An Open Letter To My Stoic Husband – From Your Wife Who Suffered Mental Illness


In the beginning you were my companion for carefree nights out. You were my super cute boyfriend and together we knew only good times. It’s hard to reconcile that from the seeds of that friendship an unbreakable bond would grow. It would carry me through the darkest of days. You would become my soul-mate and your love would literally conquer the waves of deep depression and the most crippling of anxiety. Your strength, hope, courage and wisdom would act as a source of healing for my soul. I’m writing to express my gratitude, for everything you have given me, but in particular for your unconditional love.

It can’t have been easy watching me live through the kind of hell I grappled with while wrestling the demons in my own mind. I wouldn’t have blamed you for running away. There were days when I stayed in bed, and showering was too onerous a feat. You were there and you’d help me, holding my towel while I cried into it. Thanks for not giving up on me or letting go of my hand, when I fell apart and needed you the most. Make no mistake, your love made every difference to my recovery. A load shared is a load halved, and you have always had my back. On occasions my temperament was ridiculous, but you saw that the me you loved was still in there, and you fought long and hard to bring me back.

When I’d cry and refuse to go out with you, because I was too unattractive, unworthy and anxious, it must have hurt like hell, but you never let my demons win by giving in. Some days amidst the darkest periods of my life, I barely managed to smile. But even then you were a source of great comfort, reassuring me that I was not facing the world alone. You continued to teach me that I was worthy of love, and good enough. And, although it was a much heavier load than you ever would have anticipated, you never once complained when you had to carry the metaphorical torch of life, for both of us, for days and weeks on end.

It can’t have been easy juggling all my needs, all of the time, but somehow you met them. You worked 12 hour days to ensure I had private health insurance and visited me in a psychiatric hospital at the end of the day. You were never too proud to tell your friends I was unwell. You picked up the slack at home when I was overwhelmed by the task of washing. It made a difference and gave me space and room I needed to recover. You did everything without ever being asked. When my medication rendered me sedated you would prepare my food, to ensure I was well nourished and cared for. Then when I ran out medication without realizing it, you’d make midnight trips to a 24 hour chemist two suburbs away. You never once let me down.

You gave up on ‘you time’ and on occasions time with your friends, because sometimes I couldn’t be left alone. It can’t have been fun, but you invested in me with your heart and soul. In turn this breathed life into my being and helped me put one foot in front of the other. You remained upbeat and chirpy – Lord knows how – never once letting on that it was a massive burden to carry.

Without knowing it, your resilience would eventually become my resilience. You paved the path for me to stumble down and your love helped me to recover. It’s hard to fathom how you never threw the towel in, particularly when I wanted to myself. It must have been hard to swallow, when at my worst I would push you away. But in good grace you gave me space until I was ready for you to come back. And for better or for worse, you always came back.

As my health improved you would relinquish responsibilities. You did so in good grace. I bet it wasn’t easy, carrying the load all that time and then wondering if I’d carry through the tasks that I set for myself. Somehow, you managed, and with every step of an arduous recovery, you were there- encouraging, supporting and willing me on. Your support allowed me time to heal.

This brings me to now. Finally today I am akin to the same carefree and happy girl you first met. Don’t ever doubt that I exist again because of you. I need to thank you for never giving up on me and for always believing in me that I could recover. I need to thank you for loving me so unconditionally that it helped me emerge from the darkness. I wouldn’t have made it here without you. It was undoubtedly your love that helped bring me back.



  1. This really moved me after going through a similar situation in my early 30’s. Unfortunately I didn’t have quite the same support. I always really love it when people talk about mental illness. It is so important to make it visible. Nobody is immune. I have also recovered and am acutely aware of looking after myself. Everyone who has been through the same feels like a sister to me and I am so happy that life has now looked up for you. Thanks for writing this and contributing to the visibility. Xxx

  2. You are lucky and you shouldn’t doubt that you deserve it. I am sure you would’ve done the same for him if he ever needed. I am glad you are doing good now and big wishes for the future. Hope you always do well!

  3. This was such an heartfelt letter, your husband sounds like a great man to support you but I am sure you also support him in every way too. Thats what marriage is about and it seems like you have that locked down.

  4. Beautiful, Naomi.

    I hope to find such a bond some day in my life 🙂

    Never knew you were a writer !
    Now I understand why you’re so easy to talk to.


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