Living with Someone with Depression
By Bernadete F. Leal
I opened my eyes. It was a new day and soon I had to go to work. I looked at him lying by my side in bed and I kissed his cheek wishing him a good day. No reaction. “Thank you, Lord, he’s alive,” I thought as I noticed his chest moving up and down.
It was like this every morning. No matter the loving words I said, the affection, a smile, or even a song, he would not move. He spent most of his day in bed, in a dark room. Sometimes I would hear a lifeless moan, which I tried to decipher if he was trying to say a word. Was he asking for help? It was an endless struggle before I left for work. My heart beating fast and I was worried. I simply didn’t know what else to do. I was so afraid to leave him alone not knowing what to find when I get home. Since he lost his job, he was no longer the same.
I get up and go to the living room. On my knees, I pray with faith, tears rolling down my face. I read a passage from the Gospel According to Spiritism and begin to feel a little better. I remember Chico’s phrase, “All things on earth pass, the days of difficulty will pass.” In my heart, I know they will pass, but when you are struggling, a second feels like an eternity.
At times I look into his eyes and see his pain, a distant look as if he is in a dark cave. Yes, he was in his inner cave, which I had no access to and could not bring light to, despite all my efforts. What should I do? Pray, pray, and pray.
At work, my cell rings.
– There is an ambulance at the door of your house, says my neighbor.
– What happened?
– I’m not sure, but they are taking him to the hospital.
My heart races, almost jumping out of my chest. I rush to the hospital, driving as fast as I can with millions of thoughts in my head.
There I find him in a hospital bed. I approach slowly trying to guess what has happened by gently touching his hand. I see a red mark carved around his neck, and I feel a knot in my stomach. Scared, I look at him with tears in my eyes.
“My life has no more meaning,” he says looking embarrassed, as he slowly begins to relate the details of his day that culminates with a rope around his neck.
This was one of many moments that surrounded my life with him for a long time. Clinics, therapy, hospitalizations, medications, healing passes, and lots of prayers. Living with someone you love who suffers from depression is not easy. It requires constant dedication, love, and sacrifice.
It was several years of struggle fighting against depression: I wanted to understand depression, I wanted to end depression, but it was a nasty thing, very persistent. It was consuming the person I loved. I tried really hard to evict it! “Go away, you wicked, there’s no place for you here!” But depression ignored my orders and remained firm. I had to be smart and watch my thoughts because sometimes it wanted to sneak up on me and embrace me too, especially in the moments when I was feeling tired and weak to be able to help him.
“How do you do it?” many asked.
And I always answered, “Spiritism, my friends, Spiritism!” I was aware of the possible causes behind life’s sufferings and our challenges, and I knew that I was not alone. The Spiritist knowledge gave me the understanding and strength to keep going each day.
Others were surprised when they saw me smiling. “How can you smile, when everything is going wrong in your life?” And I would say, “Suffering, yes, but an unhappy person, no!”
Psychographic messages were written to me, giving me hope and encouragement to not give up the fight, reminding me of the importance of what I was going through for my own growth.
In moments of despair, I would hear a soft voice inside me saying, ” Stay calm, my child. Have faith. Everything shall pass.” And I thought about Chico Xavier remembering the story of his life, which I read many times, and that comforted me. I said to myself, “Yeah, Chico, it could be worse. At least I don’t have to lick the wound on anyone’s legs as you did,” and I smiled.
When I described the challenges I was experiencing, some would say, “You should leave him, my friend!” But the voice of my spiritual mentors would say, “You should love him, my friend!” It’s so easy to love someone when everything is roses. What about at hard times?
If Is it over yet? Well, not completely, but much has passed and improved. We have to respect God’s time. Today I am stronger, I have more understanding and compassion, especially for those who suffer from depression. I learned to be an example of hope and joy.
So if you are reading my story and happen to live with someone with depression. Breathe, my friend, and try to stay calm. Have faith and pray. God never abandons His children. We have friends in the physical and spiritual plane! And yes, in due time, everything will pass.
Love always and remember to LOVE YOURSELF, dedicating some time to yourself, because an empty glass cannot quench anyone’s thirst.
Jesus, the Spiritist teachings, and love are crystal water balms that soothe, comfort, give strength, and relieve pain!
Good luck and much peace!
Bernadete F. Leal, Master in Education, is a teacher in California, U.S.A. She has been collaborating with the dissemination of Spiritism in the United States for over 25 years with articles, videos, lectures, and workshops.