Don’t you hate it when you come to harsh realizations about yourself? Don’t you hate it even more when you come harsh realizations on weekend? As my teenage nephew would say, “Gahhhh!”
Before I go too far, I’m going preface…or should I say disclaimer…this post by saying that I’m going to start being more real here. Oh, I’ve said that before, but this time I mean it. You are literally going to be readers of my personal journal, because I feel there is something therapeutic about journaling. I’ve just not done enough of it lately So, if you know me well and don’t feel like you can handle the truth then you may want to either stop reading now or put on a thick skin, because sister is about to let it all hang out. I may not even proofread my posts to make the process more efficient and easier for me so be afraid…be very afraid. You’re about to see the true me…bad grammar, typos, disjointed thoughts and all.
Hubby and I decided that we needed to do something for our marriage which has hit a few bumps in the last few months. I think we jinxed ourselves by focusing on our 20th year of marriage. Impending milestones, while great, can sometimes usher in expectations which cannot be met. Shortly after our 19th anniversary when we took a romantic long weekend to a cabin in Virginia we decided that we were going to do something BIG for our 20th. Big meaning maybe travel overseas or at least travel somewhere that was more than 300 miles from our home. That was all well and good, but it was a pipe dream at best. Reality set in, and while we were both fortunate enough not to experience job loss in 2009 we also didn’t receive promotions and/or raises. We’re still plagued by debt which we are slowly working our way out of (emphasis on slowly), and the financial stars just haven’t lined up for a big 20th excursion. While we’re very thankful for our ability to pay the bills and (hopefully) take our yearly beach trip with my family the disappointment has been palpable. We both love to travel, but our budget just won’t allow much of it.
Then there’s the ever-present elephant in the room. NO CHILDREN. Milestones can be tough because they tend to accentuate that loss even more. Again, “Gahhh!”
Milestones are also a time when you start reflecting, and you look back on what was and the dreams you had on day one and realize that not many of those dreams have come to fruition…it sure can set the perfect storm for unhappiness, and hubby and I have struggled with that for the last several months.
We’ve both been searching for an identity both individually and as a couple, and it has not been going well. Tensions and tempers have flared. Talking about it has only led to frustrations, tears, and despair. “Who are we?” “I don’t know.” “Where do we go from here?” “I have no idea.” Ad nauseum…
Well, we’ve been trying to do some relationship strengthening by taking day trips and having dates which has helped, but we both felt that we needed more in-depth help. We signed up for a seminar on dealing with anxiety, depression and fear offered by our church since we both felt we could benefit from it. This past Saturday was the date, and we went. Part of the course was doing assessment on your mental health including depression and anxiety. We took a couple of quizzes. Much to my surprise I scored very high (meaning “not good) on the depression assessment. The instructor said that if you scored a 20 or above you needed to seek professional help. My score was a whopping 38 on the depression scale with 40 being the benchmark for major depression.
I was somewhat floored. I was even more floored when I took the anxiety test (which I thought I’d flunk with more flying colors than I did the depression one) and found out that I was only on the lower end of normal for anxiety. I mean, I thought that maybe had more of an anxiety disorder which led to SOME depression but not that I was on the high end of moderate depression bordering on major depression! Instantly, I started second-guessing myself and the test. My husband looked at my score and started slowly shaking his head and saying “Um-hmmm” sort of like you see psychiatrists do in TV and movies. I wanted to bolt. I wanted to smack the caring but a-little-bit-too-smug expression off my husband’s face. Gahhh!
I function well most every day. I don’t lie around in bed all day with no motivation and incessant crying. I do have a lot of “moments”, but moderate to major depression…no way! Well, as the norm for me I ruminated and ruminated over the results even after going to a seminar that told us not to ruminate on negative things. I came home and ruminated some more. I think seminars may be a waste of money for me, because I end up doing exactly opposite of what they say to do.
I slept well that night, but woke up with dread in my heart over going to church. We have also been having terrible issues with one of our cats who absolutely does not want to tolerate the other females in our house. She does this by viciously attacking them and/or peeing on our rugs. It’s become so bad that she’s pretty much been banished to our bedroom and only allowed to access to the rest of the house when the other cats go to their room at night.
I wake up on Sunday morning, and she has peed on a rug that I had just washed the day before. I LOST IT. I became hopeless about the situation and whether or not we were going to be able to keep her any longer (I have already tried finding her a good home in the past where she could be the only cat to no avail). I stewed all the way to church. When the music started playing at church I started crying. The tears would not stop no matter how hard I tried. The more music…the more crying to the point that just before the sermon I had to get up and leave because the only Kleenex I had brought into church had totally disintegrated. Even after trying to compose myself in the bathroom for about 10 minutes and grabbing about five more tissues from the Ladies’ Room stash I still cried through most of the service. I have felt so distant from God, and yesterday I could not sing praises to Him which pained me to no end. I felt like if I sang I would just be lying because yesterday (and many times in the past 18 years of this journey) I did not believe that God loved me, that God had a plan for my life, and that God was going to make something of this mess…my mess of a life. I’ve struggled with belief that God really wants the best for me for a while (and I work for a ministry, ha!) While I’ve come mostly to terms that I will never, ever have biological children I have not come to terms with how that has defined my life and my relationships. It has decimated them on some levels…maybe “decimate” is too strong of a word…but it sure has changed them and not for the better. I hate that. I HATE that this empty womb has reeked so much havoc on my relationships…the barrenness of it comes in a distant second in comparison.
The whole episode ended with my husband telling me that I needed to seek help for my issues meaning (therapy) which only made me angrier. He was armed with ammunition of my depression assessment, and it feels like he’s using it as a weapon (even though deep down I know he’s not). Because I don’t want to be labeled “depressed” along with the stigma that comes with it, and because I don’t want some complete stranger analyzing and dissecting my “life issues” I don’t want to go. I just don’t. Gahhh!
I just want it to “go away”.