One thing I wasn’t ready for when I married Mr. Rocque was that we could literally make each other sick. Admittedly, I’ve stressed the hubby out to the point of high blood pressure, and it forced me to take better care of myself.

It all started with my depression, which onset last year. I was depressed because I wasn’t enjoying my new city the way I imagined I would, and also because I wasn’t working (not on purpose), which meant that I had to do the dreaded housewife thing. To me, it didn’t make sense to be a housewife if there were no children involved. So, instead of living in the moment and focusing on the positive—which was that I was burned out from my career and needed a break—I dwelled on what I didn’t have, what I wanted and where I felt I should have been at that point in my life, and felt even more dejected. I also wasn’t eating well, and had stopped working out and doing other things that I enjoy.

I was being selfish while in that funk, because I knew that Mr. Rocque was concerned about me, but I didn’t think it could really affect him seriously—so I continued the cycle of being overbearingly frustrated about everything. This became a capricious situation, because sometimes I’d be fine and then I’d go spiraling back into the abyss without warning. That left Mr. Rocque not knowing how to behave around me.

Fast-forward to a few weeks ago when I was back in the dumps. It wasn’t real depression, but I was at Eeyore status, lamenting my nonexistent career and comparing myself to people. In that frustration I sulked and complained, not realizing how much Mr. Rocque was paying attention to my behavior as I did a bad job of trying to hide it. He felt helpless about me, yet somewhere in the midst of my funk, he made a doctor’s appointment. And it turned out that he had high blood pressure.

It wasn’t in a dangerous range, according to the doctors, and it could easily be brought back down to normal. But that wasn’t information I took lightly considering that high blood pressure runs in his family.

I initially blamed his job because he’s in an environment with the potential to drive a Buddhist monk to Satanism… but I digress. I began questioning him about all the things that could be amended for him and whether there was anything at home that could be different, and it came out that part of his stress had to do with my unhappiness.

It’s in his nature to worry about other people to a fault, and that made me feel terrible. The good news is that it forced me to evaluate things I can focus on that actually do make me happy, and Mr. Rocque is at the top of that list. I want him around for a long time, so that means constant self-reflection on my part to figure out how to keep my mood in a good place.

I’ve been working out more, forcing myself to do intermittent digital detoxes (so I don’t get caught up in comparing myself to someone whose situation might actually be an illusion), and focusing more on skills that I want to develop, like html coding. It seems to be working as I had an epiphany last Friday (a lazy day) that it felt good to not be doing anything at all. That was the first day in almost a year that I was completely happy with myself, because I wasn’t working or thinking about work or thinking about what I didn’t have.

I knew I’d eventually get to that point, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t credit the hubby with forcing me to get there faster. Even when I believe I’m suffering alone, we’re actually in this together. 

Mr. and Mrs. Rocque are the couple formerly known as Anslem Samuel and Starrene Rhett, journalists who found love in between bylines. Follow the newlyweds’ musings of a marriage in progress here, on Twitter and via their joint blog.