I Would Love to See Her Smile

My shirt has become a towel or a tissue; it’s absolutely soaked, but I don’t really care. What I care about is the woman crying in my arms. It’s the fifth day in a row this week but every day, I support her. I want her to smile and to get better but she can’t do that on her own.

It’s a low week this week, which means that I must be extra strong mentally to give her the support she needs. I have to; she’s my life. She is the strongest woman that I know, trying her hardest to get through this, day by day.

We know what it is though: she had the diagnosis last month… clinical depression. I had known something was not right for a number of weeks and fortunately I had managed to persuade her to go and finally see her GP with me.

The lack of motivation to do anything, the constant fatigue, extremely hopeless comments and her dramatically low self-esteem: it just didn’t seem like her. At all.

It started when she lost her job; she was made redundant. Unfortunately, she has always had a low opinion of herself, but I think that was the thing that sent her over the edge. After she lost her job, she was making comments such as:

‘Nobody will ever employ me,’

‘What’s the point of it all?’

My constant reassurance has done nothing to boost her state of mind, she won’t believe me. I just try the best I can and constantly look at new ways to support her. The problem is that I too, am getting in trouble with work which has added new pressure to my life. I’d never show that struggle in front of her, it would only make her worse.

I’ve spoken to some close friends and family (from both sides) just to see what support they can give; they’ve offered to look after her whilst I am at work. I don’t want to scare her though. It might make her feel worse. Plus, I wouldn’t be able to operate at work with the thought of being away from her.

The comment that gets me from those I’ve told is: ‘she doesn’t look unwell’. Well that’s because it’s a mental illness; is she supposed to look physically unwell too? I guess nobody can understand from the outside.

 

***

 

Today we went for a walk in the park. In the old isolated country park where we’ve always loved to go. It has so many trees and so much long green grass. It’s in the middle of the week and so it’s not too crowded, just a few people walking about. She hates crowds of people; she’s a bit socially anxious like that. We just walk about in silence. I would try to find something to say but I know that she likes the silence most of the time.

She’s not crying today, but just has an emotionless expression on her face. It’s like something has been drained from her body. We sit down on a bench and just listen to the birds sing and watch the leaves flying around everywhere.

‘I love you’ I whisper, as I touch her hand.

She continues without a word, instead leaning over in my direction and rests her head on my shoulder. I put my arm around her and look at her as she closes her eyes. I close my eyes too, as we sit there falling asleep in public.

I feel equally as exhausted. The constant worry and concern looking after someone I love this much, is destroying me. I want her to be happy. If she’s happy, I can be happy again. I need to look at additional treatments for her.

 

***

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I feel much more progress has been made and I’ve managed to get back to work. I still worry about her, but I am more confident that she can cope for a few hours in the day without me and in someone else’s company.

We’ve tried so much to move forward. The anti-depressants worked for a brief while but then we stopped. The counselling, exercise and a slow build-up of a positive routine is really what has started to make a difference.

Now on some days, she smiles. Those are the best days of my life, as I love to see her smile.

Important notice:

If you or anyone you know, are experiencing any of the symptoms or issues experienced in the story today, please encourage yourself or the individual to talk, and to see a professional if necessary. In lots of cases, people hide or keep their mental health challenges to themselves and it gets worse. I know from experience when faced with difficulties, that when I’ve talked to people it has always significantly improved my well-being each time.

Speak to family and friends where possible but there are some other sources available if you wish to talk to someone independently. There are many but a couple of key ones for the UK:

https://www.samaritans.org/

https://www.mind.org.uk/

 

Jonny Pardoe

 

Photo by Jose Chomali on Unsplash

Jonny Pardoe © July 2019

 

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