When Depression Makes You Fear You Are 'Too Hard' to Love
I struggle with feeling like I’m either too much or not enough. Even though I’m married and will celebrate my 20th wedding anniversary this year, I still worry sometimes that my husband will leave me for someone who is “easier” to live with. I feel like my depression makes life too difficult for him. I feel like it is somehow my fault I struggle with my mental health. I sometimes think he secretly blames me, although he has not given any indication that he feels that way. I wonder at times why he even loves me, but I never have to wonder whether or not he does love me. He shows me in tangible ways each day.
My husband patiently listens as I try to explain what I’m feeling on particularly hard days. I tell him how I didn’t want to get out of bed that day. I tell him I feel numb or sad or tired for no reason. I describe how difficult it was for me to just make a phone call or go to the grocery store that day. He’s understanding when I call him to say we’re just having this really simple dinner as opposed to the planned meal from the weekly menu because I just can’t muster up the energy to cook.
Depression has affected my outward appearance as well. For example, I’ve gained weight due to the antidepressant medications I’m currently taking. My husband doesn’t mention that at all. He calls me beautiful. When I complain about it, he continues to call me beautiful and tells me he’d rather have me a little bit heavier and still alive. On my absolutely worst days, when the suicidal thoughts plague me, he (naturally) gets upset. Sometimes there’s yelling by both of us. He wants me to call my doctor or therapist or a friend, but I don’t want to do any of those things. I say awful things I later regret. I know it hurts him more than I can probably even imagine. Again, I feel like he should just find someone “better.” But he doesn’t. He is faithful to me.
My husband has also learned what my “red flags” are. He knows if I start talking less or get short and snappy with him that I’m sinking low again. When I begin to turn down invitations from friends, he recognizes I’m slipping back into a downward spiral. He does not get angry. Instead he makes sure to do things to help me. He will clean up after dinner while I go have a long, relaxing bath. He will write me a sweet note. He will schedule a date night for the two of us and take care of all the arrangements. He takes care of me. Now this is not to say that my husband is perfect. We have our struggles. He gets stressed and sometimes blurts out insensitive comments. I get angry and reply with my own verbal jabs. But we forgive one another. We work on our misunderstandings and talk about our problems. Then we move on. As with any relationship, communication is vital. And relationships are challenging, even more so when you add depression to the mix. But a good relationship is worth the fight and a good partner is worth fighting for.
My husband and I have certainly worked hard to get to the place in our relationship where we are today. I am thankful I was able to overcome my fear of not being worthy of love and allow my husband to come into my world. He has helped me realize I deserve love. The fact that I battle depression does not negate that. I am worthy of devotion and of the happiness that being in a relationship can bring. And, so are you. Never allow yourself to believe the lie that your depression makes you less than or too difficult to be loved. You can find the right person. You can be with someone who loves, supports, encourages and tries to understand you. When someone shows you that he/she is willing to do that, then let him/her.
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Thinkstock photo via Grandfailure.