Without you everything falls apart

In 12 years of marriage, he’s never looked at me that way before.

Ever.

I’m not going to go into extraordinary detail here, but we were horizontal and that’s when I saw his face. His eyes were gentle and dark and they never stopped looking at mine. His face was calm and relaxed.

Look, my dad writes for a living – I don’t – I can’t describe his face. But he’s never looked at me the way he did last night. Like he was admiring me. Like he was in awe of… something. I don’t know.

It made zero sense. We’ve clearly been here before. In that very position, literally hundreds of times. After 12 years, you’ve seen my face before. You’ve seen my body. You’ve seen them change – for better or worse.

What the fuck are you glaring at?!

I actually got uncomfortable. I had to close my eyes and focus on the task at hand. There was stuff that needed accomplishing if we were ever going to get some sleep.

Why was that the first place I went? Why couldn’t I enjoy the adoration and, what looked like, love that was going on there? I’m fucking broken, y’all. Bro. Ken.

When it was over, I asked him what that was all about. ‘Cause I’ve never seen that face before and I just spent 30 minutes watching it out of the corner of my eye and it started to wig me the fuck out. I saw what looked like pure, unadulterated, unequivocal love.

I didn’t get that look on our wedding day.
I didn’t get that look when I told him I was carrying his child. Why did I get it right then? While we’re going at it like rabbits? What the what? What gives?

He tells me he doesn’t say it enough. That he loves me more than life. That I’m gorgeous. That he truly appreciates me and he’s sorry for not saying it more.

And everything else in the world disappeared, if just for those few brief moments. Everything I thought I was, who I thought the world needed me to be, how I thought it saw me and everything else that fell in between just melted away. All I gave a damn about right then was being in his arms, breathing his air – his scent, for as long as I could. Everything in my life feels like it’s so wildly out of control right now. But this.

Him. Him and I. Us. The only solid ground I’ve ever had.

It’s hard for someone who’s learned to trust no one to open their eyes and be loved. He’s the only person I trust – but I still can’t look him in the eyes. Not like that.

The eyes are a scary fucking place, y’all. Have you ever seen a textbook antisocial personality disorder? I have. I’ve worked with them before – all ages – and the one thing they all have in common is empty eyes. It’s like pools of black ink with nothing in them. No spark, no light. I don’t look in people’s eyes much anymore unless I have to. I know – it’s considered rude and people consider you untrustworthy if you don’t, but I’ve seen scary things in people’s eyes. I don’t like the emotional vampirism that comes with eye contact.

So I closed my eyes and felt him love me. I love him more than life – the same as he loves me. I just watch him sleep; there’s no pressure there.

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Breaking guitars

Sigh. I’m very, very tired. I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m irritated with disappointed in the hubs, I guess. And I can’t seem to shake it off like I normally would. For the first time in a long time, I don’t want to talk to him. I don’t really want to be around him. I can’t explain why. It doesn’t feel good; it doesn’t feel natural and I don’t like myself for it.

I don’t like that I’m held to a higher standard than his father. I don’t like that I get yelled at for being callous and cold and mean when his father has been this way for decades. A father isn’t supposed to treat their child this way. A wife isn’t supposed to treat their husband that way either – I’m aware – but what makes it so easy to jump down my throat and not his?

[Because he won’t change, Alice. Hubs has tried. The man has an untreated severe mental illness, more severe than you.]

I uninvited my own mother from our wedding for him. My mother – who’s been my rock and best friend all my life, not at the most important event in my life because she disapproved of my now-husband. His father disinherits him because he hates me, says we need to divorce because I’m mentally unstable (pot meet effing kettle), tried to fuck my mother and hubs meets with him for lunch every fucking week like nothing’s the matter. What. The. Fuck.

[Don’t do that. Don’t make him choose because you chose. He never asked you to choose between him and your mother; you just did it. His mother’s gone. He’s probably clinging to the hope that one day his father will come around. Plus, hubs said there was no indication the man wasn’t going to disinherit him for just existing. The man has always resented hubs for merely breathing. You’re more than likely the scapegoat – even your father, Alice, said as much. The man is trying his damnedest to split you apart. Don’t let him succeed.]

Sigh. Why can’t I accept that he’s not like me? We know what I would have done well before now in this situation.

[Not many people are like you, dear. And you’re not like him. It took decades for you to forgive your father, decades for you to see your grandmother as she really was and decades for you to accept and respect your mother. Don’t expect to forget the man and what he’s trying to do to your family in 48 hours. But remember hubs is doing what he can for you and your family today.]

…God. Damn. I’m right.

I’m right. He’s doing his best. It’s not my way, but that’s okay. It has to be. What else can I do? None of this is within my control. I think that’s why I’m so angry about it.

I was telling my new psychologist (yeah, I went back to therapy. Mistakes in the process of being made I’m sure) that that’s why I’m such a perfectionist. I need to have control over everything. I don’t have control – a lot of the time – over my mood swings, libido, etc. so I overcompensate by attempting to control the situations – and sometimes people – around me. A lot of the time it works. Some of the time it doesn’t but by trying to control my environment I can control the trajectory of my life (or so I think). When someone or something comes around and is resistant to my ideas or the environment doesn’t adapt to my comfort zone it throws me for a loop. I get anxious, depressed, despondent followed by irritable and indignant.

Selfish, right? Not when you consider my background. It comes from a lifetime of unreliable behavior demonstrated by my superiors. Now that I’m older, if I can exercise any amount of control it eliminates the need for others entirely, thus ensuring there is someone I can always depend on: me. Who else is there but me? I rarely let me down.

In this particular situation I felt let down by the hubs. I felt like he wasn’t defending me. Like the only way to defend/stick up for me was my way. He says he always stands up for me, tries to explain my situation to the man however the man doesn’t believe in mental illness. (Yeah, that explains a whole lot. Explains why someone with a clear alcohol problem and obvious sxs of schizophrenia isn’t seeking treatment but that’s not my fucking problem. Whatever. I digress.). I don’t care if the man believes in fairies, okay? I cared that hubs doesn’t care enough to say, “Hey, believe what you want. I know the truth. Stay ignorant. You don’t like her? Fine. She’s tried to make peace with you but you’re too stubborn to care. So we’re gonna drop it entirely. Leave her name out of your mouth because we’re all over this shit. We’re staying together and plan on having kids. You can be a part of that or not. Having nothing to do with her precludes you from having anything to do with our children however so think long and hard about how long you want to keep this up. It’s a shame that you can’t let go [of something that never actually happened] out of a sense of pride or principle. Grow up.”

Too much? He could word it much nicer than that! I would have been much meaner, actually. He said if he tried to be more direct with him, it would probably end with them severing their relationship. If being direct and upfront about your feelings with your parent causes them to cut you off, it’s their loss and not yours. Holding all of that inside out of fear of losing the [tenuous] connection with your parent is sad. Having to walk on eggshells just to maintain a relationship with an unstable parent because they’re your only surviving parent is tragic.

[The same could be said for having to walk on eggshells to maintain a relationship with an unstable wife.]

Ouch. Touché.

Yes, both of my parents are living.
No, I don’t understand what it’s like, clearly, to lose a parent.
No, if my mother leaves this Earth first I will not cling to my emotionally unavailable father for parent-ship. He’s not available at the moment. I’ll leave a message and he’ll get back to me like he always has. And that’s the truth of it. And that’s okay. I have other family to lean on – namely my hubs (if he hasn’t divorced me for his goddamned father by then), our possible kids and a plethora of friends I deem close enough to be considered my family.

…Once I leave inpatient psychiatric treatment because losing her will send me off the reservation.

Same if I lose him. #codependent

Sigh. In the words of my father – the wise man that he is: fuck it.

Where the dogs of society howl

Lots going on.  Mainly feeling lost.  I’m still on FMLA per my psychiatrist.  I’ve been off all this month and won’t be going back until next month.  I’m having a hard time keeping my medications down and we’re not sure why.  My moods are cycling rapidly and I’m thinking it’s because they aren’t being absorbed properly since the surgery.  I’m worried about having all this time off, how it’s going to affect my job.  It gets more interesting: I have an interview for another job next week.

I reached out to a friend of mine regarding a possible job opportunity in a private practice setting.  I was doing some research and found that working midnights with bipolar disorder is a no-no.  Apparently most people working midnights – mainly those in the healthcare field like nurses – with bipolar disorder have circadian rhythm issues, leading to shift-work disorder (which I’ve been diagnosed with).  This triggers mania and many times, hospitalization.  Sound like anyone we know?!  

So I got freaked, reached out to a friend and asked if she knew of any job opportunities.  She reached out to her boss who reviewed my resume and offered me an interview.  I miss doing therapy.  I remember my old supervisor said to me ages ago while I was in training after graduate school and doing therapy in an underprivilaged area with substance abuse clients.  I was burning out hard, between the clients and the administration I couldn’t seem to meet anyone’s expectations of me and wanted to quit doing therapy altogether.  I told him that I wanted to work in a hospital doing intake assessments and case management to take a break.  I said that it would be “one and done” – I’d never see the people again after they left; no need to build rapport and no need to terminate; they couldn’t accuse me of abandoning them if I’ve known them for 20 minutes.  He told me that I was an excellent therapist and working in a hospital setting was “a waste of my talent.”

He burned out too and moved out of state.

I didn’t listen and got a job doing assessments.  The population I work with tend to abuse the system.  I often see the same faces – sometimes 3 times a week.  I’ve had some people discharge because they tell me they are not suicidal, turn around in the parking lot and walk directly back into the hospital stating they are suicidal and homicidal and want 3 sandwiches.  The record turnaround is 7 minutes – I actually counted.  It is rare that I assess someone that actually needs help.  I got into this profession to help people.  Will I have better luck doing so in private practice?  I think so.  I think I will because people are paying to be there.  Sounds messed up, but it’s true.  This is your “managed” care/health system at work, USA.  I have “managed” in quotes because there is nothing manageable about it and you, my dear reader, know it.  I’d be ignoring the system by leaving, but I’m not single-handedly going to overhaul the health care and mental health system – I know that.  Contrary to popular belief by many recent graduates in my field, you cannot change the world.  You can only make a dent.

Here’s where my trepidation lies.  I would have to file quarterly and withhold my own taxes.  What a pain in the ass.  I’d also have to go on the exchange for health insurance.  God please no.  Right now every doctor I work with is in network because they all work for my employer LOL.  If I go on the exchange, there’s no guarantee they take that insurance and I’d have to pay astronomical premiums.  It would take several weeks to build a caseload and get paneled with insurance companies, which means I would not be paid by the patients or insurances for those weeks.  Weeks.  Flipping WEEKS, man.  I’m torn.  Do I liquidate my house fund to pay my bills while I’m not paid for those few weeks – if I’m even offered the job?  Do I leave my awesome co-workers because I hate the population I work with?  The population, the crushing rules of administration and low wages are what keep me from wanting to stay are my job.  I know once I get a full caseload as a private practitioner I could rake in double what I’m making now, but I’m afraid.

I’m terrified.  What if I’m not good enough?  What if I fall on my face?  What if I messed up my taxes?  What if my clients don’t like me and I end up without anyone and I’m broke?  My psychiatrist told me it takes a while to build a caseload too.  How do I work both jobs to cover my butt?  Work midnights and days?  I freaking can’t.

And Mom’s going into surgery.  They said it’s going to last 8 hours and due to the definite blood loss, she had to sign a waiver permitting them to give her a blood transfusion.  So I’ve been scared about that.  Lately her voice has been irritating me for some reason and I’ve been blocking out most of what she says, but I think it’s me being irritable because of my mood cycling.  I apologized to her if I had been short or curt with her and explained I had been tuning her out.  I told her I’m scared shitless about her surgery next week.  I wish she didn’t need it.  She’s going to lose 20% functionality of her back in all directions.  She seems excited she’ll never have to load the dishwasher again.  Lucky.  Not the way I would want to avoid that chore, but still lucky.  I’m just scared – I keep telling myself not to tune her out.  Not to put this bed vibe out there in the Universe, but if her being annoying is the last thing you ever hear her say, hear it anyway.  I try to remember that and listen to her give me instructions about how to feed her fakakta fish.

Angels lie to keep control

Hopefully this is the darkest I’ll ever get on here, folks. 

Hopefully this is the darkest corner in which you’ll have found me and the deepest within the forest of depression I’ll ever hide. 

Before I finished my last post was the first time in a very long time I had come to suicide.  The sheer amount of stress and depression was all consuming and swallowed me whole. 

I’m still fighting my way out, but at least I’m able to function right now. Over the weekend I wasn’t taking care of my hygiene, wouldn’t get out of bed, ate my husband’s entire birthday cake, 2.5 pints of ice cream, and wouldn’t engage in day to day human activities like talking. I blew up on my mother for asking me to pick up something off the floor. 

My husband says I don’t treat him like he matters when I’m this depressed. He says I don’t treat him like a husband but like a buddy or a friend. It comes from years of pushing people away. Every time someone gets close to me, I step back. It’s so strange to never live in the same household as my father and pick up his traits.  

I have 2 friends – Alissa and Elizabeth – who are both very close to me. I’ve known Elizabeth for over 20 years. We reconnected a few years back and have grown closer since. She’s truly a good friend. She tries to psychoanalyze me at times which I’m not the biggest fan of (not qualified to do!), but I know she means well.  Here’s the deal: for every inch she scooches closer, I pull back six. It’s not something I do consciously, it’s just done. Moving closer would make me too vulnerable and I’m in no position for that.  

My other friend, Alissa is also a counselor. She suffers with depression (I personally think she’s got more than depression, but I’m not in the business of diagnosing my friends) like I do so we commiserate together. We both work in the same area with the same population so, again, we commiserate about work stress and drama. She and I have grown very close. As she grows closer or needs more support, I fucking run – I don’t understand why.  When I need support, I hide from her until I feel well enough to express my feelings without being under suspicion of being suicidal. I’m always afraid she’ll petition me or send the police to my house to check on me because she’s a counselor. I refuse to go into a hospital involuntarily – I know what they’re like and I’m not ruining my career by sitting next to a patient in a group session. Fuck that shit. I’ve always gone voluntarily. 

Back to the husband thing, I always back away. I told him I distance myself from everyone because it’s habit at this point and – as much sense as this doesn’t make – if I did commit suicide, I will have put so much distance between me and everyone else, it’s like it wouldn’t have mattered much if I was gone. Just a buddy, not a wife. 

H: “That doesn’t make any sense.”
Me: “Depression doesn’t make any sense. What kind of disease has you thinking that in order to survive you have to die?  Our purpose as humans is to propagate the species. We can’t do that if we’re dead.  Depression isn’t based in any reality; my thinking isn’t real.  It makes you focus on what it wants you to focus on – which is mainly your depression, nothing else.  But you always matter; you’ve always mattered.”

I explained that it’s difficult talking to him about my deepest and darkest thoughts and feelings because he’s never been there. While I’m delighted he hasn’t, explaining what Hell looks like and how it felt versus describing how it feels to someone who’s already been there are 2 separate things. (I can’t go to support groups – I may run into patients there.). So I keep to myself. I understand my Hell and I know my pain. I’ll get through this if it kills me – whether by my hand or G-d’s. 

message from a.c. lerock

They fucked up and let me see some of my  chart. Lordy lord… this is what I bug the husband with in the middle of the day. 

And he stays. 

And I misspoke. There’s a space under the diagnosis that allows for clarification, as being depressed all the time negates a bipolar diagnosis but what people fail to realize is depression is my baseline.  

Sorry. My lack of chemicals, since a very young age, is all I’ve come to know. I’ve started back in therapy and I went back to the source: my childhood therapist. I worked with her from age 5 until my sophomore year in college, when I was raped. She said that I disappeared too soon – I had only scratched the surface in dealing with the rape and given my presentation, it seems that my mind hasn’t recovered. 

My body is now paying the price. 

So I spent a week between that session and the next thinking about everything: the rape, the aftermath, my life since then – my progress, my failures, my detours – everything – and it all made sense. My therapist was right: I stopped taking care of myself long ago.  I can’t do that anymore. I have a family, I have a husband. I have a life. I have a life I don’t want to lose. 

I told her that I have frequent suicidal thoughts with plans and access and means. But I have a huge protective factor: my husband. I told her that my husband lost his mother when he was 22 and he crawled inside a bottle to numb the pain. A year later, we started dating – he had one foot out of said bottle. I told him he’d have to stop drinking for us to date (at the time, I was a tee-totaler) and he quit. I will never send him back to that life. I will never leave him destroyed like that. He told me once that the only reason he attempts to get better paying employment is because of me, otherwise he would just live at home working a dead end job with no purpose. That leaves me to believe that I give him purpose. He gives me purpose and hope. 

I was hospitalized so many times during the first 2 years of our relationship that my own family stopped visiting. My (now) husband visited everyday, without fail. He never missed a day. Even when I didn’t want him there, he came. He’d sit through my nasty attitude and come the next day.  I finally thought to myself: Stop. Just fucking stop. This guy sees something in you. Something that’s good; something worth saving. Isn’t it worth it, perhaps, to stick around and find out what it is?  Otherwise you may never know. 

I still want to know. But if I keep hiding behind this trauma, I’ll never know. So it’s time to process it and move from victim to survivor. 

The only way around in this life is through. 

Never pay the Reaper with love only

 

Two weeks ago, I was very depressed suicidal.  I had the means, plan, opportunity.  I told him and my mother.  Now, I’m fully aware that my mother has washed her hands of me; there is only one star to the show here and if it’s not her, it’s not a show she’s going to watch.  But I live in her house.  You’d think finding your daughter’s bloated and clammy body would inadvertently make you the star of the show…  Oh no, that role would be played by the grieving 35-year-old widower.  Damn, she misses out again.  Rats.

I don’t think my husband gets it yet.  By “it,” I’m referring to my illness.  We had a long conversation after I was coming out of my suicidal state and I was able to distance myself from the severe depression that was tying me to those thoughts.  He didn’t seem – and still doesn’t – to understand how the mind, how biology, can fight so hard to keep us alive as a species yet the mind can turn on itself.  One thought becomes a fixation that can lead to total destruction of oneself.  Here was this woman he’s known for 25 years – since childhood – and he never saw her pain then (I studied to be an actress – I was good at hiding most things), just a normal kid like him.  Fast forward two decades and all that’s written on my face when the curtains are closed and the doors are locked is pain and fear.

I told him I know where his guns are and despite being a pacifist, I know how to load and fire them.  I just didn’t want to leave a mess for him and my mother – it’s a new carpet.  I didn’t want to get found by the dog and have her eating me – she’d need to be put down.

I know the nearest access to the local river – our property is 1 mile away from a cliff that plunges straight down to it.  I was warned about it as a child and I found the passage there a month ago.

I have access to my roof.  I can tie a noose.  Cut “down the road, not across the street.”  These are the pathetic and desperate methods you teach yourself and you learn along the way when the pain seems too much to handle.  And some days it is; I’m not going to sit here and say “hold on, it’ll get better!” because some days are worse than others.  But guess what?

I’m still here.  Clearly.

Why?  I honestly don’t have a great answer.  I’d love to say it’s 100% because of my husband, but it’s not.  That’s a shitty way of staying motivated – to have my entire life swing in the balance of someone else’s.  How much pressure does that put on him, do you think?  Every drive to work would be a nightmare for him: “Stay away from me – if I get a scratch on me, my wife will kill herself!  She has nothing else to life for!

Fuck no.  I’d say 45% is him.  The rest has to be something else…

A-Ha!  I got it!  I’m a movie buff!  I love comedies, rom-coms, cartoons, psychological thrillers, docu-dramas… anyway – I love a good ending.  I usually Wikipedia that shit because I can’t wait 2 hours to find out what happens; I am not a patient person (I am diagnosed with ADHD as well).  If I die, that’s it.  No Wikipedia.  No Reader’s Digest.  No Cliff’s Notes.  No nothing.  I’ll never know if Mom gets remarried.  If my sister ever finds happiness.  If I ever have kids.  If Savage Garden will ever get back together.  How does this story end?

these final hours. 

Last night I was scared. I had the lights off; the halls were dark and I couldn’t see. Usually my husband is there, but he was working.  I just kept thinking about how much I wanted to curl into his arms and sleep – it’s where I feel the most safe. 

When I woke up, he was there next to me, asleep. I just rubbed his shoulder for a few minutes before I decided it was time to get up and start getting my day going. When the bed shifted, he woke up, asked me the standard “how are you,” “how was work” questions. He could see I was still depressed and detached from our conversation the other day, which spiraled into yet another conversation about my inability to be intimate with him and my shutting down. This spawned a whole other line of conversation about how he’s spent 10 years waiting for things to get better and nothing’s changed; now we’re older and he physically feels himself changing which has him upset because his youth was wasted waiting for me to screw my head on straight. 

I admit: I shut down. I get depressed. I withdraw into myself and attempt to “fix” the problem alone. I see now how well that’s been working. But my question is to myself is “now what?” 

Now what do you do?  Withdrawing doesn’t work but it’s automatic.  Being  depressed doesn’t help but it’s automatic.  Being angry doesn’t help but it’s automatic. What else do I have?  Be open, honest, and vulnerable?  

I am terrified.  After 10 years, you’d think I’d have let my own spouse in. I thought I had. It was a smoke screen I put up to fool everyone – including myself.  

I don’t want to lose my husband. But I don’t know how to let anyone in.  It used to be safer with everyone out there, but now it’s becoming just as dangerous.