[Guest post by Jenny, aka The Girlfriend.]
I battle anxiety generally, and deal with much stronger (read: debilitating) anxiety and panic attacks on a less regular basis. I’ve had a couple of minor bouts with depression. But the rest of the time, I’m a very functional adult.
Having had my own experiences with the above, though, I find it easier to at least attempt to understand what Rory is going through. No, I don’t know what it’s like to be bipolar, or to be inside his head, though he often gives me immensely helpful glimpses. But I do have experience with hopelessness and other concepts, in addition to the aforementioned anxiety and depression.
But when you’re the type of person who just wants to make it all better, what do you do to help someone you love so deeply who is going through hell? When you know that nothing you say will make a difference? I know enough to not take that personally (see aforementioned experience with depression), but it’s still a challenge to be able to do nothing but just be there. I do know that my presence is at least a neutral element here, and perhaps more. The alternative to being with someone is being alone, and that’s usually not helpful in these cases. My established life and I provide a decent amount of stability. So at least I can feel good about that. But when something is wrong, my natural inclination is to take action.
I do have the responsibility and the privilege of being a reality check sometimes, and to be an advocate for him as needed. But I’m still learning what my role is in all of this. How to be there for him, and not lose myself in the process. My role is continually changing, from lover to companion to partner in shenanigans to nurturer to a mere presence, and back again. But throughout it all, he’s managed to make me feel loved, important, and extremely worthy. And it helps that he’s the most self-aware person I’ve ever met.