Sometimes depression is referred to as an elephant in the room. I always feel a little sad for the elephant. I like elephants, and to associate them with depression seems unfair. That said, I understand why people do.
Today I’m not talking about depression and I’m not talking about elephants. I’m talking about the unspoken. To give you a metaphoric picture of the unspoken, I’ll call it the grizzly bear in the room. Grizzly bears are also animals I like (at a distance) but when they’re in the room you sure know they are there. Strangely enough though, often no one else realises the grizzly bear is in my room. No one sees it, no one expects it, it’s just this quiet, seemingly docile being in the corner that you could be mistaken for thinking it would harm a fly. But then we all know that grizzly bears can do a whole lot of damage given half the chance.
What remains unspoken is something that most people prefer to think of in terms of fairy tales. Most people don’t want to know the damage the unspoken has done in the past, or continues to do. It’s easier to think of the unspoken only as far as it eats a little girl’s porridge.
We can talk about the unspoken in terms of fiction, because it’s somehow easier that way. I wish I was a fiction writer and could do that here. Because I know it would be easier to read, and more acceptable. Instead it remains unspoken. It has to. Because experience tells me that no one wants to hear that fairy tales aren’t true. People say they want to hear, but then change their mind, once they know. No one wants to hear that the grizzly bear can inflict lifelong damage, that goes on day after day.
If I speak of the unspoken, then I am likely to be judged. If I speak of the unspoken, I will become not a very nice person. “How could she say things like that?” “Surely that can’t be true?” “It can’t be that bad.” Actually the unspoken has spoken that last one to me on many a time. And it is that bad.
Sometimes it seems that fiction is easier to read. I can accept that. Non-fiction can be more than we ever wanted to know. I get that. But while the non-fiction remains unspoken it builds in the corner, to be a bigger, uglier and more dangerous grizzly bear. Sometimes it gets so big that the seemingly innocuous becomes just plain dangerous.
I don’t speak of the unspoken here for lots of reasons. Out of love maybe. Out of fear too. I used to have one place I could speak of the unspoken, and that was with my therapist. There, he could handle the dangerous grizzly bear for me, and keep both me and the grizzly bear safe. Therapy ended for a few months back (see ‘Being There’ in Psychotherapy) It was a good move in terms of other things that were going on at the time, but right now I miss the ability to address the unspoken. Now it’s just me and the grizzly bear, and some days that scares the hell out of me.
“All of these are layers of layers of unspoken words that we never said that we rather ignore and stay in comfortable superficial layer”
― Vira Luna