Where do I even begin to tell this story? Well, I suppose I can say things started off beautifully. We encountered each other on the feast of St. Nicholas, and things took off from there. It just felt like we had been best friends long before we met. We soon found ourselves crazy over each other.
About a month into our courtship, she told me about her history with mental illness, to the point she had to be hospitalized in the past. She was scared I would reject her over it... and yes... it wasn't to hear about it... considering the implied risks to her life-span. But automatically turning to my faith for how to respond, I knew I could accept her, and more importantly, support her.
While I was ready to accept her major depressive disorder as a cross in our courtship and whatever future was ahead of us... I didn't expect it to strike so soon. A week after our first f2f date (which was wonderful, and both of us couldn't hold back planning our next date before it was even over)... her depression struck back with an ugly vengeance. She had to be hospitalized again for her own safety. At that time, her family helped to pass along messages between us. Thank God they've been supportive in all of this. She was released from the hospital on St. Valentine's Day, and the heartfelt conversations we had with each other that weekend were the high-point of our courtship so far. I thought that after that, the worst had passed. And yes... at least she is safe now. But the joy we had that weekend was not to last.
In the weeks that followed after she left the hospital, she started to withdraw socially. I began to hear less and less from her. She started postponing our dates, but still kept planning them and promising she'd make it up to me someday. And it seemed that for every step forward we took, we were taking two steps backward. Sometimes, her depression seemed worse than it was before she went to the hospital. She wasn't interested in discussing her favorite topics, and her face would appear blank. Eventually, it got to the point where she stood me up for a Skype date, which was very unusual because she usually tells me when she can't talk or needs to change plans. She said that it wasn't my fault and that it had nothing to do with me. She also went on to say that I was part of the "real world" but that she was losing her "grasp on reality".
Things got really bad a few weeks ago. She wasn't acting herself at all, and she said some very hurtful things even though I tried to give the appearance that I wasn't hurt by them. She said she was angry at God, her parents, and me, because of our shared views on patience, charity, faith, and so on and so forth. She said she could never have a healthy relationship, that she was never interested in me to begin with, and that she can only be attracted to gay and bad boys. She said she hated me for trying to do everything honorable and for being so much like her parents. Granted, she told me she didn't know whether or not this had to do with her medications. She has since deleted her CM profile, which I can only assume has to do with this.
Of course... none of what she said made sense. If it were true, it would mean everything she did, said, and expressed in the past was a lie. We had a bit of a reconciliation chat the next day, where I tried to explain that I wasn't perfect (since she seemed to be putting me on a pedestal), and she explained that the times she ignored me, it was because she was afraid to show me her dark side. But she was still feeling bitter, and I could tell she wasn't feeling herself. I could see that she wasn't ready to touch the relationship question, which was causing her a lot of concern, so we agreed not to touch that for now. We still have regular contact with each other on facebook, but nothing compared to the old days. I still feel that for every step forward we take, we somehow take two steps backward.
Fortunately, we have very supportive family and friends (something I've never experienced before in dating, so thank God something is still going right). Her father has remained in contact with me since she was hospitalized, and we get along well. We had a lengthy discussion after the anger outburst. He said most of her behavior can be attributed to her illness and medications, but that her true feelings for me haven't changed. He went on to explain that the doctors say her anger display was a sign of "progress"... according to them. While he makes no secret of his approval of me and that he would like me to stick around and remain close to her and develop a relationship with her, he has also warned me that building a relationship with his daughter won't be easy considering her conditions and issues.
Her best friend has also been in contact with me. She says everything that I was told in the anger incident about never liking me to begin with, hating the faith, hating her family, or that she only wants "bad boys" was not true, and that her rational side wants a good, strong, Catholic man, and that in reality she actually likes me a lot. That said, her best friend says her rational side is not in control right now due to her mental illness, allowing her emotions and her darker side to run amok. Her friend says I should stick it out because she needs me and appreciates my presence in her life, even though she doesn't show it or can't find the words to express it right now. That said, her friend also warned me that even when she recovers, this sort of thing can likely happen again, I may be hurt in the end, and I can leave now if I wish to without being blamed later on or thought ill of.
Others who don't know her personally have said I should get out now because they think she is "walking time-bomb" that's going to kill herself, if not me or somebody else someday in the future (these comments were made after the Ft. Hood shootings).
Honestly... the way I feel is that she's still a child of God, she's still human, God hasn't abandoned her, her family hasn't abandoned her, and I don't feel right leaving her because of her mental illness. I promised her, back in the good days, that I wouldn't leave or reject her over this. And... I truly do want to stick around. Even though it's hard, this is a cross I accepted long ago and I know there's something beautiful about it. And in the end, even if we're not meant to be together, I would at least like to give her hope that it is possible for a man to not let go of her through one of her depressive episodes.
At the same time... sometimes I don't know if I'm doing the right thing. I know I have to trust in God, but I don't know what He's trying to do with this, and I hate the fact that she is suffering tremendously during this whole ordeal. Am I being too altruistic to the point it's stupid? Is this a trial God wants me to go through, or is God trying to push me out of this? If it's a trial, I am more than willing to go through this challenge. I want the challenge, it's part of my choleric nature. But is that what God wants? At least God gave me enough time to know the real her before all this happened, otherwise I'd have nothing to hold on to. But am I holding on to something that will never come back? Sometimes I wish I could just see the light at the end of the tunnel already, or a clear sign that says dead end. But so far... the only messages I'm getting is "this road is very tough, you will likely suffer a lot and you won't get any immediate appreciation, but you might get thanked later if you go on it".
So... has anyone else been through a similar situation?
Whatever the outcome... prayers for this young lady would be very much appreciated. I am very worried about her. I know that I can handle myself alright, whatever happens, but it's her I'm deeply worried about.