When I Asked If He Sacrificed Too Much for My Mental Illness


I’ve been thinking about everything my husband and I have to do to take care of my illness.

Traveling is a big deal because I’m always worried about my medication. What if someone steals my purse? What if I lose the container? I am always so careful to pack my medication in two places, carry it on the plane, keep some with me, leave the rest in the hotel room and bring at least three days’ worth of extra pills in case we miss our flight.

husband and wife standing in front of the eiffel tower

Every day I have to take my morning pills with food and my evening pills with food. The doctor said that I should take them with at least 300 calories. So when we travel somewhere, I need to eat as soon as I wake up. We have to consider this when making our reservations. At night, we have to eat at approximately 9 p.m. My husband’s family likes to eat very late, and when they go out with us, which is frequently, everyone has to eat early because of me.

Then there are the panic attacks, the paranoia and the other daily symptoms. There are the times I get overwhelmed in a crowd and need to go home. There are the times, and they are many, that I cancel plans, because I just can’t keep my mind stable.

Thinking about all of these things while curled up next to my husband in bed, I asked, “Do you feel like you have to sacrifice too much to be with me?”

“I don’t feel like I have to sacrifice anything,” he said. “I have to compromise. But I would have to compromise no matter who I married. Everyone has something. I could be with someone with diabetes. I could be with someone with cancer. I could be with someone who has different spending habits than me. No matter who I am with, there are going to be compromises. With us, it’s your illness.”

I never imagined his answer would be anything like that. I thought maybe he would say something like, “The sacrifices are worth it,” but not to even consider my illness a sacrifice, to downgrade it to a compromise — I was stunned.

I have known for nearly two decades that I am loved and cherished, and it has been the biggest gift in my life. These past 17 years with my husband have been the best, despite my illness. Now I know. It’s not a sacrifice.

It’s not a sacrifice.

The magnitude of that simple sentence gets all the way through my chest and wraps itself around my heart.

I wish everyone, especially those with a mental illness, could find someone willing to compromise. It’s one of the best treatments in the world.

husband and wife sitting next to each other and hugging

A version of this post originally appeared on A Journey With You.

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