My Rock, My Strength

There are a lot of things about having anxiety and depression that the person you love needs to know how do.

I had a boyfriend years ago that was not even aware of my depression and anxiety issues, because I was afraid to tell him. I was afraid that if I told him he would think there was something wrong with me. I just knew him well enough to know how judgmental he was. He was one of those people who thought nobody had anything to be sad, or stressed, or worried about, especially me, who was a college student at the time. I kept my mental illness a secret from him for the nearly four years we dated. Towards the end of our relationship is when my anxiety really started to take hold and I sought counseling, which he also had no idea about. My depression also surfaced, it was a messy break up. It was really a turning point for me. I took off on a weekend trip to Rhode Island (to visit a friend) a few days later without telling anyone where I was going. It was my way of not dealing with my life having been turned upside down days before. It worked for the first two days. I cried my entire last day of being MIA, which was spent in two airports and two long flights. It was probably then that I swore things would be different, I would be better to myself, and I would learn to love myself.

When I met Matthew a few weeks after that I had mostly bounced back. It was summer which meant I had a different work schedule and had time to do things I enjoyed. I didn't want anything to do with him for the first couple of months we knew each other because (while I didn't know it at the time) I had built a wall. He worked hard to break it down and I worked hard to scare him away. Something inside of me took hold and told me that if he was still trying after all of the nightmares I had told him about my life, that maybe he was an okay dude. When we first started officially dating my anxiety and depression most certainly made their presence known. I had several terrible attacks and breakdowns. While he didn't always swoop in to save me, he was real with me. If we weren't together he was sending me reassuring text messages. A year after we started dating is when he really got to see what one of my episodes was like. It was one of my worst in a long time and the fact that he stuck with me through it all and reminded me over and over that he loved me and wasn't going to leave me just because of my problems told me that he was it. He was the one. I would would say it was shortly after that when our relationship really started to take off. It hasn't always been an easy ride for either of us, but the fact that he never ran tells me he is stronger than I am.

Matthew never blames me for what I have going on. There are times I believe he thinks I have my episodes (I don't know what word is better to describe these...) on purpose and that couldn't be farther from the truth. That is one of the hardest things to get someone to understand. When you life a life with anxiety and depression you don't EVER know when something will trigger in your brain. Never do I have a day so full of anxiety that I can't even concentrate on PURPOSE. I do not ruin someones day because I am too depressed to even hold a conversation just to be MEAN. I don't hole up in my room for (sometimes) days at a time and ignore him and everything else in my life because I think it's FUN. Why would I cry for hours on end, because I'm BORED? There are days I wake up so anxious it takes all of the strength I can muster to get out of bed and get ready for the day. There are days I cry on my way to work and have to pull myself together so I can even walk IN the door. There have been times I left work early because my anxiety was so bad I couldn't even remember how to do my job. Why would I do that on purpose? It is nothing short of EXHAUSTING.

Matthew has gotten so much better at dealing with me and my crazy brain. He knows when to leave me alone, he knows when to just be there. He knows when he can offer a hug or a kiss. He knows when he should be no closer than in plain sight. He knows when I need to be held, and when he should sleep on the couch. He knows not to stop the tears when they start flowing. He tries really hard to calm me down even though most of the time I have to calm on my own terms. He has a soothing voice that he talks to me in even thought most of the time I don't hear him. He has gotten SO good at talking me up when I talk myself down. If everyone could accept and handle anxiety the way my husband does the world would probably be a better place. Are there things he isn't as good at when it comes to my mental health? Absolutely. Nobody is perfect are they? Now that we are married he has the rest of his life to try to figure me out, and if he ever does he will be a very wise man!

Some people say your happiness shouldn't rely on others. I don't think that's the truth. I can tell you with 100% truth that if I had not met Matthew when I did I wouldn't be happy, at least not the level of happy I am now. My life wouldn't have turned out to be what it is today. I turned into a completely different person when I fell in love with him. It was someone I knew was buried deep inside of me somewhere just waiting to break free. Before him I never said I was happy and actually MEANT it. I still have bad, terrible, rotten, no good, worthless, sad, lonely days. I have days I don't shower or get out of bed. But I am happy, and I know that when those feelings and those days pass, I will be my happy self again. I used to go from one level of sad to another with very few "happy" days mixed in there. Boy am I glad those times are gone.

While I am currently on day three of being in a funk, I am so glad I have Matthew. He truly is my rock and my strength and I hope he knows it.

How I have been feeling the past few days. =)


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