For the vast majority of my life, depression wasn’t something real. Depression only occurred when the Broncos lost in the Super Bowl or when Utah lost to BYU in football. Outside those instances, depression only happened when someone chose to be sad.
That’s largely how I felt about depression right up until I experienced my wife’s first bout with this illness. Having suffered from depression throughout her adolescence, it wasn’t Casey’s first experience with this. She had suffered hundreds of times prior to my arrival. However, it was my first known experience with the disease, and I got a quick crash course on what marriage is like with someone who suffers from depression.
The first time that I could tell something was just not right, I started to wonder if our marriage was doomed to fail from the beginning. Casey had outright declared that she was unfit to be anyone’s mother, let alone anyone’s wife or friend. The words that came out of her mouth were hurtful, unanticipated, and unsolicited.
Wondering what I could do to save the marriage before Casey’s state of mind got too out of control, I decided to take Casey on a drive up the mountain. We had been visiting my parents that weekend and my dad lent me his cherry red 71’ Chevrolet Camaro for the ride.
I loved that car and loved taking it on a long mountainside road, since it had a long straight-away where traffic was limited. That car had gone from 0 to 60 MPH in first gear on more than one occasion, only to shift to second gear leaving a trail of rubber several yards long. I figured that the experience would be so exhilarating that there was no way Casey wouldn’t just pop out of whatever was bothering her.
My plan completely backfired. I took Casey on the mountainside road, only to look over and see that she had no expression whatsoever when it was over. Baffled by her lack of smiles, I decided to take her the rest of the way up the mountain. I was sure the overlooks from the mountainside would snap her out of her present mental condition.
Halfway up the mountain, Casey asked if we could turn around and go home. I, regretfully, did exactly as she asked. Later she explained that she thought I was taking her up into the mountains to murder her and leave her to be eaten by the bears.
Not exactly the result I was looking for.
Depression is a terrible disease that grasps people and holds onto them as they struggle to free themselves from its grasp. I really don’t know what it is like to suffer from depression, but I do know what it feels like to be married to someone who suffers from depression, and it isn’t easy. It is filled with its own issues that are difficult to overcome; however, as I’ve become more and more familiar with depression, I’ve learned how to cope with those challenges.
Here are some of the feelings I experience as I help Casey through her bouts of depression:
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