I write this during the longest and darkest period I’ve ever had in the almost twenty years I’ve been struggling with depression. To be honest, coming out the other side of it seems impossible right now. The strain of my darkness puts incredible pressure on my relationship with my Husband and there’s only so long anyone should have to live with what I put him through.
My Husband and I met eleven years ago and I knew the minute I saw him that I wanted to be with him. It sounds so cheesy, but it really was an instant attraction and although our early life together threw us lots of challenges, it was those difficult times that made us strong enough to cope when our youngest came along. I’ve seen other families torn apart from the stress, worry, fear, exhaustion of having a severely disabled child, but in the midst of hospitals and appointments, our relationship was never in doubt.
We couldn’t be more different people. I’m opinionated, loud, and emotional. He is laid back, doesn’t like saying anything that could be remotely controversial and he doesn’t care what anyone else thinks of him. In some ways I wish I could be more like him, to be confident enough in yourself to not be upset if someone doesn’t like you is a wonderful attribute. Equally though, his inability to have an argument drives me crazy. Sometimes I just want/need to shout and scream a bit but he will never join in. Perhaps that’s why we have survived all we have though, because of our differences.
My depression has of course played a large part in our lives on and off throughout our marriage. It has, without question, affected him but I honestly couldn’t tell you how. I know what I see from my point of view, but to try and talk about it with him is impossible. He just doesn’t want to discuss it and he takes everything so personally that I can never have a proper conversation with him. It’s not a criticism of him at all, it’s just his way of dealing with it but it is so hard for me.
So all I know for definite is how I feel about how my demons affect him. And it’s not good. When things are bad I can barely put a sentence together, conversations between us are minimal at best, usually he just gets one word responses. Not because I don’t want to talk to him, but because I physically can’t. I struggle to get out of bed and interact with my family, meaning the responsibility of school runs/medicines/food/physio etc fall heavily on his shoulders. Regular phone calls and appointments have to be made with numerous therapists for our youngest, things that when I’m well I’m the one who deals with it all, but when I’m struggling, he has no choice but to take control of.
Other times my depression makes me irritable and overly anxious. I find myself feeling an unexplained fear of going outside, so my Husband feels he must stay in the house with me. Regularly we have to cancel plans which involve busy or enclosed places like shopping centres/theatres. There are days when he can say nothing right at all, everything he does annoys me even if he’s trying to be nice and make me a cup of tea. He gets it both barrels over the smallest of things, and as I said, he never snaps back, which when I’m feeling like that infuriates me even more.
None of it is his fault, which is the worst thing of all. I wouldn’t want to live with me, he must wake up and wonder which version of his wife he’s going to get each day. My depression is not his fault, the way I react when I’m drowning in the darkness is not his fault, the fact he chooses not to talk about it is not his fault. I feel incredibly guilty and in the middle of the night when I am invariably wide awake overthinking, the thought that one day he will have enough and walk away absolutely terrifies me.
I hope that on the days he must question why he married me that he can remember the happier times we’ve shared, and knows how much I truly love do love him, and always will.
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