For the past nearly 5 years, mental health related illness’s have been a large part of my life. This is mainly down to the main man in my life; my ex-boyfriend and now best friend.
Now to start at the beginning.
From the start of our relationship, I had no idea this this boy was any different from the rest in his state of mental health (he was much better from the rest to me in every other way). He acted like any teenage boy, having his up and down days but nothing too drastic, we would talk every day and there would be no visible change in mood at all. To me he was the happiest soul. However, as the relationship progressed and became more serious he began to slowly open up, and show when he’s down time took over. Initially (without sounding selfish) I thought it was me, and that I wasn’t making him happy anymore. The world of depression and mental health had never mixed with my little world before, and un known to me this was my first insight into our two worlds colliding.
At the age of 17/18 I was still quite naive to just how serious the condition could be. Admittedly I was one of the people who just thought, ‘make them happy and they’ll stop being sad.’ Which at 21 I am well aware is not the case! During the next few months of him becoming comfortable to break down the metaphorical walls and let me in, I experienced a plethora of emotions that I’d never felt in that way before. I was angry that this could happen to someone who meant so much to me. I was sad, that I couldn’t just make it all go away and for him to be happy; and I was confused. What do I do? How do I even begin to help or understand? Answer; I took to google. Little to his knowledge I tried to learn as much as I could about how it worked medically, and scientifically. I just wanted to show I was supportive and not going anywhere. While the information I found was helpful to an extent, the best information and suggestions I found were from blogs such as the one I’m writing now. Real life people, with real stories, all explaining how everyone experiences depression differently, and how the best thing you can do is support your partner with compassion, and most importantly…time.
As this time went on, I became more and more involved in the emotional takeovers that depression has, and truly got to experience how scary it can be. I supported him through a stage of almost manic emotional behaviour, which manifested itself as sudden and extreme emotional lows, which would often involve a full on break down at randomised moments. Which as time progressed would be accompanied by a subtle amount of self harming, in the form of excessive gripping of his limbs with nails in an attempt to get the mental pain to go away. At the beginning these were the scariest times for me, and had to trial and error thing Is could do to make him stop or at least ease his grip. Some of these times would result in me having a break down simultaneously, at the pure fact I was watching this happen to someone I love so deeply, and being utterly powerless. Eventually I found prying his hands away from wherever he had grip of, and just cuddling him, or simply holding his hand in reassurance until the feeling passed worked the best. This phase of dealing with things subsided after 1–2 years, but sometimes makes a reoccurrence during the worst times to present day.
I would later discover for myself just how it feels sometimes as I began to have my own struggles in life. Not to the extent that I’d previously dealt with, but I found myself struggling none the less. Depression I’ve learnt is something that never really goes away, but does get better. It doesn’t happen right away, and it does take time, love, care, and most of all patience, but it does happen. I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times at the start of our relationship I would get annoyed about the lack of attention I would receive during a down period, but it would soon pass after I realised what truly mattered to me, and that was just him. It didn’t matter what kind of mood he was in; he was still the same caring, funny, intelligent, and most inspiring person in the world to me. I still loved him, and was willing to support him the same, and will continue to for as long as he’ll have me.