Mental Illness in Marriage

Newlyweds both battling with depression explore how each other's mental illness impacts them and their marriage

Friday Thoughts

This week has been really tough for several different reasons.  I’m so glad it’s Friday.  I go into work today at 2:30 pm and then will be off for two glorious days!

With one of my big life goals to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner by my early thirties, I’m currently getting all my pre-requisites out of the way to get into an RN program.  This summer’s class is microbiology, which I’m loving because I have one of my favorite professors.  It’s still a difficult and challenging class, different from the anatomy & physiology courses I’ve done before.  This week I took the hardest exam of the class and then took a lab practicum (another exam but based only on material covered in the lab portion) the day after.  My brain feels pretty fried at this point, but with about two-ish weeks left of the course, I still have a research paper to write, two more lecture exams, and one last lab practicum before I’m really done.

If working full time and going to school part time wasn’t enough on my plate, cue car troubles with not one but two vehicles.  First, my husband’s ’89 Chevvy sedan died on one of the busiest roads in town.  Instead of calling road-side assistance through our insurance company, he paid $60 for a tow.  Then it was $125 to repair some fuel injector thingie to make the engine run.  Two days ago, a tire blew out on our carpet cleaning van while the hubby was driving on the interstate.  Thankfully this time he called road-side assistance.  I’m not sure what it will cost to get a new tire, but at least that expense will be tax-deductible.

Now onto work… It’s been a trying week.  I work a really fast-paced admissions unit that is considered maximum security.  All of my patients have criminal charges and most of them are seriously mentally ill.  The plus side is that helps put my own symptoms into perspective because I’m not hearing voices to kill anybody.  We’ve gotten some really assaultive guys this week in addition to being short-staffed, upping the stress level.  These factors only stress how important good, effective communication is, both between coworkers and with the patients.  Last night was one of the hardest nights I’ve experienced without anybody going to the ER or into seclusion & restraints (S&R).

Writing all this helps me identify what I’m doing to cope with this stress.  One of the most important things I do beside taking my medications is getting enough sleep.  I’ve learned over the years if I mess with my sleep schedule bad things happen.  I’m trying to eat healthy too, meaning more fresh foods and less processed junk.  Thirdly, I am taking time for me.  Normally I meet with a group of girlfriends once or twice a week for knitting, coffee, and visiting.  This week though the idea of being around more people than absolutely necessary is daunting so I skipped it.  I was able to take my time doing laundry this morning instead of rushing.  Even writing this blog post is calming.



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Luci’s Story

There is a history of mental illness on both sides of my family.  My oldest brother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a teenager.  After his death in 1990, my father became horribly depressed and grief-stricken.   I was just a baby when Doug died so I’ve never known a dad who wasn’t moody and depressed.

Even as a young child, I’ve always felt things strongly.  I have very low, miserable lows and very elated highs.  This gives me an enthusiasm for life that I’ve seen in few people.  In fifth grade, my parents took me for psychological testing which led to a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, also known as ADHD or ADD.  I was started on stimulant medication that I think helped me a lot in school, especially being able to focus and complete tasks.

I still continued to have issues though.  Once puberty had hit around the same time as my ADD diagnosis, my moods changed so easily.  I was irritable and often felt sad, anxious, and even guilty.  More testing, this time by a licensed clinical social worker, and the label of clinical depression was added.  Prozac became a life saver for me.

Throughout my teenage years, my mood was always an issue.  I switched schools a lot and had trouble finding a steady group of friends, which just added to my existing feelings of isolation.  At twelve years old, I started cutting myself after getting scratched by my brother’s cat (another story for another time).  The self-injury was a constant struggle that even medication and ongoing therapy didn’t seem to help.  The most ironic part of all this is having a mother who is a psychiatrist!

In the last few years, I’ve done a lot of soul-searching.  I had an amazing counselor and psychiatrist during my time at the University of Northern Colorado who were able to lay some groundwork for me to understand my issues better.  I now have stopped cutting myself and feel fairly stabilized on Prozac.  I’ve learned so many coping skills and am well equipped to deal with a variety of stressors.  I know I still have battles ahead and demons to face, but for the first time in my life, I feel like I can do it.

I was married to an utterly amazing guy named Jared on December 30, 2012.  I learned about his own battles with a past mood disorder while we were dating; however, he started having visible symptoms of depression a couple months after the wedding.  It was one thing to deal with my own issues but taking  care of my depressed husband was a whole new ballgame.  He’s now in the process of getting treatment.

On this blog, I want to share my stories about my experiences with my own mental health and the impact my husband’s mental health has on me and our marriage.  I hope people can use this blog as a resource just as I’ve found good information on other blogs and websites.

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Hello cyber land… I’m Luci, aka Crafty Lulu.  I’ve been blogging as some persona or another since middle school.  Mostly, I write for me; I journal in real life and find it very cathartic and therapeutic.  Now I’m hoping this blog will become more well-known because this time I think I have something important to say.

My husband Jared and I both battle with depression.  We plan to use this blog to explore how our mood issues impact our marriage.  We hope that our stories will help other people.  At the very least, these words should provide some entertainment.

Coming next, we each share the beginning of our stories.  Stay tuned!

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