Can Depressed People Love

As someone who have had deep depression, let me say that with a resounding “YES”, we can and do love. Love is as important to us as to anyone else. At times when I have been suicidal, it has kept me from committing the act of killing myself. I loved either my family or someone very specific too much to put them through the inevitable horror of finding my dead, lifeless body and the impossible “Why?” that follows.

Having seen the aftermath of suicides in families, I know I could not hurt my loved ones like that. That does not mean I was somehow better than people who do kill themselves. It’s just that fortunately I have seen and felt the circumstances where people are abnormally sensitive to depression, as such I have yet to have an episode or bout of depression so severe that it robs me of my capacity to logically think out my actions and consider alternatives. In other circumstances I may have killed myself, and the possibility that I could one day do it, is never off the table.

One thing to remember about a person with depression is that they are someone with a disease. Think of it like diabetes, but for the brain. Some people do not know they have it. Unless a depressed person has some other problem inhibiting the capacity to form deep connections, they are capable of, and do have relationships.

However, it’s important to remember, a depressed brain is not a logical one, and it is also inherently self-centered. I hate that term because it has a moral judgement tied to it, but it is true. That’s how depression affects the brain. It makes it much, much harder to feel for the sadness of others. In my experience, during a deep bout of sadness, you view other people as more capable than you of feeling joy, and so if they are sad it’s a passing state, where as yours is perpetual because you reach an emotionally “grey” state. It’s very hard to explain. You don’t become sad. It’s almost like emotional television static going on all the time. Sadness can be overcome, but bad depression is like an emotional void. Empty but negative.

I’m giving you this as a frame of reference, since it’s what I as a depressed person know. But everyone has different experiences. It’s very, very hard for someone in a severe suicidal bout to be supportive of loved ones, or receptive to love.

Depressed people do love, and we need love to survive. It can’t always keep us from our darkest places, and if we do make sad decisions like suicide, it genuinely has nothing to do with the lack of love. We are just people fighting battles you cannot always see or guess.

Some of us can hide things astoundingly well. Sometimes we win our battles, sometimes, we lose. It depends on the person, but yes, we are like other people and we love, but sometimes our illnesses can rob us of our capacity to cognitively recognize or express that… šŸ’ž

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