Living with someone who has depression


I come in,

I go out.

I come in again.


My movements are without remark,

they are neither urgent nor important.


I check in.

things are the same.

I ask the same questions again,

although I know the answer has not changed.

My repetition is meant to convey concern;

a caring voice,

a whisper of meaning from someone who cares:

someone who is invested in the answer-

-and is committed to hearing it, whether good or bad.


I care.

I am concerned, so deeply concerned.

But the answer is flat.

My caring does not breathe life into the answer.

My love does not fix it.


The next day I try again,

and nothing has changed.


I take deep breaths,

as if breathing deeper will allow more oxygen, more life

into him too.

I try to remember

that there are some things

my love cannot fix.

Could it be that my anger might prove more powerful

than my love?

Could I burn him with the force of fury

that arises from his being unaffected

by my presence, my concern, my position?

Might my wrath awaken his defences,

and break through this apathy?


I don’t try it.

I am too weak, my resolve too thin.

Instead, I turn to a hopeless acceptance,

that this is how things are,

and this is how they are.


This is a bleak landscape.

It is snow on a white day.

The trees are bare

and the sun is too distant

to be real.

It might exist still,

but night and day aren’t much different anymore.

The night is desolate,

and the day is too.

In the unsheltered, cold emptiness

day makes bleakness visible,

but in the blind night the bleakness is felt with equal strength.

It doesn’t change.

There is no relief in this landscape.

There is no reprieve from this setting.

Bleakness when he wakes.

Bleakness when he rests.


I say ‘rest’ because I know he does not sleep.

He exists, but he doesn’t really participate

in life as I know it.

Sleeping is for the living,

and he’s somewhere in between

trapped in an empty landscape.

Yes, he wishes that sleep would come to him,

but when it is denied,

his response is apathetic.

That desire which is so important to him,

remains disconnected from the body which expresses it.

He is not satisfied,

yet in this he remains passive.


This is depression,

this is flat-line,

this is emptiness.


He lives with depression.

And I

live with him.


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