Anxiety, Depression and Marriage
My relationship with my husband has always been great. Obviously not without it’s ups and downs, but we have always shared laughter and supported each other. We met at a friends birthday and had an instant connection. Over the years of being together I have never known that I could love someone so much. We’ve always had a great partnership and our biggest test came when anxiety and depression hit me and therefore our relationship. It shook our world like an unexpected earthquake.
Looking back over the last few months I now realise how challenging it must’ve have been for my husband to deal with my anxious and depressive moments especially during the first four weeks on antidepressants. When I first started my antidepressant medication the first four weeks were the worst weeks of my life as it worsened my symptoms and I would go as far as stating that it was probably the worst weeks of my husbands life too. The worst four weeks of our entire relationship. I was extremely angry and the anger was always followed by uncontrollable and hysterical crying. I believe the anger I felt at the time was worsened by the medication as prior to taking it I was overcome with emotion and my only way of dealing with it was crying. My doctor warned us both that during the first four weeks I would get worse before I would get better and that is exactly what happened to me.
He is a man of few words and although he doesn’t say much I know how worried he was but also how relieved he is now to have his wife back. At one point I was so angry with the world that even the smallest things set me off. One specific moment that to this day haunts me was when we were out driving on the motorway at 70mph and I just became so incredibly angry with him I started screaming and to this day I do not know why. It was then that I had my first outer body experience. I knew that I was being irrational and unreasonable but I couldn’t stop myself. It was as if something had taken over my mind and body. It felt like I was looking down at myself trying to tell myself to calm down, to stop screaming, but the monster inside me was too strong and too loud. I could not persuade it to leave my body and let me be. I couldn’t block it out. My husband sat listening occasionally trying to speak, but he couldn’t get a word in edgewise. Never in my life have I experienced such rage.
The anger was followed by uncontrollable sobbing. I cried until my tears dried up, my eyes hurt and I they were so swollen I could barely open them. I was riddled with guilt for being so angry with him and for no apparent reason. The guilt was and is so overwhelming that to this day I can’t apologise enough to him. He stayed calm and patient and supportive of me throughout everything. How he came home from work everyday to deal with me is beyond my understanding. It felt like I was drowning in a sea of anger and guilt. Regardless of how I treated him during those hellish four weeks he stayed by my side supporting me and believing that his wife will return because prior to all that’s happened I was a patient, supportive and Understanding wife and friend to him. My husband had no idea what it is like living with someone with a mental health disorder until it happened to me. I myself had no knowledge of how this impacts families of those suffering. It was pure hell. My mental health disorder made me so paranoid that I was wrapped up in my own fear believing that he would leave me anyway so I may as well give him the option to do so. My world was falling apart and the only stability left was my husband and kids and the monsters in my head convinced me that they would leave too, so my line of defence was giving him the option to leave so that I could rebuild my life only once. Pushing those whom loves me most away, would leave me to clear out the rubble left in the destruction of my world in one attempt.
He is kind and a gentleman and I know he would cross the ocean for me. In this time he was and is my hero, my strength my everything. He brought me peace and together with our beautiful children the desire to want to recover and become well again. He was steadfast and believed in me more than I ever believed in myself. Prior to my realisation that something was amiss I was a great wife and friend to him, but when the anxiety and depression struck I lost myself in a world covered in darkness, a world where there was no light. Somehow he knew that I was in there and would find my way back to the light again. I, however did not believe for a moment that I would ever get to see the light of day again. I felt doomed. My soul was dying and so was my desire to live,but he never gave up on me nor on us.
I am incredibly lucky. He’s desire to help me heal my soul, my heart and mind is so clear. He kept the promise he made to me at the alter and for that I love him even more today. Each day that passes I feel stronger and better equipped to deal with my anxiety and depression and for that I have my husband to thank. I’m still not 100% there, but most days I am happy, the anger has disappeared almost completely and I can see that he is less stressed and less worried about me. Mental health doesn’t just take its toll on the sufferer, but just as much on those closest to them. I could see how worried he was and how helpless he felt because apart from supporting me there wasn’t anything else he could do but stand and watch me deal with my demons from the sideline while taking the occasional ‘punch ‘.
I sometimes imagine the fear, the hurt and the helplessness he must’ve felt especially throughout my first for weeks taking my antidepressants. The thought of what he has gone through makes me shudder, but most importantly it’s given me a renewed sense of gratitude for the love we share and more so the desire to never go back to the dark side. I nearly gave up on myself, but he never did. I am here today stronger, better and more determined to make this life the best possible and to find my happiness in every experience no matter how big or small.
I am filled with remorse and an overwhelming sense of regret for not being able to keep a lid on my pressure cooker of emotions at the time. That being said I do realise that my anxiety filled me with irrational fear which set off panic and that in turn lead to my isolation from the world around me and it was within my isolation that my depression was worsened. Each day I am learning not only to conquer my demons, but to live with my past and celebrate how far I have come and the progress I have made. Recovering from any mental health disorder is long and arduous but it is not impossible. All I need is the desire and willingness to accept the lessons life has taught me and incorporate the lessons I’m learning together with what I have learnt in my daily living. It all seems uncomplicated and easy to do, but it is most definitely not. Recovery requires hard work and determination that sometimes fail me, but I’m a work in progress and by no means nonsensical. My disorder does not define me, but I have learnt to accept that it is an extension of me and therefore I will keep fighting till I have conquered the beasts I am battling daily.