Depression/Chronic Illness: It’s not easy for those we love either.

My husband and I have always communicated openly (maybe too much so at times), but when your spouse has depression it can put a damper on open communication. There are days when depression makes deep conversation, or any conversation for that matter, impossible to handle. However on a recent good day we had one of those hard conversations you're not sure you even want to have. Trust me, I didn't, but I came to realize how truly difficult it has become to live with a spouse who not only has a chronic illness, depression and anxiety, but also an ADHD brain.

Looking back I am not sure how we even came to be! I have always been messy and disorganized (which I really didn't hide) and he prefers peace and organization. Not exactly a match made in heaven, but somehow we've pushed through all our differences and made it to year 15. My depression hasn't been a walk in the park for me and I know initially my husband, Shaun just wanted to help fix it. However my constant crying and low moods started to add up. Not to mention the complicated diagnosis and number of different medications. On top of that I spent most of my time researching and then talking to him incessantly about all the things I was learning. Honestly I found myself annoying so I can't imagine how he felt.

However he has stuck with me through this rollercoaster that has taken far longer then either of us could of imagined. He spends his week days working hard and then comes home for rest and relaxation to a wife who on her best day isn't even close to cheery. I spend so much of my time meeting the needs of our children and just trying to get by that there is little if anything left for him. He still tries to lighten my mood usually with an inappropriate joke or impromptu wrestling match (I think those are more for his enjoyment), but I know it is taking its toll. When you live in a world of sadness it's hard to not get pulled down and stressed. As if providing for our family, taking care of our kids and maintaining a home isn't enough, now he has to try to take care of his wife. He continues to pull it off somehow, but I know it has been difficult. He carries this on his shoulders daily, but still notices if I get to quiet and asks me if something is wrong or if I feel ok. If I find him laying in our bed reading work emails I will crawl in the bed next to him and he will ask me again if I am ok. Usually I am just tired so I will snuggle close and fall asleep. Honestly this is almost always my favorite part of the day.

Being the rock for someone with depression is a tough. Those who stick by us and encourage us during these difficult times have to be strong for themselves and for us too. The husbands, wives, partners, mothers, fathers, siblings and friends of someone with depression or a chronic illness are so important to our recovery. We cannot forget the sacrifices they make as they are picking up our pieces. If you know someone with depression or a chronic illness remember those closest to them because they need support too, even if they don't ask. So to my husband and all those supporters out there THANK YOU! We are truly lucky to have you.

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