To be honest, I know, shocker, right? But to be honest, I had been dreading this day for a while now. Not a specific day in May, though I've got a list of those, but a day when the wasband was going to throw my illness back into my face. It happened this week and sadly it was as bad as I had feared. One of those rare moments when my rage is equal to the sadness. I looked at this person who I had promised my life to. Who I brought three children into the world with. Who I fought so hard for for years. And thought, how could a person who ever professed to love me hurt me in such a profound way.
The illness to which I am referring is Post-partum depression. I got it with all three kiddos. And with the first one where I had no idea it was going on? It went undiagnosed, and therefore untreated, for far too long. These three instances were not the only time in our marriage that I was treated for depression. I also took meds late 2014 and early 2015. That episode of which is not unrelated to this post.
My ex contends that he was depressed and as such did not know what he was doing. It wasn't him. It was a different person. Ergo, he doesn't really have to take responsibility for his actions. He takes responsibility in words but I have learned that words are hollow. I have heard them and believed them before. Fool me once. So in my kitchen the other day, after expressing for the hundredth time that my mind would not be changed, he threw it back into my face. Hands clenched, face hard, voice controlled but so, so angry, he said, "You got sick, too". Even reliving it to write it hurts. A pit in my stomach and the stinging in my nose and behind my eyes prepping for tears. And, dammit, I do NOT want to cry again.
He meant it. He meant that as I was sick and he stayed with me, it's quid pro quo. I should understand and stay with him. First of all, umm, bullshit. Marriage is not a 50-50, I did for you so you do for me thing. Near as I can figure, on our best days, it was 60-40. Maybe even 70-30 with the weightiest part shifting partners. Second of all, ummm, no. He was right. I was depressed. Clinically depressed four times for which I got treatment and got better. Lots of therapy but also meds for the win. By god, I love better living through meds. And that's just the first divergence with his depression.
The second and equally important? The part that makes me red with rage? I did not leave my family. Ever. I did not abandon, physically or emotionally. I did not shut out or take off. I had a newborn, a newborn and a toddler, two kids and then a NICU newborn, toddler and kid. And I stayed. I wasn't perfect. I/it wasn't easy. It was ugly and hard and really, really shitty some days. But I dug in and held on and did my best. I did not leave. I took responsibility for my shitty days. I put things in place to compensate for those days, apologized for when I went awry and booked an additional counseling session, got more sleep or changed my meds. I adulted. Which sucked at times. But I did it. Because it's what I do.
And here is this person. Who was my partner, my love, my best friend. Telling me I should understand and forgive and let him come back because I was sick once, too. It was a good plan. In theory. But it backfired. Because he was right. I was sick, too. I did struggle with mental illness. I did have moments of feeling overwhelmed and lost and unsure as a result of my depression. But I did not use it to ignore the needs, wants and feelings of those around me. I did not use it to try and bully myself back into a place and role where I was no longer wanted. I did not use it to hurt the person I once loved.
I am not heartless. In fact, I have been told that my heart often gives more chances than are deserved. I like that about me. Scratch that. I love that about me. I love that I give chances until I am used up. Because then I know I gave it all I had. The first time he told me he was lost and depressed and needed help, he was standing in front of me crying. Telling me he needed our home, me and our children to fix him. Not my prob, Bob. A month or so thereafter, I found emails that were time stamped minutes before and minutes after his speech on the steps. Him telling the girlfriend that he had to play the game but that he would be over shortly. True story. So, naw. I'm good. I may have risen from the ashes but I am not willingly going to walk into the flames again.
Thanks for sharing this. You never know how this might impact someone you know. Sad to say, this is not as unusual as you might think. Or hope. It helps not to be alone.