A woman living in Pahang recently shared a very personal account about her battle with mental illness and how her husband's unconditional love and support kept her afloat all these years
Zuraila Mohd Noor wrote on Facebook about how her spouse Azizan Ahmad Mustaffa has helped her navigate depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) throughout five years of marriage.
They were both initially unaware of her struggles when they first met at university. However, as she recounted, she even had a panic attack on their wedding day, and thus began their journey.
Three days into their marriage, Zuraila said she could not help but begin to act up, breaking down over small matters and even regretting tying the knot
"After the wedding reception in Terengganu, I went to stay with my husband in Pahang," she wrote, "We were just getting to know how to live with each other, and there were so many differences and changes."
"I have OCD so I'm a clean freak, and whenever my husband can't follow my rules I would get angry, sulk, or have a breakdown," she said, giving an example of how her husband placed clothes in the wrong laundry basket.
If she acted out, it would not only be for one or two days, Zuraila wrote, it could sometimes last weeks
"It is usually over small matters, like my husband accidentally saying something wrong. But I get oversensitive. I would feel so insecure over everything. All I can think of are negative things. That's why I can't control myself."
"Now imagine that happened for four years. Sometimes I would hate my husband and son. Evil thoughts. Repeating the same thing."
"I did things I wasn't supposed to," she confessed at its worst. "I lashed out on my son, Adam. I have even tried to drown him while giving him a bath and cover his face with a pillow."
"I used to think what was wrong with me. I never felt like myself. I felt out of control but I did not know why. I was tired. I felt sick. I felt confused," she added that she always sat alone to think about why she did the things she did.
It was when she incidentally found out about depression one day and read more about it, that she finally opened up to her husband about her negative feelings and thoughts
Azizan brought her to the hospital where she was diagnosed with Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD) with Anxiety Disorder, with occasional symptoms of OCD.
She was started on treatment which she continues until today.
Zuraila even wrote that her eyes glazed over when the doctor asked if she ever hit her husband.
"So many times," she admitted, "I have slapped him, kicked him, bit him, punched him, and even thrown things at him.
"But he has never laid a finger on me."
She went on to thank Azizan for being a light in her darkest moments and revealed how he has given so much to keep the family together
"He never got angry. He always admit he was wrong. He would apologise for no reason. He always gave thanks. He gave up his ego. He put me first," she explained.
"My husband looks after me like he's looking after his own life."
"He is always reading up about my illness. He even discussed with the doctor about his role and how he can help me," she expressed with gratitude.
Zuraila hopes that her story and experiences can start open discussions about mental health and possibly save lives as depression is often a "silent killer"
She ended her post with advice for married couples and those experiencing difficulties with their mental health.
"I want to spread awareness about depression and hopefully help and provide some knowledge for others," she wrote.
"Please pray that I and other survivors of depression will have the strength to keep fighting and recover."
Here is a similar story of how a married couple overcame mental illness from a husband's perspective: