Last week, John and I hit another breaking point. Ironically, the fight started the night of our 8th wedding anniversary. He said he was thinking about going back to work… Since all his contacts work at start-ups, those are the only options he is currently considering. Given his history with start-ups, I immediately expressed my reservations about those very limited options. What he needed (and yes, that’s how I said it), was a comprehensive search that involved combing the job ads, researching companies, and making new professional contacts. He argued that introverts don’t hunt for jobs that way, and that was that: within a few short minutes, the conversation had turned sour. I pulled out my laptop and started hunting for my own options… when other things are beyond my control, I can only refocus on myself. He, on the other hand, went to watch tv, and that’s how our special day ended.
The next morning, I was furious that voicing my concerns resulted in a curt and pissy conversation followed by the cold shoulder. I made a medical appointment to deal with my breakouts again (hmm, stress maybe?), and during the long drive, I thought long and hard about how I was no longer able to communicate my thoughts to him. I thought about how, after five years, I still hadn’t determined the “proper” way to support a depressed person. I thought of another day of work– totally shot due to my preoccupation with our sometimes strained relationship. Was our eight years of marriage something to celebrate, or was it simply a symbol of stubbornness? Were we just dragging out something that had lost its magic?
The last time I had visited the therapist, it was following another blow-up. My takeaway from that session? She said that by my efforts trying to be patient and trying to respect that he was not Type A, had in fact “made room for the depression to grow.” In suppressing my own needs and denying my own voice, I had practically grabbed depression a seat at the table. But what are my needs exactly? I didn’t even know I had needs.. I just wanted him to be happy– however way he wanted to get there, on whatever timeline.
But no, now I was being told that I was an enabler. So last week, after replaying all of this through my mind, I decided that hard-ass needed to make a comeback. I wasn’t going to live like this anymore. Whatever the problem, figure it out. See someone every fucking day if you have to. I have waited 9 months and now 4 months, and we are still dealing with this bullshit. I am not going to censor myself anymore. Get help, because handling your shit on your own isn’t working.
I suppose my anger got the better of me that day, because the message delivery was angry and swift and blunt. Consequently, the response was a blow-up of tremendous magnitude. And just like that, the rest of the day was shot.
Thankfully, a few hours later, things calmed and we returned to the drawing board. Who knew so many damn shrinks would either be “no longer accepting new patients” or fully booked a month and a half out. FML, right? Back to the waiting game. Fucking A.
Of course, prior to the blowup, we had planned a weekend getaway in Colorado to celebrate our anniversary. The significance? We had gone to Boulder about 11 years ago, when life was grand(er). We really loved the mountains. Now the trip just felt like bad timing.
Luckily, we made the most of it and the trip ended up being a nice little break/escape: a bit of hiking, lots of good food, some city walking, plenty of hot tubbing, and many hours of sleep in a comfy bed. We had fun.
There are still many moments when I obsess over what to do, how to be, how to help, how to self-preserve… My natural inclination is to be impatient and to search endlessly for SOMEthing. It’s like when I have a scab, I never let it be– I always pick and scratch until it bleeds. I’m trying to learn to let things be, to not insist on answers… but it’s hard, because I believe so strongly in living with intention and purpose.
It seems like there must be a way of living, of coexisting happily and peacefully in the presence of depression. But I feel a deep inner pain wondering how long and how hard to reach for this notion– is it even realistic and attainable?
I think I’m a romantic at heart– I believe strongly in the power of love. I believe it conquers many things. Still, even I’ll admit that love isn’t always enough, and love doesn’t always have a happy ending (You’ve seen The Breakup!). Ultimately, we’re responsible for our own lives and our own choices.