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Being Depressed Doesn't Mean I Stopped Loving You

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Family and friends can be really supportive when you struggle with mental illness, but they can also have trouble understanding it. Living with bipolar disorder, I have lots of ups and downs and I have trouble controlling them even with medication. So I often face some episodes of deep depression.

This is something my family and friends need to understand when I am in a deep depression. Telling me to stop being depressed because I love them is not helpful. Saying something like, “Cheer up! For me?” makes me feel if I can’t simply choose to no longer be depressed it means I don’t love them. I know it comes from a place of love, but it’s also coming from a place of misunderstanding. I don’t blame anyone for it, and I deeply appreciate those who love and support me.

However, my mental illness is not a choice, it’s not something I can simply decide to no longer have. There are many things during my depression I want to do and there are many logical reasons to not be depressed… but if you’re in the mud of depression, you can’t decide to pull out your foot and get free when you’re stuck.

There are many helpful things loved ones can do when I’m in the mud — just being there and letting me know they love me and understand that I have a mental illness I didn’t choose is very caring. Depression is not a reflection or measure of my love forever, it’s a mental illness.

Unsplash photo via Shashank Sahay

Originally published: March 23, 2018
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