It’s finally our time. We were on the other side of year one and my husband had more energy to focus on us. He was seeing things more clearly and making decisions that were the best for us, not only him, but our family. We were making a fresh start. We were doing it together. We were moving to a new home in a new town.
The thought of a fresh start made me sparkle a little more. On the day we moved, I looked around our old house and was sad to leave my little boy’s first room, the place that I first brought him home. I was happy to never have to walk down the hall from my bedroom passed that messy office that was supposed to be our second child’s room. (Click here to find out more on that.) I was glad to leave these wall that were painted with my husband’s afflictions upon my heart. Those walls talked to me and they didn’t have very nice things to say. So, I locked that door and walked away with optimism and my parachute.
We moved into our new home and it was time to wipe the slate clean. We met our wonderful neighbors. There were more kids for our little guy to play with than I could have hoped for. We were making new friends, we were building a new tribe and things were looking brighter. I didn’t need batteries anymore. I was finding my sparkle.
We still had bad days but I tried to ignore them. For the most part things were good. My husband still had moments where his depression got the best of him and I walked on egg shells but they were less frequent. I was still carrying around my parachute but I had let go of the death grip and flung it loosely over my shoulder. (Click here to read more about my parachute.) I wasn’t as tired. I still didn’t fully trust my husband but I was starting to believe that we could get through this. That we would survive. The wounds were finally starting to heal. I was seeing brief glimpses of the man I fell in love with.
The one year mark was the beginning of the work on our marriage and we were putting in that work and it was getting better. All the newness was exciting and I was finally getting to a place where I was not lying awake at night wondering when the plane would crash.
But, addiction is a funny thing, it mask traits in someone that you didn’t know were there. Recovery doesn’t solve all the problems so we had work to do. There was light at the end of the tunnel as we rounded the first corner of year five of this muddy trail. Man, I was ready to be off this mountain. The cliffs were high and treacherous but at least I had my parachute and a few less bandaids. Maybe, just maybe, we would were gonna make it.
He was doing the right things. He was saying the right things. He was making the right effort. There was a glimmer of hope. We were out of the house again. We were back to being social. We were finding a new normal and life seemed a little sweeter. Every once in a while, I would forget my parachute and it felt so nice to not be hauling that heavy load. Read more about how I got my parachute here.
There were still days, that came out of nowhere, that the depression dragged him down. And those days were hard. Those days made me flicker. Those days, he was a little sharper and my feet hurt from the eggshell on our floor. Those days reminded me that we were still struggling. MDD (Major Depression Disorder) is not something you cure. It’s something you live with and you never know when it is going to drag someone down. I spend a lot of energy focusing on not letting it drag me down too. I need to spend more energy focusing on me and sometimes there is not enough left.
It’s hard being married to someone that struggles with depression. It’s hard watching them go through it. It’s hard to be part of it. It’s hard not to resent yourself for being angry with them for being sad. Some days, you loath yourself. You look in the mirror and all you see is that ugly. That resentment. That regret. Why me? Why did I choose the man with so many battles to fight? Was there something wrong with me? And then, the sparkle is extinguished again. Wash, rinse, repeat. Man, I am getting worn out. How many times can I do this before there is nothing less to give?
And as quickly as it came, it passed. Back to life we go, until the next time. He was just happy he wasn’t struggle and days were good. He didn’t know the effect his struggles had on me. I was making sure my parachute was packed in case I needed it. I just never knew if the plane was going to go down again and I needed to be ready, for me and for my son. The more I prepared, the heavier the load. The burden of someone elses depression can be to much to bear. I felt like I was losing myself.
I was becoming someone I didn’t want to be. And this made me unhappy. I was going through the motions. I was putting on a smile. I was pretending it was all okay. I was broken and I hurt and I just couldn’t get past it. And I was still struggling to trust. If he was still struggling with his depression, how could I know he would not drink again?
Every time I thought it was getting better, he would flounder, even just a little bit, and I would add more gear to my chute. It was so heavy and I was tired. But I was trying really hard to carry it all. For him, for me, for our son.
He didn’t notice. When he was happy, life was good and I could put my pack down for a moment, but when he struggled, he could only work on getting past that moment. He didn’t notice that I couldn’t breathe. I felt like I was suffocating. It was more than I could handle. Everyone worried about the alcoholic. No one was worried about his wife.
How’s your husband? How’s he doing with his sobriety? How’s his job? We are so proud of him. What about me? When is it my turn to shine? You’re so strong. No, I am a really good actress. My child needed stability and I couldn’t let him down. My husband needed a pick me up and I couldn’t leave him down. So, I gave them my sparkle, it was all I had left to give. And so they sparkled and I flickered.
If every time you start to work on the plane, you have to stop because the pilot is sick, the plane is never going to be safe to fly. Depression is hard to live though. It’s hard to watch. It’s hard to stop worrying. It’s hard to be okay when you don’t get to make the choices in your own life. And when you struggle or can’t deal with something, you can not blame the person that is depressed. That could be too much for them. That could make their path back to the top longer. That could make the eggshells harder to get off the floor.
The longer they struggle, the more you are pulled down. It’s not his fault that this is his life. He didn’t choose this. No one chooses depression. So, I need to be strong. I need to be okay. But, I didn’t choose this either. And I am tried of fighting a battle that I am not in charge of. The pilot doesn’t have a clear battle plan because the field is foggy. And so I am tired. But I have my chute. I just hope that it is not packed to heavy to finally catch me when the plane goes down.
Maybe, it never goes down but after five years, it is hard to trust that it won’t happen again. You just learn to live with the expectation that it will, you just never know when. After a while, you feel like, for better or for worse really means for worse. You try to shine when you can. You try to enjoy the little victories. You try to take time to put yourself first. (Click here to read what happens next.) You try to remember, in the midst of chaos, sparkle. Don’t let life dull your shine.
The Manicured Mom
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