“I left my husband for a year, after being together for eight years, and it made our marriage stronger.
Last year, my mental health was at an all time low. I forgot how to be a wife. Or, at least a good one. I found myself losing my temper at absolutely everything, and blaming him for the war that was happening inside my brain.
When you get married, you hear the usual vows and sayings like ‘in sickness and health,’ but sometimes, the sickness is so bad, it gets cast onto your partner, and that’s not good for either of you.
Last year, my husband didn’t know how to handle my anxiety and depression. He does now, but it took him a long time to learn. Just like it took me a long time to learn, it’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to let people in. It’s okay to show you’re struggling.
What isn’t okay, is to blame the person who is trying to understand your brain, when they’re not even in it.
So, I left. I got my two kids, and moved in with my parents.
This is where the saying ‘what’s meant to be, will always find a way,’ comes in.
Over the next year, I battled with dependency on alcohol, suicidal attempts, trying to find affection in not so healthy people, and hospital stays.
Guess who was always there to hold my hand through the psychological evaluations.
Guess who was there to answer my therapist about how my mood had been that week.
Guess who was there to take the kids when it wasn’t his scheduled days.
The man I had left.
After many, many, therapy appointments, and different medications, I was able to get to a point where I realized I needed to stop blaming other people for my struggles, and start looking in the mirror.
Guess who was there, when I realized all of this?
The man I had left.
Mental health struggles are so hard on a marriage, and if you need to step back sometimes, and focus on healing yourself, that’s okay.
It may have been the hardest year of my life, but it made him understand more of what was happening in my brain. It made him learn ways to cope with my anxiety attacks, and depressive episodes. It made him more patient.
It made me more thoughtful. It made me see how badly I was hurting him, because I was hurting inside.
I can’t sit here and tell you mental health struggles won’t affect your marriage, because it broke mine for a while. But it can be repaired.
There’s no straight answer, or road, when talking about mental health and marriage. It’s hard, it can break it, but if it can be mended, you can come back stronger than ever.
So, yes, I left my husband for a year, and it made us stronger in the end.
It made us realize the things we had been blind to.
It made us both appreciate each other a little bit more.
It made me realize who always has my back.
It made me realize I did need sometime away from him to work on my brain, and that’s okay.
But most of all, it made me realize just how much we do love each other. And after all, that’s all you can really ask for in a marriage, isn’t it?
I left the love of my life, found my way back to him, and it made both of us stronger, better people.”
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This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Caitlin Fladager. You can follow her journey on Facebook and Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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