The first person in a relationship who said, ďIím happy if youíre happy,Ē was the biggest dipshit on this planet.†Happiness†and contentment Ė these feelings are a given in any healthy relationship, but living with depression taught me theyíre also the hardest to feel.
Look, Iím all up for other people being happy. Most of the time. And if Iím being really honest, I mean just the select few that I can tolerate. If my friend is getting married and sheís†happy, awesome! If someone aced an exam, maybe an audition, Iíll be like, good on you. But that kind of happiness just exists on the surface. Itís an ďIíll give you a big hug and a smile and text you ĎOMG I CANíT BELIEVE IT!!!í with 20 emojiĒ kind of happiness.
Itís quick happiness, which comes and goes. Itís not real happiness.
There have been times when Iíve†pretended†to be happy for another person, like when my best friend got the role I wanted in the†school†annual play. I was devastated, but the first thing that I did was hug her, and tell her how proud I was of her. Thatís when I understood how the runners-up of the Miss Universe crown must feel.
Is this jealousy? Sure it is. Is it†insecurity? Most definitely. But isnít it true that happy people are somehow always secure about themselves, and their surroundings? What happens when depression complicates any sense of well being one might have?
Iíve chased happiness ever since I was a child Ė and Iíve failed miserably all along. I try. I hold on to and pin down anything in my world with the slightest hope that it will pull me out of my misery like Iím desperately trying to win a†wrestling match. But thatís all it ever is. A wrestling match where happiness is The Undertaker, and thereís no way in hell youíre holding him down.
A depressed person dating another who isnít going through the same thing can lead to heartbreak. The mental graphs simply donít match.
Now imagine being in a relationship where your partnerís happiness is a constant reminder that they have something that you donít. When you have to wake up every day and be in the presence of genuine happiness, there are two ways that this could go. Either you could get inspired by your†partner†and try to walk down the same path. Or you could start hating on them. Itís nobodyís fault, itís just human nature.
How can you hate someone when you†love†them? Itís a conflict of interest, right? Well, it doesnít work like that. The love is a 24/7 thing, whereas the hate springs forth in spurts.
My partner has always, always been a happy person. Once, he was going through a super busy phase at work: 16 hours of non-stop slogging, late nights, zero sleep. He had no time to rest, let alone have a social life. During one of those super busy days, he happened to have a little bit of free time. And by free time, I mean an hour in between transit from one meeting to another. You know what he did? He grabbed a cup of his†favourite coffee, and went and sat next to the ocean for that hour.
When he rang me, I could hear that joy in his voice, and it was so,†so†real. And you know what I wanted to do? I wanted to reach out through the phone, and punch him in the face. Because his ability to feel†contentment†over such a small,†mundane†thing was driving me crazy. I could never do that! I could never drink coffee and smell the breeze and be like, ďWow. Iím so lucky to be alive.Ē Not even if the coffee were from Blue Tokai and the sea smelt nice. Of course, I love him, so I tried my level best to be happy†for†him. However in that moment, while listening to his unadulterated joy, I felt like I detested him.
A depressed person†dating†another who isnít going through the same thing can lead to heartbreak. The mental graphs simply donít match. Theyíre looking to soar into the skies while youíre trying to barely stay afloat in the water. Those with mental health problems are just as capable of doing what they want, but most of the times our mind is playing tricks on us. It convinces us that weíre not worth much, just like it convinces us that we wonít and canít be happy. So weíre not.
Iíve often considered what it would be like if my partner and I were†committed†for the long haul. Would I spend my entire life resenting him? Feeling inadequate and incapable of feeling what he is feeling? I always fear the spurts of hate, for what if they turn into something stronger and more lasting? I know for a fact that it could ruin us.
For now, I think, weíre OK.
I can safely say that I have a harder time dealing with his happiness than he has dealing with my†depression. I sound like a total prick, donít I? I am. I agree. But donít be fooled. I have never wished him less joy. I just wish I could have more of it. For now, I just have to try my best and hope that some of his positivity rubs off on me, and helps pull me out of this mess.
Until then, Iím sitting tight, and making every effort to feel happyÖ one wrestling match at a time.
Sehaj K. Maini is a young filmmaker and writer.†
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