Myself and Hubby had a state of the nation last night. It was hard, and unpleasant, but badly needed. When I’m in the bubble (and having read over this post for the first time in some months, I realise that’s exactly what’s going on) I don’t see what’s happening until it’s really bad. I don’t see just how much I’ve distanced myself from Hubby. It happens gradually, and with the best of intentions. I’m painfully aware of how difficult it is for him to live with me when things are bad, when I become emotionless and withdrawn. I see how much stress and upset it causes him. So, despite the many promises I’ve made, I try to pretend everything is ok. I try to put on the happy face. I can do it at work and with friends (most of the time anyway) but it never fools him. He knows me. And he knows when it’s an act. But if I don’t communicate with him, what chance do we have of working through it? All he sees is me being distant and uncaring, and there’s only so much of that a person can tolerate before having to become defensive themselves. And so a horrible, all too familiar spiral begins – I start to feel bad – I (unwittingly) withdraw emotionally from Hubby – he sees this, and withdraws from me, which makes me feel worse…………………….and so on and so on. It’s exhausting.
Guilt plays such a huge part here too. I have been told so many times that this isn’t my fault, that it’s depression. The bottom line is, when things are bad, I simply don’t believe that. I cannot separate me from my mind and my actions. Why can’t I just try harder? How can I not feel crushingly guilty when I see the impact I’m having on someone I love? This guilt makes me withdraw further, and become angry to boot. Instead of turning to Hubby for support, I pull away because I perceive that he can’t cope. I can’t bear to have to tell him, again, that things aren’t going well, and to see his shoulders sink with the weight of it. I absolutely hate, with every fibre of my being, that this is what depression does. It takes my ability to think and act like a rational person, and flushes it down the toilet. It makes me believe, 110%, that I am to blame for the situation we find ourselves in. It threatens my marriage, time and again. It destroys my self belief, and any shred of self worth that I have. It makes me paranoid, scared and ashamed. It’s a bitch. It’s an absolute bitch. It makes me pull away from every single source of support that I have, causing the most damage with those closest to me.
But then, finally, we reach the point where we talk. It’s so hard, and depression really doesn’t like when we do this. I resist the conversation. I get angry. I ask questions in an attempt to understand what he’s feeling, and he gets angry. We misunderstand each other, and are both on the defensive. But we keep going. Gradually, the ice begins to thaw and we can both express what we feel.
This doesn’t make the problem go away overnight, not by a long shot. But it’s the start of making things better, and kicking depression’s ass for being such a phenomenal thorn in our sides. I’m still not ok. Hubby is still battered by it all. But now, we’re in it together, and so far, we’ve proven ourselves to be a pretty formidable team.