Today, while I practiced more “hardly working” than “working hard” from my desk at my job, I stumbled upon something thought prevoking on Facebook.
I have “liked” quite a few pages/groups related to anxiety and depression, so in addition to those posts, the Facebook gods usually throw in a few suggestions of their own. Of course, now that I’ve thought this through and am physically writing on my blog, I can’t find the link I clicked, so you’ll just have to trust me.
The link was titled something along the lines of how people with depression love differently than anyone else. Interesting stuff, I thought. Troubling, life commonly is when you’re dealing with mental health issues that unfortunately affect those we love! So I click on the link, and it’s 10-12 bullet points of explanation about how needy depression can make you sometimes. Always needing a shoulder to cry on; constantly needing attention; Becoming hyper-affectionate…
HOLD THE PHONE!!!
I laughed out loud. If I had these symptoms of depression, I wouldn’t have half the struggles in life I currently do. Now, disclaimer, I’m not saying these people are better off than me. I had just never considered that depression could manifest in this way. I can imagine what these poor people are going through with these symptoms and how hard it must be for them. There must be feelings of guilt for needing the attention, and like they’re incapable of being left alone. That must suck.
But that’s just not me in the slightest. In fact, I am the exact opposite.
For me at least, if I had those feelings, I think I wouldn’t struggle as much getting my people to understand me. Notably, my fiance. My struggle is that I do love differently than those who aren’t depressed, in that I love you, but I’m going to go ahead and love you from over here. I want to be left alone most of the time. Not that I’m anti-social. I’m very social! But when I’ve decided I’m done being social, I’m done being social. I want to be by myself watching Netflix, or reading a book, I don’t care to talk to anyone, and may not even acknowledge your presence for hours. It may seem rude or inconsiderate, but it’s not meant to be.
My fiance has the hardest time with this than anyone else in my life, understandably. He says he understands my depression and anxiety, but sometimes he ponders how I could love him and simultaneously want him to give me so much space. He is such a big hearted, affectionate person and while I love that about him, I’m no always capable of participating in the way he (or even I, in an undepressed mood) would prefer.
He may ask me to watch a movie with him, and I’m usually more than happy to spend the time with him in this way. In his version of watching a movie together, there should be some form of cuddling at some point during the film. My idea of watching a movie together is we’re both in the same room, watching the same film, but that does not necessarily insinuate any touching. We will laugh and glance at each other, and may even hit the pause button to have debate or dialog about what’s going on, but that’s where it stops. In my perfect comfort situation, I’m curled up on a separate couch, away from him, with my fuzzy blanket. Technically, we’re watching the movie together, right?!
Another issue that has arisen is that as much as I love my fiance and in theory want nothing more than to share a bed with him for the rest of our lives, I really want my own bed. I slept on the couch for a while there. Simply because I just wanted to be by myself. I wasn’t mad. I wasn’t repulsed by the idea of sharing a bed with him for any particular reason; I just wanted space to myself, by myself.
He tries his best to understand that it may be cliche, but “it’s not you honey, it’s me!” But when you’re as happy to simply hold my hand as he is and I sometimes I pull away, it can get hard after a while to not have that affection and to not feel rejected. I feel bad for him for this because he does not deserve to feel unloved, which of course, makes me feel more depressed. I love him madly, so why does it have to be this way? Oh, the cycle of mental health; the symptoms only worsen the condition which then, in turn, exacerbates the symptoms. A vicious never ending cycle.
I haven’t always been this way, and it’s only noticeably become a “problem” in our relationship since I have become pregnant. I’m undermedicated for obvious reasons, stressed because I’m physically expanding more and more every day, exhausted from all the growing of the tiny human I’m doing over here, and of course- hormonal. So about 85% of the time, I’m in a decent enough mood (happy even), but have a bubble around me that prevents being touched with a 10-foot pole.
So tonight, as odd as it may be, I recognize that if I had opposing manifestations of my depression than the ones I do have, my particular situation would be much improved from many angles.
In moments like this, it’s so easy to want to get down on myself instantly, but I try to remember that there are plenty of things in life that “could be” and it is okay that those are not reality. It does not make me a failure. It does not make me a bad person. It does not mean I am weird or stupid, or heartless. I’m doing the best I can given the situation and feeling sorry for things that are out of my control will only cause more harm to myself and those around me. I instead find little ways to compromise with myself, so that I can meet the needs of my loved ones, while still upholding the unique self-soothing I require.
Although he does his best to understand my needs and is completely loving to me despite it all, that does not mean my fiance does not have feelings, and I should take advantage. I still need to do as much towards the well being of the relationship as I can, as to keep it as healthy as possible despite the obvious challenges. Taking small actions where I can, to buffer out the things I can’t bring myself to budge on, really seem to help not only him but me as well.
So I moved back to the bed because it’s something he appreciates and I was capable of negotiating. I try to bring my fuzzy blanket next to him on the couch when we watch movies, so he doesn’t feel as if I could care less if he were there. I can’t have everything I “want” without expecting them to impact those around me, after all.
Doing these little actions that mean so much to him helps hold things together when I simply can not budge. For instance, when I’ve had a panic attack and needed to hide in my bathroom alone until I can calm down, I really can’t change that I need that at that moment. Conscious loving actions make me feel great as well because I know they make him happy, and I want nothing more for him than happiness.
If can go against my natural, depressive instincts sometimes, it’s not as devastating to either of our well beings (or the relationships) during the instances when I’m simply an anxious pregnant lady who needs to be left the hell alone.