Sometimes you don’t realize how suffocating it is until it’s too late. It starts with an innocent, naive intention: to make him happy. You just want to see him enjoy life again, the way he did when you were first together. He was happy when you met, so what changed? Maybe you caused it, this slow shift; but you need to know, it was always lurking behind him. It had nothing to do with you. Slowly, but inevitably, his depression began to show through the cracks. After one too many dark remarks, and once his warm touch turned cold, you had the sinking feeling that it wasn’t just an off-day. One despondent moment after the next, you found yourself tugging at the anchor tied to his heels, wearing yourself thin to keep him moving.
It became a part of you. Every step you took felt heavier than the one before, as you stared into the darkness with him, not realizing it was infinite. You took the demons from his closet and put them in your own. You didn’t consciously decide to share his misery; but as it goes, misery loves company. And misery destroys its company.
You cancel plans with your friends to spend the night with him, not because he asked, but because you know he wouldn’t tell you when he needs you. So you temper his loneliness all on your own. You stop encouraging him to make friends, to go out, to fight it. You don’t want to be the one to add any more stress or expectations to his life. You know he’s disappointed in himself for his depression, and you just want to be there to love him despite it. So that’s precisely what you do: you stay. You give him the best of your thoughts, feelings, energy. You know your presence lifts the weight from his shoulders, at least for a little while. He says he’s only happy with you.
And suddenly, you realize you’ve lost your lightness. You feign positivity and enthusiasm for him, with him; but eventually, you realize that you’re not yourself anymore. You’re not experiencing the adventures you wanted to have, you’re not living the life you wanted to live through this relationship. You went into this head-over-heels, with ideas and plans for the future. But his depression sees no future, other than the bleak repetition of dreary days. He talks about marriage, about the future; but in the dark recesses of your mind, you worry that he might not be there to live it with you.
Then come the moments when you are surrounded by normal life again; a friend’s party, a baby shower, even just a coffee shop. You feel like you’ve come up gasping for air; you’re stricken by the sight of happy people. And as you see the sun again, you realize it was never you. You realize you’re not responsible for his depression; and even if you were, you couldn’t pull him out of the deep end without drowning.