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Read Letter

Long Dark Tunnel

Dear Jack, no, he shouldn’t have told you that. It’s because he doesn’t understand what you’re dealing with. You’re suffering from depression. Depression is a disease of the soul – no different from any other disease really, so nothing to be ashamed of. But it’s more vicious than many physical ailments.

Depression is a horrible thing. That extreme lethargy you’re feeling, like a mass of energy evacuated from your body at once… That’s one of the symptoms. No amount of multivitamins can replace such loss of energy fast enough. The accrual rate is far lesser than the dispersal rate. And so if you like take Lucozade Boost, Red Bull and the like, they can’t replace the massive evacuation of energy soon enough. Can’t match. This is extreme lethargy we’re talking about and it’s bordering on chronic fatigue syndrome. Which probably means you’re trying to compensate with your willpower to keep going. That’s dangerous. And willpower has an end.

There’s a brick wall beyond which we must not push our mind. When we do, we break down massively. Don’t move near that brick wall. You may never recover. And if you recover, it may take years of therapy to get back to “normal.” Don’t force things. Drop everything and take time off. Just shut down. I’m not saying don’t consult your pastor. It’s okay and you need his prayers. Depression is deadly. But you need to see a psychiatrist or psychologist.

Now, I know the mention of those professionals evokes images of mental illness and instability, but they’re the specialists you need to go to. Medicine has specialties. It’s not a question of faith or lack of faith. You’re ill, you need a doctor. Simple. You need to see a mind doctor. Your mind is threatening your life. Call your doctor (GP) and ask him to refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist. Depression is not something you toy with. It’s a horrible disease. At the risk of pre-empting your psychologist, it would seem it’s your relationship that’s putting you under terrible emotional pressure.

The choice you have is very stark – hang on to the relationship and suffer from depression; or free yourself from the relationship and “suffer” good health. Something tells me you’re trying to see how you can hang on to the relationship based on your faith ideology but you’re putting your life on the line. There are relationships with no redemptive value or possibility. There are relationships one must let go of. As it is now, it’s your life or your relationship. You’re in a bind because of the decision you have to make. Getting out of a relationship is not easy…any relationship. We leave bits of ourselves behind, the bits glued to the other party. Tearing off requires pain. But you have to take a long term view of your relationship. Do you see things ever improving? If not, you have a very difficult decision to make.

The reason many people can’t get out of ruinous relationships sometimes is because of the longevity of those relationships. Some relationships have been forever. They’ve acclimatised themselves to reception of pain and anguish. Pain has become normative. They’ve conditioned themselves to the selfishness, self-centredness and abuse of the other party. Sometimes it’s because of the state of their heart. Some people don’t want to rock the boat so they stay in a terrible relationship hoping against hopelessness. And sometimes they just don’t know where to start from after all these years. So much water has passed under the bridge.

I know this woman is the “love of your life” – you go way back to secondary school. You had a crush on her then. But you’re basing your marriage decision on the choice of a 15 year old – that was how old you were when you got “together”. Now, you know you won’t have peace being married to her. This is not the time to be considering other people’s opinion. You’ve got to save your life. If your depression worsens, there may not be a you for her to marry. And she’ll move on.

Marriage is a very proximate encounter. It has no private space for retreat. It’s a small enclosure. It’s important your mate is someone you can live with in such a deeply interactive space. In a marriage, we’re always communicating, we’re always saying something. It’s just that we use the main non-vocal devices like moods and gestures. And so it’s possible there’s no verbal altercation in a marriage, yet it’s the most miserable marriage imaginable. There need not be a fight before a marriage is officially horrible.

Your challenge and what is killing you is, what do you tell her parents? And what do you tell YOUR parents? Everybody has signed on. And how do you tell her you want a break? And yet you’re in an unhappy relationship. Her moods and temperament are killing you daily. You won’t survive. You’ve got to be bold and courageous. It’s your life. And it’s your decision who you want to spend the rest of your life with. Either you get out of the relationship now or you risk many visits to mental hospital. The level of insensitivity you’re dealing with is unconscionable. You’re dating a spoiled girl who insists on having her way in everything. When she can’t have her way she makes your life miserable and you go into depression. You go into depression because this is not what you want, this is not how you envisaged your relationship will be.

Not being able to get out can lead to depression. Though I don’t see why you can’t get out. If you don’t get out of this relationship by your volition, there’s a high possibility you may be carried out. You’ll be shocked what a burden will lift off you once you take a qualitative decision to leave the relationship. In a qualitative decision you don’t look back. It’s based on a well-reasoned analysis. Do proper appraisal of your situation and take a decision. You can’t die twice. Bite the bullet and save your life from death from prolonged agony. Get out of this relationship. Depression is horrible.

Yes, everyone will talk. There’ll be those who’ll want to do reconciliation. They’ll tell you what a cute couple you make. But you know there’s nothing cute about the relationship. People love romantic notions. Even if the “romance” is killing you. Everyone holds on to their fairy tale irrespective of facts. People love Mills and Boon.

Just go and see your doctor, okay? Don’t toy with your life. You shouldn’t joke with depression.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder |

For related letters, search for CUT YOUR LOSSES at

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Tags : abuse, Courage, Peace, Emotional

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