‘An ex was upset when I went on anti-depressants because he thought his influence on me was positive enough’: Finding love with depression
How struggling with depression helped me love myself
“All you need is love, love, love is all you need…”
The Beatles song blared out from the car radio. I’ve never really liked the Beatles; always been more of a Queen fan myself. But the song is immensely catchy, and I began to think about love and if it’s all it’s cracked up to be. I love having an existential Monday morning.
Love can be seen as childish and filled with many naïve thoughts of the future yet, simultaneously, it fills you with maturity and you feel brimming with hope. Your love for your partner can spill over at any moment. For me, I didn't think love would be possible because I have depression. I felt unworthy of such wonderful feelings. I genuinely believed I was so unlovable, I was going to be alone for the rest of my life.
Finding "the one" for you is often idealised as an end goal in life. Some view it as a fantasy to find someone to "settle down" with whilst others feel obligated to have and maintain relationships. In the highly social environment of uni, it almost feels like you need to be with someone, whether it be "together" or going as far to make it Facebook official, it’s a social pressure that feels almost taboo to talk about.
Perhaps this is why we, as young adults, turn a blind eye to any warning signals of toxic behaviour and love our partner unconditionally: I know this behaviour all too well.
For a long time, I used relationships to fill a void; to make me feel something when I felt nothing for myself and I felt almost non-existent. It helped for a while, though it made me feel worse for longer.
After a many partners saying and doing unforgivable things to me, I took a stand and cut the tie. One of my partners become visibly upset when I went on anti-depressants, because they believed they were making such a positive impact on my life that I would have no need for them. After that, they became my ex-partner. There was no way I was going to be hurt by that thinking.
Yes, I was still confused about my feelings and I still didn't feel like I was worthy of love, but I was certain that I was worth more than that. I knew that that was not how mental health worked. Thinking like that allows for the creation of damaging stigmas.
Being in a relationship can be extremely rewarding and you can feel secure but, if you have a partner that genuinely believes that they have miraculously cured your low mood and suffocating thoughts, that can damage you. It devalues the way you feel. I was done feeling like that.
Healing is never quick and it's certainly never easy. I had to change so much about how I lived and thought which was one of the hardest things I've had to do with my life, so far.
As I’ve grown, both physically and mentally, I have learnt something that no adult, no book, no lecture, no amount of research can allow me to discover. I’ve learnt that it’s okay to be okay. Equally, it’s okay not to be okay; moments of vulnerability allow us to persevere and grow. And when you grow, you grow strong.
The most important relationship to have is with yourself. After all, even at the end of your worst possible day, the person that will be there to comfort and provide for you, is you.
Maybe the Beatles aren’t all wrong. Maybe all we need is love but, just a different type of love: self-love.