I have to start this post by letting you know, I do not struggle from depression. I cannot say that I understand what you are going through because I have not been there myself. I can only speak from the point of view of a person who has had countless people in her life battling this disease. I have seen what it can do to a person…
It was December, cold and snowing outside, I was in bed just drifting into sleep when my phone rang. We all know a phone call in the middle of the night is never good. It was my aunt. She wouldn’t tell me what happened, just asked me to get my mom on the phone. I don’t know how, but before they even uttered those horrible words I knew. I knew she had taken her life. My cousin who I spent my childhood with, grew into teenagers and then adults, one of my best friends…gone. Depression had won.
It really bothers me that some people have the mentality that depression is not a serious issue, they say oh everyone feels sad, you will get over it. Well the fact is that no, everyone doesn’t feel sadness in the way that a depressed person does, and they can’t just get over it. Typical sadness doesn’t cause you to not be able to get out of bed, not be able to function in your daily routine, it doesn’t cause you to feel physically worn down and severely emotionally disconnected from loved ones. It doesn’t cause you to legitimately consider ending your life. From what I have seen I can only describe it as a constant dark cloud above your head. Or a prison in which you are both the prisoner and the jailer. A tunnel with a dead end and no light.
I can honestly say that I believe this is one of the worst things a person has to go through in life. That’s why we, as loved ones of people who suffer from it, have to be there for support. Don’t try to diminish what they are going through by telling them it’s just a phase or a simple sad feeling. They need to know that you will be there for them through this battle and that you understand how serious it really is. Never judge or blame them. This is not their fault. It does not define who they are. Never give up on them. Do not walk away.
Being in a relationship with someone who has depression is a whole other topic. I think the hardest thing to deal with are the days when they just aren’t emotionally available. It can begin to feel like they don’t care, or don’t love you. It can become very lonely, you may feel like you lost the person you fell in love with. It’s a struggle for both people in the relationship. But you have to realize that their feelings for you have not changed, they love you but there are times when they will not be able to express it. That is something you have to accept if you are going to commit to someone who is dealing with this. They will have days filled with hopelessness and even anger but it’s not their fault and it’s not your fault either. Give them space when needed. Be understanding. Not everyday is a bad one. You will both get through it and in the end all the good days will overshadow the bad.
To any of you who are currently fighting this battle, please know that you are not alone. I respect your strength for continuing to take control and win this fight. Even when it feels like you are spiralling down to a horrible place, there is always hope. You CAN win this fight.