Without religion, spirituality, or even first hand experience, my Sweet Greg demonstrates wizardry level acceptance and unconditional love. He never expects or demands that I show gratitude in the form of joy, happiness, ease, physical or emotional availability.
He is able to accept without any real ability to relate or understand that my depression has little if anything to do with the circumstances of the present moment or him. Depression is not anger, a mood, sadness, or lack of gratitude. Though it would be easy to assume otherwise and then dismiss or judge. But Sweet Greg does not. Depression is a matter of brain chemistry.
For me, depression robs me of wanting or enjoying much of anything. Not foods or activities or engagement of any sort. I am most comfortable when I am alone without anybody counting on me for anything. When I played beach volleyball, people asked why I only liked to play doubles and laughing but serious, I would explain “That way, I only have one teammate to disappoint.”
Depression makes it difficult to sustain genuine and deep connection and emotional presence. It is exhausting – but at least no longer shameful—having extricated myself from those judging or demanding the impossible of me. Those dynamics always left me feeling either guilty for taking care of myself or resentful for having felt forced to deny my limits. There was no safe easy place of acceptance with those who require what they want and retaliate against anyone or anything they perceive as impeding them.
Understanding that children with depressed parents will be affected negatively if they come to believe they are the cause, my sons and I have regular discussions about my mental health and how they do not cause or imagine it and how they cannot cure it. Life and love are difficult when you have trouble sleeping and waking and eating and doing all of the things that non-depressed people do without effort.
Sweet Greg gives the best gifts, hugs, help, space….. and literally DEMANDS nothing. It is uncomfortable to be loved in this way. No matter how lovely he is, my depression begs for silence and space—disconnection. I do not want disconnection but often feel paralyzed, unable to engage. I suppose the fact that I am honest and open about it helps. He never is left wondering if IT is because of something he has done, not done, said or not said.
Here is a legit snippet of some weekend dialog.
Me: Hey Greg
Me: I just took a bath and I think I could maybe have sex without feeling resentful or violent (laughing — because this is fkn outrageous and only half jokey-and not an unusual exchange)
Him: Seems like a solid yes to me. Let’s go!
Me: Ok, but do everything right and don’t fuck it up.
We laugh and go for it. True Story. Enjoying even the greatest and most favorite of things is challenging 24/7.Much Love,
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