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– just because he is withdrawn do not withdraw from him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.