Never have these marriage vows been so important than in the past 3 weeks. The hardest and most challenging of the 535 weeks that Dave and I have been together.
As it’s nearing the end of Mental Health Awareness Week in the U.K., it is appropriate that I post this blog today.
My husband ‘came out’ as experiencing severe mental health issues 3 weeks ago.
This was an inspirational and incredibly brave thing to do considering the unacceptable stigma that still remains in today’s society, and that he has been secretly battling this, on his own, for more than 15 years. Even I didn’t know. And that breaks my heart.
Dave has given me permission to write this blog, on the condition I don’t post specific details. And of course I won’t because I respect him and his privacy (but he has no problem with me discussing his dick to the world!)
So as much as I want to write about him, I won’t. Therefore this post will be about me and my love for him.
The main thing is Dave is getting professional help. And I’m there beside him every step of the way. I’ve been to one appointment with him but he’s preferred to go to his subsequent sessions alone. I respect that. To be honest it was heart-wrenching hearing some of the things he said in his first session that it’s probably for the best that I don’t hear much else. Not unless he chooses to tell me in his own time. He knows I’m there for him.
But I’m not coping well.
My mind is all over the place. My mood and happiness depends on Dave’s mood and happiness. And he’s unpredictable and vulnerable right now. He can start the day fine but finish it low. I go to work worrying about him. I stay awake to check he’s okay. I can’t eat if he’s having a bad day. I’m constantly close to tears. I’m emotionally exhausted. I’m putting his needs before my own. I’m being a wife, the best wife I can be.
But I feel like a shit wife. I feel like I should have known. I feel like I could have done more. I feel like I should be stronger for him. I feel that he doesn’t need me crying all the time, and tiptoeing around him. This isn’t about me, it’s about HIM.
I have a great support system around me – bloody great – and I’ve started seeing a counsellor myself. There are some things I’ve seen and heard that I need professional help with. I’m getting through hour by hour, day by day.
Trying to hold down my job has been difficult but work have been great. On the one hand it’s keeping me occupied and distracted, but on the flip side I’m constantly checking my phone to see how Dave is. The other day I couldn’t get out of the car because I was crying so much. Because I refused to be sent home they let me work in the staff room all day because being around people was too much. I needed time on my own to think about things. My feelings were getting confused. My resolve was weak.
Dave and I have been through so much together in 10 years. This is just another bump in the road. It won’t break us because I won’t let it. We married for life. And I love him. Overwhelmingly so. We’ll come out of this stronger than ever. I wish we weren’t battling with infertility at the same time but there we go.
For the past couple of days, I’ve felt like the radio in my car has been reflecting my inner turmoil. It doesn’t matter what station I’ve switched between, a song has come on that has struck my soul. Some days I’ve had to pull over because I couldn’t drive for the tears filling in my eyes.
It started with the song from the musical Ghost “With You”
Every place we ever walked and / Everywhere we talked, I miss you / You never leave my mind / So much of you is left behind
You took my days with you / Took my nights with you / You took my life with you / Took my world with you
James Arthur “Say You Won’t Let Go”
I’m so in love with you / And I hope you know / Darling your love is more than worth its weight in gold / We’ve come so far my dear / Look how we’ve grown / And I wanna stay with you / Until we’re grey and old / Just say you won’t let go / Just say you won’t let go
There was Lady Gaga “The Cure”
If I can’t find the cure / I’ll fix you with my love / No matter what you know / I’ll fix you with my love / And if you say you’re okay / I’m gonna heal you anyway / Promise I’ll always be there / Promise I’ll be the cure
Even the dance track “Everybody’s Free (To Feel Good)” by Rozalla struck a chord –
I know you’ve been hurting but I’ve been waiting to be there for you / And I’ll be there just helping you out, whenever I can
What has pained me the most is the physical and emotional distance that is between Dave and me right now. For a whole week I couldn’t touch him without him flinching, and he wouldn’t accept the offer of a kiss or cuddle. Slowly, at his own pace, he has been initiating physical affection again. It’s going to take time. And I understand that.
It’s so hard not to take the rejection personally. I know it’s just a difficult time. I know it’s a phase. I know it’s not a priority for him right now. I know he still loves me, even though it’s a challenge for him to demonstrate it. We haven’t had sex since that one time last month when it all started. I miss it. God I fucking miss it. Not just the physical sensation and desire, but the emotional connection. I’m still attracted to him. I still have those needs. But while I’m being patient and supportive, my coping mechanism is to disappear into a fantasy land. Escape from the reality, even just for 10 minutes or half an hour whilst I try to sleep. It’s helping me get through.
I miss the way Dave would grab me all the time. The way he would slap my arse when I would walk by. The way I couldn’t lay on the sofa or bed without him pouncing on me and dry humping me. The way he would nuzzle my neck from behind whilst I was trying to cook. All of these things used to bug the shit out of me sometimes because it was excessive and annoying after a long day at work. Now I crave all that to happen. I will never take it for granted again.
Hopefully we’ll make love this cycle. My fertile window is a few days away. Maybe we’ll be in with a chance of getting pregnant. But it’s not a priority right now. Dave’s health is. He doesn’t want us to stop trying; he desperately wants a family and I know it’ll mean the world to him when it happens. But we’ll go at his pace. And I’ll always be there.
Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.