One of the biggest discoveries I’ve made in being in this relationship is how cruelly other people judge depression. My long-distance girlfriend’s entire family won’t believe that she has double depression even though she was diagnosed when she was younger (saying it’s in her head or thinking it will simply ‘go away’ with a few drugs); they don’t realize how much she’s suffered.
But I’m also not innocent.
I never judged her for having depression, but I did hate her depression. One moment we would be laughing and flirting and the next it would seem like she was unable to stand. When her depression struck, she became unmotivated, lazy, selfish, and cold, and, sometimes, she said horrible, cruel things.She thought I was THE cure Click To Tweet
On top of that, she lost her creativity and couldn’t tell me how to help her in any way. Those were days I spent feeling hopeless and crying my eyes out because I’d never felt so useless.
I prayed for the depression ‘to go away’ and for her creativity to return. I could deal with the change in her behavior, but seeing her suffering and feeling hopeless about my inability to help dragged me down.
Luckily, my prayers were answered, or to put it more precisely, the depression receded enough for her to return to her normal behavior. But it always came back (according to her it never left completely) and it was always bad.
Being a Good Partner
I thought it would just go away if I was a good partner. A good partner “researches the depression,” “doesn’t take the depression personally,” and “uses communication strategies” to keep the depression from affecting the relationship.
I followed these tips, read books on depression and for people with depressed partners, and tried to be there whenever she needed me. But this came with pros and cons.
I developed a much deeper relationship with her and I found books that helped me immensely with my hopelessness. I noticed that she was happier and the depression came less frequently.
She thought I was THE cure
But though our relationship improved, she began to think of me as a “cure” for her depression. She became clingy and always needed me to be around. I felt like I was doing something wrong when I tried to make time for myself (going to the gym or going to my game group), that I always had to tell her what I was doing, and that I had to constantly keep in contact with her or she’d fall apart. In addition, she rarely gave me the same courtesy—disappearing without a word for hours and not telling me where she was.
It was taken for granted that I would always be there for her and she would get down the few times I couldn’t be. Something had to change.
The First Episode
It happened on a normal day. One moment we were talking about games, and the next, after being yelled at by her verbally abusive father, she was talking about cutting herself again. “Sometimes I just really want to use that damn blade to inflict cuts on me to bleed to at least put my feelings into actual wounds so he knows how he fucking makes me feel.”
I desperately told her not to and that I couldn’t stand the thought of her dying. She said that she wouldn’t die, just that she wanted to hurt herself. She also admitted that telling me about it, knowing that those words would hurt me, punished her in some way. Hurting me was useful as punishment for her?! That was the last straw.
If this was what her depression made her think, then something was terribly wrong.
She needed real help. No matter what I did or how hard I tried, I would never ‘get rid’ of her depression. As I realized I couldn’t be her cure, I felt an immense relief. Then I said those dreaded words, those words I’d been afraid to say but that every article on depression said you should say when the depressed person is suicidal, “You need to get help.”
Unfortunately, she was resistant.
She was “dead set” against taking medication for a number of reasons: she didn’t want the medicine to change her, she’d felt like the depression medicine had made her father worse, she didn’t think the depression would get worse, and she didn’t have the money. Likewise, she wasn’t sure about therapy because of the cost and ‘talking about the problem’ to others had never really helped.
Most surprising of all, she said the main reason she hadn’t gotten help was because she felt like this was an “obstacle” in her life that she had to fix on her own.
I managed to talk her out of the last reason by reminding her that this was an illness, not something that would go away on its own but that got worse over time. But she wouldn’t budge on the other reasons. She felt like it would get better when she was away from her father and had moved out, and that she’d continue to get better as long as I was there for her.
I decided to trust her, even though I was unconvinced an illness would get better on its own, but I did insist that she get help when she had the money and was away from her father.
To Be Continued..
The author of this post chose to stay anonymous due to the subject, but shares that she is a freelance writer, editor, and social media manager with a love for writing and editing and can be reached for inquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org. Here website is stressfreesuccessdotco.wordpress.com.