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Whether your wife has depression, you’re living with someone with depression, or your close friend struggles with a mental illness, please know that, as a partner with us in this fight, we’re grateful you’re here. I’ve written this piece to express the gratitude that so many of us can’t yet show.
It can’t be easy to have a depressed partner. You didn’t wake up one morning and decide to care about someone with this sickness. We both know this wasn’t your first or even fiftieth choice. Yet, you’re here, and I want you to know how grateful I am.
The only thing worse than having an illness that makes you feel alone is having a partner who refuses to support you through that disease. Your fears become your reality, and you sit there fully alone in your despair. Thankfully, I can’t begin to imagine what that must be like and because of you, it’s all the more difficult. For that, I’m sincerely grateful.
It may not always appear that way. This illness creates so much negativity that it’s difficult for a positive sentiment like gratitude to shine through. But I am thankful for you.
Please know that I care about you as much as you care about me. Again, it probably doesn’t look like it. This illness makes me so exhausted there’s little energy for me to pay attention like I want to. I want to stay invested in your life. I want to care. I want to be an active part of our limited time together. But this illness wreaks havoc on my energy and my attention and sadly, you don’t always get the best of me. Please don’t let that leave you feeling like you don’t matter to me. It couldn’t be further from the truth.
I also want you to know that this is not your fault. You didn’t make me this way so you shouldn’t feel guilty about my mood or my dark emotions. My illness isn’t about you or something you did.
Please know that I want to get better too. I want life to get better for us. I don’t wish to be this way forever, and I’m not trying to make this worse. I’m fighting so hard to survive. My depression was never something I chose to deal with it. It wasn’t my first choice either but here were are combating this thing together. You haven’t given up, even when my illness is yelling at me to throw in the towel.
There are days I haven’t the slightest ounce of hope. I’ve all but given up because I can’t see a way out of this pain, but you refuse to think about anything other than the positive. You hold on to enough hope for both of us.
On my best days, I can agree with you. I can see the sun peering through the clouds. But I know those days aren’t common yet and your hope keeps me going when I still can’t see the sunshine.
Living with someone with depression is a chore, still you willingly help me through life. I’m not even patient with myself and my own recovery, yet you keep calm, and you confidently nudge us both forward together.
Patience is the most important trait you can have when you have a depressed partner. I’m grateful you possess an essential component to my recovery.
Plans tend to change as frequent as my mood does. You just roll with it. You don’t add unnecessary guilt or hostility to the situation. You understand that I don’t want things to be this way, so you just go with it all. Life wasn’t supposed to turn out like this yet you continue to move forward with me rolling with whatever life gives us. For that, there are not enough words to accurately detail my gratitude.
I know you won’t get it, but I need you to keep trying, the trying is what makes a difference. I don’t even understand most of what’s happening to me, but your attempts to know what I’m going through shows me that you care.
The questions you ask, the effort you make to learn more about my condition, the visits to the doctor with me, these are all signs that you’ve invested in my recovery, and that helps me. When things are at their worst and I want to give up, I will know that you are there with me.
All the times you were there for me in the past, all the times you tried to understand my pain, that’s all evidence that I still matter and that I should stay alive.
The lies in my head make me feel like a horrible person. Nothing said to me will hurt as much as the things my depression has already mentioned today.
The times you compliment me, the times you tell me something you like about what I did, the times you remind me of the fun moments we had together, these are all signs that I should still exist. Thank you for trying to keep those in the forefront of my mind and not let them get buried in all the lies and sorrow.
You may think it’s a mild compliment but, for me, it could be the reason I choose to live today.
Beyond all this, thank you for seeing the best in me even when I only see the worst. My depression is a stained mirror that warps the view I have of myself. You refuse to see me the way that I see me, and you hold out hope that someday my mirror will look less tainted and reflect the person I am and not my depression.
I’m forever grateful,
Your Depressed Partner