I’ll never forget our wedding day. It was a hectic day: the flowers were missing, members of our bridal party were missing, and the weather was temperamental. It poured one minute and the 80-degree sun shone brightly the next. But amidst the chaos, there was calm.
In the center of the storm, there was you.
When I walked down the aisle that day, nothing else mattered. You’re my center. It’s always been you.
But I often wonder if you feel the same. I wonder if you would repeat your vows today:
To have and to hold,
For better, for worse,
For richer, for poorer,
In sickness and health,
As long we both shall live.
Because these are my sick times, babe.
These days, I am not well.
Of course, you knew going into our marriage that “these days” would come. You have known me and my depression for 16 long years — and “these days” are par for the course, and you knew that, but that doesn’t make going through it any easier. That doesn’t make loving me (or living with me) any easier, and for that I am sorry.
So, so sorry.
Make no mistake: I am not sorry I have depression. I cannot be. It is an illness like any other, and it is beyond my control. But I am sorry for how it hurts you. I am sorry for how I have hurt you. I am sorry for how it has affected not just me, but our marriage.
How it has affected us.
I’m sorry for the trips I’ve ruined and the dinner dates I’ve cut short. For the parties I’ve avoided and the family outings from which I’ve withdrawn, and for the nights I’ve crawled into bed hours before you to sit. To sulk. To be alone.
I’m for sorry for the uncooked meals and unwashed dishes. For the mess that is our family, our home, and our life, and I’m sorry for our sexless marriage.
I know you are trying: you just want to hold me and touch me and turn me on but when you do, I shake. I shudder. I recoil in shame, sadness, and fear. And while I can blame some of our struggles on medication — on the antidepressants which have zapped my sex drive — the truth is I do not feel worthy of pleasure.
In the depths of my depression, I do not believe I deserve pleasure.
I am sorry for my short temper and shorter fuse — and even more sorry that you are often the recipient of my blind and unforgiving rage.
I am sorry for all the times in which I’ve tried to leave because you would be “better off without me.” You’d be “happier without me,” and I am sorry for pushing you away. You want to be there for me, and comfort me through it, and I just pull away.
Please know I love you. My reaction has nothing to do with you; it is simply that depression is a fickle beast. She hurts me and mocks me and convinces me I am stupid, worthless and unloveable.
But I promise you I am trying.
In spite of it all, I am trying. I’m going to therapy, I’m taking the meds, I’m doing the work to pull myself out of this hell hole.
So while I know loving me isn’t easy — especially as of late — I am asking you to be patient with me and kind toward me. I ask that you listen to me, even when I make no sense. I ask that you keep holding me and hugging me, even when it feels like I’m pulling away. And I ask that you forgive me for it all: for the sadness and apathy, for the anger and lethargy, and for my absence.
For the mental and physical disconnect I experience in the grips of an attack. In the cold dark of a depressive storm.
Because I am doing my damnedest to fight my disease. And to overcome my disease, and I do so because of you: you are my love, my motivation, and my reason.
My calm in the chaos.
After 10 years, you are still my eye in this brutal and unforgiving storm. And, I would renew those vows today. I hope you would too.