One young girl deals with the overwhelming experience of helping her boyfriend with depression, and reveals the lessons she learned in the process.
Watching a loved one go through a hard time always impacts you in some way or another.
Watching a loved one go through a hard time always impacts you in some way or another. You watch them hang their head, cry a little and you pat them on the back and tell them it will be okay, all the while feeling sad for them, but still continuing on with your own life.
When my boyfriend of two years started to get a bit emotional, I did just this. I told him it was hormones, or the stress of exams and said I would hold his hand whenever he felt sad. One Sunday about a month later, I was sitting at home watching the telly when he called and asked to come over. Thinking he was just a bit down, I said "of course! I'll meet you at the train station".
An hour later when I met him, I wished I had a car. I practically carried him home as he sobbed and sobbed in my arms. I was so unbelievably confused. This was my boyfriend, the guy that cuddles me when I cry, and is always tough and strong and manlike. Yet here he was, small and sad as a lost kitten, crying his eyes out because he had a bad conversation with one of his friends. "He hates me, they all hate me, I hate me" he kept saying. To me, he was perfect, funny, smart, kind and caring. one of the best people I knew. It was so hard to sit and watch him say all these things about himself I knew were not true. I tried for weeks to convince him otherwise but he refused to listen to a word I said.
For a couple of months things went on like this, every so often he would break down and come to me for help. I found myself losing concentration at school (he was in my year) and just watching him to make sure he was ok. Every day he would cry and cry, I would sit with him for hours while he cried, thinking he was weird and that no one else his age got depressed. I started to get depressed because the one person I could always turn to for help was weak and unable to support me. I got confused and insanely lost, he didn't want anyone else to know he felt like this so I couldn't really ask anyone what I could do.
Getting some help
All my friends started to get annoyed with me because I hardly saw them anymore, and my mum got really scared because she thought there was something really wrong with me. When my society and culture teacher came and asked me what was wrong and how he could help, I realised that my boyfriend's depression was rubbing off on me. I went and spoke to my dad, who is a youth worker, the next day. He told me all about depression and some numbers that my boyfriend could call. My boyfriend of course refused to call the counsellor's, but it cheered him up a little when I told him about the causes of depression. He started to realise it was quite a normal thing.
Slowly, my boyfriend began to see that it was ok to feel bad sometimes. I eventually talked him into going to see the school counsellor. I had to come with him the first time, but he eventually started to see her alone. Surprisingly, after only a few sessions with the cousellor he seemed to be doing a lot better. Eventually he managed to get back on track, with the help of his mum, my mum, his closest friends, the school cousellor and myself, he started to return to his usual self.
Looking back, I can't get over how silly I was not to talk to someone earlier. I was in no way ready to deal with all that I did. I was expected to make things better, when I had no idea where to even begin.
Making people aware that they are not weird for feeling depressed is also something I learned, in many ways I can thank this experience because I now know that whenever I feel down or depressed, its a completely normal thing. I now know that if a friend or family member is depressed, the best thing to do is help them in every way you can, be their friend and hug them a lot, but leave the professional work to the professionals. Try not to let their depression directly affect how you live your life...
Has depression affected the life of yourself or someone you know?
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