I often wonder what it’s like to love someone through depression. I thank my husband almost daily for sticking with me and never flinching at my darkest moments, my most graphic breakdowns, or when I just can’t participate in life. Still, I feel extremely selfish. I know that he loves me and even though I have always been clear about how unwell I can be, I feel selfish that such a good, kind-hearted person is stuck with me. He chose me, sure, but could he have really known how deep my depression can run? How debilitating my anxiety can be? There’s no way to understand the emotional cave that I back myself into, and most of the time, all he can do is watch it happen.
This might scare you, but I haven’t wanted to be alive for the last two weeks. I’ve tried, I’ve counted the reasons to stay on this Earth, and it always ends with me begging God to just take me. No, I don’t have a plan to commit suicide, I just don’t want to be here. I don’t want to wake up and go to my job, I don’t want to participate in social functions, I don’t want to do anything but lie in my bed and wait, knowing that if I didn’t wake up, I would be in a much better place. Still, it’s extremely scary to feel that way. I’m getting help, I’m praying, I’m adjusting medications. This is the truth of a chemical imbalance. Like it or not, you don’t have to believe in it and you can think I’m crazy, but this is my real life from time to time.
Still, it genuinely tugs on me when I think about what Chad sees. I’ve spent the majority of my teenage and adult life struggling with these feelings, but only for the last few years have I really considered how it impacts someone else. I’ve never thought about what it feels like for your spouse to look at you and admit that sometimes they don’t want to be alive. Chad knows me, he knows that if it went too far, I would reach out and ask him to help me, or to intervene. But, still. What a horrible blow to the stomach when someone you love is in so much pain and you can’t just fix it.
And really, that’s the thing. You can’t just fix it. You can only be patient and love someone through it. You can only be present, and say I love you, I’m here for you. The worst thing you can say is, “you’ll get over it” or “what do you even have to be sad about” — that doesn’t help. That makes it worse. For all the times someone has said that to me, it only makes my guilt dig a little deeper for being so broken. I will not ever feel like I deserve the unconditional love of someone as good as Chad, but I also very clearly realize he is mine because he can handle this. And I thank God for it.
For today, I am on the upswing. I don’t feel that vacant, empty feeling in my chest. I don’t feel the weight bearing down on me like a load of bricks stacked tall on my shoulders. I’m excited about the long weekend, I can’t wait to unwind and enjoy some time at home, and I’m hopeful this downward pattern will not continue. You must know that I don’t choose this. I would never wish these feelings on anyone, not even my worst enemy. If you are reading this and someone you love is suffering with depression, don’t give up on them. Speak gently, love fiercely, and know what they are going through bears no reflection on you or your relationship with them.