I cannot share this true tale without the backstory that prepares the reader for the things to come.
Who needs a miracle when all is well? A rainbow is at its sweetest after the rain. Well, raining it was… actually it was storming.
I got married years ago to a man I love. I met him in college and we began our long-lasting relationship right before graduation and were engaged just a few months later.
Looking back it all looks so quick and reckless, yet at the time it didn’t feel that way at all. Truly it felt meant to be.
Actually, I had known him for years after working with him and taking college classes with him even before we were accepted into the same therapy school. I had casually befriended him for over four years before we even had our first official date.
I was the one who asked him to begin the journey of our over 20 year relationship… and once the door was opened he seemed to eagerly go along. He was handsome, loyal and complicated… what wasn’t there to love?
I will never forget the night, over a candlelit dinner when he shared his darkest secret with me: he was on an antidepressant. He struggled with depression. He braced himself for rejection, but I reached back with love and acceptance knowing that he was in no way defined by this mental illness.
I truly appreciated his honesty and vulnerability. I felt honored to have him share such a private thing with me. He seemed ashamed. I really didn’t understand how deep his depression was, nor how deep was his fear and shame. How could I without truly experiencing it myself?
I thought I knew what was ahead, and was not worried one bit. An optimist by nature I was sure once life became more stable and secure his mood would improve as well. After all, I myself had taken Prozac for a short time a few years before, and eventually got off of it as my coping skills and life improved. Therefore, I saw no red flags and felt no fears due to his confession.
Little did I know that his mood, depression and anxiety issues would become the center of my life. I wanted to be supportive so I adjusted my expectations of him. I consciously tried to accommodate his needs and was hopeful my unconditional love would improve his outlook and help make him happy. After all, isn’t that what we are supposed to do in marriage and for those we love?
As the years passed, I gradually let go of my own preferences and became satisfied with going along with his. We rarely entertained, minimized contact with my “annoying” family and had very few couple friends. We went to his preferred restaurants and mostly saw movies he wanted to see or those that I thought he might like. It didn’t FEEL controlling as he didn’t demand these things outright, yet if I attempted to choose otherwise his mood would sour and irritability would follow. It was easier I suppose to just let go.
I had my own friends. He rarely seemed to take any interest in who they were or what they were all about. The was perhaps ONE acception of a friend of mine who lived in our old neighborhood with a very nice, morally solid and easy-going husband. Mostly, I would go out alone rationalizing “it’s just not his thing” or “I’m sure he’d be bored anyway”, never questioning why he wouldn’t go just to be with me.
The problem is, over time it just did not work. Being human myself I made “mistakes” as I juggled embracing my own happiness as I attempted to balance it with caring for him. He criticized and I analyzed how to fix things… both myself and him. I became tired, defeated and weary. Life and loving him was tough.