I recently talked to a friend who was in a business relationship with someone who suffered from depression. They stated that it was so hard because things could change so quickly and this business relationship was only for a few years. Then came the statement I often get. How did you survive 27 years of marriage under those circumstances? They had a small taste from a different kind of relationship and could see how it must have been incredibly hard. There was empathy and understanding between us.
So how do we survive situations like that for long periods of time? Some people are in denial. They don't want to accept or admit that there is a problem. Some are enablers, some try to fix the problem while the person walks all over them. Some are angry or scared and run from the problem and some know how to love unconditionally. I would like to say that I was mostly the last one and tried to love unconditionally. But honestly, I was a little bit of everything. Especially after being in a relationship with someone who suffers from depression for so long. You go through all of it and there are good days and bad days. I just like to think I went through it better then most so that is why I hung on for so long.
I have also found that generally I can spot someone who suffers from depression pretty quickly. I can see it in how they treat people, their mannerisms, what they say and how they say it. If I am around them for very long I can see it in their body language. I guess that is a gift I now have after living with a depressed person for 27 years. But it is still difficult to know if it is what I call situational depression or if it is clinical and life long. We all go through situational depression in life. It is how quickly we can bring ourselves out of it or if we can even bring ourselves out of it that is the determining factor.
I believe counseling is good for all people from time to time. You don't have to be sick or insane to see a psychiatrist or marriage counselor. You just have to make sure it is a good one. For me, my counseling sessions are between me and a friend and they are free! It really is great to have friends who listen and a blog that gives me the chance to express myself. It is my therapy and it is free, but I don't suffer from depression either.