As someone who struggles with mild depression, I know what it is to be low and unmotivated, but the degree of dark thoughts that plague jamoalki are beyond what I can relate to.
I was particularly struck by this in listening to his most recent podcast. He has shared vague notions with me before of whether certain acts might be enough to take his own life. But the image of him standing in the store, calculating how much of a common medicine would be required to overdose on it stopped me in my tracks. How can that seem like the answer? How can life seem that awful? And how can it be a minor enough event in his mind that it wouldn't seem worthy of sharing with me?
I appreciated his therapist's reaction. That one I can relate to. I understand asking him to promise not to hurt himself. I feel like I ask that regularly -- and certainly every time either one of us travels. But the challenge there is that jamoalki is smart. He knows he needs to say he won't hurt himself... but that doesn't mean he is really promising not to.
Intellectually I know that in the mind of a person battling severe depression, there is the idea he is a burden and my life would be easier without him... that he would, in a way, do it for me. But when I hear the dark thoughts that invade his mind my mind screams, my heart stops and my stomach turns inside out.
Whatever pain jamoalki may think he causes from moment-to-moment, it is nothing compared with the pain I know I would feel in losing him. I lived a few days imagining that was my fate. And that was before we lived together and pledged our lives to each other. I know all too well the strange blend of numbness and excruciating pain that comes with that. I have moments of fear of living that again.... when he goes multiple hours without responding to my texts, when he is unusually silent on days we are in different cities, or when I am just being emotional. Some would say that I am being paranoid. But is it really paranoia when it is based on experience?
I don't know how to help jamoalki to banish the dark thoughts. Frankly, I'd be happy if I could somehow help him turn them from black to gray. That is, perhaps, the greatest pain of loving someone with severe depression; there is no clear way to help. So I do what I can. I remind him that I love him. I ask him to care for himself. And encourage him to keep trying therapy and medication in the hopes of finding a combination that will banish the dark and let in some light.