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Why I Was Afraid to Tell My Husband About My Depression

My nights had become torturous, plagued by nightmares of past traumas. My days had become endless as exhaustion deprived me of the energy I needed to teach, to be a mother, to be a wife, to simply live. Weight had started to fall off me. My face was pale, my eyes were blank and my hair was thinning. Yet it wasn’t until I had a panic attack and the school nurse suggested I might be depressed and need help, that it occurred to me that might actually be a possibility.

The biggest fear that immediately overwhelmed me was what my husband would think. We’d been together for 18 years. In that time I had been strong, independent and purposeful — everything I no longer felt. He was a great believer in appreciating the small things in life, as well as the big ones of course. That appreciation escaped me entirely in that moment. Indeed, I couldn’t appreciate anything. Big or small.

What would he think of me? His strong, capable wife might be depressed, might need help, might even need medication. What on earth would he think of this new wife who had become everything that neither of us had ever imagined?

Well, I needn’t have worried. As the realization hit my unsuspecting husband that this wasn’t a passing, rough phase, he immediately assumed the role of anything I needed at any time. If I was feeling that no one loved me, he’d place a thoughtful note and a chocolate heart on my bedside table. If I needed to sob, but couldn’t talk, he’d hold me tight and dry my tears. If I made up too many excuses for lying motionless on the sofa all day, he’d insist that he really needed me to buy his coffee from the supermarket without delay. He started to call me randomly, just to check I was OK. He whispered to our daughters that all I needed was time and love. He brought me tea in bed with a little jug of milk because I always complained it was the wrong amount. Each of these gestures, both big and small, have made every difficult day just that little bit more bearable. It’s been a long nine months. And it’s not over yet. But with my husband by my side, I know I can make it.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

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 “HOME” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

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Thinkstock photo via domoyega