Tuesday, April 28, 2015

He Won His Battle But We Lost Our War

She came into the equation before I even was able to acknowledge that she had. She quietly creeped into our relationship like it was a cracked door just waiting to be pushed open. She gradually took him away from me. I never even saw it coming; things just changed. I became the after thought while she directed his every move. I couldn't compete with her. She was alluring, powerful, and controlling. She was Depression, and I couldn't stop her from taking him away.

I still don't really know the whole story, and I know I never will, but I do know that depression effects more than just the person who suffers from it. My ex and I most definitely had a rocky relationship, but his depression made it all the more unmanageable. For a long time I tried to convince him that he needed help, and for a long time he ignored me and the same problems persisted. Sleeping through dates, skipping class, mood swings, poor health habits... Eventually it all became too much.

I couldn't sit by and watch the person I loved fall apart and not be able to do anything about it. When I met him he wasn't depressed; he was a happy, healthy, funny, charming, responsible, and driven college kid. As our relationship progressed I felt more and more responsible for the changes in his behavior. Believe it or not, things did improve toward the end. We started getting along better and he started being more like himself, but it just wasn't enough.

I had lost myself in his battle. I was so caught up in the fight that I forgot what I had been fighting for in the first place. And the resentment I had toward him overruled all of the love that had once been there and took it's place. All of the responsibility I had placed upon myself to care for him eventually took it's toll. I couldn't save him anymore; I needed to save myself.

I still battle, even today, with what happened while we were together. I don't know if I'll ever be the same person again; his depression changed me. At some point during the process, I wrote the following poem:

I would trade a forever alone for one more day of you and me
I'd give up my smile if it meant I'd see yours again
The real one, not the one you wear to try and hide your pain
I would take every breath and breathe it into your lungs
If it meant that you would start to live again
I would take every selfish thought and set it aside for you
I just wish I knew what you've been thinking
While you've been living life as someone else
Who did I fall in love with? Who has that man become?
I wish I could erase my memory even if it meant losing the good ones
At least then I wouldn't have to remember you as a liar
At least then I wouldn't fear that our love is a lie too
I would give every day I've spent with you up
If it meant you could be who you were before
If it meant you could be happy again, motivated again
The truth is I'm not strong enough to tell you this
I'm not strong enough to let you go
But deep down I'm afraid it might be the only way
Deep down I'm scared to death of losing you 
But even more scared to keep you 
What do I do anymore? Shh, keep quiet
My worries will only wake you
My confusion will only make matters worse
The silence feels worse when you're alone
Fighting a battle you didn't ask for; a war you didn't want to wage
But you chose your army, you chose the silence for yourself
You chose the secrets and the solitude
And in the end we all suffer
In the end I had to spill your lips for you to save you
But there was a piece of me who did it for myself
A piece of me who was sick of the secrets, the lies
I would not take it back if I could
So ask yourself, who did you fall in love with? 
Who has that woman become? 
Ask me yourself and I still couldn't tell you
I lost myself in your silence, I died fighting your war
And here I sit, still quietly fighting back
With words that will most likely remain unread
Like the thoughts you've locked away in your mind
Like the drive to live happily that you've so easily ignored
I remain ignored, I remain unhappy and locked away
But am I the one keeping myself there? 
I remain lost, I remain confused
Yet I still remain silent though I know words have always saved me
Why have I become like you? Afraid to speak
And even more afraid of what might be said in response
I used to be stronger than this
Who am I? What happened to that girl?
I will not fight for you anymore
I will not be your prisoner, forced to fight when you feel weak
I will stand you up and make you fight with me
I will not let you cower in a corner
I will not develop your bad habits or let yours remain
I will not remain silent
I will not choose secrets and solitude
I love you, I will always love you
But I can not promise you that if our love is your anchor
Holding you here in this place where you've fallen
That I won't let you go, because I will
I will only be your anchor if I'm keeping you safe
Keeping you held in a place where you know love
A place where you know happiness and motivation
I will help you through this
Even if it means I have to let you go

I didn't know when I wrote this that I was helping the man I loved fight through depression, but I know now. Finding this poem in my journal really helped me create the bridge between how I was feeling and the knowledge that he in-fact had depression. Gradually I realized that although I had been the one to help him through it didn't mean that I was the one meant to be with him thereafter. And I am happy to say that although our relationship didn't survive the process, he is surviving depression, and that is still something I couldn't be more thankful for.

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