I am not sure how I feel about this article. As someone who doesn’t have a mental illness, I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to suffer from or living with mental illness. It would be putting words on a topic that I should *never* talk about.
However, being the wife of someone who does have a mental disorder/illness, I sympathize greatly with the author. Am I doing the right thing? Should I be pushing for more? How does it make him feel? Because of the medications he takes, we have made compromises in our relationship. But we’re married. Compromises are part of the unspoken deal.
There are those times in the middle of the night where I wake up and find him still awake. He doesn’t say anything but I know that something is wrong.
“What’s wrong?” I ask sleepily, knowing the answer already.
“Oh, nothing. Just heart palpitations and my mind racing,” he answers trying to nudge me back to sleep.
“Why didn’t you wake me?”
“Because I don’t want you to worry.”
I love my husband and because I love him, I worry. I would worry even if he didn’t have anxiety and PTSD. It’s just the nature of the beast. Well, maybe it’s just my nature. He takes his medications regularly and worries that he might be addicted. He teaches all day and worries about the kind of love and care his kids receive at home. He works two jobs and worries that he doesn’t make enough for us to live on.
He worries and worries and worries some more. He comes by it naturally, unfortunately. His father is a world class worry-wort. It drives me crazy sometimes to hear the both of them kvetsh about what’s going on. (Trust me when I say I had to look up how to spell the word kvetsh. It would’ve never occurred to me about the spelling…but that is for another post.)
He is currently in the process of finding a psychiatrist, one that will have a better handle of his medications. He is, naturally, worried about finding one, to the point that he would just rather ignore it than just plow through it. I understand and try to be patient with him. The other side of me (the noisy/not noisy, bitchy side of me) is exasperated and just wants this done. A recurring motto I seem to have when faced with something that I don’t want to do is to say to myself: do it anyway. Meaning that while I know that I don’t want to do, just do it anyway and you’ll not have to think about it later.
I want to say that to him (gently).
Do it anyway. I know it’s hard and it’s easier to just ignore it but in the long run, it’s going to help you. And I’ll be with you on every step of the way. That’s my job in this marriage. Support.
But that, I know, isn’t being sympathetic or kind or caring. And it would only only certainly just poke his anxiety more if I said it.
So, I don’t. But I am at a loss to know what to say to him. Do I keep my mouth shut and lend him my physical support? By physical support, I mean, by giving hugs and the such. I can’t carry him. He’s bigger than I am. But he tells me that my presence helps him. So, I’ll help him; lend him my ear; give him my strength, whatever he needs.