“No one will love you until you learn to love yourself” is an easy enough phrase to believe is true. But it’s terrifying, especially when you have depression. What if you never learn? As a teenager, it made me fear for my life as an adult. I was certain I would never be capable of being in a relationship, but I was very wrong. Honestly, I do not like myself very much, and in August of 2013, a boy fell very, very much in love with me.
I have dealt with depression for as long as I can remember. I’ve been on and off medications, been to therapy, but it’s still alive and well, comfortable in its home in my bones. I can feel it every day, a tiny inkling that causes breathtaking emotional pain at the most inconvenient of times.
My depression doesn’t care that I am in a relationship with a boy who makes me laugh, tells me I’m beautiful 20 times a day and cares more deeply for me than any other boy has. I am grateful for the nights he holds me while I cry for hours for no reason. I am thankful that he puts up with my random periods of irritability. He constantly attempts to comfort me if I am suddenly uncomfortable when we’re out in public. He fills me with hope for the future when I lead myself down the darkest of paths, plays with my hair when I’m having trouble sleeping and encourages me to eat when I have no appetite. He takes care of me and I never even had to explain myself. I still consciously think to myself, nine months into this relationship, “Wow, someone is in love with me.” I often think about how lucky I am to be loved, regardless of my flaws in my brain.
This intense love is frightening, because every day, I fear that one more thing will push him over the edge. That one more time of me rolling over in bed, teary-eyed, for no reason, could push him away. I know it upsets him, and I reassure him through my salty, blurred vision that it’s not his fault. I am often overcome with guilt and I hate that my feelings about myself cause any pain on his part. Sometimes he is not easily convinced, but I try as hard as I can with the little energy I have. Some of our nights end in a tight hug and an “I’m sorry” mumbled from my lips, but I’m just thankful that he is still happy to wake up to me every morning.
Every day is a struggle. I am constantly on edge, going back and forth between caring too much and not caring at all, wondering when he will have enough. He is quick to remind me how much he loves me, but I am just as quick to be overcome with crippling doubt. We both know that this is how forever will be, and if he hasn’t given up yet, I’m certain that he is 100 percent all in.
Never let anyone tell you you are not worth being loved if you don’t love yourself. Never let anyone tell you that your mental illness is the reason why you are not in a relationship. Never let anyone tell you that you should smile more, fix your hair or wear more color. Never let anyone makes you feel bad about what you can’t always control.
Someone will be in love with you regardless of your most comfortable state, and if that happens to be curled up on the floor of your room, crying as you listen to your favorite sad songs, then you have found true love.