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Getting Dumped While Depressed

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Being dumped sucks for anybody. You can be the most mentally healthy person in the whole world, and it will still hurt. It will still be painful.

When you are already suffering from a mental illness, however, that just makes everything a whole lot worse.

I don’t want to belittle the pain depression causes without an emotional upheaval, and neither do I want to belittle the pain being dumped can cause to anyone, with a mental illness or without. It’s just when these things separately can be like a metaphorical punch in the gut, imagine what happens when you get both at once.

I didn’t see it coming. I was beginning to sense my relationship with, oh, let’s call him Bob since that’s not his real name; I was beginning to sense my relationship with Bob had an expiration date, but not that it would be so soon. He took me on a date the night he dumped me, we saw a movie and went for dinner, and the day before he’d told me he had some “bad news” to share with me. Bad news that turned out to be he wasn’t attracted to me anymore, and he wasn’t willing to try. So just like that, the rug was ripped out from under my feet, and Me and Bob were no more.

He knew about my illness. He knew even before we started dating. It was something we talked about in a lot of depth, even on our very first date. He held my hand as I told him all about the struggles I was having with my antidepressants, and was with me every step of the way as I started the process of moving on to new ones that hopefully wouldn’t have such unhelpful side effects. In the presence of friends who knew about my illness (because I’ll admit now, it’s something I tend to keep quiet), he would pretend we were like an old married couple in the waiting room of a doctors office, saying “we’ll do anything” and other such almost clichéd phrases you pop out when you want to make everything better.

Because my illness is something I keep quiet, Bob was one of few people who actually knew about it. He cared, he asked me questions and when he was around he was like a little ray of sunshine in the sea of grey that was my life. I often describe my illness, my depression, as like a fog. Some days it’s thicker than others, and sometimes so thick I can’t even see my own feet out in front of me. But even of those days, I could see a little glimmer of light, a something through the haze — and that was the love Bob had for me. Or at least, the love I thought he had.

Being dumped hurts. It really really hurts. That fog can close in even colder and darker and more all-consuming after something like that happens, but here’s the thing: That little glimmer in the fog, the one I saw through Bob, that’s always going to be there somehow. I may not feel like it right now, but I know I have true friends around me, and that I’m loved. Bob’s love not being all I thought it was doesn’t detract from the fact that love is out there, and that love is still a real thing that’s out there. Is that cheesy? Yes. Yes it is. But it’s keeping me alive right now.

I was suicidal before Bob. I was suicidal while dating Bob. And I’m suicidal now. It’s not something for me ever really changes or goes away. Being alive was easier when I had Bob, but it was still hard. So, so hard. Even in the midst of a really great moment the whole thought of ‘”yeah but it would be better if I was dead right now” never left me. It just emphasizes that now more than ever, suicide itself is actually not an option. Because as much as I’m hurting right now and as much as I really want to just stop the whole existing thing I’m right now, if I go right now –everyone will blame Bob. They’ll say it was the heartbreak that killed me, that he is to blame for pushing me over the edge. As much as it hurts and as much as he hurt me, it’s not his fault.

The heartbreak is so painful. But the depression is worse. If I ever sink low enough, and I ever do kill myself, depression will be what killed me. Not heartbreak, not a love gone wrong, not being dumped or a failed relationship. It’ll be the depression. Yes, hard times like this make it worse, but at the end of the day, depression is an illness. When illnesses get bad, they can kill people. I just have to hold up my head, and try to see the sunlight through the fog. However bad it gets, I need to hold on to my hope that the sun still shines beyond my fog, even on the days that are so painfully dark I can’t see it at all. I’m loved, I’m important and I am worth fighting for. Whether or not I have a partner, that doesn’t change, and at the end of the day if this horrible experience has taught me anything — it’s that I don’t need someone to stand beside me holding my hand. It’s nice, and it’s comfortable, but it’s not essential. I have to be enough on my own. With effort, and patience, and taking care of myself as best I can — some day I will be.

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

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

The Mighty is asking the following: What was one moment you received help in an unexpected or unorthodox way related to disability, disease or mental illness? Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: June 16, 2016
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