For those who may not know, May is Mental Health Awareness month and today’s blog is SO special. Meet Ray and Natasha Hughes. A married couple who have overcame mental illness within their marriage and are here to share their story. I reached out to Natasha a few weeks back, after reading her story on her personal Facebook page. The raw, honest, and pure way of her words hit me. As as wedding photographer, it’s so easy to display gorgeous images of gushing couples on their wedding day. When Natasha told me that May was mental health awareness month, I knew we had to celebrate in some way. The Hughes family snagged my last spot during our spring mini sessions and we captured some amazing images. Natasha messaged me earlier in the day asking my thoughts on them showing up “just us”, and I am SO glad they did. They just might be the cutest (and funniest!!) family ever.
”Ten years is a long time. At this point, it’s one third of my whole life. It’s also the amount of time that Ray and I have loved each other and he has put up with my shenanigans. I have certainly not always been easy to love, but I’m thankful I have a husband who loves me even more in the times when it becomes the most difficult. I have always had my quirks and attitude, just like anyone; but two babies and a marriage later, those quirks and attitude have grown exponentially. At some point, without warning, my brain added in anxiety and a touch of depression. FUN!
I don’t know quite how long it really was, but Ray was dealing with me dealing with anxiety that I didn’t really know I had. At first, to be honest, I thought I was just getting fed up with the day to day life of wifing and momming. Small mishaps became large disasters in my mind. I would yell, cry, and say mean awful things. My husband and sweet babies got the brunt of what I didn’t even know was going on in my head. Yet, Ray’s love for me never faltered. The outbursts got worse, more frequent, and more depressive. Then they started taking a toll on my daily personality, my daily relationships, and my closest friendships. Yet- Ray loved me through it. (My friends did, too, after I finally told them there was a problem. I had been hiding it from EVERYONE) Ray and my friends made me promise, after one particularly bad night, that I would seek help and make myself better. They have all stuck by me, and checked on me, and loved me through it.
I have put a crazy amount of strain on my marriage and our family. I have been harsh, flat out awful, and said so many things I haven’t meant and would never say. Yet they have never dropped me. They have never made me feel less than. I finally got myself to the doctor because I was doing a disservice to myself and everyone around me. I can tell you that getting help; even when I wanted to cancel the appointment, wanted to say I was better, wanted to cancel me saying anything about it… was the best thing I have ever done. It has also allowed me to be more true to myself and stop worrying about everyone and everything so much. My marriage is stronger, my kids have a better mom, and my friends have the Natasha I want myself to be. I consider myself the luckiest gal to have a husband and kids that love me unconditionally, love me harder when there’s love to be had, and I know will be beside me every step of every day.
If you’re finding yourself not feeling like yourself, or feel like you could use some help, I URGE you to find it. Be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Tell your loved ones; I PROMISE they care. And never stop until you find a doctor that does, too, and will do what you need to get YOU back to YOU.” – Natasha Hughes