My dear husband,
When we got married, you didn’t know I had depression. I didn’t know I had depression. We wouldn’t know I had depression until I became pregnant with our first child. Then everything changed in more ways than one.
You and I always wanted children together. It was something we talked about for years and looked forward to. So when I got that positive pregnancy test while both of us were still in grad school, we were elated. Everything seemed like it was going perfectly.
Then when the second trimester hit, I started feeling awful all the time. I had morning sickness in the first trimester, but this was different. I cried a lot, and felt extreme dread at the thought of going anywhere. I was consumed by darkness and couldn’t see past it no matter how hard I tried. I felt hopeless. I felt defeated.
This was not the girl you married.
One day I noticed you kneeling in prayer on my behalf, and I realized what I had been going through wasn’t just affecting me. It was affecting you, too. I wasn’t able to be a true partner to you. I was not well. I felt a lot of shame for putting you through this.
But you only thought of me. You did everything you could to help me weather this storm. You were a constant, steady source of support during this time.
Thanks to your encouragement, I got help from my doctor. That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do: to admit that I was not okay. But you were right by my side, holding my hand as I took that first step.
I started to feel better and more like myself again over time. My pregnancy went relatively smoothly after that and we were able to happily bring home a healthy baby. Life was good.
In the years since then, there have been ups and downs. Depression would return during our next two pregnancies as well as postpartum. Medications needed adjusting. I started therapy. Anxiety steadily increased with each passing year until I was diagnosed with that, as well. A lot has changed, but your unwavering support has not.
Even now that we are done having children, depression and anxiety continue to be a part of my story. A part of our story. It is likely that this will be something I always struggle with. You didn’t sign up for the stress of a spouse with mental illness. But you have loved me through the worst. And for that I feel so incredibly lucky.
The promises we made to each other on our wedding day mean more now than they did back then, because I have a better understanding of their significance. After all we’ve been through, you’ve showed me what love really means.
I can’t fully understand the strength it takes to be the emotional rock in our marriage, but I can say thank you.
Thank you for loving me through depression. Thank you…for loving ME.