To My Husband Who Faces My Anxiety and Depression With Me
To my husband and best friend,
You were like something out of a movie. A reward for me, an incurable romantic who never stopped believing in love.
Introduced through our dear ones, we met on Skype, got engaged six weeks later without ever meeting in person and married two months after that. For someone who takes ages to decide which milk carton to buy in our weekly groceries, decades to pick what movie we will watch on the weekend and lightyears to decide where we should live or what car we should buy, you sure did not waste any time in deciding you wanted me to be your wife. You decided the first time you saw me on that fuzzy Skype screen, you later confessed.
You were always so logical, seeing things in black and white, weighing the evidence. You were so calm and rational. You had no idea, like most people, what anxiety and depression was. I tried to tell you. I sent you articles, news and medical reports, but it wasn’t until we actually started living together that you realized the horrors and engulfing darkness of these two all-consuming diseases. You took your time realizing that the periods of inexplicable sadness or terrifying panic attacks were not the result of any of your own mistakes or shortcomings or mine. It was just the way it was.
Then, my love, your courage, patience and love shone through so bright it bought sunshine to my world. When I was home alone, you always followed to the code. “Five out of 10” meant I was not happy but OK. “One” meant I was doing badly but nothing a hug and extra attention would not cure. “Three” meant you had to leave work or anything else important you were doing and come help me immediately. “Ten” usually entailed you spending long hours with me at the A&E only to be returned later with a sobbing me when the doctor refused to help us or acted grossly insensitively and made my already unbearable condition worse. You always, always followed the code.
Sometimes, the codes weren’t necessary. One look at me and you could read me like tea leaves arranged into alphabets. You always knew what to do, the small things or the big things that would help. Sometimes, when I over did stuff, fooling the world into thinking I was OK, I saw tears in your eyes, which you tried to hide. I later learned you, and only you, heard the pain in my voice or saw it in my eyes.
On one occasion when the negative thoughts, as usual, churned a never-ending loop in my head and I recalled a 100 hundred bad memories per millisecond, I told you how I had always felt different. I told you how I had earlier felt this was OK as it is the strange ones who go on to win Nobel prizes or bag huge accomplishments. Yet, now I felt like I would not even do that. I was feeling like I will always just be different, not even in a different-but-at-least-hugely-accomplished-sort of way. When I said all that, you didn’t waste a second in taking me into your arms and saying, “Hey baby doll. There is nothing wrong with you. You were created in God’s light, and you are God’s light.”
You weren’t humoring me because you really were proud of me. You saw my obvious battles and my wins, and you saw my hidden battles and my wins with those. Sometimes, you understood the world got too overwhelming for me because of depression and anxiety. In those times, you brought out a comfortable blanket and hid in it with me for a while.
Sometimes, you made a “safe” spot for me in the house, an “island” where the sharks could not swim up to me. Sometimes, when I was fine, you let me hop around, be happy and just be myself. Sometimes, when I needed space, you got that too.
Yet, when it was not safe for me to be alone, you carried me somewhere in your arms and propped me down where you could keep watch. You kissed the tears away so gently. You did all of this literally. You made me feel so understood, so special and so completely normal.
I guess I could feel guilty like most people with depression and anxiety probably feel on a regular basis, like a “burden.” I guess I could feel like I owe you a lot of thank you’s. I guess, on the days I feel inadequate, I could tell myself I do not deserve you, but then, that’s love. Knowing I don’t have to feel, think or do any of those things.
You already know I am grateful. You already think you love me that much because I, somehow in many ways, am deserving of your love. You have already understood depression and anxiety, and you have defeated the challenges with me.
I am better today because you are my hero. You were like something out of a movie. Today, you are my hero in real life. I know because I survive every day, I am yours.
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