the flip side

So Chef has been depressed for about a month. Six weeks maybe? It started with him quietly telling me one morning that he was feeling ‘a bit sad’.


And now I am well and truly on the flip side of mental health ‘issues’. The supporter not the sufferer.


And quite frankly, it is fucking hard. If I was a quarter of how Chef is currently feeling (and I know I was actually a lot lot worse) it is a Modern Miracle we are still married. That we are is basically a reflection of Chef’s character. His tenacious, resilient, loving character. That the memory of the ‘normal’ me held him in there for the long haul is remarkable.


Chef is the one who can turn the most banal statement into a lewd one. The one who can turn a perfectly normal conversation into one about how he has a great big bed shark for me. Who has the quick wit and the most hilarious quip in any situation.


But at the moment he is grey. Flat. No sex nagging. No sex quips. No bed shark circling. He is glum. Quick to anger. Sullen. All the things on the depression spectrum.


And I have to work SO HARD to remember what to do for him. What to say, what not to say (Dear self: you know how you HATE people asking how you are when they know you’re depressed, as if you’ll just snap out of it overnight or from the morning to the afternoon? Yeah. Then STOP ASKING HIM if he’s OK when clearly he is not.). Here’s the rest of my checklist:

– just because he is withdrawn do not withdraw from him

– do not get angry at his lethargy and lack of helping

– do not overload him with requests to do things

– make some favourite meals for him

– gently encourage him to talk by just ‘being’ by his side

– do NOT nag

– always let him know how much he is loved, what an integral part of the family he is and that he is special

– reassure him that he WILL feel better, that this WILL pass.




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  • Yes but don’t try and do it all on your own or you will be in trouble yourself.

    GP/meds/psychologist – Chef needs those as well.

    Mary recently posted..Postcards Twelve

  • jac

    I am very impressed at him for telling you, rather than trying to forge through it himself. Still, not fun. Onwards indeed!

    • Yes – that is a massive step. Last time he had a depressive episode was probably around 6 years ago?

  • Angela M

    Yes, you are both so lucky to have each other to get you through this time. Remember, professionals are professionals for a reason. You are superwoman, not superhuman xx

    • ooo, I like that. And I forgot to respond to your offer/comment on Facebook re makeup – will do so!

  • I hope it passes soon xx
    Veggie mama recently posted..Meatless Monday – Tempeh and Kale Stir Fry

  • Oh man! Poor fella. I hope that it lifts and that 2012 is a calm and happy year for you all. xx
    Amelia recently posted..Bits and pieces

  • Never suffered it myself but I DO know how helpless it is to be the supporter.
    Hang in there…
    Frogdancer recently posted..I’ve TRIED telling her there’s no rooster, so there’s no point…

  • I know this situation all too well. We have been in it for some time now. It is hard, SO hard. I wish I had some advice for you, but I don’t.
    Sarah recently posted..Some people have all the luck…

  • very sorry to hear that, can’t be fun for any of you. Your first item on the checklist is so important and yet so difficult.
    Julie recently posted..It’s beginning

  • Linda

    that black dog decends on us

    it stays too long

    it weighs too much

    it sucks the energy from us

    it tries to take over

    ….but it does move on

    your checklist is spot on

  • Paola

    Can’t do it all yourself!
    I say go homeopathic, I’ve been there a few times (shame!) and it helped me through wonderfully.
    You are an amazing, strong couple but a little help will do wonders.
    Luv n hugs.

  • Tim

    this is a really heartfelt post. made me think of the way my gf supported me when I had a downward patch and how fantastic she was, even when she wan’t quite sure what to do.

    as you said, sometimes just ‘being’ with the person in silence is the most amazing support one can give. I hope things turn on the up for chef. it will