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The Vows to My Husband Were Also Vows to My Mental Health

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When I was first diagnosed with anxiety and depression at 15, I started to think about my future. Being overwhelmed with a new diagnosis, I spent a lot of time wondering how my life would play out. All my dreams suddenly became just out of reach, and I felt limited.

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As I grew, I got used to my diagnosis. I started yoga, meditation and therapy. I even tried medication a few times. It seemed for a while that my mental illness was controlled, but when my junior year of college came about, things got rough.

I began to feel like a failure again. I felt as though my world was crumbling around me, and the things I expected from myself suddenly became unobtainable because of my worsening illness.

Bipolar disorder became a new aspect of my life that I had never expected. Around the time my mental health worsened, I met someone who brightened the darkness. I met a man who had been through similar struggles, someone to share my heart with. At first, things were scary. I didn’t want to ruin the beautiful new feeling of love, but I also loved this man so much that I wanted to share these parts of my life with him.

At first, I felt as though I needed to tell him about my mental health as a sort of warning, letting him know eventually things would get dark. Luckily, this man was more than understanding. He did not take this as a warning. He took this information and turned it into a challenge for us to face together.

No one has ever asked if I had taken my meds just because they want to be sure I’ll be OK that day. He asks if I’m getting enough sleep. He makes sure I have enough candles and bubble bath so I can meditate a few times a month. He buys me stress relief coloring books to take with me wherever I may need to use them.

I can’t count how many days we have spent on the couch in our PJs despite having had plans that day. My depression prevents me from keeping many plans, but he understands.

Several times, he has held me so tight I couldn’t move as I cried on the bathroom floor. He has held my hand and stared into my eyes. He says, “It’s only temporary,” in an attempt to remind me that the pain will end.

I never expected this this kind of support.

Many years ago, I unsuccessfully attempted to take my own life. Around the time I met my husband, I was starting down that same path. If not for the incredible fate that led us to one another, I don’t know if I’d be here to write this today.

A groom and a bride embracing underneath her veil as they stand on the beach.

On Christmas Eve, I vowed my life to this man. In my vows, I promised to take care of my mental health because I know how important it is to both of us. As I looked into his eyes that day, I saw our entire future. The crying, the laughing, the nights spent binge-watching episodes of “Stranger Things,” Season 5 and the heartfelt moments that made me fall so deeply for him in the first place.

I also saw my past. The suicide attempts, the notes and the panic attacks. They all faded away and were replaced with new memories. Our wedding was a promise that no matter how bad things get, I will always have someone standing beside me to make sure my brain is as healthy as my body.

The importance of all of this is to remember that one day, it does get better. I am the happiest now that I have been in years. Sure, it took a long time to get here, but the day came. Eventually, I’ll probably be stuck in another rut, but the important thing is I found the one to dig me out of that hole, and you will too.

Marriage for me is a dedication to my entire self. The fact that another human being has seen me at my worst, screaming. “I want to die,” and still wants to spend their entire life with me is mind-boggling. I never thought I’d get married because I felt like a burden. Now, I see I am worth something to someone. This is my happiness.

Whether that person is your your best friend in college, your therapist, your family or your husband, that person will come along for you eventually if they haven’t already. You just have to be patient and hold on until that day comes. I promise it will.

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

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

Image via contributor.

Originally published: April 5, 2023
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