By Kirsten Corley
There is this misconceived notion that living with and having depression makes you unlovable. At least that’s what it feels like inside the mind of loving someone with depression. It’s the question how can someone love even the darkest part of myself I’ve rejected?
The phrase ‘love yourself before someone can love you’, doesn’t apply to people who have depression. Because more than anything they are learning how to love and accept themselves. But sometimes, it takes following someone else’s lead to get there.
What people fail to address is the concept of truly being loved by another person is what will diminish depression. It might not go away but the closest someone can get to beating depression is learning to love another person and learning to let someone love you.
So how do you love someone like this? How do you overcome the battles you might never understand?
1. Through acceptance.
Understand that this might be something you will never understand. Internal battles within one’s self, can really only be understood to the core if you’ve lived through it. So you’ll have to accept this without fully understanding it. And yes, you’ll see the impact it might have on the person you love and that might impact you but just know it’s not something you’ll get. But you don’t have to understand this to love them.
2. You’re going to see a side to them they hate.
There’s a reason they hide it. There’s a reason a lot of people haven’t seen it. But you’re bound to when you love someone. That person who is positive and upbeat and lights up every room they walk into is only that way because they’ve lived through what’s on the other side of it. It’s going to be hard at first.
3. Understand who they are at their worst isn’t them.
When they choose to let you in that close, what you’ll realize is how opposite this person in front of you on one of their bad days is compared to the one you fell in love with. You’ll notice a change in even their tone of voice. You’ll notice a glazed over look in their eyes. Everything about them will be different. Understand the negative thoughts and the words coming out of their mouth, you’ve never heard before aren’t them. It’s this disease. Depression is a disease.
4. They are going to push you away.
On their bad days, the thoughts will consume them that they aren’t capable of being loved. Love them anyway. Even when they don’t believe it. They will convince themselves they are a burden. Love them anyway. They will think you are better off without them and deserve someone healthy. Choose them anyway. They will tell you to leave more than once. Choose to stay.
5. The bad days will pass.
There will be days they won’t want to get out of bed or be productive. There will be days where you look at them and you feel helpless, wishing you could fix it. There will be days you blame yourself as their partner for not making them happier. Don’t think like that. This isn’t your fault and it isn’t their fault. There will days where they break down in tears and can’t even articulate why they are feeling this way. In those moments, hold them. Be their strength. The best thing you can do is stand beside them on the bad days because like all things, depression is a feeling that will pass. It’s a storm that will end. Believe that.
5. You’ll learn to appreciate the good days.
More than anything loving someone with depression will teach you an appreciation for things you’ve never thought about before. You’ll appreciate the good days as much as they do and that’s what will make it worth it. Just like those good days give them strength on their bad days, it too will give you strength. Because trust me when I say this, the good days outweigh the bad ones.
6. It will be an emotional rollercoaster.
This will test you in a way, you’ve never been challenged before. But there won’t be a better ride in your life. Because people with depression might know such negativity. They might take you to dark places you’d never choose. But along with knowing all of that, people with depression have an ability to love so deeply. They have a compassion for others that will teach you to be better. They have eyes that see beyond what is on the surface and their ability to understand and relate to people will be the reason you fell in love with them.
7. But it will be the ride of your life and totally worth it.
People who live with depression also know how to love deeper than anyone in the world. And if you’re lucky to be on the receiving end of that, their love will fill you in a way those bad days won’t even matter. Their love will make you a version of yourself you never thought you would be, in the best way. And it will be through love, you both can continue to beat this together.