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You are not alone.

“Is it me making you unhappy? I don’t want to think that you stay with me if I don’t truly make you happy. What can I do to make you happy? Would ten puppies make you happy?”

God, I felt stupid. My husband had just asked me what I was feeling and I lay there in bed, tears streaming down my face. “Why are you asking me this? I don’t want to talk about it!” That’s my answer for everything. If I don’t see it, it doesn’t exist. Talk about avoidance issues.

My husband sort of knew I had depression issues far back before we were married. He always poo-poo’d the idea of depression. He always thought it was something you could control. Until he encountered his own anxiety issues a couple years ago. Now, he knows it’s a real thing.

The earliest I can remember having depression was at the age of 12. My dog had been given away (stupid, I know) and I felt like I just wanted to die. My mom asked what was wrong one day. I broke down, telling her I didn’t want to live. She started crying and told me that I shouldn’t feel that way. From that point on, I realized I would need to pretend everything was okay.

At 15, I found my first love. He was as awkward as I was, a talented artist, and he treated me like a queen. He always told me I was beautiful, always made me feel special, always showed his feelings. I couldn’t do the same for him. I had all these repressed feelings, I tried to say things that would make him feel special, but I would catch myself before saying it. I would think to myself, “Why would I say such a corny thing? That would make me weak.” Unless I was with my close friends, I made myself appear to have no emotion. To anyone else, I looked mad and/or uninterested. We were together for two years, but I wasn’t allowed to hang out with him because of my religion. I broke it off in our senior year of high school. That was a very dark time for me.  My emotionless outer mask was at its prime. I pretended to be fine, but I cried myself to sleep every night. I felt horrible. I can’t even begin to describe myself at that time.

After graduation, I commuted to the local university. I made some friends and decided to reinvent myself. I left out my religion and just let myself be. The mask was still there, but I pretended I was being myself. I met some guys online, dated a couple, but the sadness was always there. One boyfriend dumped me because I as “too cold.” He wanted a warm and inviting girlfriend. I couldn’t offer that.

When I met my now husband, we both had been cheated on and then dumped. We were each others’ rebounds. Neither of us was in it for long term. Now here we are, together for thirteen years, and married for nine. I have my episodes where no matter what I think or do, I just get so depressed. Nothing matters. All I think is how easy it would be to just disappear and not have to endure this. Sometimes, not even the consolation of my son helps.

Some days are just so hard.