Gasping for Air

Have you ever had a friend who suffered from severe depression or had a substance abuse problem?  Most people have had this experience.

You know what it’s like.  You love them but you never entirely trust them.  You get giddy with happiness when they have a few good weeks in a row.  You can get so intoxicated with hope that you’ll even get giddy with happiness when they have a couple of good days in a row. 

But then they slide back.  And you feel like an asshole for expecting too much of them.  And you feel contempt for their inability to straighten themselves out, even though you know that it’s not entirely their fault that they can’t.  But part of you feels that it is too their fault that they can’t straighten themselves out.  How difficult can it be?  Don’t they want to get better?

And then you feel guilty for not being sympathetic enough, for not believing in them enough.  You try like hell to cheer them on, to motivate them, and you see time and time again that it really doesn’t make that much difference what you do.  And so you begin to resent them for taking up so much of your precious time.  You give them so much and they give you so little.

You become convinced that they’re basket cases.  But you still love them.  And you never lose hope that they’re going to be all right in the end.  You are entirely sick of them, but you never reach the point where you want them to go away.  You settle into an impossible situation.  You are helpless, unhappy, and hopeful. 

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