Being friends with someone who has depression is hard, but it’s even more difficult when you are in a relationship with that person. I’m aware that relationships are individual, but I think it’s fair to say that depression can put a strain on every relationship.
I was officially diagnosed with depression last year, but my doctor identified that I’d had it at least a year before that. That means that throughout the whole duration of my relationship with my current (lovely) partner, I have been depressed, and for the first year of that, it was untreated.
So, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say I was a mess. Especially in that first year. I was self-harming, cutting myself off from my friends, barely able to get out of bed. And yet, amazingly, I managed to find the love of my life and he stuck by me through everything.He has stayed by me through my break-downs, my leaving uni and self-harm. He held me when I was a snotty blob of feels; he reassured me that I was loved and didn’t laugh at me when I said the most ridiculous of things. I still get the odd down day now, and he’s still as supportive.
I am truly grateful for everything he’s done for me, but I also feel like a massive burden to him. He could be with someone “normal”, who doesn’t have random break-downs and cause drama. And it amazes me that he’s still here, after seeing the very worst of me.
So yes, depression is a serious test of a relationship. Multiple tests even. It’s a test every time a depressive episode happens; every time he decides to look after me instead of walk away. I wish I could take away every single test like that. It isn’t fair to put that on someone else, especially someone that you love.
And ironically, I know that even during a depressive episode. I tell him that I don’t deserve him, that I’m crazy and he should leave, that I can’t believe he loves me when I’m such an awful person. But he insists the opposite and helps me calm down.
Not everyone would do as my partner has, and I’m conflicted as to what to feel about that. Because on the one hand, if I could take away all those stupid moments I’ve had to lean on him for help, I would. But equally, I am selfish enough to want him forever. I want that help and I want him to stay. When I feel that down, he is the one person I want with me more than anything. He could make me smile after I’d had an evening of cutting myself. He always makes me feel wanted. And there is no pill that could do for me what he has.
I guess that everyone just has to do what is right for them. My partner, so far, has insisted that the good outweighs the bad and has stuck with me.
Meanwhile, I am working on trying to be the best me that I can, for him as well as myself. I know that I am 99% better than I was this time last year even, but there are always improvements to be made.
Depression isn’t something that every relationship survives, but as my boyfriend has told me many a time: “If we can get through this, then we can get through anything”, and I think I agree.