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  • ericaanne


As I write this, Nick and I are sitting at Starbucks. He's sitting across from me working on policies and procedures for our business. The man sitting across from me is different than the man I stood across from at the altar.

Since Nick's commitment to his recovery, he's made incredible strides - not only in his recovery, but in his personal development. People have asked if I feel like I have my husband back. My answer every time is this:

"No. I don't have my husband back. I have a better version of him."

This version of Nick is a better version than the one I married. When I married Nick, he was smart and driven, but Nick was highly irrational in many aspects of life. He believed in deservingness and fairness. He felt that life should be easy and would get frustrated when it wasn't, meaning he didn't always handle stress well. Like most people, comfort was highly important to him and discomfort was looked at as "bad".

Today, Nick is still smart and driven. But he understands that deservingness and fairness are concepts that humans have constructed. Life is not fair and people don't "deserve" things - good or bad. Things just happen and we have to deal with them as they arise.

When things start to get hard, his response is completely different than it used to be. Sometimes he still gets frustrated, like the rest of us, but he is able to put problems into perspective:

We're stressed about money? It's nothing new - and it's been much worse before. We've always figured it out and we still have a roof over our heads.

We have a flat tire? It's annoying, but at least we have cars that can get us from point A to point B.

The dogs are waking us up in the middle of the night? It's also annoying, but they bring us joy, unconditional love, and force us to get outside more.

His perspective is different. And when he does experience discomfort, he's able to accept the discomfort as a part of life.

Nick has come a long way.

Today, we own a successful (and growing) business together. We've paid off his medical debt. We haven't fallen behind on a single bill. We are able to enjoy our time together. We don't complain about the small, trivial "problems" in life. We resolve arguments completely differently. We can talk about our future again. We can communicate openly with each other. We laugh - a lot. Our relationship is better than it ever has been. We appreciate life so much more.

I wouldn't say his OCD has been a gift... But the recovery process has.

This process has simultaneously been the best and worst thing that has ever happened to each of us.

Nick's recovery process has given us both a new life.

In many cases of mental illness (although not all), there is a light at the end of the tunnel. But you have to choose to see it and choose to walk towards it. You have to choose to ask for help. You have to choose to commit to the work.

And if you make that choice, I'm sure you'll find it's worth it.

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