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The Cycle of Being Depressed and Loving Someone Who Is Depressed

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Let me start this off and say we knew from the start we could be good for each other or we could be bad for each other. We chose to love each other, even though we knew we both needed help. When we first started talking, we both instantly felt a connection that wasn’t there with others. You understood my dark, and I understood your pain. We loved each other despite the work we knew we would need to put in. I love you when you can’t love yourself, and you love me when I can’t love myself. Our depression brought us together. We can be good for each other or we can be bad for each other. We need to keep fighting to be good.

I wake up in the morning, and I struggle to get out of bed. I just slept for 12, 14, 16, or even 18 hours. I am still tired. Then I roll over and look at the Snapchats  you sent me from the night before. I reread the screenshots of your texts or an inspiring message you’ve sent me to read. You do those things because you know I’m hurting. We can count on the fact that if one of us is hurting, the other is hurting just as much. We don’t need to be in the same city to know that. Somehow, our depression has intertwined, and it is the same now. My depression is your depression, and your depression is my depression. I finally roll out of bed because of you. Because I think of how my actions will change your actions. If I can roll out of bed, then I am inspiring you to roll out of bed.

couple smiling

Together, we push each other. We tell one another we need to survive. After one more hour, one more paper, or one more meeting we can go back to bed. We push each other. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it pushes us apart. We read all of these self-help posts, read Devotionals, and pray. But there is nothing out there to guide us if we are both hurting. What do you do if you’re both hurting? 

1. You pull closer. You let the other person hurt. You bury your pain. You drive the hour to go and see that person, even though you know you are tired. You need to wake up even earlier in the morning, but it is worth it to try to save that person from the dark. You pull tight. You hold them. You hug them. You push them to survive.

2. You listen. Many times I don’t need someone to tell me how to fix things. I know you don’t need me to tell you what you need to do. We both know the answer: take medication, go to therapy, set goals, blah blah blah. Yes. I agree those are all helpful, but we know the answers. So you sit and listen. Even if the harsh truth coming out of your mouth is tearing me to pieces, I sit and I listen. It is your time to hurt. It is your time to cry. It is your time to open up.

3. You coax that person to bed. You convince yourself tomorrow will be better. You silently cry yourself to sleep because you don’t know how to help. You hide your pain from your partner. You do whatever you can to be the rock. You let them hold on. You two understand each other and the depression like no one else ever has.

4. You better yourself. You know the depression you both feel is now one. You struggle together. You literally sit and cry together. If I wake up in pain and hurting, I know you will wake up and feel the same. If I skip work or class, I know you will do the same. If I sit in my room alone and drink, I know you will do the same. Even though it is hard, even though I want to give in, I know I need to better myself for you. I don’t do it for me. I do it for you.

So, even though we both hurt and we are both trying, please realize I am doing the best I can. It is tearing me to pieces knowing I can’t help you. It is tearing me to pieces that you don’t want help.

Even though it hurts to see things like this, to watch someone else struggle from their depression, I know you don’t mean it. I know you want to change. I know you hate yourself for making me feel this way. I understand these things better than anyone else can. I live this life, too. I forgive you.

What do you do when you are both hurting? You don’t give up. You choose love. You find out you really are a patient person. You become the rock. You become the strong one. You become the selfless one. You remember each day is a new day. You remember what you needed when you were stuck in the dark. You let the light from your heart shine into their life.

Remember, I love you, and I am here.

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Stock photo by Sebastian Wahsner

Originally published: November 8, 2016
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