***NOTE*** This is a serious discussion with depictions of explicit topics that may make some people uncomfortable! It's been a while. Only a few members here know that I was dealing with some difficulties in life but I never went into detail. A year ago I went through a traumatic experience and I've been suffering from deep depression since. I'd like to talk about it a little bit, for my own peace of mind and hopefully so that other people can protect someone they love the way I couldn't. I was in a serious relationship for almost two years. It was to the point that I was thinking of proposing. It wasn't perfect but it was a good relationship and I was happy. One of the first issues was my partner was never excited about sex. She would try her best but she was never excited or passionate about it. She was inexperienced and uncomfortable. I assumed it was from her previous relationship which wasn't very good from what she told me. I was gentle and assured her that we would never do anything she didn't want to. But she was always limp, almost lethargic, during sex and would often stare at the TV or off into the distance as if she didn't want to be there. It was usually awkward and eventually began to wear down my confidence. She would tell me how much she hated her job. Every few weeks she would go on business trips with her boss to big cities for fancy conventions related to her work. I told her how jealous I was that she got to travel so much but she said how she hated the trips more than anything and would rather stay home. This was a sign I should have seen but never did and was too selfish to care. After about a year things began to fall apart. She became disinterested and when I would ask to see her she would say she felt ill and didn't want to meet. After a month of not seeing each other I began to take it personally and I gradually became bitter and our conversations would become arguments. She cried that she was "broken" and "had problems" and "couldn't be loved" and that I shouldn't want to be with her. I saw these as excuses when I should have seen them for what they were, cries for help. But I became more bitter. The last time we spoke she had finally agreed to meet after a long hiatus but before we could she cancelled because of "stress", she said. It was too much for me. I snapped and accused her of leading me on, cheating on me, and other things I wish I could take back. This was the worst thing I could have possibly done and it will always be one of my biggest regrets in life. Our relationship ended that day. Not long after I found out through one of her confidants the reason she hated her job and her business trips. She was being raped by her boss repeatedly whenever they traveled. It had been happening before we were together, throughout our relationship, and even after we fell apart. He was manipulative and would book a single room, often with only a single bed. He would say it was to save money and that he would sleep on the floor. But In the middle of night she would wake up to him naked and on top of her. While holding her down he would shove his hands into her, force his tongue into her mouth and other acts that no one should have to endure. He would intimidate her and threaten her job to keep her quiet and then repeat on the next business trip. I was already hurting from watching my relationship crumble in front of me but after I heard this it broke me and I spiraled into a deep depression. I had failed to protect the person that depended on me. She was suffering right in front of my eyes and I didn't see it. She was crying out for help as best she could but I didn't hear her. She felt ashamed of what happened to her and I accused her of being shameful. It felt as if an entire mountain had collapsed on top of me. Everything I had done and didn't do became clear as day and I fell to pieces. For months I only left my house for work and food. I laid on the floor staring at the ceiling through tears, vividly imagining the horrible things that I let happen. I went into a dark room inside my mind, pitch black with no light. I spent months lost inside. I thought of the things that I did to make it worse and the things I should have done but never did. I could have asked her why she hated her job and the business trips. I could have asked why she felt broken and unlovable but I never did. I never saw the pain she was suffering and I won't ever forgive myself for not seeing it. Slowly I began to heal. I don't cry myself to sleep anymore but the darkroom is still there. When I'm alone and everything is quiet and unmoving, I can feel myself slipping back into the room. There is something deceptively comforting about despair, of leaving the world behind, going to my darkroom where the only thing that matters is my own pain. It's a selfish feeling. I fell into my depression because I didn't protect the person I loved but I realized that so long as I was in my darkroom I would never be able to protect anyone. I bought a ring, the blackest ring I could find, like my room. I use it as a totem or a focus. It represents my failure, my sorrow, my remorse. I put my darkroom there, on my finger out in the open so that I know where it is. As long as its on my finger then it isn't inside myself to draw me back in. When I feel the empty blackness calling me into the darkroom I spin the ring on my finger to keep me outside. Two years ago I thought people with depression or triggers were just narcissistic attention-seekers and I would have gawked at the idea of physical manifestations of mental states. I would have called it psychological bullshit at the time but then I experienced it for myself. I can't watch shows like Game of Thrones anymore because of the graphic depictions of rape. It triggers the memories of my failure to stop it and I find myself spinning the ring furiously before eventually turning the TV off. I can see now how people use trigger-warnings and counseling so they don't get lost in their own darkroom. To finish, I ask that anytime you see someone say they are broken or that they aren't worth loving, if they complain about how much they hate their job, their home, or even another person. Don't make the mistakes I did or miss the signs that I didn't see. Listen and simply ask "Why?" Don't jump to conclusions. Support them and assure them that you're there and listening. That's all it may take to protect the people you care about. For those who are going through difficult times or suffering from depression. Talk about it. I was lucky and had good friends who worried about me and were there for me. But talking about your depression is how you escape it. At this point all of my friends and coworkers know what I went through because I talked to them about it and it helped me. Now I'm talking about it here on an forum to random people on the internet because just putting your pain into words, of what it feels like to be lost can help you find your way. I'm doing much better now but I have a long road ahead of me. Maybe one day I'll be strong enough to take off my ring but until then, whenever someone asks about it, I'll tell them why I wear it. And for those hoping, my partner is doing much better now. She helped herself, quit her job and is on her own road to recovery. We've started talking again. She's forgiven me and agreed that when we run into each other in the future it will be as old friends.