"I was lucky enough to choose to care for my husband when I said 'yes' to the man I love and admire"

““Remember who you are.”

My dad told me this to prepare me for future interviews. Having re-watched The Lion King recently, I think my dad might have stolen that line from Mufasa. Still, from an early age, I started a lifelong introspective journey that shaped me even as I shape it. My understanding of my mind, body, and soul is what has allowed me to make peace with my choice and fate as my husband’s unpaid carer.

I say choice and fate because I believe that dichotomies can coexist—that two seemingly mutually exclusive ideas are really two sides to the same coin. I was lucky enough to choose to care for my husband when I said ‘yes’ to the man I love and admire for his inquisitive mind and persistent strength in the face of his severe depression and generalized anxiety; to me, he’s stronger than Heracles. It is also my fate that I would be the one to persevere through his ups and downs since life has given me the tools to do so.

My caring started when I was young, babysitting my sisters while my parents worked their second shifts. I would never change that for anything; the experience made me empathetic and independent, forging an unbreakable bond between us. Retrospectively, I see how this shaped my fate. As a tutor for at-risk kids, I saw a girl hiding her struggle to add. I cared enough to work with her during our lunches; she finished the maths programme with pride—and an A. As a camp counsellor, I learned to care for someone I thought had everything: a child whose parents’ had thousands of dollars to spend on a camp I could never dream of affording, but, I learned, little time for her anxiety and sadness over their divorce.

The motif continues; I took care of my friends in college, my students, and my parents. Now when my husband’s episodes pull the wife out of me and threaten to make me a carer, I remember those four words, and I am whole again. I am at peace.”

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