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Sometimes, sharp memories of the phone calls we’d had would bubble up in my mind, but I’d push them back down. This didn't last for very long.* * *While I was in Spain, Thomas rarely told me what was wrong, but he would sometimes blurt out snippets of what was really going through his mind when we talked on the phone. His medication made him sick, so he would go off it for weeks. Although I tried to get him to see a counselor at UVa’s psychological services, he skipped the appointments I did get him to make.He wasn't learning his lines for a student production of Macbeth — not because he wasn't trying, but because he couldn't. I wrote him letters every week, each one exhorting him to get help. I found myself standing in vineyards in southern France, ignoring the fragrant smell of the dirt, worrying about whether Thomas was taking his medication.The way he lived felt, to me, like a kind of not-being.I wondered why Thomas would not take arms against his own sea of troubles, why he wouldn't go to a therapist, why he wouldn't go to a psychiatrist who could adjust his dosage.At the end of my senior year, I went off to the University of Virginia, and he stayed in Richmond to finish high school. He couldn't bring himself to care about things he’d previously loved. I told him that what he was describing was a classic case of depression and tried to get him to seek help.I expected our friendship to be shelved until Christmas break. Over the course of my freshman year, as these calls got increasingly desperate, I often wondered how his girlfriend was able to deal with this.
I couldn't sleep, and I stopped focusing on my writing because it took so much effort.
I watched flamenco in Granada on autopilot, hardly processing the click of the dancers’ heels on the floor, wondering who would call the EMTs if I weren’t there.
Every Shakespeare lover has a different interpretation of Hamlet’s “To be, or not to be” soliloquy: To be, or not to be, that is the question— Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune, Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles, And by opposing end them?
Not every relationship with a depressed partner is like this, but mine was. Some people can handle that without getting sucked under. I’m not saying that our love wasn't real, because it was, and sometimes it was great. Buy a leather jacket that you don’t need, but which makes you look rakish and daring.
Though he may have never sent me a letter in Spain, he did send me a copy of one of his favorite books: Terry Pratchett’s Small Gods. I didn't even know who I was after the relationship ended. Realize that it is OK to take some time to feel shitty, cry, and binge-watch Orange is the New Black, because you have lots of years left to live and you are going to meet some amazing people. You got along fine before that person, and you will get along fine without him — and he will eventually get along fine without you too.