The worst thing, of which there are many bad things, about depression is what a complete and utter arsehole it can turn you into. And the worst thing about this is that you’re generally the biggest arsehole to those closest to you. To make it even worse, a lot of the time you’re even aware of what an arsehole you’re being but can’t help it. This, to me, is the worst thing about suffering from depression, the fact you are not the only person who suffers
I sometimes think when you get diagnosed with depression, anxiety and/or other mental health issues, it’s like your partner/family/friends are diagnosed to suffer as well. It’s really as unfair as that. I sometimes stop and think about what a tremendous arsehole I am to my wife and how badly I can treat her or hurt her when I am feeling anxious or depressed. She is more than often the person who bears the brunt of my bad moods, first in the firing line for mood swings and the one who has to put up with me moping around when I’m down. I have lost count of the amount of days out or in I’ve ruined for her by moping, freaking out or just plain not going because I have been so anxious about it. Like I said, I’m the one who is ill, but she suffers too.
Another thing my wife really suffers for, is my obsessive behaviour, which is a good and bad thing. On the plus side, sometimes I get obsessed with something meaning it gets done quickly and to quality. On the bad side it means I can neglect her in favour of whatever I’m obsessed about, become anxious about it when I’m not doing it, devote far too much of my attention to a thing and become a control freak about it. When I was first diagnosed with anxiety and depression, I was obsessed with work. Not in a ‘workaholic stay there every hour sort of way’, but a ‘couldn’t get it off my mind and became paranoid about it’ sort of way. My personality being that way inclined I tend to swap one obsession for another, I’ve managed to push out the work thing (and with practice and determination can more than not leave it when I come home at the end of the day) and replace it with the much healthier option of exercise.
While this is great for me as it makes me physically fitter, improves my mood, gives me focus and acts as a hobby, unfortunately it leaves my wife a gym widow. I try my hardest to work the gym/running etc. into my daily routine in a way that its not taking me away from family time, however inevitably as with all obsessions it has perhaps strayed further into the rest of my life than it should.
Again I digress from my point somewhat. My point is that living with depression is horrible, but it is just as horrible for your poor partner. For the record, Sherie does a magnificent job of supporting me, putting up with my moods and coping with my bullshit. It has been a long road so far and it will probably continue to be, but with Sherie by my side I feel I can cope. Don’t get me wrong, I am blessed to many other friends and family who support me, but Sherie is the foundation on which my shaky ramshackle hut of mental health is built. It’s not easy for her, but for the most part she knows when I’m suffering and she knows when I’m just being an arsehole. She knows when I need shouting at and she knows when I need a hug. She knows when I need reassurance and she knows I need putting in line. More than anything, through it all, she loves me, makes me feel loved and makes me feel safe when the world feels like its crumbling around me. I wouldn’t be able to get on with my life like I do without her which makes it all the worse that she has to cope with all the crap I throw her way.
For people who care for partners with depression, it is very common for them to become depressed themselves or neglect themselves as their focus is on their significant other. The idea of behaviour breeding behaviour is an evil truth. With this in mind, I have decided on a new motivation to get mentally fit and stay mentally fit. My motivation is not just surviving, or being able to function at work, it’s to be well enough to have a really good quality life with my beautiful wife and wonderful children. I don’t want her to have to put up with my crap; I don’t want her to suffer the effects of my anxiety or depression anymore. I want to be able to treat my wife, children, close family and friends (but especially my wife) with the love and respect they deserve. Depression sometimes takes that away from you, and it’s really not fair.
I really hope anyone out there reading this who suffers from depression, anxiety or something similar has someone as wonderful as Sherie caring for them. Or if you are someone as wonderful as my wife who is caring for some grumpy depressed arsehole like me, well done, I know it must be difficult and please, please keep up the good work. It may not be obviously rewarding or appreciated, but I assure you, it is.
Take care and Merry Christmas.