The abortive advice, the careless comments and the crass questions
I've heard it all. That's what I always think, anyway. And then someone always comes up with some new tidbit of conversation to floor me with. Whether it's a suggestion or an observation or a direct question, you quickly get an insight into the strange ways of thinking of other people.
Now before you get put off, this post purports a tone of mirth, not malice. I have enjoyed a private, inward smile to these comments and I hope that, one, you don't get offended and, two, that you can have a laugh with me. People can be ludicrous, but that's okay. We're allowed to smile.
Here are just a few of the more recent ones.
1. Do you even love him any more?
This is a question I get so often. At first I didn't even know how to answer it, partly because it first came from a colleague from work, an executive who I didn't know particularly well and wasn't about to confide in regardless. But also, because, of course I do. Why wouldn't I? In fact, I love Jared because of this, not in spite of it. Not once have I ever faltered in my love for him and my perception of him has only grown and never diminished.
2. You can tell me, honestly, do you want to get a divorce?
There are certain people in your life that you will come across, or maybe already have, who present themselves as those trustworthy people who are ready to hear your most private angst, but really, they just like to gossip. They want to get the edge. The scoop. They ask questions like this. The "you can tell me the truth" questions. And for the record, the "scoop" is no. No, I don't want a divorce.
3. It could be the cleaning products you use.
Someone once tried to convince me that using common household cleaning products was dangerous for our health. And whilst that may very well be true, their argument was that they could be totally fine, but upon spraying the counter with chemicals, they instantly became suicidal. I don't diminish how awful they felt, but question the link between the two. I might add that I received this advice whilst Jared was in hospital after a making an attempt on his life. And no, the kitchen spray was not the culprit.
4. It's been two years.
It's like telling someone that it's been long enough being paralysed, lose the wheelchair. Some things that happen cause an irreversible change and suicidality and mental illness is one. There is no thing to get over or revert back to. This is it. This is my new normal. This was not an extended holiday I have been on or a phase I went through. This is how it is now. And how it will be.
5. Did you know he was sick when you married him?
I think people must think that depression is like a dirty secret people hide from their partners and then reveal on the wedding night when it's too late. I worry about the loved ones of these people should they ever struggle.
I have been with Jared since we were 19. He has always had a depressive personality. That doesn't bother me. It doesn't make him any less worthy or wonderful. I was there with him when he was 21 and began to struggle. I was also there with him when we were 23 and he was first diagnosed with depression and sought treatment. I was also there through all the ups and downs over the next few years. All before we were married. And no, I wouldn't change a thing. I don't care what is thrown at us that we can't control because I know it will always be us together getting through it.
What brazen things have people said to you or offered as a advice? I'd love to hear them.