To the People Who Leave When a Loved One Struggles With Depression

I got sad, and you left. I wish I could say I don’t know why you did it, but the ugly truth is I do. I got too big for you to handle.

Maybe you’ve never met someone like me — someone who seems so “normal” one day and the next is staring blankly at the world. Maybe you’re too busy holding yourself together to hold me together, too. Maybe I shared too much and you got scared.

Whatever the reason, you left.

I wish I could say I don’t understand how a person could do something like that, but I do. Believe me, if I could leave myself, I would. Because it’s the worst when I’m by myself, when my own thoughts keep attacking me and the whispers to do something about this just won’t stop. When sleep won’t come and I feel like everything in the world is sitting right on my chest. When I cry so hard I can’t breathe, and I pray someday someone will come and pull me out of the hole my life is now. I thought you would be that someone. But you left.

And I won’t say it didn’t hurt because it did.

But I’m not mad. 

Because for every person who leaves, there’ll be a person who won’t.

There will be a person who sticks by me even on my worst days because they know how it feels. They’ve been left before, and they wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

They stay because no one stayed for them when they needed it most. So they see what I’m going through, they see the hurt in my eyes.

And they stay.

My message to the people who leave is this:

I don’t know why you left. But I do know I don’t need you to come back anymore. I stopped missing you. But if you ever need someone by your side, if you ever need someone to just stay, I’ll be there.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page. 

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

Image via Thinkstock.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Depression

Airplane landing at night

When Depression Is a Clamp Between Your Head and Your Heart

I’m on a plane between D.C. and Chicago. I’m halfway between my life’s wish fulfillment (lobbying in the Capitol) and my life’s reality (sick kids and sh*ty neighbors). I feel the long-forgotten but readily-remembered clamp of depression closing down inside me. I sigh at the realization, and then begin the long struggle to unscrew it. [...]
Portrait of a woman in black and white

10 Things to Know If You Want to Understand Your Loved One’s Depression

Depression is a battle I’ve bee fighting my whole life. I tell you this because we have a unique opportunity to have an honest conversation about depression. In that vein of thinking, this is my top 10 things I wish people who do not have depression could understand. 1. We don’t stop being depressive. Being depressed [...]
michael from 5 seconds of summer

5 Seconds of Summer's Openness About Mental Health Is a Strength, Not a Weakness

Earlier this year I went to see the band 5 Seconds of Summer with my daughter. It was magic. We had the best time. We sang, danced, jumped, fangirled and had a ball. My 12-year-old adores the band and has gotten me to love them too. It is such a joy having a daughter with good taste in [...]
abstract face with arrows

When Depression Is in Control

I’ve written quite a lot about what the little monster in my head says to me on a daily basis. He doesn’t only talk, but he also controls my feelings and even my actions. For those of you who don’t know, I have depression, an invisible illness that has a huge impact on my life. For [...]