Moving on, with Daniel’s upbringing explained, I now feel compelled to explain the parts that really brought me to my lowest points with clinical depression, anxiety, self doubt, suicidal thoughts, etc. My deepest, darkest days.
Abondonment has clearly been an issue and is still an ongoing issue with Daniel. It has truly played a roll in his emotional and compassionary qualities; meaning, he didn’t want to feel the feelings (he shut them off a long time ago so he could survive mentally through the abuse and abondonment he experienced as a child), basically, he just didn’t give a shit so long as it wasn’t hurting him. This also euqals the fact that he did this the majority of our marriage because he wanted to fill a void, a void that would never be fulfilled until he realized material things don’t matter and only make him temporarily happy. I don’t even know that he’s fully understood that he’s happier when he does the good deeds without any expectation of getting things in return. Whereas, I was the opposite. I too freely gave myself away and still often pour from an empty cup (kind of hard not to when you’re a parent, right?).
When we would go talk about an issue, we really couldn’t just talk. We would argue to the ends of the earth, even if it was a personal issue and I just needed a listening ear. All too often he’d listen without regard and then use my insecurities I had just revealed to him as a means to an end. Let’s just use my most recent diagnosis as an example. It has not been affirmed yet, I still have more sessions to go in therapy before we can fully conclude as to whether or not I go into hypomanic episodes, but it is a consideration I must look into because of the presence of it within my maternal grandmother. So, when the suicidal thoughts began and I would be in my “lows” for weeks at a time, I also started noticing that I would then do something in an opposite manner, like the notebook I told you about (you know, the one with all the family history; the list of what to do when I’m gone notebook). It’s sort of moody and seems to happen in patterns. It was actually after the notenook incident that I decided to seek some help.
Living in a small, rural area only to be surrounded by more, small, rural areas, seeking mental health help is difficult. It was even more difficult considering my outside job. We kept loosing staff and that meant, since we were short handed to begin with, that I would have to reschedule my psych eval not just twice, but three times. It’s often hard to get appointments within the month. It usually takes a couple of months just to be seen on the regular. With that being said, I wound up calling my local physician. While she isn’t a mental health professional, she is certainly a starting point. After my experiences previously with Zoloft, she decided against regular antidepressants. She decided we would try a happy medium in case I just legitimately needed counseling rather than being Bi Polar. She put me on an antisiezure medication that has been proven effective with Bi Polar patients as well. When I came home to tell my husband that she also thought it could be Bi Polar, he seemed reassured himself. Afterall, I think he was tired of hearing me say things like, “I’m not good enough so why the hell am I alive?” But soon after this temporary diagnosis, he threw it in my face. I don’t even remember what we were arguing about or how it started (this happens to me often. I wind up only remembering the devastating parts of the arguments – victim!!), but he said to me, “Maybe you should go kill yourself and save me the trouble.” It looks so extreme writing that down! It almost looks like a death threat, but I knew what he meant. He just meant he was tired of hearing it, tired of my threats of death and I should just do it because he was simply that tired of hearing it. Nonetheless, it cut me deep like a knife would.
He also didn’t just disregard my feelings, he really wouldn’t help lighten my load. He would, instead, pile more responsibilities onto my plate. I would work my outside job and do everything else. When he did two nights a week with pool league, he put me on as co captain. That meant, while he was gone, which was often because of his career, I was responsible for the teams. This also meant I was rushing around after school getting kids ready for dinner and the next day, then rushing to eat, and then rushing to get to the location for pool league and all the while I have my three kids with me. Taking a baby and forgetting the diaper bag because you’re so rushed was what happened on several occasions. And pool league was no short term session for the night either. Often times it would not end until 11pm or midnight. Can you imagine how my kids felt? Both nights they had school the next day. Summer session wasn’t near as bad. We could all sleep in then.
Any way, when he was working night shifts in the beginning of our marriage, I would have to plan activities outside of the home, or make damn sure my kids didn’t yell and scream (impossible, right?) so he could sleep. To an extent, the kids and I do need to be respectful of this. He really is the breadwinner. I don’t mind planning activities or booting my kids outside most of the time for most of the day. I really, truly understand and respect the night shifts. I worked them in college so I knew how difficult it was to sleep during the day. During any shift he’d work, if he had to get his own gas and smokes before work, I’d hear about it for a week. Since his work is in a different time zone, all of our clocks had to be in his time. If he had important events to attend and had to be there at certain times, you can bet your bottom dollar we’d be there on time. But if the kids had doctor appointments he wanted to attend (such as an ultrasound to find out the sex of our babies), you can bet your bottom dollar we were tardy. I couldn’t get crumbs in the butter for crap sakes! And often times, it wasn’t just a guilt trip I would get from him. Some times he would go into an outright rage about those small things. For a very long time we couldn’t get into a vehicle without him going into a rage for no reason at all. These are just some of the things I became very anxious over and would bend at his will because I just didn’t want to turn his rage into physical violence.
When I was working at the truck stop (only had two children at this point) my shift had just ended and I thought it would be a treat to head to NP to get some groceries and eat Chinese food for dinner. I also wanted to purchase the next COD game since I knew he would ask any way. Once there I told him how much I had budgeted to spend on groceries and what was left that we could spend (I thought we would immediately head to the electronics isle per his norm but we didn’t). I’ll be damned if we didn’t go down every isle he wanted to and he wanted something from every fucking isle. It was as though I had a third child unexpectedly. We hadn’t even made it to the grocery isles. I reiterated that to him several times and reiterated the budget several times. I tried coaxing him with the game I wanted to purchase for him. But much like a child when I had to tell him no, he threw a damn fit. I was so annoyed and angry with him, I just took off, got a new cart and went to get the groceries. I remember thinking to myself, “If he’s going to act like a child, then I’m going to treat him like one. No game for Daniel!”
I don’t know what he did the whole time I walked around getting groceries until I was checking out. He text me to tell me they were waiting in the car and had been for too long so if I didn’t hurry up he’d leave me there. My heart plummeted completely. This perked my anxiety terribly because now I was going to have to embarrassingly call friends to come pick me up in a town that’s an hour away with all my groceries in tow. Then I would of course call my parents because I was that devastated. Thank God I didn’t have to do that, but his ridiculousness didn’t end there.
I checked out and got out to the car. I was surprised he was there (not at all relieved though). He popped the trunk and proceeded to get out of the car to talk to me. I thought I was going to receive an apology but I certainly thought wrong on that one. He started in on me about how long I took and he was hungry, the kids were annoying, he had a headache, etc etc. This started the trail of tears for me. He didn’t even help get groceries in the trunk. That was the least he could have done. But instead, he decided to ask me the one question I knew he’d ask and was still anxious to hear, “Did you get the video game?” I simply told him no (couldn’t bear the thought of looking at him as I said no). He then proceeded to call me a fucking cunt and to quit acting like I was his mother. He got in the car while I put the cart away, and then acted as though he was going to drive away, without me, locked the doors and even put the car in reverse. He did things like this to me all too often (though looking back, it wasn’t that often. It just took me a long time to recover from the anxiety of it all). Believe me when I say, if I didn’t just give it to him, whatever “it” was, he would find his own way to obtain it. It was just like his drug addiction. A lot of addicts will tell you they would rob and steal in order to get their next fix. This need for material items was much the same for him as his addiction was. And when I had to quit school because I just couldn’t “do it all,” he wasn’t very remorseful at all. He would just take and take and take and take and never gave back.
Yet, after I slapped him a few years back, it really seemed to knock some sense into him. He actually grew up! His mom got a cancer diagnosis (she beat it!) and it was then that I saw him work relentlessly. You see, when I slapped him, we had found out shortly before then that I was pregnant with our fourth child (she was a definite, big whoopsie!). She was the reason I slapped him. I needed him to wake the hell up because I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle any more self sacrifices; it would break me completely. I was clearly plummeting because I really had this strong desire, to just, not live. I sure as hell didn’t want to have another baby, another person I’d have to care for. While things got better, he still wasn’t very good at hearing me when I’d tell him I couldn’t handle any more responsibility. That was when I reached my new low.
A little over a year ago, my FIL got ahold of Daniel via Facebook. They chatted for a few days before Daniel mentioned his conversation with his dad (right there, he’s getting a feel for how I’d feel about his dad). He told me how his dad had been sober for two years now (longest sobriety stretch unless he was in prison for longer). He told me other things that I don’t remember because I more than likely tuned him out. And then came that cringing, curdling feeling when Daniel said he wanted to talk to me and he wanted me to keep an open mind. (If I could I would insert a million emoji’s that accurately express my facial expressions, one right after the other, when he said those words to me). I knew what he was going to ask. I just freaking knew it! He wanted his dad to come live with us. He tried the whole guilt trip thing, “I want an opportunity to know my dad, he’s sober, you have nothing to worry about, he wants to have a relationship with me, etc etc.” I obviously, without hesitation said no. And yes, I sound like an asshole. Do I care? Nope! Sure don’t! Here’s the thing… his father had been doing drugs for 40+ years. He’d only been sober for two and was still in some trouble with the law. We, as a family of mostly girls, live in too tight of quarters with only one bath and two children per room sharing it. Our bathing schedule was not to my standards but it was what needed to happen in order to not run out of hot water so easily. Daniel and I had just gotten to a place of stability in our marriage, finally getting on the same page and I didn’t want anything to jeopardize that. And now, after all the years he tried to convince himself and us that he was ok without his dad because his Grandad was a good enough influence in his life, he wants to have his dad not just visit, but live with us!? Every single bone in my body told me “NO!” And I stuck to my guns.
Meanwhile, his dad had some jail time to finish so we could have a few months to “discuss” his dad living with us. Yet, every single time we’d revisit the conversation, I was filled with anger and just couldn’t manage to keep myself calm. Every time we talked about it I was 100% defensive about it. Thankfully, our communicative skills were so much better by this time, or it would have been several heated arguments once again about how all he ever does is dump his bullshit on me and I’m left to deal with his baggage (I still said that to him, but in a more appropriate manner). I did tell him firmly, however, that if it happened I would more than likely move out because I didn’t need the added responsibility. When he realized I wasn’t going to budge on the matter, he stopped talking about it all together. And then suddenly, things worked to his advantage. His dad was out and was going to come down for just a few weeks for a visit (it was all I could manage as a compromise), but then he got in more trouble. So what does my husband do? He drives down there, bails his dad out of jail, gets the permission he needs to take his dad out of state, and brings his dad home with him. If any of you know what bailing someone out means to a bail bondsman, then you will equally know that that person is your responsibility for however long it takes to get to court. And do you know how long it was until his next court date? A few months. I was livid. Could I express that? No, because I’m a decent human being and I’m not going to burden someone I don’t know with my problems and rage. So it built up over time. It built up because his stay was extended. This was when I started to plan my death. I couldn’t take dealing with Daniel’s baggage any more, the responsibility of it all was far too great for me to deal with. The stress got worse and I got physically ill. No doctor could tell me what was wrong either (until recently). I was sick mentally and physically. My kids were then sick too, passing strep back and forth relentlessly. The stress of everything added up so badly even Daniel realized it was that bad and he just shut down entirely. You can’t take a man who has basically been a nomad drug addict most of his life and has never been there for any of his children on a regular basis and can’t stand to be around his own family for more than a few months at a time, and place him directly where that is exactly his constant and just expect him to know what our rules are, how our family life works, how we deal with our children, how we manage our lives. It doesn’t work that way, but my husband had to find this out the hard way. And just for future reference? When I say my husband shuts down, I don’t just mean emotionally. I also mean he gets extremely lazy. I’m sure you’ve already concluded that I hit rock bottom seems how I mentioned a bit ago that I started to plan my death.
I was so bad off, I didn’t shower, I was barely eating, I definitely wasn’t sleeping, and my kids sure as hell didn’t have their mom (I didn’t neglect them, but I didn’t spend much time with them either). Having his dad there also created some drama with his mother that turned into bigger drama when she broke up with her fiancé (best man she had ever been with) only to return to her alcoholic ex husband. I was battling something from every fucking corner because you know our kids are intuitive (more so than we think) and they, too, feel the tension and start acting out. I would cry at anything and everything. I was desperate to make it all end. I prayed every night for God to take me in my sleep. And when that wasn’t happening, as I said before, I started planning my death.
But I couldn’t do it. You know why? I couldn’t trust Daniel to take care of everything. That’s why I wrote the notebook. I wrote family health histories. I wrote where I place most everything in the house and where to find it, mainly important documents he would need. I wrote how I do annual, semi annual, monthly, weekly, daily cleaning schedules. I wrote my girls letters for each stage of life. I wrote “sick tips” for when the girls are sick. I wrote in depth, a budget page and how I had been dealing with our mountain of debt. I covered just about anything you could think of.
I was ready y’all. I was ready to die when I wrote that notebook. I planned a day I’d do it too. I had the pills ready to go. I was going to do it on a night my hubs didn’t have to go to work the next day so he’d wake up late as usual and with me still “asleep” next to him he’d know something was very wrong, and he’d find me dead. Then he’d be forced to think about the shit he put me through even after the trauma I’d endured before him. But then, then I thought of how my girls’ entire day would be ruined because of me. Then, I thought about how I really couldn’t trust Daniel to do it alone. Then, I thought about Ellie. She’d go to next of kin, her father and how awful that would be for her during that awkward phase she was beginning, puberty. Then I thought of my internalizing 9 year old who would think it was her fault no matter how many times you tell her it’s not (wonder where she got that from?). Then I thought of my 4 year old. Her scream is a blood, curdling scream. When she is legit scared or hurt or just overly excited she will scream and it just makes your heart yearn to make it all better. If she were to see me dead she probably wouldn’t stop screaming. Then I thought of our youngest. While she was our biggest oopsie, she is equally the biggest blessing. I didn’t know I needed her in my life when I was pregnant with her, but I did. She’d never really get to know me and have memories of me, and that’s just sad.
All of those thoughts and my self doubt, to do it, to end it correctly so that I don’t suffer in physical pain, went away. I found purpose again. It may not have been for myself but it was enough for me to remove the thought of ending it all and that, my friends, is a start.
But now, now I have a new beginning. Now I’m starting to have faith in me. Now I’m starting to see my purpose. I may “just be a mom” but my girls think the world of me! I can’t bear the thought of leaving them too soon. I see this dark time in my life as a fresh start. I see this as my chance to find new dreams, to do better, to think better and to be better. I gave myself the slap in the face I needed like I did for my husband. I look at where he’s at now compared to even just two years ago and all the progress he’s made. While to others, it hardly seems like he’s made any progress, because I, too, saw it the same way. But now I truly see his progression. I see how he’s flourished in ways I lost hope for. It may have taken him 8 years to come around to making those baby steps of change, but he did it, he’s still doing it, and I’m so very proud!
I don’t know why it took us so long. Along the road there was so much we could have done better. We don’t always get to know God’s purpose in our plans, but when we do, thank Him (or whoever you pray to!).
Truth is folks, I don’t think Daniel or I had enough self respect or self love in order to truly help each other’s broken ego. That’s why I don’t recommend a full-on union until you deal with those demons of the past. Otherwise, we are always going to be triggered by every little thing that happens in our union that in turn results in constant miscommunications and misgivings, leaving us to assumptions that are beyond the truth of the matter that circle us back around to square one only to have to repeat the cycle over and over and over again.
Regardless, Daniel and I are still married. We are still persevering in our marriage. I can’t say we are currently “happy” with our marriage. It will be a while before we achieve that as we are still working on our individual selves. I believe he and I have realized that we must first love ourselves before our marriage is a truly, happy one. Merely just platonically loving each other for now is enough because we are still trying to learn how to love ourselves as individuals, yet we still have the same goal, to stay married. We have time, though. Neither one of us has given up yet and I’m pretty sure neither of us will. Perseverance and faith has been our one, true key to staying married despite the awful times we’ve had.