A lot of people I know are getting married lately. It's nice.
A lot of people I know are getting divorced lately. Sometimes that's nice too and sometimes it's sad. Circumstances vary.
I don't like divorce. I've been through it and it's just awful. I wouldn't wish it on anyone, except maybe John Edwards. I hate that guy.
I've never met anyone who thought they would get divorced on the day they got married (I'm sure there are people who would tell you, "I knew it was a huge mistake, but it was already paid for!" but I personally don't know any of those people). Presumably when you marry someone you are madly in love with them and want to be with them forever and ever.
Forever is a long time y'all. I imagine it feels even longer when you are married to someone like me.
I mean, I'm not horrible. I'm mostly nice. I work really hard. I'm a great cook. I smile a lot, even when I don't feel like it. I'm capable of listening to the same story two hundred times and I still laugh every single time like it's the first time I've heard it. I have skills, clearly.
I also have horrible anxiety. I have terrible, soul-crushing depression. I feel things hard, good and bad. I might be "okay" one minute and the next minute I might be in a horrible shame spiral and hating myself. He never knows. I never know, so it would be impossible for him to know.
I deal with it pretty well. I go to therapy, I take my meds. I manage, as far as things like this go.
I'm very lucky. He deals pretty well too. My husband is very forgiving, and very appreciative of all the good things about me. He accepts me for who I am, even the broken parts. Love is patient, love is kind.
And as it turns out? Love is also being really, really brave.
Every time you love someone enough to pledge your life to them, that's a huge chance. People grow, they change. People get sick, people die. Sometimes their brains break. Sometimes their brains have been broken for a very long time and they've just been hiding it really well. Keeping themselves busy, never dealing with it because it's just so hard. It's all a crapshoot, you know?
It hurts when the person you love doesn't act like the person you fell in love with. When they want to be alone to deal with their pain themselves. When the very thought of having to go somewhere, to interact, to deal just feels so incredibly exhausting. When they start behaving like they are someone else. It's not you, it's really not, but it's almost impossible to not take it personally.
Depression doesn't always look like laying on the bed with the lights off. Depression doesn't always look like crying. Sometimes it looks like continual self-doubt. Inability to recognize that a small thing is actually a small thing and not some huge, major drama. Sometimes it just looks like trying so hard, so very, very hard, to be perfect.
Depression is an ugly mistress. Hideous. You'd never want to take her home to meet the folks.
Love is different though. Love is being brave. Love is listening to those same stories. Love is being patient and kind when your person is hurting. Love is helping. Love is fighting for your spouse, and what they need.
It's hard. I know it has to be hard. I know I would do anything to not feel the way I feel and I know every person who has depression and anxiety and every single other mental health issue feels exactly the same way. No one wants to hurt and they definitely don't want to hurt the people they love. That goes the same for those who have cancer, or a brain injury, or any other illness that changes them from the person you love to a person who can be hard to recognize sometimes.
Love is sometimes quietly listening. Love is sometimes holding someones hand while they cry. Love is sometimes just giving someone quiet space sometimes, and other times yelling at the top of your lungs when they need you to be their advocate.
If you love someone with a broken brain, remember they are worth it. Remember they don't want to have a broken brain, that they would literally do anything to change the fact that their brain is broken.
Love is an act of bravery.