Sometimes you just don’t know how to respond…
The day began like any other. It was a Tuesday, I was working (yawn).
Around 11.30 am, a few minutes before I was due to take my lunch break, my phone vibrates.
Three missed calls from Kerry.
One missed call I can deal with, it could have been anything. But three missed calls? That set off some alarm bells.
I headed out of the office into the fresh air of the outdoors, so my phone could pick up some better service.
We basically worked in the basement around this time. Phone service was a definite no-go.
I called her back. Within a couple of seconds, she picked up. I could instantly tell she was crying.
“Calm down, Kerry. Tell me what’s wrong.”
Between the tears and the panicked breathing, I could barely make anything out.
“Slow down and take a moment, I can’t tell what you’re saying.”
After a few more failed attempts to get her words out, she finally got there.
“I can’t t-t-take it!”
“Take what? What’s wrong?”
“I can’t do it! I don’t want to be here anymore!”
“You mean at work?”
“No, I don’t want to be ‘here’ anymore. I’m sorry.”
It didn’t take Albert Einstein to figure out what she meant. My partner had just told me she wanted to commit suicide.
. . .
Kerry had been dealing with some depressive episodes on and off for months. Which wasn’t helped with the emergence of the pandemic.
We’d been living separately for years in a long-distance relationship, due to commitments that were out of our control.
But we’d managed just fine. For the most part.
It was in times like these, however, that I wished I’d have been much closer.
Thanks to COVID, it was now law that we weren’t allowed to even see each other, let alone hold each other.
I managed a heck of a lot better than she did. I’ve always held a ‘just get on with it’ type of mentality.
Whereas Kerry has always been the ultimate pessimist, seeing the worst in everyone and everything. An issue we’ve been working on for a long time.
After she had told me how she was feeling that day, it took her a while to settle down. But eventually, I got her to a point where she was much calmer and able to speak with me coherently.
Needless to say, I drove home immediately. Work could handle things without me.
Once we were able to speak at length, I did everything I could to play therapist for the day — I wanted to understand how she was feeling, so I could at least try and bring her back round to the land of the living.
She explained how everything was getting her down — Work, family, friends. It seemed there was a nagging problem to be found at every turn.
But it all seemed to boil down to a severe lack of optimism; No hopes for the future. For us.
Given the circumstances, I totally understood.
You might be going through something similar with your partner, whether it’s COVID-related or not. If so, I truly feel for you.
But I’m delighted to say we’re both far better off now than we were then, and Kerry has at least a little lust for life back again.
Here’s how we managed to escape the darkness…
. . .
Making plans for the future
When something major like COVID takes the whole world down, of course, it can be easy to slip into blind hopelessness.
But every time we spoke, I reinforced to Kerry that once the curse of the Coronavirus had lifted, we would do everything in our power to be together. No matter the cost.
Building a wall of optimism brick by brick, even through the shroud of negativity, was a vital step in helping her see at least a brief possibility of a brighter tomorrow.
Now, we’re well on our way to the future we both want for ourselves, which makes life that much more worth living.
Both myself and Kerry have engaged in CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) before, with not a whole lot of success.
However, given the mental situation she found herself in, we both agreed it was important to give it another go.
While it’s easy to assume the restrictions of COVID may make the therapy process more difficult, removing the personal aspect, Kerry actually preferred the more distanced approach.
She spoke with a counselor for several weeks over skype and I’m pleased to report it was much more effective this time around.
Unlike the previous occasion, her new counselor was far more receptive to her fears and worries, making the experience a greatly beneficial one.
Antidepressants are a tricky nut to crack.
On the one hand, they’ve helped millions of people across the world escape the clutches of depression.
On the other hand, some people (myself included) hated the feeling of being on such a medication. It actually made me feel much worse if I’m honest.
Kerry fell somewhere in the middle; Her mood was undoubtedly improved, but it wasn’t any great revelation. Nothing to go shouting about.
She stayed on the pills for a while, before making the move to step away from them.
However, the statistics couldn’t be clearer; Antidepressants on the whole do improve the mood of those dealing with depression and similar issues.
If you or your partner are going through something akin to depression or suicidal tendencies, consider speaking to your doctor.
. . .
Suicide is a topic that shouldn’t be shied away from, particularly in relationships.
Far too many people assume it is only the lonely and depressed who consider taking their own life or follow through with the deed. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
People in loving relationships are just as vulnerable to suicidal thoughts as anybody else. True, we may have a more efficient support system in place, but that is not a guarantee of complete immunity.
If you fear your partner may be feeling this way, or if they’ve openly expressed their thoughts of suicide, take note of the above options and consider any other areas you feel you could explore to support them.
As for Kerry, she’s in a much happier place now.
I wish the same for you.
This post was previously published on Hello, Love.
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