I have something to say about tiptoeing around delicate issues of anxiety and depression.
I call shenanigans on it.
I am calling it on myself. Three of my four children are on medicine to keep it under control. And I firmly believe that my marriage deteriorated because my ex couldn’t accept that he suffered from it as well. That’s not mine to discuss as it’s his issue, but he certainly affects our sons when they periodically determine that they no longer need to take their medicine. By the time I recognized it in my ex, it was too late and in the midst of our marriage was falling apart I made the hardest phone call I can ever recall making. One day while I was off work and the children were downstairs playing, I went up to my bedroom and dialed the number of our primary physician. A nurse took my phone call and I explained to her that I wasn’t calling for myself. What I hoped to do was get some help for my husband. Halfway through the call when I was setting up an appointment for him I completely lost it.
photo credit to D. Sharon Pruitt, flickr
I mean the kind of losing it where you’re on the floor in a heap because you’ve sobbed yourself to the point where you can neither breathe nor speak. Instantly, my head began throbbing and I had to take off my glasses in order to wipe the tears from my face. The kids, I knew, were playing silently away from all this. No mother wants her babies to see her like this. Had they come and seen me like this I would have whisked them away or, at the very least, hurriedly wiped all traces of my heartache away. The nurse on the other end of my phone call just sat quietly waiting for me to stop. The room seemed still as she finally broke the silence.
“I know how hard this is. Do you know how many times a wife calls to make these appointments for her husband? I take a lot of calls just like this.”
Since that time I moved out and moved on with my life. I only tiptoe around it now as I try very hard not to mention it. Ever. My children all read the things I write.
But it was a mistake to ignore that for so long and to go on leading a normal married life. There’s not much I feel for my ex now unless it relates to our children and I’ve done pretty well when it comes to keeping unresolved matters to myself. But this isn’t about him or what he does or doesn’t do about it. It isn’t about my children and what they do or do not do about their own issues. It’s about how badly I want to figure out my own.
It’s about how I’m beginning to talk about what I think is wrong with me in a place (hello, Internet!) where it appears that it’s not only okay to have mental health issues but it’s freeing to talk about it. It’s about how incredibly tired I am of pretending like everything is fine or reaching for one more bit of energy so that I can stay strong.
I’m done being strong. That’s not even a real thing. Who, exactly, is really “strong” and can handle all the stuff that life throws at you? Or, in my case, the things that life HURLS at me?
Not me. Not anymore. It is time for someone else to take on the weight of the world. I’m ready to be much weaker than anyone has ever let me be especially considering the enormity of what is going on right now in my world.
So, no more tiptoeing. No more secrets about when I can no longer handle difficult times. No more pretending that I can handle it when I can’t. Rather, when I don’t want to handle it. How come everyone else gets to choose this and I don’t? Why put that much pressure on myself.
Why not just let the eggs crack and let other people help take care of me for a while? Why not indeed.