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I often hear from those who spend their nights battling mental monsters that—

What the hell does that word mean, anyway? Nuance.

Well, it means subtle differences in—

And what the hell does nuance have to do with depression?

Well, these subtle differences can relate to differences in coping skills, such as—

I don’t have time for lengthy explanations! I’m depressed! I constantly imagine my own suicide. You ever think about stepping out in front of a moving bus?

Well, I have, but—

You’re an idiot, then. You’re likely to just break a bunch of bones and squish some organs, dying slowly in A LOT of pain, pinned under a bus while everyone stands over you and points at you and calls you a dumbass for stepping out in front of a moving bus.

…okay. If I could get a word in to explicate—

Fine. Go ahead. “Explicate” away. I need to meditate anyway and think about not thinking.

As I was saying. I often hear others who battle mental monsters make polarizing statements about coping methodologies: “Mindful meditation relieves depression,” or “mindful meditation won’t relieve shit.” “Gratitude can help soften the blow of depression,” or “gratitude is candy-coated malarkey.”

Then I’m inevitably asked if I agree or disagree with these declarative statements, like I’m being forced to join a camp on the eve of some epic clash of ideologies—as if the battle will determine a singular method to navigate violent mental maelstroms.

There’s something to be said about using gratitude to focus on those small moments of happiness that manage to shoulder their way through depressive episodes. There’s also something to be said about not sugar-coating the bleak reality depression so often pulls to the surface and—

You’re half-way through this article and still haven’t defined the word nuance. It’s in the damn title.

I thought you were meditating?

I thought you were explicating?

Fair enough. For me, nuance is stepping back from these sweeping generalizations, sifting through all that gray fog on how to cope. It’s about finding some utility in all these possible coping skills without attaching labels of right or wrong.

I’ve used methods in the past that didn’t help, like mindfulness, but that doesn’t make mindfulness unworkable. That same tool is now indispensable to me. My own road to recovery incorporates a cornucopia of treatments—

Any more ten-cent words you’d like to use?

A CORNUCOPIA of treatments and coping skills, cleaving the fat off of some methods, weaving together others, threading my own patchwork blanket I throw over my shoulders when I walk along empty sidewalks on those icy, bitter nights that make the ears and the mind and the heart brittle to the touch.

Nuance is the middle ground, rooted firmly between two opposing and evolving ideological armies waging battle in a never-ending fight of “I’m correct. You’re mistaken.”

So, you use nuance like a sharp knife to carve out tailored coping strategies from both camps instead of demolishing an entire opposing idea with a blunt sledgehammer.

Exactly.

Why didn’t you just open with that? You buried the lead.

Who are you?

Just a voice in your head. One of thousands. Tens of thousands, probably.

How am I having a dialogue with a voice in my head, as if you’re a separate person? Which voice is the genuine self? Is there a “real” me asking these questions?

How the hell should I know? I’m you. I only know what you know!

Fair enough.