With my two year wedding anniversary just days away, this week seemed like the perfect time to talk about mental health and marriage, but probably not in the way you’re thinking about.
I love my wife. I love her more than life itself. She’s an incredible person, my absolute best friend and the greatest co captain I could ever ask for in life… But I’m still fucked up.
I still have mental health issues, triggers, quirks and meltdowns with the same severity as if I were single and I believe it’s a common misconception that mental health issues are easier when you have a partner when in reality –
Just because I’m married doesn’t make me any less fucked up than you.
I’ve had to fight this corner a few times before. I’ve seen it a lot with single people both with and without mental health issues – everybody thinks finding somebody is the ultimate answer. Of course I’m not going to sit here and say that she doesn’t help, because that would just be out right lying. She makes me feel safe and loved and always makes the effort to understand what’s going on in my head even when it feels impossible.
First and foremost, my wife is an incredible friend. That’s what makes me love her so fiercely and what pushes me to want to better myself. I also have other incredible friends who try so hard to understand and are always there with a shoulder should I need it. Though it’s hard to imagine a life without her I know that if I wasn’t married, I would still have a strong support system. There are still people in my life who love and care for me and only want to help.
What people also don’t seem to realise is how much pressure you can feel with mental health issues (especially when you’re having a breakdown), just because you’re married. You’re the other half of a unit, the other pillar holding up a life you’ve helped to build and when you start to get weak and you have to watch the person you love the most take that extra strain – you can feel like such a failure, so useless and like such a let down. It’s so frustrating to watch all the dark parts of your mental illness infiltrate something you created with so much light, to watch the one person you swore to protect against all odds suffer at the hands of your demons. Most of the time you feel like taking on each other’s baggage was an unfair trade and your partner got the shit end of the stick, no matter how much they tell you it’s worth it.
I’ve been with my wife near a decade and known her for much longer, but my mental health journey has still had it’s ups and extreme downs. My demons have still found me and toyed with me, chewed me up and spit me out regardless of relationship status. My struggle has been no more or less than anyone else battling with their mind and I wish more people understood that. I have still felt utter loneliness and so unbelievably lost, just like everyone else.
Mental health aside, married life is both difficult and amazing. Of all the reasons there are in life to better yourself and hold on to happiness (and there are many, believe me), I feel so incredibly lucky that she is one of mine. Even before we got together she believed in me and was there for me like no one else and I am honored to have her in my life. We’ll be putting up with each other for a very long time to come.