I am working today from home. I am not doing art. I am doing business stuff….it’s not fun…….but I am sitting and I am quiet and I am working on documents and I just ran into this one from 6 years ago. MY HEART ALMOST BURST because a little birdie told me that I HAVE TO RUN IT on the Brave Girls Club blog….I almost didn’t………I tried to ignore the little chirpy voice that said SOMEONE NEEDS TO READ THIS RIGHT NOW. So…..my beautiful friends…here it is. This has me crying big huge tears right now because I have not read it for so many years…and the feelings have come back fresh and powerfully. Please read this if you or anyone you love suffers with depression…especially the chronic kind.
Funny….because I was planning on writing a post tomorrow about this beloved man I am married to. Tomorrow he will be 44. There would be no Brave Girls Club without him and I wanted you all to know what a huge part of it all he is….I still plan on doing that…but I guess I had forgotten how horrific things were 6 years ago….3 years ago…….2 years ago they weren’t even that great. I wrote this 2 years into our nightmare…..it lasted another 4 years after that. If you are dealing with the effects of this cruel disease….please know that I love you fiercely. I am rooting for you. Please read this:
Staying Married Through Depression
(written july 12, 2006)
A little more than a year ago, people started coming to me…looking all around first to make sure no one was looking or could hear them, or people would show up in the evening or on Sunday afternoons on my back porch…and again, they would hush their voices and look to make sure no one one was listening before they would tell me…then, they’d say, while looking at the ground, or while looking at me with painful desperation, “my husband has depression” or “I have depression” or “my wife has been suffering with depression for years.”
OK, I’m just going to lay it right out here…first, I want to tell you that I asked my husband’s permission to tell this story…and second, the reason I want to bring up this topic is because I find more and more every day how many couples suffer through this alone and won’t talk about it because of the stigma attached to depression. It’s really time to bring this out in the open so there can be some kind of support.
People started telling me their own stories because I was so open about the pain of my husband’s depression, one of the after effects of his brain injury…the worst one in my opinion. We have been dealing with severe depression for 2 years now…9 of those months where he couldn’t even get out of bed and didn’t want to live…and I have decided that it is one of the most cruel diseases out there…much of it’s cruelty coming from the lack of understanding and even tolerance that people have for it. I must admit that I used to judge others with depression pretty harshly…thinking to myself “snap out of it!”…really believing that any person could will their way to happiness, no matter what. Then it happened to us…and I watched the most positive, driven, confident, incredible man I have ever met melt into a pile of paralyzed despair, immobilized by the chemical mix-up in his brain that led to this severe condition. Depression is not a “bad day” that you can “snap out” of. Depression is a disease and it has such an unfair and cruel stigma attached to it that not only does a victim have to suffer from the disease, but from the isolation and embarrassment of having the disease.
You would be absolutely shocked if you knew how many people suffer from depression…how many marriages are wading their way through those kinds of muddy pits…but NO ONE WILL TALK ABOUT IT. I looked for a book or a website or a support group…and there was hardly a single thing…yet, day after day…I have people confiding in me about the turmoil that depression and the isolation that it leads to. And, if the person you love and have devoted your entire life to is suffering from depression…your life is consumed by it. It is the most excruciatingly painful experience you can imagine to have to watch your beloved suffer through it and not be able to help…even if you’d do ANYTHING you could to make it go away. It’s been two years and it still makes me cry big huge tears when I talk about this. It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever been through…
We have been to a lot of doctors this week and it has been rough. Things go up and down and right now they are down. I know they are going to go back up, but what it requires from me is 150% because my husband can only give –50% right now…at least that still adds up to 100% in the end…and that’s all that matters. When you make the promise of “for better or for worse” and “in sickness or in health” you think it might be all about taking care of your sweetheart through the flu or a cold…even cleaning up their puke…I certainly could never fathom that I’d be more than 2 years into a chronic condition…trying every single thing under the sun to help…but, I’ve learned how to keep a promise, that’s for sure.
What I’ve learned about depression is that people who are living with the effects of it need support…they need love…they need to know that other people have made it to the other side of it…they need to be reminded that THEY ARE NOT THEIR DEPRESSION, they are still inside there, and they’ll be able to break out of the bondage they are in…they need to be accepted and supported without conditions and without expectations. People need to know that it’s ok to talk about it…that it won’t be judged as a character weakness or punishment from God or all of the other mean judgments that can easily be made about depression.
What depression HAS taught me is what TRUE love really is…it is being able to love someone even if you don’t get a single thing back…you love for the sake of loving…without any conditions or expectations. It’s been a painful journey, but when I learned the power of this kind of love, it made me want to give it to everyone I meet. And…I do look at every other human being differently now…I just KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE that even if someone is walking through life with a smile, there may be something very painful and almost unbearable going on in their life right now…and they don’t need to be judged….no one does. What we need from each other is a big hug and the words “you can do it.” Or “I am here for you no matter what.”
You can post anonymously on this thread…your identity will never be revealed…but I want you to share your stories…I want you to share what you’ve been through and how you overcame it. If you know someone who is dealing with this right now…please forward this to them, because believe me…they feel very very very alone right now….
And, I love my husband not only just as much as I ever did…but even more. We will make it through this, we always do…if you need someone to talk to…please come here and let us all talk about it from time to time….
I know I get really personal on this blog…it’s a big risk….but, I have found from experience that the only way to tell our stories and really really help each other out is to not leave the sad and difficult parts out of our stories….it is in the discomfort that we grow…but sometimes, we just need to know that someone has made it through what we are going through right now. I hope you’ll share….you’ll be helping so many other people when you do.
Have a beautiful day…I have to leave for a business trip today…man, I just want to stay home! It’s been planned for a long time and I really have to go…but it’s one of those days that I just want to stay home…
Lots of Love to you all! melody
I hope whomever it was who is needing this today finds it….I have a suspicion there are a lot of you beautiful souls who suffer in silence. My heart is with yours. I love you all so much…even 6 years later this stuff is all truer than true.