I joke a lot about how my husband wouldn’t survive if we got a divorce. In my defense, he also jokes about how he isn’t able to function without my help either. While playful banter comes easy to us on a daily basis, mustering up the courage to tell him about my depression felt next to near impossible.
As I explained in the Asking for Help Series, I can confidently say that is not typically how I tell him my feelings. In fact, its far beyond how I share how I feel. I usually fall into his arms and cry. He, in turn, will hug me tightly and ask what’s wrong. This guy has known me for 20 years. So he has learned that sometimes all I need is a hug and the statement “It’ll be ok.” So this shower talk business wasn’t typical and I know I caught him by surprise.
I have asked my husband, to give his honest reaction and response to when I told him about my mental health. This journey is his as well. He has been there from the beginning.
M: What did you first think when I shared my depression and anxiety diagnosis with you?
H: I recall that when you shared your depression and anxiety self-diagnosis with me, I was rather quick to dismiss how you felt, merely chalking it up to a bad day. I never associated the fact that how you were feeling at that time were true symptoms of what would later be confirmed as having depression.
M: How did you feel?
H : I felt helpless in a way, primarily due to the fact that I knew next to nothing about depression and anxiety.
M: What did you do after my diagnosis was confirmed?
H: I then began researching and reading articles online regarding depression and anxiety. It was important for me to understand the challenges and obstacles associated with depression and anxiety, so that I can help in the areas of support and encouragement.
M: How has your opinion on mental health changed from the first diagnosis to now?
H: I’d say that I have a deeper appreciation now for the importance of mental health. It’s certainly an important topic that I believe deserves more credence.
He makes me better
I credit my husband’s unconditional support early on in managing my depression for my success in managing my depression today. More importantly, he will continue to be a big part of why I have been successful at managing my mental health. His unconditional support motivates me to be the best person I can be. On my worst mental health day, he gave me something that many can not grasp in the darkness – hope.
He would text me everyday to ensure I got out of bed. If I wasn’t able to, he would give me a pep talk to make it a goal for the next day. He made himself available during work hours, which is very hard in his profession, for me to call if I needed to talk my feelings through. He was supportive in allowing me to find my self care routine even if that meant I would try unconventional treatments. My husband is a large reason why I am able to share my story with you today.
I absolutely understand that this isn’t a typical response from a Filipino man but I want to encourage you to share those deep parts of yourself with someone you trust. It is the only way you can help yourself begin accepting and managing mental illness.
Do you have someone you can trust to talk about your feelings? Comment below and share with that person why they mean so much to you – today.
Remember – its ok to not be ok, tomorrow is a new day! See you next week.