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?

Devious stares in my direction

It’s been a minute, I know. I’m hanging in, but barely I feel. 

I’ve been struggling at work the past few weeks. I feel drained and overwhelmed. I often wear my bite guard to work to keep from grinding my teeth while I’m awake. The job is stressful while at work, but I don’t often take it home which is nice. When I do, it’s usually a personal problem, not a patient’s problem. 

For instance, the other day I had someone call me a fat bitch.  While normally I wouldn’t pay much mind to what others have to say to me, that stung for some reason.  Maybe because they hit that right on the head. Obviously the “fat” thing pissed me off more than anything. And it hurt. It cut really, really deep. Then I had a situation where I felt I did something right – I felt confident about my work and I was ripped apart.  Later that shift I assessed a situation and my disposition was not what anyone wanted to hear. I was ripped apart by family members, nurses – and I broke down. I was so frustrated and angry that I started tearing up and couldn’t stop them from falling.  It didn’t help that I’d had a UTI and hadn’t been able to pee all shift long.

What I’ve realized since then is I can’t allow people to dump on me. My supervisor said that’s what happened – everyone felt like crap and needed to release their frustration and crap and I happened to be the nearest one there. 

I am not a trash can. I am not a dumpster. I am not here for people to dump their crap onto. This was a step further than projection – this was blame, guilt, manipulation, and avoidance.  

See, when things don’t follow the natural order of things in my department, the staff gets freaked. It’s admission, assess, and either discharge or transfer.  Not to mention cleaning up the ancillary bullshit that no one else “knows” how to do. (They sometimes know, they choose to shove it into our laps).  That shift, things were so fucked up it didn’t go that way for several patients and each time I had a gaggle of nurses and 1:1 sitters in my office asking me the same questions: 

“What are we doing with them?” 
“Bed 58 wants to see you again.”
“So what’s the game plan?”
“I know you’re super super busy, but Bed 58 said they wanted to see you again.”
“What’s the ETA for transfer for Bed 13?”

When the staff gets freaked, I’m usually good at holding my own, but that day I couldn’t keep it together. I had 2 nurses, 1 security guard, and a 1:1 sitter standing there just pressing and pressing.  I answered the same question three times.  At what point should I stop talking? At what point did you stop listening – were you ever listening?

Every thrill is gone, wasn’t too much fun at all. 

It’s like a trapeze act around here. I get my bearings, holding on to one partner then I have to swing again – back and forth, until the jump – and into another partner’s palms I go.  From disease to disease, disorder to disorder, over and around. With all the switching back and forth between symptoms and doctor’s appointments, I get just a little heated when I see no movement on my pedometer – I could swear I’ve walked to hell and back. 

My stomach has gotten worse; every time I eat, no matter what I eat it feels like I’ve swallowed a bowling ball. 

So I stopped eating. In the past four or so days – not counting last night – I had two actual meals, the rest of the time I snacked here and there.  Is that good?  Of course not.  My gastroenterologist appointment isn’t for another three weeks and there’s no moving it up so I have to figure out a way to survive until then. I’ve tried soft foods, liquids, semi-liquids, small portions, and prayer. 

Nothing is working. It doesn’t help that when following my doctor’s orders and eating six small meals a day, one cup at a time, I started to become lightheaded, my glucose plummeted, and my blood pressure was kissing the floor. My sugar shouldn’t be 79 at fasting and my BP is normally low, but never 92/54.  That’s goddamned terrifying. I ran to my primary care doc who told me my psych and GI meds at their high doses are hypotensive – as my blood work came back normal, he said he’s going to discuss my issues with my psychiatrist first. I love my primary care doc – he seems to care. 

In the meanwhile, when at work I’ve been muddling through. I do my job and come home. It’s a 12 hour shift; if I’m lucky I get to use the bathroom – my desk is next door to the employee restroom.  I try to drink some water at least, but if I don’t eat it’s not the end of the world. 

Lately my stomach feels better completely empty than it does with even the tiniest morsel of food. While that’s great for my overeating disorder, it’s not great for me or my mindset.  I’m terrified I could swing to the other side of the spectrum of eating disorders.  Eating disorders run in my family – most famously in my mother who went so far as to staple her stomach to lose the weight, yet continues to suffer from body dysmorphia to this very day.  I don’t want to live that way.  But when the only things that I can stomach are hard candies and chewing gum, I feel trapped. 

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. 

the contents of my head. 

This is how I feel.  

My husband and I got into an argument the other day.  I know, by the looks of this page, that’s all we do, but that’s not the case.  We’ve been doing really well, but I’m not always sure if that’s because we work such odd hours or we’re just too tired to start a conversation that most likely will end in an argument.

Anyway, the argument.  It was about petty shit, really – the dog threw up on the carpet.  I saw something in the (by this time) dried bile that was alarming – several little plastic tubes that looked like the refills for a Bic pen.  I flipped.  I was not happy that – one – I’d started eating my breakfast and didn’t notice the dog had thrown up until I smelled something foul, then saw a pile of yarn trimmings, plastic tubes things (still unidentified), and dog hair next to the table.  And two, became more pissed that when I woke him up to talk about the spew, he looked at me as though this was a non-issue, would not speak to me at all, and wasn’t going to do shit about it.  In hindsight, I overreacted.  I shouldn’t have woken him up.  I should have picked up the bulk and gone to sleep, cleaned the rest when I woke up.

It was 9am.  I’d just worked a 12 hour shift in the emergency room.  I was tired.  I was hungry.  I had received a shitty email from my supervisor at the beginning of my shift.  I had embarrassed myself in front of the Chief of Medicine at 3am.  The EMR went down for 4 hours and we were forced to paperchart everything – my full assessments included; then transcribe them onto the EMR when the system went back up.  I was not in the mood for a fucking thing except to eat my french toast and crawl into bed.  Instead, I carefully set the stage for an argument that has forced me on a long, emotional existential journey that I wish was over.

After storming around the house looking for some vinegar and baking soda – and finding neither, he says to me “hey, quit yelling – I already cleaned it up, stop freaking out.”

Really?  After staring at me like an indignant 16-year-old with his arms folded for 5 minutes as if to say, “I’m not doing shit,” while I attempt to choke down my breakfast with the scent of vomit in the air, it took him less than 10 minutes to clean up.  I was livid.

That’s when the fun started.  That’s when he unleashed.  Overall, he was quite calm, but his words were more honest and lacked any inhibition.   He told me that my anger is out of control for a person my age, insinuating that despite my membership in the 30 and over club, my behavior, when angry, resembles that of a person who isn’t old enough to vote. 

Next, I was told that my anger is not healthy for the children we plan to have. My husband, having had similar experiences with his father, said he did not want our children growing up in the same type of environment. 

Yet all I heard was him comparing me to his father and almost repeating the same thing my mother has said about my anger over and over again after I blow up on her – “you’d better control that before you have kids.”  

Ugh.  The conversation takes another turn. Instead of blowing up more, I decide I’m too bloody tired and I start talking. 

My anger is my shield. It’s the only thing that’s worked for me.  I don’t know how to function without it.  I’ve been angry at so much for so long, I don’t know what it’s like to not be angry.  

I’m not sad, I’m irritated.
I’m not depressed, I’m agitated.
I’m not hurt, I’m pissed.

I purposely push everyone away. I get unnecessarily angry, I cuss – anything to drive people away. Why?  

Less Christmas presents. 

No, really – it’s easier than letting people in, letting them leave their mark, and them leaving anyway. This is not just men – this is everyone. My best friend sent me the sweetest email earlier this week telling me how much she appreciates my friendship and how much I mean to her. I have been praying that she and I would become close again after so much time apart (which was my fault).  

Guess what Alice did?  Guess. Haven’t checked my email in a week to confirm plans for us to hang out. Why? Because now she’s too close and I’m terrified. This is where I screw everything up.  This is it. Right here. I asked for it and now I’m going to screw it all up – again.  And I have no idea why and don’t know how to fix it. 

Same with the husband. How do I salvage 10 years of lost youth? How? And how does Linus give up his blanket? Can he? Can I? How do I lay down my sword during peacetime when I’ve got shell shock? 

Men were deceivers ever

I went to my doctor the other day, mentioned the whole thing with my mom and my FIL. He, like so many before him, told me not to “be so vocal about it,” and it’s none of my business.  Gee, thanks doc.  Now I’m definitely questioning if I’m right or wrong here.  I’m not telling my mother who she can and can’t be with – she went on a date earlier this week; I told her to have fun and don’t come home and spoil the new Star Wars flick for me.  I honestly just think it’s disgusting to date a family member!  I think it’s disgusting to sleep with a family member!  I don’t give a shit if they’re related by blood or marriage; in my case, once children happen – they would be related by blood which makes it worse.  

It doesn’t help that I generally don’t like the doddering old bastard and never really have.  He makes my inner anger look like chewed gum on a sidewalk.  He goes on rants – over and over again – about the state of the world; he would have made a great op-Ed columnist for The Saturday Evening Post.  These tirades continue for tens of minutes at loud and unnecessary decibels spanning important topics such as the obstructed views of Muslim women who wear hijabs and how this affects their driving, women and their cellphone usage and why they should be raped because of it, and how anyone who can turn on a television has the capability to work and should not be allowed to file for government benefits.  …You know, re-reading that, I don’t know how I sat there and listened to all that repugnant shit all these years and didn’t walk away earlier; I could have saved a lot of brain cells.  

I don’t know why I’m reacting to my doctor’s comments the  way I did.  I just sank into this depression.  I feel like I’m the one who should have stayed quiet and let my mother speak for herself for once.  

I’m always doing all the fucking talking; this is why we have the relationship we do and I have the trust issues I do.  I’m always the heavy, I’m the mom until someone is able to take the reins every once in a while.  That’s how I was trained as a young child; that’s my resentment.

Why am I paying for a crime I didn’t commit?  I didn’t cuss anyone out or get touchy-feely at dinner after I hoisted back a bottle of Maker’s Mark. Where are his consequences for his fucky behavior (aside from losing my Netflix)?  My husband is still talking to him. He hasn’t stopped going to the house and spending time with him. So much for solidarity. 

I’m not saying he should choose, but I specifically remember a time when I felt I had to make the choice. My mother objected to our marriage; she didn’t want me marrying him and didn’t want me getting married without a fancy wedding that she planned. She threatened to object if I went against her wishes. 

I told her she was not welcome at our tiny, tiny wedding. To this day, I have to hold back the tears because a bride should always have her mother if she can. But I made the choice to stick by my convictions and stand with my future husband. 

I feel cast aside. Betrayed. Less than. Because I remember taking vows that bound us as one, and we’re split in two. I stood, yet again, by my convictions – but I stand alone. That is not what family is. That is not what marriage is. And this time of year is about family and togetherness and I’m not feeling it in the slightest.