In August of 2010 my husband finally had a break through. Our pastor was preaching, though I no longer remember what the topic was except that at the end he offered those who wanted prayer for desperate situations to come forward. I didn’t want to be the one to make the suggestion that we go forward because I knew my husband would want to say no since he hated drawing attention to himself. But before I could think too long about it, my husband took my hand and began walking to the front. We stood side by side with a couple dozen other people, of all ages, singles and couples. Leaders from the church came forward to lay hands and pray that God would cause breakthrough in our situations. From that day—practically that hour—forward, things began improving. He still took his meds. I still prayed for him often, and tried to focus on prayers of gratitude. But the darkness began to recede and soon we could see light at the end of the tunnel.
That fall he began planning his first novel and in November 2010 he completed National Novel Writing Month. Since that time we have gone through a miscarriage, welcomed our son into our family, both published books and celebrated 5 years with his current company (who didn’t fire him and in fact promoted him in mid-2012). Coming up this spring we will celebrate 10 years of marriage. They weren’t always easy years, but we are definitely stronger now then we were before. Deep inside some part of me still fears what will happen if he gets depressed again. Sometimes I find myself wanting to hold back my own fears and worries from him, so that I don’t overwhelm him. I try not to complain at him constantly, but no husband, even one who isn’t prone to depression, wants to hear that anyway. If he starts feeling down for more than a few days or weeks we talk about; see if there is a way to deal with the cause of the feelings and reduce stress levels. He knows that he should go back to see his counselor if he continues to feel down regularly. But we both still depend on each other. It has been tempting to try and handle things myself so I don’t burden him, but that wouldn’t be a marriage. We take turns holding each other up and we have surrounded ourselves with a network of friends and family that we can count on for support. I still hope that he may be able to function without his medication again someday, but the most important thing is that he is healthy and able to enjoy his family and his life.
Have you known someone who has a spouse who suffers from depression? Are you married to someone with depression or other mental illness? You aren’t alone. Stay tuned for Part 3 where I discuss important steps you can take if you find yourself in this situation.