...and it was not enough.
What I know of depression, and I know it well, is love is not enough. Loving a person with a depressive disorder is not enough. Remember the old Al-anon phrases "unconditional love" and "co-dependency"? The relationship between the mentally ill and his/her loved ones is riddled with pitfalls, most notably one of perceived inequity.
We are not easy to live with, I know. But neither are you, dear friends. Perhaps more than any other illness mental illness comes with an extra burden of guilt. In part because some of the ones who love us most deep down believe that if we only tried harder, got happy, took things less seriously we'd get over it. It feels like a set up to always letting people down. That feeling of otherness eventually eats away at relationships. It is easy to love a mentally ill person "unconditionally" as long as you see yourself as the stronger one, the logical one. The saner one.
Let me tell you of the extraordinary feelings of exuberance, of joyful moments that the healthy mind takes for granted. To me they are gifts. These very gifts are what becomes my art. And those "un"sane moments? The unshakable dread, the suffocating anxiety, the escalating irritability that comes when words and sounds and sights converge into un-sortable chaos? They also become my art. I know these ups and downs tax the people I love. They are for better or worse woven into the fabric of me. Separating the illness, the behaviors and the core of who I am is tough work and often requires professional help. But most importantly, time in my studio. Art is the stabilizing factor that allows me to love and be loved.