Tough love is defined as….
promotion of a person’s welfare, especially that of an addict, child, or criminal, by enforcing certain constraints on them, or requiring them to take responsibility for their
Suffering with depression and crippling anxiety myself, I know all too well what tough love feels like. It makes you feel like a criminal and an addict when sometimes all you feel you want is love… a hug… to take a hand and be reassured.With the early onset of my depression, looking back my family and partner were so kind, and in complete denial. They spoke lovingly to me, used such dulcet tones and reassured me whenever possible that I would be OK!A year in, a lot has changed. My family blames themselves for the way that I am and tell me a lot that I need what they call ‘tough love’.During a medication review I spoke to my doctor about the suggestion of ‘tough love’, he assured me that’s not what I needed at all, I needed help and that ‘tough love’ was not the answer. Medication and therapy would help me solve my inner demons, the therapy being something I am still waiting for. Moving back in with my parents recently allowed them to see the full extent of my depression. And to say they found it hard is an understatement. And it’s here the tough love really began. Moments of which I’m used to like laying in my bed, uncontrollably crying, staring into space just feeling so numb were not the norm for them at all. They became so harsh with me I felt but they kept insisting it was for my own good. Incontrolable crying would be met with shouting at me aggressively to stop. Grabbing my shoulders and shaking me to get a hold of myself. On other occasions my mum calling for my dad for help, to then he met with fire and fury, shouting in my ear, swearing. I have overwhelming feelings of failure and when I’m having a down moment I like to be reminded that “you have not taken a fucking test so what is there to fail”.
It brings me to questions though…. is tough love useful or does it work at all? For me personally no…. It makes me feel worse even though I remind my parents it doesn’t help they are adamant they know best and it will help me. To be met at times of desperation with shouting and shaking, or be removed out of your bed doesn’t help at all. It sets off a nerve in me of panic. I need them to understand that I can’t get better 100mph all at once. I need to take steps in m own time and when I am ready too. I feel that too much too soon will only see me fall back into a downward rollercoaster.Of course, I appreciate what they are doing and I know they are doing it because they love me. But to be told to think about someone else instead of myself, is that really any help to a person with depression and anxiety at all?