Co-depressive: Shared suffering is still suffering. 

Depression is a nasty affair. From the inside as well as from the outside. Co-depressive, a state that a person can reach after having spent only long enough with a "really" sick/depressive person. Empathy is to blame. Laughing is contagious, but sometimes crying too. To see someone who is probably very close to you suffer even more. Every day, every day anew. Everything is black, has always been black and will remain black. No matter what happens, no matter if spring or summer, autumn or winter, it is black. Social contacts are intimidating, all of a sudden everyone seems to have so many expectations that can't be fulfilled anyway. But it's just one thing: please be happy again.

When a person suffers,

…one tries to help him. This is almost an instinct, after all, a person is a social being and lives from/into the community. Everyone suffers in his own way. One is more intense, the other longer. One quiet, the other loud. But at a certain point everyone suffers the same: depression. A paralyzing feeling that separates the person from his environment. In this case I can only speak from my own experiences, from my own experiences as a co-depressive. Because it is true, especially when a close person is caught by the dark fog and pulled into the black abyss, it is very difficult to separate emotionally from all that and to preserve one's own mental health.

My challenge at that time was to distinguish myself, because that is extremely difficult for me. At least emotionally. (Even if you get the feeling when reading my entries that I generally seem to have a problem with boundaries... is true.) How can you ignore it if your partner is obviously suffering next to you, although obviously everything is not so bad? From your own point of view it is not, not yet. For the sick person on the other hand, every day is a torture, that should not be forgotten or underestimated. Even if your own mind tells you that all these things/negative factors, which allegedly contribute to the daily deterioration of your partner's condition, are only constructed and/or over-dramatized.

If the person concerned were able to think clearly and above all to reflect on his situation, he would not be ill.

...many forget. One also does not say to an eating disordered person: "Then eat more. You look frighteningly thin," some probably (accidentally) do, merely expressing their helplessness and despair. Because if it were that simple, there wouldn't be any mental disorders/illnesses. It's as if someone almost starves himself to death voluntarily or lies in bed for weeks, in the worst case with suicidal thoughts. In man's nature no self-destructive urge is pre-programmed. This is mostly caused by external influences (socialization [#societycriticism]; expectations [#lessguiltiness]; traumas) and is rarely congenital (exception: psychopaths).

Just because the affected person is not lying in bed with plaster and/or fever does not mean that he does not suffer seriously. A suffering that cannot be alleviated with a juice or a pill (unfortunately no dear pharmaceutical industry). Of course medications can have a supportive effect and keep/accelerate the process going. However, this can never happen without deep psychological care and the will of the patient to self-reflect.

What I want to say:

I do not reject either antidepressants or tranquilizers. However, I consider the loose handling of this kind of medication nowadays (in Germany also, but especially in the USA an even more obvious problem) to be questionable. From my own experience I have learned that this "loose pill prescription" can be fatal. To stock up a mentally ill person with tablets, which besides deadly side effects can also develop a high addiction potential, must be cared for or observed. If no further care is possible at this time, you should therefore refrain from throwing yourself in with colorful pills and the sentence "Take them regularly and come back in a few weeks, you will be better already.

That's when the whole manipulative shit started. And that should not be a reproach. I now know that the disease can control you so much that you lose control and (unknowingly) act self-righteously and selfishly. His increasing dissatisfaction controlled our entire relationship. At first I tried to relieve him of all the troublesome things. I threw the household away, went shopping and cooked the food. At the same time I went to work and started my Master. Most friends came to us from then on, because he didn't like to leave the house any more and was calmer inside, even though I didn't do that too often anymore. At least not on the weekend or in the evening, because who knows what could happen...

Jealousy.

No more and no less. At some point he admitted it. He was possessed. After all, I was the woman at his side, he the man. In his eyes he should have been the stronger one - "the provider" - (thank you expectations - thank you patriarchy), but he did not succeed and thus caused self-hatred and even more dissatisfaction. So it seemed legitimate to undermine my autonomy in the form of emotional blackmail.

At some point, therapy was inevitable. In the meantime, our (remaining) social environment had also noticed that this was not a simple temporary mood change and that I alone could not be responsible for his recovery. Above all, I didn't want to be responsible any longer, because it's fucking exhausting and emotionally exhausting to watch your partner "dissolve" day after day. Dissolving is quite good at this point, because at some point it was difficult for him to keep eye contact, he almost avoided you and his posture collapsed. He was not only closed, he also looked like that. From now on it became dangerous: the initial moaning turned into an inner bubbling.

At least I assume so, otherwise he wouldn't have exploded in ever smaller intervals. Aggressive outbreaks, which let the one or other perfume bottle shatter into thousand parts. Cabinet doors became punchbags. Psychological help was needed, that was clear. After a long discussion and a lot of convincing, he took the (emotionally) arduous road and went to the clinic. There he talked about his hopelessness, his lack of drive and his lack of perspective, which hardly let him leave the bed. After taking a look at the calendar, it quickly became clear that his suffering would unfortunately still require some patience, as there was currently no one available to help him. (Self-fulfilling prophecy: Who should be able to help him?) But at least he was given all kinds of medication (sleeping pills, sedatives and antidepressants), fortunately also in rough quantities (...because a lot helps a lot).

It didn't take six weeks (the search for a therapist took longer again) and the first suicide attempt had happened. Overdose. Medications and drugs. Leverage effect. Survived. The next day: admission to the clinic.

The shock was deep, the trauma afterwards too. I hadn't asked for it. I didn't want to (have to) see that. Admittedly, after he consumed his medication "appropriately", he seemed calmer from then on. Any negative outbursts had vanished and a cumbersome lethargy dominated his appearance. He just sat there. Neither sad nor happy. Mostly tired, remarkably hungry, little dynamic. Sure, stunning someone protects his environment and most of all himself. That is also really hard to see. Pure resignation. Stunned and paralyzed. Little alive, far away from life. Allegedly you are the only person who understands your partner, but you still can't help him. From then on my behaviour was tied to almost endless conditions. Because apparently I had an unbelievable power over him and his suffering. Paradox when you consider that I didn't feel much more than absolutely helpless.

Depression is not fun

Professional help is required here - by no means exclusively medicinal help. Also life partners, close friends, confidants can only rarely play therapist and guarantee a sufficient supply. Care. In this case this is quite true. Because a person afflicted with depression has almost infinite needs that have to be fulfilled. Unfortunately, it is hardly possible for him alone or connected with extreme efforts, which is why the sick person usually breaks at the beginning under this burden.

At that time it was not possible for me to carry everything and finally I found myself in a whirlpool of endless darkness, which would accompany me for months to come. Even after the separation, the intense moments and helplessness I suffered did not let me sleep. At night the thoughts "What could I have done better? Why didn't I see that coming? Why wasn't it possible for me to put a stop to this?" The lack of helpfulness of different institutions in my eyes at that time also contributed to the fact that I could not process what I had experienced so easily and put it aside. From then on I was accompanied by a constant mistrust and the feeling of being overwhelmed even by the simplest situations. Unstable. Who or what else could I rely on? My gut feeling? No, that had left me in the lurch over the last few months. On our health system? No, my ex-boyfriend had only fobbed that off with a few recipes and left it to himself, although he had the courage to ask for help.

As ridiculous as it sounds,

...but depression can be contagious. I'm not saying that I question his suffering or presume to be able to evaluate it. But I want to show that the disease is not to be underestimated. Neither for the affected person, nor for his environment. It is important to set limits in such moments. Even if it sounds unbelievably hard and an unsolvable task, because you don't like to see your loved one suffer, it is the only right thing to do. It is fatal to feed the disease with exaggerated care. After all, it is the patient's task to admit that this condition does not correspond to normality.

Love your neighbor, but first and foremost yourself!

From then on I had this dream again and again. I was in danger. And I was blind. I always had the feeling as if I had to blink strongly, because I am blinded but only unrecognisable outlines appear in the ray of light. My heart overturned every time I woke up and my breath went fast. Yes, in the most intense episodes I awoke from an unmistakable gasp for air and sat almost upright in bed. Bathed in sweat, streaming with tears.

What was that supposed to tell me?

Why was I almost blind every time and seemed to be fleeing something or being threatened by something. The dreams were repetitively intense and mostly contained a certain detail; an experience or event that seemed to occupy my subconscious for a long time. Sometimes the scenario took place in my parents' house; sometimes in my last relationship in another city; sometimes in a strange place, but then the actors had met me somewhere before. Either in a close circle of acquaintances, rarely from the family, but often completely disconnected from a fleeting encounter in everyday life. But one thing should never change: In the end, I was always blind and desperately sought help. I did not understand it.

After some time

…I searched the Internet for dream interpretation books and psychological approaches to recurring symbols in the dream world. I interpreted my repeated blindness and helplessness. "They close their eyes to something, they may feel guilty or run away from something." Oh yes, okay. If you could have come up with that yourself. A lot had happened and I didn't always reflect everything. Sometimes repression is simply the simpler solution and in most cases, at least temporarily, is more fun. Without fun there is no fun. Unfortunately, repressing doesn't mean forgetting and so most of it goes undigested into the subconscious. Also the stomach may prefer his food pre-chewed.

But what exactly should I have suppressed - funny enough - in my opinion? What had happened? No, quite the opposite. That was always in my mind and made me stay so restless and restless. And above all sleepless. Sleep is so important. I realize this every time I wake up in the morning after eight hours of sleep and feel rested. The night wasn't on the run and didn't have to look for help.

But when did the moment come when all this changed?

The moment I really started taking care of myself. To put myself to the thought and to deal with them. And above all to really do something for me. No more living in extremes and turning up instead of relaxing.

Escape into addiction.

Admittedly, drugs are a great thing to create your own world for a certain time and to live your everyday life far away from reality. Somewhere there is always a rave. Never enough. I don't see it that way anymore. Drugs are dangerous. Especially in hard times they are pure poison. The same applies to sex. Meaningless ONS don't make you happier. On the contrary. The tolerance limit rises.  The high, on the other hand, decreases - as with coke. Frustrating, exhausting... and unnecessary.

Ultimately, it was my move and new surroundings that pulled me out of the dark swamp and showed me that it was just an unpleasant moment in my life; an agonizing yet instructive episode. What would I have been at that time without my best friend, who showed me in the following months how beautiful and colorful life actually is. I love her for that, because I had almost forgotten about that after the thought-provoking, problem-laden months before. As well as my needs. I had willingly put them aside because I had set myself the goal of defeating my ex's illness. It was my new partner who finally gave me the understanding and patience I needed to finally remove this dark episode from my mind. His encouragement and almost inexhaustible motivation to give me back my basic trust was what made me shine again and gave me the strength to tackle new things and to realize myself. I am infinitely grateful to you - and always will be.

Awakening.

It sounds hackneyed and not very individual, but in addition it was mainly traveling, meditation, mindfulness, the beginning of a therapy, rest, a certain amount of structure, sport and above all yoga, as well as one or the other book that gave me a more constant inner peace. Everything no longer seemed so existentially threatening. Since then I have my eyesight back. I don't seem to look away anymore. I look myself in. I listen to myself. I am not saying that it is the right and only solution for everyone and every problem. It has helped me and I am glad to have gathered this knowledge and to be one experience richer. Even if this is just pretty much the Work-Life-Balance / Mindfulness mainstream at the moment.

The realization came at Christmas, because at that time I noticed that I hadn't had this dream for months. For the fact that he accompanied me for years, he said goodbye without much fuss and without much attention.

Love yourself.

Bild: Hans Krum