What It’s Like to Be In Love and Struggle With Depression
In the wise words of Olaf, “Love is putting someone else’s needs before yours.“
In my year of experience with depression (I’ve seen a therapist since I was in elementary school), even putting your needs as a priority can feel impossible. Putting value on your own life can feel like it just can’t and shouldn’t be done. Loving yourself can be extremely difficult when you have depression. You get the unshakable feeling that nothing you do will ever be good enough. You’re constantly feeling down about yourself and you learn to accept the idea that you are undeserving of love. So when you start to fall in love with someone that loves you in return, it kind of throws you for a loop.
I have depression. I am also in love.
The two tend to go against each other and it’s a constant learning process. I have had to learn to accept that I can be loved and deserve to be loved. It’s a long process, and it’s something I have to work on every day. I am so used to the voice in my head telling me I can’t be loved. Now I am getting used to his voice telling me that I am loved. It’s probably one of the hardest things I have had to do. Letting someone else love you requires you to learn to love yourself and getting over your fears. My mind is constantly telling me that he’s going to leave me. It’s constantly reminding me that I am “messed up,” and there will come a day where he finally sees me the way I see me. When this happens, he won’t stick around. Why would he?
Hearing that on a daily basis from myself makes the whole thing that much harder. But it’s definitely worth it. Not to sound cliché, but him loving me is the main thing that taught me to love myself and how to be happy. Depression isn’t normally something I can see coming. It can hit me out of nowhere. I can feel on top of the world one minute and hit rock bottom the next minute. He loves me enough to listen to me and deal with all my mood swings. He loves me just as much at my worst and my best. The fact that I am able to type that and believe it shows progress.
Everyone is deserving and capable of love. Everyone. Depression is not a measurement of someone’s worth. It doesn’t even begin to play a part in determining an individual’s worth. Struggling with depression does not make you less than anyone else. It is an illness, just like any other illness. Realizing that is the first step to learning to love yourself and letting others love you.
Being in love, despite having depression, makes me feel like I can do anything sometimes. It’s a constant reminder that I am stronger than my illness. The kindness and compassion he shows me is enough to help me get through each day. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. In my cold bubble of depression, his love for me is the jacket that warms me up and makes me more comfortable and able to face the cold. My illness does not define who I am or what I am capable of. It does not limit what I deserve in life. I can be happy despite having depression. I can love and deserve to be loved in return. Everyone does.
This article is in no way me saying that love can fix everything. It will not cure your depression. But it has definitely helped me learn to cope with and overcome mine.
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Thinkstock photo via Grandfailure