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“I was married to someone who periodically falls into depression, and for years and years I walked on eggshells trying not to upset him or say the wrong thing. Then one day, when my father was in critical condition, he chose to get terribly down about something very minor, and I realized that I was actually hiding my sadness so that I wouldn’t make him even MORE depressed. And I realized– though I didn’t know what to do about it– that his minor feelings about his trivial problem (he’d misplaced his glasses) was considered far more important to both of us than my own grief about my father’s impending death.
No one ever says this, so I will. Depression makes people selfish. And telling the beleaguered spouses not to say this or that or do this or that only reinforces the notion that there’s only one person in the relationship that matters.
Besides, after years of this, I realized nothing I did could make his depression better or worse. Nothing. I had no power at all. You know what got him out of his depression? He fell in love with someone else. He felt ‘alive” with her, etc. I was pretty broken, but it didn’t matter, did it? He felt better!
I still actually have that sense that my own feelings aren’t very important, because, you know, I’m not going to start talking about suicide.”
You make a very important point. It does make a person “selfish” but not to their own fault.
It is very difficult being in a relationship with a person struggling with depression. It is walking on eggshells. The effects of depression are harsh.
I was once in a relationship with a person who was in a very deep depression and I was healthy (10 years ago).
Now I am the person in a very deep depression and my partner is healthy.
It takes strength, knowledge, communication and help for both parties to be in this. It is a choice to be together ( living with depression ).
And if one cannot handle, then they shouldn’t be in it. You have to take of you too. I know, it feels “selfish” to walk away. At the end of the day, one cannot heal or take care of the other.
Bipolar can cause a sudden shift from depression to mania. If that was your partner’s condition, then its matter of time and not about being happy with someone else.
Otherwise, I’m sorry to say … the unhappiness was in the relationship, not “clinical depression.”
What you had to say is sad and comes from a jaded heart. Your point about your father comes from the wrong place.
I know how you feel because my grandmother recently passed from a terminally ill condition in which she couldn’t know of. We made the decision to prevent the fear/depression that comes with knowing. Yes, it took a toll on us, but it is a decision we made and we worked through it. Just as you made a decision. What is healthy? Either way, one will suffer…. its was a matter of who, I guess.
I would love hear feedback on this. Be open/honest. Its a matter of hearing out how we see a situation. Reply/Comment below….