We’re so pleased to welcome author Heidi Cullinan on the blog tour for her newest release, Shelter the Sea, book two in the Roosevelt series. Heidi takes on the subject of depression and anxiety in the novel, and is here today to talk about the challenges of being partnered with someone who struggles. There’s also a tour-wide giveaway, so be sure to check out the Rafflecopter widget below for entry details.
Love Doesn’t Make Depression Go Away
An important element in Emmet and Jeremey’s relationship will always be the factor of Jeremey’s depression and anxiety. In Shelter the Sea, Jeremey’s depression intensifies, which can be common for someone in his stage of relationship and life development—but of course it can also happen to someone with major depressive disorder for no discernible reason at all. And so because Emmet is Jeremey’s partner, he must learn how to manage how Jeremey’s intensifying depression relates to his own life.
Being the partner of someone with depression can be a challenge, and handling that mantle improperly can inadvertently make the loved one’s burden worse. In Emmet’s case, he also has his own unique needs to consider, meaning the situation is even trickier. Part of the reason I wanted to show this chapter of their story was to let the reader see how the two of them navigated this aspect of their relationship, but it was also to drive home the reminder that for people with depression, falling in love doesn’t magically make their depression leave.
My partner struggles with depression (and is open about his issues), and we learned a number of lessons the hard way when he was first diagnosed. For the longest time I kept trying to fix the situation, to help him, to make his sadness go away, and he wanted it to go, so he let me try. It’s an irresistible impulse for many partners of people with depression, because it’s almost physically painful to see someone you love be swallowed by a black hole you can’t see, touch, or fight in any way. The hard lesson all of us in that position eventually have to learn is to be supportive, not invasive. We can stand beside the black hole, and we can send in love and support and maybe the occasional load of supplies, but we can’t go inside. It’s not our depression, it’s not our battle. It’s not ours to fix.
I wanted to let Emmet struggle with this issue, but I also wanted him to be smarter than I was and get to the better path faster—because at the end of the day Emmet would say he’s smarter than I am, and he would be correct. I hope you enjoy reading how Emmet and Jeremey find their way to the next phase of their happy ever after together, and all the new aspects that make of that journey.
About the Book
Some heroes wear capes. Some prefer sensory sacks.
Emmet Washington has never let the world define him, even though he, his boyfriend, Jeremey, and his friends aren’t considered “real” adults because of their disabilities. When the State of Iowa restructures its mental health system and puts the independent living facility where they live in jeopardy, Emmet refuses to be forced into substandard, privatized corporate care. With the help of Jeremey and their friends, he starts a local grassroots organization and fights every step of the way.
In addition to navigating his boyfriend’s increased depression and anxiety, Emmet has to make his autistic tics acceptable to politicians and donors, and he wonders if they’re raising awareness or putting their disabilities on display. When their campaign attracts the attention of the opposition’s powerful corporate lobbyist, Emmet relies on his skill with calculations and predictions and trusts he can save the day—for himself, his friends, and everyone with disabilities.
He only hopes there isn’t a variable in his formula he’s failed to foresee.
About the Author
Heidi Cullinan has always enjoyed a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. She writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, playing with her cats, and watching television with her family. Find out more about Heidi at heidicullinan.com.