but Emma’s sadness was worrying me. I remembered Anne of Green Gables dramatically saying, “I’m in the depths of despair” and it felt like that’s where Emma was. Although she wasn’t announcing it. She was whispering it with her lack of action.

I could feel Emma’s sadness and it was getting me down too. My energy levels were zapped – even a double shot of coffee in the morning wouldn’t help.

So I did what all good mums do. Poured a glass of wine at the end of another exhausting day and googled ‘how to help someone with depression’. After browsing countless websites, apparently the best thing to do was simply listen to Emma and let her know I was there for her.

Sounded simple enough but I would have preferred a magic wand at this stage. I was emotionally drained and just wanted my bubbly daughter back.

The next morning I checked that Emma was awake and tiptoed carefully through the piles of clothes knowing that I’d have to tread carefully with my conversation too.

She peeped over the pages of her book and looked happy to see me so I asked if she’d like a good morning hot chocolate, which I hoped would lead to a gentle heart to heart chat.

Everything was going to plan until I was walking back into her room with a mug in each hand. I stepped on a satin skirt and for a split second the world seemed to spin forward and I landed on my back, fingers still clasping the handles of the mugs. Completely empty mugs. The hot chocolate had splattered across the entire room. Walls, ceiling, books on the shelf and clothes on the floor. Thankfully my head was cushioned with a soft jumper and a sticky marshmallow. 

Emma frantically leapt out of her bed, crouched next to me like a little frog and asked if I was okay. I don’t know if it was the irony of Emma asking me that question or the shock of her room looking like a scene from Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, but all I could do was laugh. 

Tears started streaming down my face and I leaned over, hugged Emma and nodded my head because I couldn’t get any words out. She burst out laughing too, the first time in weeks. It was music to my ears.

The websites I researched didn’t say anything about using slapstick to break the ice but in our case it really worked. It took hours to clean up the mess but we did it together and talked the whole time. It was exhausting work but we were finally on the road to recovery.

BY Carmen Mudie