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What I Need My Boyfriend to Know About My Depression

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To my boyfriend,

I find it so much easier to express how I’m feeling through text rather than verbally. Sometimes I can’t quite get the right words out.

What has inhabited within my mind and how do I get it out? — I need your help.

At the moment I feel totally, completely and utterly shit. I feel like I’m slipping, not drastically, just subtlety and subconsciously. Or, more accurately, it’s creeping. Depression is creeping up on me and I can’t see it. It’s coming from behind. It waits until my back is turned to creep eagerly closer until it’s close enough to tap me on my shoulder and drag me down. Down into a deep Black Sea of emptiness, where the water fills your lungs and suffocates you. Initially, I feel a pang of pain, panic and paranoia; however, the water gets so deeply invested in my body I feel nothing, and ironically, even though being so full to the brim the heavy black water of depression, I’ve never felt so empty.

I feel like the root of creeping anxiety is sleep. For me, sleep is an absolute necessity. Most nights, I’ll sleep for an average of around eight hours. However, only four of those hours are spent in a deep relaxed sleep. The other four are spent indulging in severe anxiety-ridden dreams. Dreams which haunt me, and like sleep paralysis where my mind is active but my body can’t move. I can’t wake up. My brain is alert but my body can’t wake up. I’m stuck in those horrendous dreams. The worse factor is, sometimes I’m utterly and purely convinced these dreams are a reality. They’re actually happening. That’s when I wake up in a panic, sometimes in pools of sweat.

During these dreams, I feel a surge of high emotions. The most unbearable I find is the sadness and anger. Throughout the dreams that make me sad, I feel the worst pain. I’m screaming but nobody can hear and nobody can help me. During the anger dreams, I’m fighting with myself. There is no positive outcome of this. Frequently, after these repulsive dreams, I’ll wake up paranoid and with a debilitating headache.

After coming to the conclusion that these dreams were in fact just dreams and not my reality, I am then confronted with the exhaustion present throughout my entire day, preventing me from functioning “normally” and worsening my symptoms.

Some mornings, it’s not the exhaustion that keeps me in bed. It’s the simple daily tasks that keep me chained to the mattress, a hostage under my blanket. I think about getting up and having to make the bed. A task so minor to you, but impossible to me. Furthermore, I realize I have to shower and talk to people while I shuffle through the kitchen. A substantial dread I have been facing daily. A dread as lengthy as the Eiffel Tower — 324 meters, to be exact. These factors of an average daily life severely overwhelm my mind and send my brain into a depressive oblivion. To you, these tasks are a bit of a coherence; to me, it’s like climbing a damaged ladder beneath a pool of scorching lava and up to the gateway of my own unique hell. With two broken legs. Destined for catastrophe whether I fall or proceed.

After facing my morning demons, proceedings can go one of two ways. One being, the lack of sleep and the overworking of my brain sends me back to sleep for another eight hours of torturous dreams, not waking up to eat or drink, thus making me even more sleepy when I do finally arise. I withdraw myself from everyone. I don’t want to be seen by anyone. I ignore all social encounters. I want to go into hibernation. Usually, when this happens, I miss taking my medication and end up taking it when I wake up which is too late on the day. This results in me spending the few hours I do have of that day feeling moody and withdrawn. If I do manage to get out of bed that day, I feel exhausted, resulting in an unpleasant mood evident to everyone within a mile radius.

Next comes the guilt. My lack of sleep causes moodiness and uptightness. This projects to others I care about. My strong emotions then cause severe guilt for being moody around the people who care about me. Notice a pattern? It’s a circle. Once one element of the necessities that keep me afloat slips, they correspond with each other causing a spiral spinning tornado of repetitive depression.

On the basis of emotions, I’ve told you how mine are substantial. This can be a good thing, you know. I feel so much love, so much empathy and so much compassion for others and I’m proud of that. I’m proud I care so much for other people. I’m proud I have a big heart. However, the negative of this is when the extreme negative emotions surface. When something small annoys me, I feel such anger. It penetrates through my body and explodes like shrapnel. I can’t stop it, I find it so hard to control. Once one thing pisses me off, everything seems to. It all builds up like a 10-foot solid brick wall. I’m alone, trying so hard to break it down with just my bare hands — impossible. I don’t really know what to do when this occurs but when you see me getting stressed, uptight, annoyed and angry, please just hold me and calm me down. It’ll be like you’re passing me a hammer to gradually smash down the wall. Failing to do this, I then do and say things I don’t mean. After my rage, I return to feeling guilty again because I’ve upset others, the emotion is so strong, so forceful.

To conclude, lately, I’ve been feeling lost. Sometimes I’m lacking in emotion; I feel nothing, I feel empty. Then, other times my emotions are superlative, so superlative I don’t know how to control them. That’s when they present themselves in sadness or usually anger. I feel like I’m hanging on the edge of a skyscraper about to plummet to the ground in devastation. On other occasions, I can’t control my emotions. I don’t mentally or physically know how I’m feeling, so it comes out in again, usually anger or sadness.

I feel completely shitty about myself. I feel worthless, lonely, unloved and guilty, with very little self-esteem. Above all, I feel ashamed — ashamed I have this illness, and I’m hurting people and putting excess pressure on them. I feel like all your lives would be better without me. I don’t know how to ask for your help because I don’t want to put that pressure on you. I feel bad, but I do need it. I need you to help me. Don’t do things for me, because that’s when I fall into incapability. I then get stuck in a rut and can’t do things for myself — I’ll become too reliant. Just be there for me, listen to me and assist me in doing the things I find difficult, then push me to do them myself. I think with your help, a good routine and my medication in place, a hearty path to recovery will rapidly present itself.

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Thinkstock photo via Zinkevych

Originally published: September 11, 2017
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