I am sure that many of you have wondered why I have this blog and why in the world I would 'broadcast' that my marriage is going through difficult times. I know not many would like to talk about their spouse's mental health issues and the issues resulting from that. Most people would hide these issues and pretend to the outside world that everything is fine. My grandfather-in-law was saying a few months ago that FINE stands for Feelings I'm Not Expressing. And isn't it true that we tend to say we are 'fine' when in all reality we are not doing well at all? We have since tried to not use that word in our family anymore.
Back to why I do what I do now. I am a firm believe in being the change you want to see in the world. Even in 2010 there is still too much stigma attached to all things mental health. Especially when it comes to men and mental health. They are still supposed the be the "strong" ones and admitting to something like having depression is seen as a sign of weakness. The "just get over it" mentality is still very prevalent.
Luke was originally diagnosed with depression and GAD (General Anxiety Disorder) in November 2006. This was just a few weeks after our oldest daughter was born. Imagine me being hormonal from being pregnant and mix that with a husband whose mental health issues were untreated at that time. Things were much more manageable for a while until he left the military service in August 2007. That is when things took a turn for the worse. He had a severe nervous breakdown and his first suicide attempt in October 2007 which resulted in inpatient treatment for a few days and the first mention of bipolar disorder. Between the first hospitalization and December 2008 he was admitted to the hospital a total of 5 times. We were 'hospital-free' for a long time until a couple months ago when he stopped taking his medication for the first time ever. That resulted in us almost getting divorced (I had moved out into an apartment with our two daughters) and him being suicidal.
And that is where we are today. Picking up the pieces from that and trying to get our marriage back on track.
Again, most people would not want to talk about this. But I simply refuse to live in the shadows of my husband's mental health issues effects on our lives. I know there are more people out there who are dealing with similar situations. There is nothing worse than suffering in silence and feeling alone. Mental illness has that effect not just on those diagnosed with it but for those living with and around them. Unless we start refusing to let it run our lives we will not change anything. Strength is in numbers. We join support groups for physical illnesses, when out loved ones are in the military, mommy support groups, cloth diapering groups, Veteran groups,... You name it. There is a 'support' group for it. Why should mental health be any different?
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