This piece was written a few years ago, in the depth of trying to process the slow but steady damage of my partner’s depressive episodes.
Today, I realized that I had spent too much energy seeking his attention.
Of course, I noticed this only after depleting my supply.
Sadly, my attempts were barely successful.
Have you ever felt that you have the best intentions and give it your all throughout the day? I personally cheer him and myself up often by being silly and creating funny stories and questions. In this positive energy shake of goodness, I also sprinkle loving touches including occasional back scratches and hand-holding.
None of this sounds unusual right?
Yet during periods of his indifference, when you already feel like a stranger instead a loving partner, these actions actually take quite a bit of conscious effort and internal battles with your own ego.
So what made me realize that my energy supply was at dangerously low levels?
One particular event sparked this.
We spent a lovely day in Clearwater, Florida. We left for the airport a few hours earlier than necessary, with the intention to stop at a more secluded spot by the water to enjoy the outdoors for just a little longer. He was driving and I fell asleep for about 15-20 minutes, in which time he decided to bypass the water and had made a turn onto a highway away from the airport.
He had the good intention to take us on a short detour and find something else to do, but instead we ended up sitting in the car for an additional hour sitting in traffic instead.
We had to do a full circle and when we passed by the water again, he turned into the parking lot and parked with the view of the sunset. Of course after sitting for so long, I suggested that we sit outside. He said he preferred to stay in the car and I should go outside if I’d like. I said that we’ve driven for a while and asked ‘You don’t want to come out, so we can watch the sunset?’.
His response was ‘Go for it alone, why with me?’.
That struck me surprisingly hard. ‘Why with me’.. I responded quite sarcastically ‘Hmm, I don’t know..’.
‘Why with me?’ Because watching the sunset together on our last day in Florida can be romantic? Because I enjoy your company? Because that’s what couples do? Because you’re not just somebody who drove me around today? It would be nice to share this romantic moment..
I didn’t say any of this, but these answers seem pretty accurate to me. I said ‘Hmm, I don’t know…’ and sat a few feet away right by the water.
As I sat there, I watched the little waves hit a rugged rock that was sticking out of the water, close to the shore.
The waves were consistently hitting this warrior, once every two seconds, most equal in height, with a smaller wave doing the job every five or six hits, almost giving the rock a break from the abuse.
I felt an odd familiarity to this rugged rock, being engulfed in the water every two seconds, given a chance to take a small breather in between waves.
Still rugged, like me, the rock seemed to be in the relative beginning of its test against Earth’s deadly element, water, acting tireless through time and space.
This warrior stands tall, its ridges representing the strength and power that make up its physical and mental state, ready to take on the inevitable attack of the water.
I found myself wondering how long this rock will be edgy as it is. When will its strength and power start fading, its ridges slowly smoothing over by the force of the water.
When will its two seconds at a time not be enough for the rock to take that well deserved breather to prepare for the next hit?
The constant pressure will inevitably shift and change the rock’s identity. Perhaps not its core makeup, but the formula that makes up who it is. How it interacts with the world and all the challenges that come its way.
Like my fellow warrior will one day, will I be affected by the pressure? Will I turn into a pebble, shaped by the consistent forces of depression’s merciless attacks?
A pebble, smooth at the edges, perhaps decorated with wrinkles from the games played.. As a pebble, will who I used to be be stripped away fully Will my original identity be turned into grains of sand?
Inevitably so, unless the relationship between the Earth and Moon ceases to exist as we know it, and waves are halted forever.
These parts of me, the sand particles, having been swept far away from their reality, float out among the enemy itself in space and time, on a journey to find where they really belong.
Meanwhile, the pebble slowly becomes comfortable with its fate, realizes it will continue to lose some of itself during the lifelong dance with its partner, the water. To protect its mental deterioration, it must learn to see what once seemed cruel as a positive survival mechanism which relieves its weaknesses and leaves only the strongest core to brave depression.
It chooses to see life this way.
Because the alternative is scary.
Looking further into the future, it knows that one day, even its strongest core – the goodness of the heart – will be stripped away as well, one grain of sand at a time, sent off on its own to find its purpose.
And all that remains is a single grain. The longest standing warrior is now stripped of its armour and it too is now free to roam, searching for the next adventure.
Will I be that single grain, being let go of the heavy responsibility of being a rock.
Will I be free to roam, as a result of my ‘deterioration’?
And like clockwork, the waves keep coming, one every few seconds.
Now, they are face to face with the next rugged warrior. The one that had been hiding behind the first for years. Now it too has to learn to brave the force of nature it didn’t even know existed.
Depression starts a new game.
Commanding the rules, it already knows how it will end.
– Katrin, with Love
P.S. If you liked this exploration, look out for another two vulnerable shares from me on this topic. The next blog post in this series is called “Depression Diary – The Other Side Of The Coin.”