G is just an ordinary 34 year old man and to look at our marriage from the outside you would see an ordinary couple. Although we have had a few ups and downs in our 10 years together and although we have had some testing times G is and always has been my rock.
‘Please don’t leave me’ I cried desperately one Monday morning as G was getting ready to go away for work. He calmly took me and our few week old baby back up to the bedroom, calmed me down, told me he would come home at any point in the week if I needed him to and left for work no doubt feeling rubbish. When I was in the midst of anxiety it made me very selfish. I didn’t take into account G’s feelings, I couldn’t. My brain was completely taken over with anxious thoughts and fears that there was simply no room for me to think how he might have been feeling about leaving his newborn with his distraught wife. I just didn’t take it into account…until I started to feel better. Slowly the anxious thoughts became more manageable and I started to realise what an effect all of it had had on G. He had had to be strong for me every hour of every day. He had to be on the end of the phone for the hundreds of texts I would send to him every week while he was away working. Then when he was home he would have to coax me out of the house and try to look after both me and our baby whilst we were out and about. Now it could be said that G being away was a trigger for my anxiety or hindered it but it was a situation we couldn’t get out of so I had to learn how to do this parenting lark on my own and how to cope with my anxiety when I was alone with Little Man.
I had a little help from my GP and then found my own help with The Linden Method (read more about
that here) but really one of the people that helped me to get better was G. I remember being in a supermarket in Devon when we were on holiday and telling G I couldn’t do it and needed to get out. He stood firm with me and he didn’t let me run away from it. He made me face the anxiety and carry on anyway. At the time I didn’t thank him for it, I can’t remember but I probably shouted at him quite a lot too once we were back in the car but now I thank him for it. He made me feel brave, like I could do this and very slowly but surely my recovery began from that point on. All through my anxiety G believed in me, he believed that I would get better and he put the time and effort into trying to understand it.
We had our bad days where G just couldn’t take another day of me fussing about going out and ruining another day of plans and he would get short with me and cross but who wouldn’t?! I’m glad he did because I think I started to realise how this anxiety wasn’t just about me and how I was feeling, it was affecting him too. Now, I have loved this man since I was 19 and for all his faults never in a million years would I want to do something to hurt him. This made me want to get better, for me, for him and for our little family.
When women suffer from post-natal anxiety or depression so much of the attention is on us the ones that are going through it which is right, we need that attention and support. But so often our partners are forgotten. I always remember G being really honest with me one night after a particularly bad day and simply saying to me that he just couldn’t understand it. He had never felt the way I was feeling and just didn’t get it but he was there anyway. Our partners although can’t understand it, stick by us, hold our hand and be there when we are shouting, screaming and taking it all out on them.
I am lucky to be in a position where although anxiety still affects me it doesn’t affect me every day as it used to but even on the bad days, G holds my hand and gives me a hug when I cry. In all honesty, what more can I expect from a husband even when he is sometimes annoying me more than I can say! I will always be thankful that he got me through it and he forced me to be strong because without that I may not be where I am today.
There are other important people in my life that also helped me cope with my anxiety and I will be writing about those people soon too. They haven’t been forgotten.