My beautiful blogging friend, Ms. Michelle at “From Famine to Feast”, reposted an older piece this morning entitled “I don’t want to get better, I want to be better” (I highly recommend giving it a read; it’s lovely); and in it was a line that I thoroughly resonate with…
“I want a vacation. The destination is unimportant; the only requirement I have is that I get to leave myself behind. I’m tired of finding myself wherever I go.”
– Michelle, “From Famine to Feast”
This is a common theme in much of my life — both as it pertains to my mental health disorders, and as it relates to my many addictions. It is a sentiment that many women in the Anonymous programs share at meetings; that no matter which mirror you happen to gaze into, the same needy bitch is always staring back at you.
Don’t Insinuate that I’m Crazy
Last night, I was in a state of utter ennui… and for no other reason than I suffer from unpredictable, seemingly inexplicable (they’re a symptom of Borderline Personality Disorder; but knowing that doesn’t help), and crippling bouts of depression.
Every answer to Mitch’s questions (most of which were typical, every day stuff like, “What would you like to do for dinner?”) was, “I don’t care.”
Understandably, this frustrated the shit out of my husband, who made every effort, and used every kind word he could, to try and pull me out of my rather apathetic despair.
He also needed to pick up one of my medications from the pharmacy, and asked me to verify that it had been sent to the correct location (we recently switched, and our doctors are still catching up with the change). When I opened my phone, I noticed a reminder for an appointment with my psychiatrist today and said, “Goddam it. I have an appointment with the shrink tomorrow. Shit.”
To which my husband accidentally said out-loud, “Perfect timing.”
My thought was, “Perfect timing? Perfect timing, you son-of-a-bitch?! You’re the problem here, not me. I’m not crazy; I’m sad. Sad that you don’t desire me, and that I feel undesirable.”
But instead of saying that, I slammed the phone down on the armrest of the recliner, glared daggers at my spouse, and spit, “You know he can’t fix what’s wrong, right?”
(Side Note: If I’m being honest, I said this to deliberately sting my spouse. He knows that I am deeply unhappy with our lack of a sex-life; and that I blame a lot of my depressive feelings on such.)
Mitch’s posture immediately shifted to a defensive position, and he said, “I’m leaving. Text me when you go to bed, so that I can come home.”
And I said, “I never asked you to leave. Come home whenever the hell you’d like.”
“What the fuck for,” Mitch yelled back, “so I can deal with this shit?!”
When You’re Nuts, You’re Not Allowed to Have Feelings
One of the worst things about suffering from a mental health disorder is that your feelings often come out sideways. By the time my negative emotions — anger, despair, frustration, sadness — find their way to the surface, my behavior goes topsy-turvy and the Borderline Bitch comes out to play.
As such, I often come off as “crazy” and/or “nuts” rather, than say, sad. I yell. I cry. I bunch my hands into fists; and as a result, Mitch tries to deal with the behavior (out of necessity), and the feelings underlying that behavior get dismissed as irrelevant.
Even in our more rational exchanges, when I am able to express my darker emotions in a logical way, Mitch often turns them around on me. “Honey, you’re exhausted and your brain isn’t working right,” is one of his favorite responses to my darker concerns.
It is true that when I’m exhausted and my “brain isn’t working right”, all of those unwanted feelings float more freely to the forefront of my consciousness; but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t valid and/or justified.
I have a deeply compelling reason for feeling slighted in my marriage — Mitch’s absolute unwillingness to meet my sexually intimate needs. (In his own words, I meet all of his needs. So how is it fair to have mine unmet?)
It hurts to feel undesirable; and I imagine that it would hurt someone who is not mentally ill, just as much as it does my “crazy” self. Their partners, however, wouldn’t have anything to stigmatize and use against them in a conversation about said hurt.
Having any negative emotions (that I might feel) recognized as “truth” is an eternal battle. Mitch doesn’t discount my positive feelings as a symptom of my disease, so why should the negative emotions be any different? They are treated as different because my behavior shifts as my emotions grow darker. The behavior is a symptom of my mental health disorder, the feelings are not.
And I have grown utterly exhausted by having to constantly explain this… especially when the explanation is ignored, as are my underlying needs and feelings.
I’m Also Tired of Finding Mitch Wherever I Go
I love my husband with all of my heart; but having to suppress a part of who I am — a truly sexual being — is a taxing endeavor.
It’s difficult to take on all of the household chores, to keep going to the gym, to try to watch my food intake, and to maintain my mental health (through medication and action) when I feel there is very little reward in it.
Doing all of those things does make me feel better about myself; but when I feel better about myself, I also feel more sexual… and I don’t have a partner who cares about that.
I fear that if I gain and/or harness more self-confidence, then my desire to leave my marriage for greener pastures might increase… and I don’t want to leave my marriage, nor the man that I am so deeply in love with.
It’s a terrible — depression-inducing — cycle.
I have a few good days (in which I perform all of the tasks on the list above), immediately followed by a crash… and when I crash, Mitchell gets hurt because I’m hurting; which absolutely isn’t fair.
Especially, when Mitch is trying.
This past week, he was up before 8 a.m. each day that he was home. But then, quite bizarrely, I wasn’t. I slept in and woke up grumpy and disconnected.
Perhaps it’s a subconscious endeavor to try and make my husband feel all the emotions I feel when he doesn’t get up and then doesn’t want to do anything. I don’t know…
All I know for sure is that I’m tired of the woman staring back at me in the mirror… and I’m frustrated with the man who dismisses my feelings due to the fact that I have mental health disorders and addictive tendencies.
We Remember Differently
I want to reclaim the couple we once were. The goofy people who went bowling and sang karaoke on the weekends, the Cassie and Mitchell that more regularly did things with friends (the Cassie and Mitchell that had friends), the husband and wife that people admired, and wanted to be.
I also miss the long nights that we spent making love so intensely that Mitch sometimes called out of work the next morning… the times when his passion was so intense that I had a hard time keeping up with it.
When I say these things to Mitch, he often says that I remember things differently… that he was never social and/or sexual; but that I was the driving force in those departments. In contrast, I think we both were.
I don’t know when or how we lost those people; and unlike my husband, I believe that they are still here… they just need to be found.
I desperately wish we had a map to our younger selves, because we both need to see them when we gaze into that damnable looking glass.