But I digress. I want to talk about another personal feature, depression and anxiety. Whoo-hoo! Get excited about this one! You know how our little profile says we will tell the truth? Well get ready for some truth telling, folks!
So here's the deal: you know how when you start something new, engagement, a job, moving, and, I imagine, having a baby, everyone says "Oh, how exciting! You must be so happy, so excited, so thrilled, so in love, so hopeful, so amazingly perfect!" And, if it's a job or a move, you think, "yeah, I'm excited but I'm also scared and nervous and not quite totally 100% sure this is the right thing for me." But if it's an engagement the only acceptable answer is, "Yes! Absolutely!"
What's up with that?
Depression, anxiety, all that jazz is one thing during normal working hours and it sucks and I know far too many people who have dealt and are dealing with it in various forms but during the "happiest time of your life?" Unacceptable.
S and I got engaged on June 16, 2007. I spent the next three years struggling with depression and anxiety which means every time someone said, "You must be so _____!,
Yeah, I know, you want to be absolutely, 100% sure about committing to a marriage, I get that, but are we ever 100% sure about anything? Big events can trigger big responses. For some people it's undeniable bliss, for others it's an impending sense of doom or, perhaps worse, an absence of emotion. So what do you do? Well, you don't really feel like you can talk to anyone because then you'll have to face the inevitable questions about whether or not you should go through with the wedding, questions you have been asking yourself for months and that you and your fiance have started discussing. You've thought, "uh, maybe this is a horrible idea, worst you've ever had." Yet, when you take off your engagement ring just to see what it feels like (the opposite of going to Tiffany's and pretending that you or a friend is getting engaged...you did that too, right?) or think about a future without your partner it doesn't make things feel better or alleviate the anxiety, it just makes you sad. But, let's all be honest here, things aren't looking great for your marital future.
Fast forward ------> Things are so much better (thank you Dr. Therapist, thank you meds and then no thank you meds, and thank you coping mechanisms and things to look forward to) but, truthfully, I wish I could go back and redo many of those "happiest moments." The one moment I wouldn't redo is when we said our vows. That was the brief period of time that I had no anxiety or sadness and that gave me hope.
Vows make me happy!
So, what's the point of all this? Other than now you feel so sad for me.*
*If you feel so sad for me, I can suggest ways to cheer me up, perhaps involving shoes or the previously mentioned vacation package. By the way, we are still waiting for our therapy graduation presents. Is this a not customary gift-giving occasion?
The point is, or at least I think it is, that, um, I don't really know what the point is. I guess maybe it's that we can resist the urge to insist that our "happiest times ever" be a frenzy of happiness, that we allow for normalcy even during exciting times and recognize that having a full range of emotions, even when you are receiving awesome wedding gifts, is normal and not a sign of horrible things to come. And, when our loved ones are needing to question their choices, give them support without a side of guilt.
Or maybe I'm just bragging about how much S loves me because he stuck with me for three atrocious years, three years that included our wedding, our sad excuse for a honeymoon, moving, several career shifts for both of us, and Buddy (we love our Buddy). Seriously folks, I don't know how he did it.
Let me sum up this way:
- sometimes life is happy
- sometimes life is sad
- sometimes we need help to be happy or even just regular (not normal...that's asking a little much)
- and, in the immortal words of the "How Are You?" song, "and that's OK!"
- and it is.