In the interest of raising mental health awareness, I decided to write a blog that is deeply personal to me and my family. I’ve been putting off writing it, dismissing the idea of laying it all out there.
I’m not into big public displays of emotion. It’s not my style but I do feel this is important.
I love someone who suffers from depression and anxiety. I’m not going to go into details because it’s not my story to tell. What I would like to do is offer my own story and what’s it’s like loving someone who finds it hard to love themselves.
It can be really difficult. When he was at his lowest, I also felt at my lowest. I blamed myself. What am I doing wrong? Why can’t I make him happy? I must need to try harder.
I realise now, it’s nothing that I do or don’t do. It just…is.
After admitting to his struggles and finally seeking help, his low days are fewer and farther between, for which we are both thankful. He has found cognitive behavioural therapy so helpful, along with medication. Therapy is also an option which can be so beneficial (check out thrivetalk.com for more information.)
Despite the improvement, the bad days can still come. I know him so well. I know immediately when he is battling with something. His need to clean when he is anxious. The subtle changes in his body language. How he buries himself away when things become too much.
His struggle is my struggle. We’re a team. If I can help in any way I will. Sometimes it’s trying to remove outside stresses. It’s reminding him to eat regularly as we’ve noticed that has an effect. It’s giving him “quiet time” when he’s working through something, which can be tricky with three young kids in the house!
Sometimes he needs tough love. But sometimes just good old regular love is enough.
He needs reassurance. He needs to know that even when he was at his lowest, I was there.
Do the difficulties make me love him any less? God no. It makes me love him more. He’s strong. He’s a survivor.
His bravery in seeking help despite worrying about the stigma associated with it, is inspiring.
I’ve found the most important thing is to listen. To be there when he needs to let it all out. But also to give him space when he needs it.
I can’t imagine how terrible it must be to live with depression and anxiety every day. When every day is a battle. It’s heartbreaking to watch someone you love battle their demons.
Would it be easier loving someone without depression and anxiety. Possibly. Would my life be as fulfilled and full of love? Definitely not.
As I’ve said to him in the past, with three young kids in the house, it can be like a war zone at times. But there’s nobody else I’d rather go to battle with.
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