This Is How It Feels When You Love Someone Who Struggles With Depression

istockphoto.com / Vizerskaya
istockphoto.com / Vizerskaya

Like you’re standing in the middle of a concert, bodies jumping and screaming all around you, and you’re desperately trying to push through to grab your person’s hand. But you can’t. The concert is wild, and you’re getting tossed and pushed around. And no matter how much you squeeze and shimmy and elbow, their fingertips are just out of reach. Every time.

Like you’re running in place. A step up, a step down. Unmoving. Stuck.

Like you’re underwater, trying to speak, but your words come out mumbled and off-key and you keep opening your mouth and it fills with water so you can’t speak. And the person you love is just floating, slowing sinking down, down.

You understand that their pain is something you cannot change, but you try anyways.

When you love someone with depression your heart becomes achy and heavy. You cannot begin to fathom their pain, but you try so very hard. You try to hold them, try to package them into a little box and keep them safe. But you just can’t.

You understand that their pain is something you cannot change, but you try anyways. You tell them positive things, you try to lift their burdens, you do your best to keep them distracted and laughing to the point that you’re physically exhausted and empty. But you love them, so you keep trying.

When you love someone with depression, you get frustrated and bitter. And then you hate yourself for it. You want to pull that person out of their own head, but it’s a decision you can’t make for them. So you hang onto their words, hoping, praying that things will turn around. You stand on the sidelines as they get help, as they take little steps forward, then giant leaps back. You want to grab them and carry them across the finish line, the ‘happy’ line. You want to lift them and travel back in time to where they used to be. But you are powerless. So you wring your hands and cheer from the sidelines and pray.

When you love someone with depression, it’s like you’re driving an open, empty road with no clear destination. You try to get off the path, to change direction, but you’re just not sure where to head, or if the road will be clear once you make that left turn.

You try to be tender, but not baby them. Try to be normal, but not too normal that you forget what they’re struggling with. You aren’t sure what to feel, or how to talk, or what to do. And sometimes you feel like giving up yourself. Those are the hardest days.

But you don’t give up. You continue speak, even if your words fall on closed ears. You continue to comfort, even if your care seems useless. You continue to love, because that’s all you can do. Love and pray and be there, physically and mentally and in all other ways. Be there. So even if that person doesn’t know happiness, they know they’re not alone. TC mark

Marisa Donnelly

Marisa is a writer, poet, & editor. She is the author of Somewhere On A Highway, a poetry collection on self-discovery, growth, love, loss and the challenges of becoming.

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  • http://puttingmyfeetinthedirt.com ~Michelle Cook

    Oh this speaks to my heart in such a profound way. Thank you for writing this… this is exactly what I have not been able to put into words myself.

  • http://journalentry356.wordpress.com Audrey

    This sadly is very close to home with my daughter, we are learning what a vast area depression carries over teens. It is never spoken about and should be brought up daily. In my heart if depression was addressed properly in the mental health field (and I work in medical) we would have a lot less violence in the world. Address the hurt first.

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  • The Free Woman

    Shit this is depressing! I hope my boyfriend doesn’t feel like this living with me!!

  • https://cmaallen.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/this-is-how-it-feels-when-you-love-someone-who-struggles-with-depression/ This Is How It Feels When You Love Someone Who Struggles With Depression | If having a critical eye was a good thing

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  • http://katherinebrownwriting.wordpress.com kabrown4

    Honestly this is also what having depression feels like as well when you know how ill you are and you’re fighting the illness to get yourself better.
    Without my partner and family being there to support me I would still be ill; no matter how hard it is loving someone with depression don’t give up on them because trust me they need your strength.

    • http://www.neverdateawriter.Com B.Marie

      I was just about to say this is what having depression feels like. It feels as if you are in the middle of the street suffocating and no one can see you dying.

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