I distinctly remember sitting in my psychiatrist’s office one Saturday morning feeling rather good about my progress. He, also pleased with my progression as a “functioning depressive”, sat cross-legged opposite of me, Diet Coke placed on a coaster next to him and with a facial expression of both peace and readiness in case I defaulted onto old behaviors. It had been 2 years since my breakdown, a solid two years, for the most part, with only minor setbacks. Each trip-up took less time to bring myself back to center and we were excited about that. All of the coping mechanisms we had been working on, all of the talk therapy sessions, the lower dosage of medications—it seemed that everything was coming together and I had begun to feel like the old me again.
But for some reason, especially after I stopped seeing whoever I was dating at the time, I still felt like a difficult person to be with. I worried that no man would ever understand me or my “baggage” as some people like to call it. I prefer to use the term “extra carry-on luggage” but I digress.
My psychiatrist could tell I was mulling something over in my overactive brain. He met my eyes and smiled the way he always does when I’m on the verge of speaking the truth.
“I have an irrational fear that I’m a difficult person to be. I cause a lot of problems for people once they get involved with me. I’m destructive and nobody knows how to handle me.”
His smile never faded as his attention focused on my mom who, with my permission, sometimes sat in on my sessions. I could tell that my hurt was her hurt and she felt for me. I don’t think he ever stopped smiling as he said this next sentence, looking at both my face and then my mother’s and then back to mine.
“You are not difficult to the right people.”
Wait, I wasn’t? I had to let that statement sink in. For many months, I beat myself up over my own insecurities and was convinced my depression was a burden not only for me but for all those who chose to get involved with me. What my psychiatrist was telling me was that the right person will know how to handle me and won’t see me as a burden in their life.
Just recently, I was sitting at Starbucks with a good friend, a beautiful soul filled with so much creativity and love and wonder and anxiety and hurt and happiness. It’s hard to imagine one human is capable of feeling all of that before finishing a Venti Caramel Macchiato. When she started to talk to me about the purging of unnecessary friendships due to people thinking she was “too difficult”, I simply reiterated what my psychiatrist had told me several months prior to our Starbucks date. As soon as I repeated it, the statement clicked with her as if depressives everywhere needed to believe this truth.
Because the truth is this: Yes, there are good days and bad days, days where we don’t want to leave the house let alone our bed. Sometimes, just the thought of sunshine coming through our curtains is enough to send us into a spiral of wishing it were dreary and pouring raining. But then, we have days that are untouched by depression or anxiety. We believe in the unthinkable and stay positive. The right person(s) not only stick through those splendid days but also the shitty ones without us having to explain why every limb aches for no reason or why we’re pissed off about the smallest detail that happened in the morning.
I don’t think you’re difficult. If someone tells you otherwise, they can’t look passed the small blip and see what I see—a truly amazing human with the desire to live and live fully. Maybe these people will come around one day, but you need a strong support network who won’t judge you on your darkest days. Believe me when I say the right person will not find difficult or a burden but a beautiful spirit with the capacity to feel deeply and love intensely.