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As some of theater’s most famous star-crossed lovers, we flirted, shouted, and stage-slapped each other with gleeful abandon.We were both dating other people, so we never allowed our on-stage romance to translate into anything else.I watched flamenco in Granada on autopilot, hardly processing the click of the dancers’ heels on the floor, wondering who would call the EMTs if I weren’t there.
He wasn't learning his lines for a student production of Macbeth — not because he wasn't trying, but because he couldn't. I wrote him letters every week, each one exhorting him to get help. I found myself standing in vineyards in southern France, ignoring the fragrant smell of the dirt, worrying about whether Thomas was taking his medication.Caring for him like you would a child, because you know he can’t do it himself, and he knows this too, and it makes him feel even more lost.Knowing that he will never have a meaningful relationship, with you or anyone else, until he chooses for himself the help you want so badly to make him want.He drove all the way to JFK Airport from Virginia to pick me up, and kissed me even though I was a sweaty, crumpled wreck. But he had become a Hamlet, not a spontaneous and loving Lysander. And that is the ultimate challenge of loving someone with depression: not losing yourself in the vacuum of that person’s emotions. Ford your own sea of troubles on a slipshod raft made of wineglasses and new shoes, poetry books and pizza boxes.When we broke up, he told me, “I hope you’ll understand why I’m doing this someday.” Initially, I was furious at him for not caring enough to try harder, but as my acid reflux and headaches disappeared, I began to understand.* * *My advice to anyone who is experiencing something similar is short, but I mean it. Go out with strangers, just to make new friends, and stay in with old friends who will kiss your cheek and help you cry. A raft you write into being, a raft you eventually take out and show to others.