Saturday, July 17, 2010


Silence is golden, or so the cliché says. But to someone with depression, silence becomes something to be avoided. Silence becomes an opportunity for those frighteningly dangerous thoughts, with which you have become so familiar, to seep into your consciousness, for your inner monologue to race into directions that you cannot control. And so, silence itself becomes scary. As such, it becomes difficult to begin to trust silences again.

As a teacher, prolongued silences in the classroom taunt you, make you feel as though your students are neither engaged nor interested. Once again, these silences seem to become gaps to be filled, and you have to fight this natural inclination, allowing the students the time to process information and develop necessary critical thinking skills.

With my husband, I have not yet become accustomed to our companionable silences. My natural inclination is to make small-talk; his is the opposite. Instead of being bothered by this, I need to embrace the kind of closeness that that being in the same room, or even in the same house, in silence can bring. I know that some of the most meaningful conversations can be held without words; now I must remember viscerally, as well as intellectually, that these conversations can be, and are, valuable to a relationship.

Silence truly can be golden.

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