Your Spouse Can’t Fix Your Mental Illness

My husband is my rock. He knows me better than anyone. He’s seen me at my worst and he still loves me. He knows how I think and how to make me feel better. He’s so good at it, in fact, that I started relying on him too much to do this during my lowest moments of depression and anxiety.

I am grateful that I could confide in my husband when I started experiencing depression. I knew he wouldn’t judge me. Everyone deserves a person like that in their lives. It is so helpful to have a place to talk things out where you feel completely safe. His encouragement to talk to my doctor is exactly what I needed to take that step to reach out for help.

husband and wife with depression
My husband has always been my biggest supporter

But I also found myself asking him more and more often to tell me everything was going to be okay. To reassure me. To tell me he loved me. To have him validate how hard this was for me. I would always feel better after talking to him, so I leaned heavily on him during this time.

It got to the point where I would call or text him when I was having intrusive and bad thoughts and when he couldn’t answer, I completely fell apart. I realized I had no coping skills. Without him, I didn’t know what to do. I felt completely lost. This was putting a lot of stress on our relationship. I knew he loved me, and I loved him, but things were tough.

Eventually I started going to therapy. It was there I learned that my husband could not be everything I was asking him to be. Sure, he could give me lots of support, but the frequency and intensity of everything I was asking from him was not sustainable.

She also pointed out to me that my husband was human, too. He wasn’t an unbiased third party like a doctor, therapist, or other professional. He was trying to compensate for all the weight I asked him to carry by not sharing his own feelings. He felt too guilty to ask anything from me. We weren’t truly connecting back and forth like partners should. Each person needs to be seen and heard.

This was hard on him. He hated seeing me suffer. He wanted me to be happy, but he didn’t know how he could really help me get there. Because, well, he couldn’t help me get there. Not in the long term.

I needed professional help to navigate this illness, just like you need professional help to navigate any other illness.

The best thing I ever did for us and our marriage was to start and continue going to therapy. Therapy gives me tools and resources so I can help myself when I’m in a rough spot.

I still turn to my husband for advice, encouragement, and support, but I recognize now that he cannot do it all. No one can. He still knows everything that I’m going through, but I give him space for his feelings, too. What he thinks and feels matters, and he deserves a partner that can receive that.

husband and wife traveling
We’ve been able to truly enjoy each other a lot more once I got more professional support.

Don’t feel guilty if you have made the same mistakes I did. We are all learning and trying to figure out life with all its twists and turns. What’s important is that you continue striving to get to a place where you can give and receive in a healthy relationship.

Marriage is a two-way street. And if both people put in the effort, you can come out on the other side even stronger than before.

 

Kristen Gardiner
Kristen is currently a stay-at-home mom to three wild boys, ages 9, 7, and 4. Kristen was born and raised in San Antonio & she and her husband recently moved their family to Allen in 2018 after a four-year stint in Oklahoma City. Kristen loves to write about motherhood, mental health, and child safety. She is a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician and has a passion for contributing hands-on car seat education to her community. In her spare time, she loves binging on Bravo shows while sipping a Diet Coke.  Share in the everyday highs, lows, and humor with Kristen at Driving Mom Crazy, and on Facebook or Instagram.