The Beautiful Thing My Husband Did When Depression Left Me Stuck in Bed
I was standing at the kitchen sink when I felt the plug being pulled. My emotions turned to black, every ounce of energy escaped and where my soul had been was a vacant void. Everything had drained out of me and emptiness was what was left. Within minutes, I was depressed. Nothing had happened. I was simply washing dishes when the flip was switched. Sometimes there is a reason. Sometimes someone says something, or I read something and I get sent into a tailspin. Other times however, nothing happens. I am emotionally devastated for absolutely no reason. My chest physically aches. I feel overwhelmingly guilty, ashamed and devastated.
The pain is so intense that sometimes I cry so hard I lose my voice. I was in the middle of cleaning the house, my 4-year-old was expecting lunch and I couldn’t go on anymore. Like a balloon with punctures, I stood there deflating until all that was left was the shell of a person who once was alive inside. It was getting bad. It was going to get worse, I could tell. My feelings started to ache. It felt like I had been made fun of in front of the whole school. I started to sob as I walked to the couch where I wrapped a blanket around me and called my husband.
“Is it bad?” he asked.
“Yeah,” I said into the blanket as tears poured.
“You need me to come home?” he asked.
“But I don’t want you to miss work.” I said.
“That’s what sick time is for. I can come home, do you need me to?” he asked.
“Yeah,” I said as I sobbed into the blanket.
I hated calling him at work, but I could feel myself falling and I had a child who needed me. I knew I had a matter of hours before everything got dark. He came home to me sitting in the same spot where I called him earlier. I didn’t greet him. I didn’t touch him. I simply walked down the hall to our bed, undressed and crawled into the blankets. I curled up in fetal position and stared at the wall. For hours, I stared at the same spot. My mind was loud. I told myself what a loser I was. I told myself I was an idiot for not working at a traditional job. I was ashamed of my life. I was mortified. I mentally attacked myself. Because I knew all of my own insecurities, I knew exactly what to say and what to bring up, so I won. I attacked my weaknesses and I attacked where I was the most self-conscious. I brought up ancient heartaches and relived each one. I tortured myself with shame, sadness and pain. I hated myself.
I could hear my family living outside of the bedroom. I could hear the children laughing, I could hear my husband singing to the radio, I could smell dinner cooking. They talked and laughed. My heart ached. I wanted so badly to get up and join them. I wanted to know what they were laughing about. I wanted to see what was for dinner. I wanted to breathe in the scent of the food and taste the sun tea that was sitting outside. I wanted to laugh with them. But I couldn’t. My knees were folded against my chest and my arms were brought in to my chest where I clenched my fists around the blankets and laid there on the bed, completely still. My husband checked on me every few hours and I remained still. Only my eyes moved as I blinked.
I laid there for hours. I laid there for days. I didn’t change my clothes. I didn’t brush my hair. I didn’t brush my teeth. I laid there and listened to my own voice tell me what a useless loser I was and what a weak excuse for a human being I was. I screamed at myself to just get up. I shouted at myself to stop being such a loser and get out of bed. But I couldn’t. I just laid there. One day at around 6 a.m., when the sun is still weak but grows brighter as each minute passes, I put my feet on the floor and stood up. My short curly hair was chaos, my breath smelled like rotting meat. My clothes smelled like body odor and urine. I wrapped my favorite blanket around my shoulders and stood up, taking a few steps forward. Everyone in the house was sleeping. All the children were spread out on their beds, snoring away. My husband laid behind me in the bed where I had laid. I decided to head down the hall for water, so I came out of the room and began to walk down the hall, but then I saw it. So I stopped. There was yellow everywhere. Small yellow sticky notes were stuck to the wall. They were everywhere. The entire hallway was lined from top to bottom with small notes. I began to read them.
“You are not a burden.”
“You are wanted.”
“You are enough.”
“I’m so glad you’re here.”
“You make my life better just by being in it.”
“No matter how dark your days are, I’m here for you.”
“I love you.”
“I’ll give you time and I’ll be here when you’re ready.”
I began to sob as I found such comfort in his notes.“What?” he said from behind me. I sobbed and walked to him where he wrapped his arms around me.“You did this for me?” I asked, still crying. “Yes,” he said. This was not unusual for him to do. He had always left me love notes, written poems on the mirrors and bought me little trinkets. But this time I desperately needed to read the notes. For days my mind had been screaming at me and I was so weak. I felt like I could only crawl out of the hole. My soul was so raw and beaten, bruised and sore. I had no life left in me. I had no desire to be alive. I had no will power to exist. My heart ached, my eyes burned from crying. I was in a dark tunnel, alone. I didn’t know which direction I was going in or where I was going because it was so dark. But suddenly at the end of the tunnel appeared a hallway of yellow sticky notes. My husband hugged me tight and I wiped away my tears. He told me he had wanted to help me, but he didn’t know how. So he came up with this idea a while ago, he was just waiting for the right time to do it and he did it last night. I left the notes on the wall until the glue started to dry and they began to fall on the floor. I kept about 20 of my favorites and taped them to the wall next to my bed. It’s the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see at night. Every day his notes remind me that I’m not a burden, my existence is not causing my family pain, I am not a loser and I am loved. I am so loved.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.
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Thinkstock photo via AntonioGuillem