It happened so gradually that I couldn't see what was right in front of me. He seemed more distant, more irritable, and more checked-out with each passing month. Yet, there were good days, too....at least a few. Always short with the kids and rarely kind to me, I began to slowly back away, emotionally. I began to question our marriage. He wouldn't - or couldn't - talk about anything without becoming defensive. I began to not want to talk to him.
I would get mad and think that demanding his help or his participation or anything with a raised voice would exact some change. He said nothing. I felt crazy.
I remember saying, "My husband won't take my influence." It was one of the most defeating feelings I've ever felt.
I was desperate enough to ask for help, for a recommendation for a seasoned marriage counselor, because I couldn't stand it anymore. Two weeks later, he lost his job.
Then things got really bad. The fabric of our entire life together began to unravel. I didn't know what to do, and nothing I tried worked. I felt crazier and crazier.
I was taking care of our two very young children, working part time, and basically 100% responsible for the household because he wouldn't - or couldn't - put his iPod down long enough to help.
He stopped coming to bed with me. I would often wake up at 2:00am to his side of the bed still empty. I'd check downstairs, and the TV would still be on, and he would sometimes be asleep, still fully clothed, sitting up, and sometimes he would be awake, watching whatever late-night nothingness happened to be on.
I felt so alone.
I was so angry. Where did he go?! What the hell was happening? Did he hate me?
I dreamed of leaving.
Hatred began to grow, and I closed off my heart to him. That way he couldn't hurt me. He was locked in a world I couldn't break into no matter how hard I tried. AND I AM A LICENSED THERAPIST.
Do you know how awful it felt to watch as a mental health provider, while my husband slipped away and there was seemingly nothing I could do about it? If that isn't crazy-making, I don't know what is.
I felt he'd rejected me to the core. He didn't want my help. Or anyone else's. He abandoned me and didn't seem to care.
And then it came. A diagnosis.
Except, even with some counseling and some meds, nothing seemed to improve.
This was a battle we would fight for almost 6 years before we broke through to some healing.
If any of this sounds familiar, I invite you download my free guide - Depression in Men - by entering your email address at the bottom of the page, or by clicking on the Resources tab above. I'd like to provide some clarity to what can be an extremely confusing situation.
If you'd like to hear more of the story, stay tuned for Part 2.