One of the things that was especially hard for my husband to deal with was my depression. He seemed to believe that there was something he could or should be able to do about it (so did I, but that's another story). He didn't seem to understand that if I couldn't stop myself from being depressed, there was no way he was going to be able to. But he loved me, and hated not only seeing me in pain, but he hated what my pain was doing to our relationship... he wanted it to stop for both of our sakes.
In the end, when I couldn't stop being depressed for love or money, he left (this isn't the only reason, but it's in the top 3).
Even at the time I knew that the only way that we could have survived was if he loved me enough to let me be in pain. He had to find the supports he needed to let me go through what I needed to go through in order to get out of the depression. I needed to get to the point where I didn't care about the depression any more, so I would start doing the things that eventually pulled me out of it. Basically, I needed to get sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Doing this would have required a complete change in how our relationship worked. This was terrifying for both of us, but especially for him. It would have required each of us to let the other take care of themselves and us to focus on our own individual needs rather than each others. It required a level of trust that we didn't have, but I believe (to this day) we could have developed. It required reaching outside of the little unit we had created and bringing outsiders in to see the mess we were making so we could get help cleaning it up.
He wasn't strong enough to do that (and it takes the strength of Gods to watch someone you love go through this and let them). Instead he got hurt and angry that I was doing this to our family. He slowly started blaming me for my depression, believing that if I really wanted to stop it I could. He left because of his fear, pain and anger... nothing more.
Years later I began to understand something else. If he had not been willing to leave, I might never have recovered from my depression. It was my having to stand on my own two feet again that forced me to pull myself out of my depression. To seek at all costs ways to get myself out of the pit I had been living in most of my life (not because I wanted to be there, but because I didn't know how to get out).
After he left, I did all of the things that I never could have done in my marriage (partly because they terrified my husband). I went to meetings. I took anti-depressants. I slept too much and too little. I stopped doing laundry for weeks only to find myself naked one morning. I ate foods that were completely unhealthy for me because it was the only thing I could get in my mouth. I saw counselors. I lived in my PJs for months at a time. I had sex with people I barely knew just so I could feel something other than the blackness. I stopped showering. I sat in the rain. I read until I couldn't keep my eyes open.
I talked about killing myself... a lot.
I made new friends. I told them everything. I pulled my blackness out into the light and made myself and those around me look at it.
I stopped staring at it, and started to look away.
Slowly, I stopped looking at it, and started to only glance at it once in a while.
I still struggle with what I now know is PTSD and depression, but I'm off my drugs (and have been for years now), I have far more good days than bad, and I know how to deal with the bad days (with or without help).
I know that there was nothing that my Ex-husband could have done to make my situation better. I also know that he loved me and that is why he did the things he did. My only wish is that he could see and share in the end results that he was so instrumental in me achieving.