Honest reflections about marriage and mission work when dealing with the anxiety and depression

  • Charlie Clayton

The Real You Part 2: Lifting the Veil

I remember our wedding well. It was genuinely the best day of my life so far. When you have family, friends and the person you want to spend your life with in the same room having a big party what could be better!

And of course, seeing Abby walk down the isle was the most incredible moment.

I had imagined what that moment would be like. What she would look like, what would the dress be like, what I would feel, would I cry! And still after all the imagining, that moment was better than anything I could have dreamt of.

Her dress was stunning - as you can see - and as she walked down the isle, eyes meeting mine, I was only then able to take in how truly beautiful she was.

For our wedding Abby wasn't wearing a veil. I don't see them much now a days at weddings. But in the past, many brides would wear veils.

The wedding day was a great revealing. When the bride was covered over, there was a restricted view, you could see glimmers of beauty but it was only when the veil was lifted that you could see and experience the full beauty of that person.

And I would encourage those who are living or caring for people with depression to hold onto this scene when trying to support, love and cope with their mental health.

There is a veil over their face. Behind it is a life long partner who desires to give you all they can, but currently they are veiled. They would feel like they are drowning under ice (see part 1) but this appears to you like a veil or a covering.

Sure, there are glimmers of beauty. Moments where you see them. Times when you can imagine clearly. But until the veil is lifted from their face, this beauty cannot be fully seen.

Now, I didn't just turn up at church and get to lift the veil up. No, before that, there was a betrothal period, a pursuing, a wooing, a chasing, an expression of love. It was this committed work of dedication to the other that led them to allow me to be the one to lift the veil. And it is a similar type of betrothal period that will be needed in order to help lift the veil from your loved ones face. Its not easy. Its counter intuitive and you are likely not going to feel like doing it most days. But if you want the veil to be lifted then you can be a big part of the solution.

How do you do this?

Tell them you see them. Tell them to share who they really are. Look past the depression and see them for who they are. They are desperate for you to see them, to notice them, for you to know this isn't the real them and they would do anything for you to see that. Draw that person out, tell them it is safe, tell them you want to know them for who they are, tell them you chose them, remind them of why you are with them. Tell them what you like about them, tell them the qualities you think you see, tell them you are attracted to them, tell them you love them.

They will be longing for you to know the real them, and so if you address that person, call that person out, remind them you see that person, you are going a long way to helping lift the veil, and for you to experience the beauty.

And so for those married, living with or caring for people with depression, there will be a double whammy of loss of the person to depression, whilst trying to engage and pursue the person underneath. You may feel like it isn't worth it. Maybe people will advise you to walk away, that you should find happiness with someone else. But if you are safe, if boundaries are not being crossed, then to stay with that person in order to see the veil lifted, in order to experience a new wedding day, pursue them with all you have.

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