“Snap out of it!” I want to scream. “Am I not enough? Are our children not worth a smile? Pray about it! Stop focusing on the sadness and start focusing on everything else. But please, PLEASE get over it!”
Those thoughts rage within me. They’ve come so close to slipping off my tongue a time or two. I know he can’t just snap out of it or get over it. I know depression doesn’t work that way, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling those things.
It doesn’t stop me from being timid, as I tiptoe around his mood. It doesn’t stop me from being angry when he completely checks out for a week or two and I am left to tend to our life, the kids . . . the bills . . . the structure . . . the foundation . . . life while he lays down and dies for seasons at a time. It doesn’t stop me from resenting him when he blows the kids off over and over because he’s blue. It doesn’t stop me from being sad when days turn into weeks and into months and the man I married is nowhere to be found.
What follows next is that ugly little dress called guilt. I feel it for feeling all those other things. For better or worse, I grumble to myself. This is beyond his control. “Do you think he wants to feel this way?” I yell at myself, as I fight the tears.
Why, God, can’t he just be happy. Why, Lord, does it go on and on like this? Why am I not enough, the devil whispers?
You’re right, I don’t get it. I’ve lived with depression on and off for 12 years and I still don’t get it. I try, oh how I try, because I love him so much. Oh, how I wish depression was an object, so I could smash it into a million pieces. How I wish it had a home so I could burn it down. How I wish it had a passport so I could make it go away.
Damn you depression for all the days you’ve derailed! Damn you for the smile you’ve taken from his face, the joy you rob this family of. Damn you for stunting the growth of this marriage, stopping him from making his next move.
You eyed him up like a woman on the prowl and though you could see he was happily married it didn’t stop you from stepping in. You were subtle at first and then one day, everything I believed to be so perfect was all of sudden so broken.
He stopped talking. He stopped participating. He swallowed down sleeping pills with a bottle of whiskey. He curled up in his chair and slowly drifted away. It got so I was scared I’d find him dead in the chair.
I didn’t know what was happening. I didn’t know what to say or how to act around my own husband. He’d become a stranger, one who didn’t seem to find me attractive anymore.
“Snap out of it!”
And one day just like that he broke free from it. The sparkle danced in his green eyes once again. He cracked a smile releasing from its shackles his laugh. He crawled out of hell and back into the man I married. Life was good again. We were growing. We were happy. Weeks turned into months. Months turned into years, two kids, a new job and an abundance of faith. I had forgotten all about those dreary days.
And just like that it returns, taking my husband’s happiness hostage once again. It’s numbing his feelings while bleeding mine. It’s taking over faster than I can pack our bags and get us out of town.
I feel helpless because there is nothing I can do to fix it; struggling because it’s the secret within the walls of this marriage. Frustrated because we don’t talk about it and all I can do is pray and when those prayers aren’t answered I lash out at God.
“Snap out of it,” I yell at myself. He is your husband. He is hurting. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and just love him with everything you’ve got. If you give up on him then it’s true. You aren’t enough. If I stop fighting for him then there’s no one left to and I’ll be damned if I let you win, depression.
Exhausted I am, as I quietly carrying the weight of the world. While waiting for my husband to find his way back, so we can get on with life and after our dreams. I am lonely though my husband sits beside me . . . he might as well be a million miles away.