As he shut the door to the bedroom all that was within me wanted to scream “stay out with us.. COME ON!!!!” but this year has taught me that by doing that, guilting him into staying out with us I risk ruining a good day and could even hinder or mar his relationship with our kids.
For many people that seems totally backward. How could staying alone in his room be BETTER for us???? For my husband his sever depression has robbed him of so much, and by proxy us too. But I learned that when he is drowning, when the waves of anxiety, agitation and depression rage around him his ability to cope is low or non-existent, so a well meaning hug or a game of “climb all over daddy” sends his body into panic, and that instinctive fight or flight sets in. His response is less than ideal and the kids can’t understand it, so we have learned to reassure them of his love and that daddy is in bed so he can feel better and have fun with them another time, and he always follows through, so they are building that foundational trust, that he will stay true to his word.
This is not at all what I had envisioned our family life to look like but as I relearn what love can look like, I see that atypical as it may be he loves his kids just like any other dad, but that HIS love takes on a different face sometimes as he tries to balance the heavy weight of depression that is countering his love for his family.