Who Are You And What Have You Done With My Wife?

a husbands perspective of postnatal depression


 
I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs relating to mental health and was finally diagnosed with postnatal depression when Elliott was 19 months old….it was a long battle.  These days it hasn’t gone just yet, I wonder if it ever will. The anxiety and depression still rears it’s head every now and then but I’ve been working hard to keep it in check. I have good days and I have bad days, thankfully the good outweigh the bad.

I decided to ask Mr. G (my husband) to write about it from his perspective, what it was like to live with someone with PND, anxiety & depression to perhaps give others a bit of insight from a different point of view when it comes to this crappy, life sucking disease. When he read this post out to me the other night I burst into tears. It was the first time I had heard him explain it this way, it was confronting, it was upsetting.  It reminded me of how lucky I am to have such an amazing husband who has stuck with me through thick and thin and it reminded me that he too was affected by what affected me.

Oh…and I promise I’m not crazy, you may read this and think I am but really, this is just what makes me me, I guess. It’s the raw and honest truth about the black dog and I hope that it may be of help to some.

Over to you Mr. G…..

When Eva asked me to write a blog post for her about living with someone that has postnatal depression and someone who continues to struggle with general anxiety and depression disorder,  I thought to myself that this was a trick to get me in trouble. After being reassured that I wouldn’t get in trouble I started to think about what it is really like. So before I start I will say that I will do my best at trying to describe what I see and also how I feel.  At times this may came across as selfish because I’m not the one battling, but I often say to Eva that I also live with it daily too.

If I am being honest, Eva being diagnosed with postnatal depression was not a shock to me because she battled anxiety and depression long before Elliott was born. So being a first time dad I didn’t know that the crying and mood swings were any different to what I’d been seeing before Elliott came along or just something a new mum had to deal with. So it also took me a while to suggest that she needed to go see someone. It was only once Eva opened up about how she was really feeling that I began to understand that things were not right.

Something even today I find interesting is that if I were sick,  I would go to the doctor. But back then trying to convince Eva that she needed to see someone was very hard. Explaining that you will not feel better until you do see a doctor didn’t seem to matter. Eva found it difficult to admit that there was a problem and I realised that asking for help wasn’t easy for her. 

At times, and even now,  it’s like I’m living with more than one Eva. The happy loveable girl with a great smile. The quiet and withdrawn introvert. The motivated and determined business women and the highly strung ball of stress and worry, close to breaking. I don’t see them all everyday but they are not all the girl I married.

The quiet withdrawn introvert is a sign to me these days that there is something worrying her. I do my best to get out what is troubling her and work through the issues but this doesn’t always help. Minor day to day issues can be bigger than they need to be. I feel that there is always a problem, always something to worry about. There is always something.

There have been times when things have become too much and she’s had massive melt downs where she shakes and cries. There is no consoling her or trying to get her to be rational. She either does not hear what I am saying or yells at me for trying to point out that things will be ok or that she is over reacting.

I’ve also come to believe that what Eva battles has also shaped her motivation and determination to succeed in business. Her constant worry and stress means that she will over think and play out every possible outcome before making a decision. But that means she almost can not turn off. Something is always ticking and at times this can mean that she is not 100% present in what we are doing or other things that may be important to me can be seen less as important to her.

Eva has always questioned whether she is a good enough mother, whether she spends enough time with Elliott and whether she does enough for him. I think Eva does a great job and I think she is a wonderful mother. We have a wonderful son who is happy. We will not be judged poorly as parents if he does not become a brain surgeon, instead we will be judged by how he behaves as he gets older, his manners, how he treats the people around him and the values he has as a person, but mostly if he is happy.

For me I guess I live the same day to day ups and downs as Eva. At times I can feel way down on the list of priorities. But I also know that the happy girl with a great smile, who laughs at my stupid jokes is still there. All I can do is help Eva where I can and be there to pick her up if she trips.

 

Signing off… 

Mr. G

or as my friends call me, Gavin.

 

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Today I’m linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT

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Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

Eva is the Editor and Owner of The Multitasking Woman - a lifestyle and parenting blog.She always has her fingers in many different pies but wouldn't have it any other way. Eva is a Mum to her 4-year-old son, 2 month old daughter, two chickens, one dog and a fish called Bob and a wife to Mr G. They all live happily in their little cottage on the outskirts of Brisbane.

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20 Comments

  1. Jode
    January 20, 2015 / 6:45 am

    Thanks for being brave enough to share the both of you! I still suffer PND and the associated mood swings and my twins are now 4. I know my other half has to deal with a lot and am so grateful to have him in my life. It sounds like Eva is a lucky lady to have you Gavin, thanks for sharing from your side of the story

  2. writeofthemiddle
    January 20, 2015 / 9:48 am

    You’re both so brave to share this but I tell you what – I’m grateful to every single person who tells it like it is and keeps it real. It all helps towards getting rid of the stigma and helping people to understand and realise just how many people out there suffer with PND, Depression, Anxiety etc. I didn’t get post-natal depression when I had my kids (a miracle I think) but I have met D & A since! Anxiety is like a shadow that follows me around constantly which I try to ignore or push away. Good on you Gavin!! 🙂

  3. January 20, 2015 / 11:05 am

    This is really so heartfelt – I can see why you are so grateful for your supportive husband Eva – for a man to write about this is a pretty hard thing I reckon. I think it is really insightful how Gavin highlights the two aspects of how you are when happy, and the days depression takes hold and how his love for you shines through on the good days and bad. Hope the balance is more and more happy days.

  4. January 20, 2015 / 11:39 am

    Gavin, what a wonderful husband you are to Eva. This post is so lovingly written and I bet a few partners could relate to your story. Eva, you are amazing at what you have been able to handle and achieve while trying to be a wife, mother and business woman. I hope your recovery continues and while I haven’t experienced PND I know how important it is to write about it and encourage women to talk to their gp if things aren’t right. Thank you for sharing your story. Xx

  5. January 20, 2015 / 12:35 pm

    This is such a lovely post, and really makes you see things from a partner’s perspective. So nice to read about the support and love you have for one another. Thanks for sharing your story.

  6. January 20, 2015 / 3:49 pm

    What a wonderful post. I’m sure my hubster could identify with a lot of what you have written here Gavin – though our babies are now 20 & 18! When I was in the thick of the depression when the kids were small, he said the thing he missed most was my smile. I hadn’t even realised it was missing. Like Eva, I took a long time to admit to needing help and even waiting in the doctor’s surgery I felt like such a fake – “nothing” really was wrong with me! But thank God I got the help I needed and I truly believe we would not still be married if I hadn’t. (The hubster wasn’t going anywhere but I was in a bad way).

    Visiting today from #teamIBOT x

  7. January 20, 2015 / 7:15 pm

    Oh Eva, thank you for sharing something so personal and honest. Awareness is so powerful and I know when I have written about my glimpses of the black dog I have been overwhelmed by the support and also by how much my readership can relate and wish to share. I’m certain this will be the case for you too. People love people for being real and this is what you are on this space, so thank you. It’s powerful.
    I really appreciated reading your husbands perspective and I almost could imagine my husband saying or writing the very same words xxx

  8. January 20, 2015 / 8:25 pm

    I think this is wonderful. So often the partners perspective gets ignored. You are both very brave to share this with us all and it is beautiful how supportive you are of each other. I hope that you reach the light at the end of the tunnel soon. xx

  9. Shannon Elizabeth Meyerkort
    January 20, 2015 / 9:21 pm

    Lovely to read your words Gavin and to hear a guys perspective on this issue. Elliot is lucky to have such wonderful parents – who are open to sharing difficult stories. Stick together, you are a strong family and deserve great things.

  10. TeganMC
    January 20, 2015 / 10:27 pm

    Thank you for sharing. It’s nice to see the perspective of the partner. It sounds you like you are both lucky to have each other.

  11. January 20, 2015 / 10:28 pm

    Trent probably feels the same way because that pretty much describes me too except that Im often screaming for help either internally or externally, but I’ve learnt over the years that people see me as being “too capable” and therefore dont offer help if that makes any sense what so ever. My mum has told me this before – apparently I was always the strong one so she didnt need to worry about helping me as a child… Anyway thats a whole other story! I’m glad you have Mr G and even though he gets frustrated at times he still sticks by you and for the most part seems to understand what you’re going through 🙂

  12. January 21, 2015 / 7:36 am

    Thanks for sharing this Eva- it’s good to hear the other half of the equation. Maybe his words will reach a person in the same boat and help them. I think it’s clear that you two are a great team xx

  13. January 22, 2015 / 8:36 am

    What a good bloke! I am glad for both of you that the good days out number the bad these days. You are very brave for being so honest about your struggle xx

  14. Natalie Peck McNamara
    January 23, 2015 / 1:37 pm

    WOW, this was fantastic to read. I could feel his pain, his love, his concerns in every word.

  15. July 2, 2015 / 7:37 pm

    Wow Eva. So powerful to read the other side. What an amazing hubby you have. Very brave of you both to share this.