Someone I love has depression.
If you know them you may not even realise. They appear normal, even happy. They socialise and smile and laugh. They can tell jokes and give warm hugs. They tell people they love them, and they mean it. They are kind and beautiful and a light to so many people who call them friend.
They appear to be successful in life. They have held down jobs, studied at higher levels, and have amazing friendships. They are happily married, and talk about one day having children. They look after their pets and live in a nice house.
On the outside they appear to be living life well.
But this person I know has depression.
When the party ends and the people leave, when the door closes and the curtains are drawn, that is when they let out the darkness inside. Their fear and anger, their numbness and paralysis, and their total lack of hope and joy only surfaces around people that they are most safe and comfortable being with.
For my person, that is me.
I see my best friend at their worst. I have encouraged them when they have lain on their bed sobbing and unable to move. I have done chocolate runs when they are to scared to leave the house. I have encouraged and cajoled when they have no energy to get out of their pajama's and have a shower.
Because I love this person with depression.
And on those days, I step up.
Because to love someone with depression means that you sometimes need to be the strong one. It is a relationship that teaches you what it means to love selflessly. It teaches you what it means to be strong for someone else. It teaches you how dark someone's mind can be and, in contrast, how bright and amazing they are on the good days.
I have told this person that I love them a thousand times. And then I back my words up with my actions.
Is it exhausting? Sure, some days. People who have mental health issues sometimes need a bit more of your time, a little more of your focus, and a lot more encouragement. Some days I need to repeat that I love them and am here for them 100x more than I would other days. Some days I need to hug them more than I would others. Some days I will get more phone calls just to hear my voice.
We have all watched those most precious to us hurt in ways we cannot understand or be a part of, any more that any person can understand what it means to be inside another persons mind. We love until it hurts and then we keep on loving, because the person is worth it.
They are worth the sleepless nights as we pray for them. They are worth the tears shed. They are worth the time spent listening and caring. They are worth the worry and fretting. They are not a waste of space or a drain on our lives or any other of the thousand things they can tell themselves. They are worth all of our love.
If you love someone with a mental illness, someone who would at times prefer death over life, then you are not alone. Your love does make a difference. I know you can get tired and jaded and hurt, but it does mean something. Your strength is to be admired and I honour you for the time and love that you give, even when it is not reciprocated in the way you want.
If you are someone who struggles with a mental illness, then no matter what your brain tells you, there are people who love you. We want the best for you. We want to love you because you are worth it.
YOU are worth it.
You ARE worth it.
You are WORTH it.
YOU ARE WORTH IT.
Keep reading those lines, even if you don't believe them. Keep reading them and telling yourself that and let it sink in so deep inside you that one day, maybe, you will believe it.
And to the person this blog is about - I love you. You don't need to be sorry. You are not a pain or annoying or anything else that you feel you are. I will love you today and I will love you tomorrow not matter what happens.
You are worth it.
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