We usually don't talk about it, even though we know it's happening.
One recent night, though, things come to a head, and the situation couldn't be ignored.
"I'll bet you feel that things are blowing up in your face," my husband said to me. "You wanted to talk about one pretty simple thing, and all this bigger stuff came out."
Yep. He pretty much nailed it.
The past three years have strongly challenged Eric's and my resolve to live into two of our wedding vows: for better or for worse, in sickness and in health. Burnout, depression, and anxiety severed me from my vocation in 2010 and whipped our marriage and family into a tailspin. Until recently, I thought my husband was being strong so I could heal and our children could prosper. When one partner in a marriage is ill, it's imperative that the other keep things going.
"While you've been healing, I've been crashing," Eric said recently.
"Uh oh," I responded.
I'm much better, yes. But my depression is chronic. Thankfully, my waves are more infrequent and less dramatic, but they still come.
Eric's lot is different but similar. Depression runs in his blood. Both his mother and maternal grandmother suffered greatly from depression and other mental illness. It doesn't help that he places heavy pressure on himself as our family's breadwinner. The fact that he earns his living via sales commissions only drags him down further.
Once close to gym rat status, neither of us exercise anymore. When there is a rare break in our busy family schedule, all Eric and I want to do is sleep. Laughter used to fill our home, and while it's still most welcome, the sound fills our cups only about one-third of the way. Most of our conversations are operational—what's the weekend schedule, what's for dinner, how are our finances, etc. And neither of us can remember when we last went on a date.1