Depression Makes Me View Love as Both a Blessing and a Curse
It’s both a blessing and a curse to be loved.
Not many people understand why I feel being loved sometimes can feel like a curse and some may even think I’m ungrateful, but I’m truly not.
I am extremely blessed to have a loving partner, family and friends. I am well aware of how lucky I am to be so supported and I’m also fully aware there are many people who sadly do not have this love in their lives. So why would I even think for a second this kind of love is anything other than truly amazing? The simple answer is depression.
Depression is an ugly illness for the person with it and the people who care about them. For me, it felt like I was slowly dying and my personality was decaying more and more each day. I imagine it must be devastating to witness it happening to someone you deeply care for.
Depression has made me feel like a huge burden on the people I love. The numerous hospital visits, the emotional support, the practical support, the worry and the irritability backlash they get but don’t deserve. When I’m in a deep depression I often despise the fact I’m loved because I can’t bear the thought of how much pressure I put on people who are close to me and support me during these awful times. I know they wouldn’t have it any other way and to them it doesn’t feel at all like a burden. Although it’s true, I’ve never believed it for a second and the guilt that accompanies this feeling is enormous. Depression tells me I’m completely unworthy of the love and support I am lucky enough to have.
Depression made me feel like I was abandoning everybody I loved. There have been times when I’ve become so unwell the thought of ending my life was one of relief and peace. But there’s always the tiny voice within that reminds me of the devastation I would leave behind if I was to go through with ending my life. That’s a really hard thing to deal with — being so desperate to escape the inner turmoil but at the same time knowing the aftermath of suicide is absolutely horrendous for those left behind.
Personally, knowing this just adds to my overall self-loathing opinion of myself. How could I even think of doing that to them? I must be evil and I’m better off dead. There’s a constant battle in my head between living and being in a tornado of pain, guilt, disgust and sadness or dying and causing a path of immense destruction in my departure.
Another time I feel at risk for abandoning people I love is when my personality seems to drift away. When I’m in a very bad place with depression, I feel as though I become something I’m not, something not human, something cold and unable to feel or love. Witnessing this transformation must be horrendous.
I find it’s also hard to be loved when recovering from depression. When things are finally getting better and the light is creeping into my life again, I can become completely overwhelmed with guilt. It breaks my heart when I look back and realize what I’ve put my loved ones through. I feel shame, disgust, guilt and the most intense self-hatred.
If I manage to get past these feelings and keep on my journey to managing depression and my wellness, I then find myself faced with the challenge of relearning basic tasks. Washing up, gardening, walking the dogs, driving, cooking, cleaning, making the bed, seeing family, seeing friends, having a shower, being intimate, shopping, etc. All these things become mountains for me to climb and I’m left feeling useless, frustrated and pathetic, leading me to more guilt for the extra burden I put on people in relation to helping me get back on my feet! It’s a daily battle that requires a lot of strength and reassurance from others that it’s OK to need support through this tough time and that I’m worthy of said support.
Depression is so cruel. It’s overwhelming and it’s very convincing when it tells you you’re worth nothing. I will be forever sorry for what I’ve put everyone close to me through while I’ve battled depression. And although there have been numerous times I’ve wished I had no support whatsoever so I could just depart this world without causing hurt, I am extremely grateful to the people who have stuck by me and literally brought me back from death’s door. I’m thankful for the constant reminders and reassurance it’s just an illness, it’s not my choice, it’s not my fault and I’m loved unconditionally.
This is the message I want to get across to anyone reading this who has felt this way too. Depression is an illness, not a choice and those who care for you would rather help you and love you rather than lose you. I’m telling you now: depression is a liar and the guilt, worthlessness and hopefulness it makes you feel are not a true reflection of yourself in reality.
I’ve written this to thank anyone who loves someone with depression and to offer some insight into the feelings a person may experience in relation to your support. And to those who may be feeling something similar to what I’ve described: You are not alone.
If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.
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Thinkstock photo via Rabilbani