In July, a friend wrote and asked how I was doing. It took me a week to write back. I kept trying to answer, and then deleting everything I had written. Finally I sent her an email telling the absolute truth. I didn't know what to say because every time I wrote something, it sounded so full of self-pity. I was fine, safe, but miserable.
Within a month I had found out what was wrong with me, and it was a physical problem causing my emotional state. (Of course, there was plenty in the world to make me sad; this was beyond that.) But even though I am so much better now, I still appreciate my friend's answer to that one liner from me. Instead of telling me to cheer up, she responded that I should never feel bad about sounding pitiful with her. "So if you ever want to have a pity-party in an email with me, I would gladly read and welcome it."
Everyone needs friends like that. People who understand that sometimes you just feel rotten, lousy. Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad. People who just listen, and who don't think worse of you. People who don't say, "Why don't you just..." but instead "I'm really sorry." (Come to think of it, this friend isn't shy about excellent advice, either; she's the one who, when I called her crying once on a gray winter day a month or so after the earthquake in Haiti, when I was away from home in the cold US and my tropical self was grieving and also freezing, said, "Put on your walking shoes, go outside and start walking." And she was absolutely right.)
I'm feeling good these days - energetic, cheerful. I don't cry every day. (I still cry, but not excessively, just a reasonable amount for an emotional person living life and teaching middle school during a pandemic.) I'm loving my family and friends, eating well again, appreciating my students. I'm enjoying being healthy. But it's good to know that even when I'm no fun at all to be around, there are people who are willing to receive my pity party. Not just to receive it, but to welcome it.