Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Depression: It's Our Problem

Cynthia was dealing with depression for months before we realized what it was. At first it just seemed like Cynthia would get in a mood where she was unreasonably touchy, couldn't be satisfied and was too tired to do the things that used to excite her. Then the next day she would be dramatically better. It was a roller-coaster for awhile, but we started to finally see that it was a noticeable pattern, and we started to realize that maybe it wasn't just "moods", maybe it was something physiological.

I can understand the temptations as a spouse to draw away. I didn't know when we got married that I was agreeing to having to be a single parent one day every couple weeks, or to spending late nights trying to encourage Cynthia when nothing I say helps, or to having her attack me unfairly. As we've slowly come to realize more of what it is, however, I'm realizing that when I was married this is what I signed up for. I'm very thankful that when the pendulum swings back and Cynthia's back to "normal" she's still the same wonderful person I married. Since this is the case I know that in the "down" times she's not herself, and part of serving her "for better or for worse" is taking care of her through tough times as well as enjoying the happy times. I know some people have to deal with a spouse who always treats them like I was describing, and I feel for them, but I thank God that I'm not dealing with that. I'm still married to an amazing, delightful woman, and I'm helping her through something she's being attacked by periodically, like a disease.

Depression isn't just her problem to deal with on her own. I don't make her feel guilty when she can't do what she usually does and I pick up the slack. I try to not argue or get angry with her when she's down and says things that feel unfair, untrue, or hurtful. I'm seeking to help her, reading about how I can assist her, encouraging her and sticking with her when she needs it. That's what I agreed to when I said those vows on our wedding day. If it meant staying by her bedside if she got cancer I would do it, and so I'm going to do the equivalent in this situation, when she being attacked by a different, but in some ways very similar, affliction.
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