She's been dealing with severe depression (she has said that she feels like she doesn't deserve me sometimes), and I want to help her through that, especially because I know my life purpose is to help people evolve. However, I feel her depression is slowly coming on to me as well. I've overcome a brief bout with depression a few years ago, and I feel like it may slowly come back because of the relationship we have.
Also, although I know I must love her unconditionally to help her through this, I think her actions and life-style is causing me to lose interest in her too. She's a constant smoker, and has begun drinking. I also feel she can be very rude and disrespectful at times. The things I liked most about her seem to be going away.
How can I help her through her depression while rebuilding the love I felt for her in the past? I find it difficult because it's as if I should be complacent in giving my all to someone who's drifting away from what I want. I really don't want to end the relationship, and I know there's an answer.
This is not to say I've done nothing wrong - although I'm highlighting my own concerns, I know that I've been reacting negatively in the past too. I know I need to change a lot of things, but I feel what I mentioned above is most fundamental. Any advice you have would be great.
I suggest you sit down with your girlfriend, tell her that you understand that she is struggling at present, that you love her and ask her if she would really like you to help her out of her depression.
If she says yes, then ask her if she is willing to do her part - by willing herself to participate in activities that will aid her recovery. If your girlfriend is positive about recovering then I want you to see depression as the problem and not your girlfriend and for the two of you together to take a stand by committing to work together to recover from this depression.
To aid your girlfriend's recovery make a plan together as to how you can go beyond depression. Read about depression, learn how it can be transcended through exercise, healthy living, outdoor work, attending depression support groups, counseling, giving up excessive drinking etc and create a recovery plan that you can work on together. You will then have a plan of action that you can support your girlfriend in implementing.
If your girlfriend says she does not want you to help her out of her depression or refuses to implement the recovery plan with your support, then I would be concerned for your own welfare. You say being with your girlfriend is beginning to make you feel depressed as well. What does it say about the quality of love between two people when being together makes them both ill? Love, if it exists, is about expansion, inner peace, spiritual growth, abundant living, public service and learning. Love leads to a blossoming of oneself and one's partner.
If your girlfriend is unwilling to help herself then I suggest you take a break from your partner but stay in touch and see what develops from that.