Being diagnosed with depression and anxiety was all new to me. I had no idea what to do. I didn’t know where to even start so it was really helpful that I have my husband by my side as I go through this phase of my life.
Robert was the one who noticed that there’s something off. I am a very emotional person but when I started getting severe mood swings and sleeping too much, he was the one who raised the red flag. He knew what was going on with my work and he sees how it affected my mood and attitude.
He was there when I broke down one morning, before work. He was there to give me words of encouragement. He was with me when I went to our doctor, the day I got diagnosed with depression. He’s definitely my rock and I know I can depend on him. He would ask if I took my medicine. He asked how I was feeling and reassured me that everything is going to be ok.
After I was diagnosed, I told my parents. Depression was unheard of in my household when I was growing up. It’s either you have a fever or chicken pox – you go to the doctor, take some medicine and skip school to rest. When you are feeling down, you stop feeling sad. You do something fun. You pretty much mask your emotion until you forget about it. So when I told my parents that I have depression, for them it was something that I can brush off. My mom asked if I go to church regularly and if I pray. This is a typical response from a Catholic family. Pray to God and he will take care of your worries. I know my parents meant well. My mom knew that out of her 4 kids, I was the very fragile one. The emotional kid growing up. She said that she’ll pray for me.
Next, I told my siblings. This was very hard for me. Growing up, since I was the eldest sibling, I never showed weakness. I had to be the role model for my siblings. That’s what my parents expected of me. So when I had the talk with my brother and sister-in-law, they were both supportive but unsure of what they are hearing. How is it that I have depression. My life is stable – I have a house, a loving husband, and dogs who give unconditional love. They said that I can call them if I need somebody to talk to. They reminded me that I am able to get through this. A day after our conversation, they decided to visit me. They spent the weekend with us. That made my day.
Robert’s family welcomed me and my condition with open arms. They were the ones who reminded me that there’s nothing to be ashamed of because I have depression. Talking to them so openly about my situation, made me feel like I am not an outcast and that this does not change who I am as a person.
Having a strong support system made me feel that I am not alone during this time. I have a couple of friends from work who knows about my situation and they very kind and understanding as well. Words of encouragement. Robert is there for me when I relapse. People who won’t judge me for what I am going through but help me get better. This is very important for somebody who is experiencing such a difficult time.
This post was inspired by Buzzfeed’s How to Help Your Partner If They Have A Mental Illness.