I see a lot of talk about how hard it is to maintain a marriage or long-term relationship when you are depressed or have any chronic mental illness.
There are many questions online as to how our mental health can affect married life.
In fact, ‘marriage problems’ seems to be something that ranks highly in seo.
So let me make my first statement, just because you, your partner, or both of you, suffer from low mental health, it does not mean that you will not have a happy marriage, or a good life together.
I guess this topic stands out to me because sometimes I worry that I am almost too depressed to be married, I constantly doubt myself.
But how does having a mental illness while married compare to being ‘neurotypical’?
I got married in February 2017, after an 11-month engagement. We kept it small and made sure to make sure it was personal to us.
Everything felt so right, I never had a doubt in my mind about my husband to be, or the commitment I was about to make. I was on the biggest high of my life.
We were pretty good at compromising and making sure our big day was ours. Not just mine, his or the guests. I guess I wanted to make sure that my partner felt just as much of a princess on the day, as I did.
But as much as I don’t think I have I have ever experienced as much stress as I did in planning my wedding, it was a walk in the park compared to actually surviving the first year of our marriage.
Many people say we were too young, being 21 and 22 at the time. Though, I don’t think that was ever the issue. I know I made the right choice and that’s all that matters.
When it comes to marriage, I swear people believe that they know more about your relationship, than you do, which is complete bull.
I’ve spiraled a few times during the last year and a half. My Mental health has been more temperamental than when I am trying to bond with our adopted cat ( I love him though).
I suffer quite chronically from depression and anxiety. From this stems seriously low self-esteem, a fear of rejection and ironically commitment. It’s really tested me.
It’s made me feel different in my relationship, in myself and towards my husband. It can be confusing because I don’t always know how I feel, if this is real doubt or just a relapse.
It’s terrifying to realise that your mental illness can leave you in a state of perpetual doubt.
At the end of the day, I know that I love my husband and he loves me – we want our future and try every day to work towards it.
But this is where our marriage is tested:
- I feel guilty for being depressed and suicidal.
- I feel responsible for my husband’s life.
- I worry about becoming a worn out housewife.
- I’m scared our commitment will be for nothing and will be judged.
These reasons are because I suffer, I’m a product of my past and the trauma I endured.
It means that most days, I am not looking my best. I have messy hair, overworn PJs and a plain face. I will never be that Hollywood wife.
I don’t always clean the house and I don’t often cook us a meal to eat together. I do my best to look after our home, our family but there are days when I just can’t move.
I’ll cause arguments out of fear and get stressed over things that don’t really matter. I never want to hurt anyone, let alone the man I love, but I bottle it up for so long and I guess it just explodes.
The truth is that my mental illness would never allow me to fit that idea of the perfect housewife but why is that a bad thing?
I often feel like my husband should be ashamed of who he married. I feel bad for not being more presentable or less ‘messed up’. I feel bad for not being everything I should be, or for what I am told I can be.
I resent the days when I feel unable to be the person I feel that I am on the inside.
I wholeheartedly believe my mental illness does cause some problems in our relationships. But you know what, I think every marriage has problems because we all have ‘flaws’.
And let me just clear one thing up, just because my mental health has caused problems, it does not mean that I am the problem, or that my husband is.
The fact that I have a mental illness is also not a problem. The problem is that sometimes, I feel so lost.
The problem is not being able to access the help I need and the stress that comes with it.
I guess the word ‘problem’ is really subjective here, because I am aware I have caused problems from angry outbursts, pushing my husband away and relapsing into this strange place where I am not human; but I just don’t really see it as a ‘problem’, in the sense that it is not something created on purpose, it’s not there to deliberately hurt either of us, it’s something that just is.
The important thing to remember is the choices you made together and the choices you will continue to make.
It’s knowing that your love and commitment to each other is stronger than any illness.
In truth, my husband and I are not a ‘perfect’ couple. But we are happy with the vows we made, we are happy with our relationship. In sickness and in health counts mental illness within.
We have those days where we will be in each others faces, we have our down days, but that comes from a place of self-esteem and shame for feeling the pain we do.
Yet, there is no person in the world I would trust more than my husband to be with me whenever I need someone.
Sometimes mental trauma can cause us to act in a way we never wanted too.
But what makes us strong is that we talk. Or at least we try too. We try to balance each other out and use our own skills to lift each other up.
The main thing is, we never, ever stay mad at each other because it’s like being made at each other for having a mental illness. We always look at the bigger picture.
Communication is the key bit of advice here, no matter what, communicate with your loved ones.
I know that regardless of my mental illness, I’ll do the best I can to be the best wife I can – and that is all that matters in any marriage.
After all, many things can be helped by just listening and supporting each other.