I’m depressed. There. I said it. I’m depressed.
Frankly, it worries me as I have never allowed myself to go there. With so many people depending on me and a sister who spent time in a mental hospital; I have never before let myself plumb the depths of the despair I am feeling. However, now I am trying to give myself permission. Permission to explore what is on the other side of two years of marriage chaos and confusion. Permission to grieve for dreams that have been pushed aside by reality and for children who struggle due to the challenges of autism. Permission to just feel what I need to feel, even if it hurts. And permission to feel those deep rooted emotions and to not intellectualize my feelings as all the intellectualizing I do just makes me hurt worse.
I will confess this intense feeling of sadness scares me to my core. Not because I am afraid to feel those lows but because when you have had a family member who has experienced hospitalization due to her mental health issues and you have spent years dealing with hers…well, I just don’t want to put my family into that vat of pain and helplessness you can’t help but feel when surrounded with all of that. Yet, my therapist said to me that I have the skill set to survive if not thrive while looking at those things that make me uncomfortable and sad. And after reading Thomas Moore’s The Dark Night Of The Soul I know that there is plenty to be gained by going there for a brief respite. But still, I hesitate, my feet in cement for fear of going in too far or deep. For fear of becoming like my sister. Of letting people down. Of not “performing” the requirements that are expected in this one act play that I am living.
I know I need to take a look at what is coming up from the depths of my soul. I know that I need to allow myself to feel these intense feelings. I suspect that it is similar to drilling for oil while trying to contain the amount that surfaces at one time. And its also acknowledging that what comes up will have to be refined in different ways depending on how it will be used. And I acknowledge that any spills that occur will give me new skills to better contain the overflow the next time.
If I had my way I would stay in bed for a week and pull the covers over my head. I would play every sad song I have ever heard and have a Bailey’s on the rocks sitting on my bed stand sipping it over several hours. Oh hell, maybe I would guzzle it instead. That is what I wanted to do today. BUT…I had to make breakfast and lunch for everyone, take them to school, take a kid to the doctor and another to get her allergy shots. I had to wait for the dryer repairman, do the dishes, and mop the floor. I had to pay bills, get the oil changed and attend a meeting. Tomorrow it is more of the same.
So, here I sit, one toe half in and half out of this deep sadness. This depression. Perhaps if I am brave enough I will step on in and let it take me where I need to go. To places I have never visited but probably should. Only afterwards will I understand that there are things to be gained from examining things below the surface. And who knows…I may just strike the motherlode while I am exploring with the sheets making the perfect tent in which to hide away from the world.
The night before last B texted me:
Maybe we can do something tonight
I have to confess that my anxiety went through the roof and the acid reflux started immediately
“Are you wanting to have a serious talk? My stomach just dropped.”
“Sorry,” he replied. “No, I just wanted to have a little fun.”
And we did. We had a nice evening full of laughs and kind words. An evening that reminded me of all that I love about this man BUT…I am tired. I am tired of wondering if he isn’t going to walk through our door. Tired of wondering if he wants to talk of divorce. Tired of all the stress of living with a menopausal man.
For these reasons and more, I have to confess, that I have begun looking at a Plan C for myself in the event of a divorce or “whatever.” Several ideas have come to me during the past several months as I contemplate a future without B. I will say unequivicably that it scares me…the thought of giving up on a 30year + marriage… but…it also excites me at the same time as it gives me something to believe in again. Because at last I am beginning to make myself and my feelings a priority instead of putting B’s ahead of my own in an attempt to win him back. For B’s wishy-washiness about our life together has recently become exhausting and it sometimes it feels like I am selling my soul in order to keep reaching for something that B is making unobtainable. Finally, I am beginning to understand that I can never win this love game and I am ever so slowly beginning to admit defeat. So while it breaks my heart arriving at this place of giving up and giving in; it feels more honest and courageous than living in denial.
For the past several weeks I have debated telling B about PLAN C but last night I decided that I should be honest and put some more of my cards on the table. I began by telling him that I believe him now…that while I used to want him to change his mind about me and our relationship, that, in fact, I owe it to myself and him to believe his words. Words such as: “I don’t love you or have the passion for you to sustain a relationship” or “I love you but not in the way that I want to” or “I want a separation.” At some point, you have to take those words at face value and I am beginning to. I can no longer just wish them away. I can no longer pretend that they mean something other than what he says they mean when he looks me in the eyes and let’s them leave his mouth. No, I have to begin to take them seriously and have decided that I cannot wait another 2 or 3 years in hopes that he begins to feel those things for me that he says he wants to feel. It doesn’t mean I don’t love him but I am beginning to love myself more.
So PLAN C looks like this: Andre will be graduating from high school in 2019. There are very few college programs in the USA that offer degrees in what he wants to study; especially at a BS level. So I am contemplating moving to Wyoming, Montana or Idaho next June in order to establish residency so he would not be considered an out of state student when he goes to college. It is a good plan except for the fact that I would have to leave my two youngest…the thought of that just about kills me…but this is one way in which leaving would have a positive impact for one of my children anyways. Frankly, I know myself well enough that I do not want to be around to see B date and marry someone else so being out of the picture feels like a kind and loving thing to do for myself while making sure Andre gets the degree he wants. It seems like a winning situation all the way around if there is that type of thing in a divorce. And so I told B about Plan C. I also told him that he had until May to win me back. To say he was shocked is an understatement but an important one because I am beginning to take back what I have lost…ME…and it just feels right! And while I have no idea what will happen it feels good to be considering different options and planning for a future alone should that be the route that is taken. For fear and indecision just isn’t an option for me anymore. I don’t want it and I reject it. Besides that, I just haven’t got time for the pain.
I have to admit that I have struggled since I wrote B the letter I shared in my last post. In this letter that I wrote to him, I told him exactly what I needed to hear from him…love words. I have yet to receive a comment from him about what I wrote nor have I heard the words that I long to hear. Frankly, it hurts and it has been bothering me for the past few days. Instead of enjoying what I have been given here in Michigan; I have been ruminating on what I don’t have back home.
Luckily, I woke up this morning to find something meaningful on my Facebook wall and it was exactly what I needed to see. It read:
“If you focus on the hurt, you will continue to suffer. If you focus on the lesson, you will continue to grow.”
What wise words! Suddenly it took the sting out of this disappointment that I had been feeling for the past few days. I realized that by allowing the hurt and disappointment I was feeling to cloud my day; I was indeed suffering and I was creating this suffering of my own accord. In fact, I was suffering more as every hour went by wishing for some sort of something from B…anything. So instead, I began to focus on the lessons I might find through this instance and found that there were many lessons that I could learn from if I chose to do so.
- The first lesson I discovered was that by acknowledging my feelings and then casting them aside I didn’t have to urge to carry them around with me like a suitcase stuffed full of heavy negative emotions. Yes, I was disappointed. Yes, his lack of response made me feel abandoned and scared. Yes, his withholding something from me that I plainly laid out that I needed from him made me feel anxious and wonder if he would still be there when I got home. Yet, by learning to view these feelings dispassionately; I was able to put the suitcase down and walk away from those hurtful actions and the resulting feelings I was experiencing. The lesson was much much valuable than the suffering could ever be.
- The second lesson I thought about was that I didn’t need B to acknowledge my heartfelt letter to be happy. Instead, I went about my day appreciating all of the people and things that I found around me. I was happy and didn’t need his lack of response to elicit any sort of reaction one way or another within me.
- The third lesson I concentrated on was that B will never be able to give me what I need because that is not who he is and that I have to learn to find happiness in what he can give instead of what he cannot if I want to stay married to him. B saying loving words is about as probable as a frog being able to bark like a dog…it isn’t going to happen.
After these discoveries I spent the day with my 82 yo father and 92 yo aunt. We went down to Lake Michigan and enjoyed the water, the waves, and the boats as they cruised through the canals.
I really treasure spending time with these two when they are together because they bicker like little kids. Nothing long and hard but just snippets like from when they were children. The things that they gripe about tickle my insides and I always break into a big smile as it happens. Why, I wonder, is it easier to listen to them than to my own children when they go at it?
As I watched the two of them it occurred to me that my aunt has gotten to the place where the small hurts no longer effect her. She realizes that we all have flaws and for the most part she recognizes that we all do our best with what we have within us at the moment. But she wasn’t always like that and that in itself gives me hope that I can still change into the person I envision myself being. Someone who is at peace with the world and more importantly herself. Someone who grants grace rather than find fault. Someone who does not expect things from others and is disappointed when they don’t appear. Someone who wakes up each day grateful to have the opportunity to learn and grow some more.
So as the day winds down I am counting my blessings. Glad that I am here with two people who are willing to share what they know and the love that they have for me willingly.
So Be It!
I am in the airport finally going home with the tween daughter of the last few posts. I am excited to see everyone when I get a text from B.
Paul attacked me. He charged me and to protect myself I had to take him down to the floor and hold him there.
My adult daughter, Nicole, who is at our house witnessed this and I get a text from her as well.
I was scared for dad. Dad handled it so well but I was really scared.
I hold my breath and die just a little bit more inside.
Several days before I left for Chicago there was another altercation with Paul involving me. He hurt me in a rage while he was trying to get something that I had taken from him.
Paul has always lived on the edge of rage. Since we have known him and brought him home at 10 months old. His first act upon arriving at our home was to toddle over to his brother and throw him to the floor. It has been some version of this ever since. While they are great friends Andre always knows there is a chance that Paul will get upset and lives accordingly. We all do. It is exhausting at times.
At the age of 11 after much grief and debate, we finally broke down and started using meds to help moderate his ever shifting moods.We have a great med doc who listens with compassion and always tries to use the least amount possible in order to achieve stability. That said, we still have periods of paranoid thinking and depression which has worsened as he hit puberty. Sometimes I want to take him off all meds and other times when I think of doing that I am scared about how bad things might become. Worse. Intolerable. Maybe even dangerous.
And now this. Increasing violence to himself and against us. Not horrible…yet…but where do you draw the line? When you love someone, as we love him, it seems the line keeps getting stretched further out. Further out than you would allow for any other person you come into contact with. There is no aggression toward anyone else except those within our family. Yet I worry that if he was ever involved in some sort of police incident he would be killed because he would run or maybe struggle with an officer and we all know what happens to minorities who do so.
My heart feels like it has been shattered in pieces so many times this past year and I wonder if I can find all the pieces to put it together once again. My mother heart, my marriage heart, my lover heart and my friend heart.
I ache to be and feel whole once again.
I’m not a half-full or half-empty glass kind of girl. I go flowing between the two like water washing over coarse sand as my moods dictate. In stormy weather my glass tends to be half-empty while a walk on the beach on a sunny day makes that half-full glass appear to be the size of a champagne magnum. In this vein, I recently saw a video on Facebook that showed a grandson talking about visiting his grandfather who had just lost his wife of 65+ years. As the old man relates to his grandson the changes he is going through with this wife’s passing, his grandson replies, “Grandpa you always make me see the glass as half-full.” And his grandfather replied, “It is a beautiful glass.”
It was in that moment that I realized that I want to be the person who sees the beauty of the glass itself and not the person who sees the limitations of the vessel and what it can hold. As I reflect over my life a see a person who thought she had to choose between the half-full half-empty scenario and I grew up believing those two ideas (half-full and half-empty) were the only choices available to me. Now I see that there are more options than I ever dreamed possible.
I want to wake up everyday seeing possibilities not possible problems, sunshine not clouds but mostly I want to appreciate the beauty of the glass as it reflects my life within it, including the good the bad and the ugly. I think it is important to realize that there is value in all that makes up this reflection of myself even if the glass sometimes distorts and twists what I see.
The beauty of the glass is really what is important so make it be the glass you want to see with your favorite colors, phrases and shapes. Enjoying the beauty of the glass is what we should strive for while we try to put away the notion that we have to determine whether it is half-full or half-empty. In the end, it doesn’t matter anyway because the glass was always beautiful and what it was holding was irrelevant… unless it was a superb 40-year-old Tawny Port….in which case I would need to empty the glass to see it’s true beauty.
(somehow this post has gone from a life affirming one to a narrative about booze. The hell with the glass…let’s contemplate the bottle!)