I wish I could say that once Paul came back home everything was alright. I want to tell you we were kind and supportive to each other but we were not. Stress does not bring out the best in people. Sadly having a child with serious mental health issues does not build up a marriage as fast as it tears it down.
In some ways I resented Paul for being away for work while I was at home dealing with this crap. I imagined him wining and dining while I was whining and crying. He was joking and having fun at the bar while I was lying in bed at night awake and worried. I suppose it wasn’t like that but that is what I imagined it was like.
Paul started drinking again a week before Arabella came back home from residential. He was trying to quit for a whole year back in December. He didn’t quite make it. There were times over the last couple of weeks I thought he drank too much. At times this was upsetting. Other times I thought it was better than having a heart attack. The stress is too much. It doesn’t bring out the best in us. At times I drank more than I usually do. Because who cares? Who really cares?
Paul was upset with me because I was angry with God. He said I turned away from God. In hard times I seem to have less trust in God while he has more to get him through.
I started to drift away to a place deep within myself to find myself comfortably numb. I didn’t feel anymore, good nor bad. It didn’t matter because there wasn’t much good that I blocked out anyway. I went back to the safe place I lived as a child. Everything became muted. I shut down. I didn’t care about anything. I didn’t want to go to the party I was looking forward to going to for months. I didn’t want to go anywhere and you couldn’t make me go. I listened to the music on my broken playlist I created which contained songs of death, loss, and despair. I noticed one day that I got so numb I didn’t even know what song was playing. I was staring off into space. I was gone.
People kept asking me if I was okay. My best friend asked me how I stayed sane. Who says I am? She was afraid to talk to me about her problems because they are relatively minor compared to what I have to deal with. I don’t like that. I want to be treated like a normal person. It’s okay to talk to someone with more problems than you. It’s okay to feel sad or angry even if you have no reason to feel that way. Friends listen to each other because that’s what friends do.
I was looked upon with wary suspicion by my husband and daughter both whom said their therapists and they were concerned about me. Paul brought me a book home from his therapist called What’s Normal. I guess I can read it and learn what normal people and families are like. Maybe I can even share it with you, but you probably already know.
My own therapist was worried about me. She wanted me to come in every week. She said most people would have a hard time dealing with what I had to deal with in that one week. Although I don’t have an appointment this week she told me to reach out if I needed anything. She knows I like to isolate instead of ask for help. She was the one who told me that people can bring comfort to pain. Woah, my bad I only thought people brought pain. I started to worry maybe they were right and I was not okay. But it is okay to feel angry and sad when you have a really bad week. If you don’t, then something surely is wrong.
When I am in pain I like to sit in the corner alone and lick my wounds. If people try too hard to get in I feel cornered and push them away. I feel hidden in the corner by myself but when others invade my space I feel trapped. I get angry when I think others think I am not strong enough to take care of myself. I spent a lot of time as a child alone mending my wounds.
But this time I realized that shutting down and blocking other people out was not healthy for me. It still hasn’t been easy. It hasn’t been easy on our marriage either. This current struggle has brought up past trauma and unhealthy coping mechanisms for both of us. We are trying to work our way through it the best we can together and alone. I think we need to be patient with each other because neither of us is at our best at the moment. How can we be?