Monday, October 23, 2017

The power of depression

It's been a very long time since I last wrote. So much has happened to me. I started a relationship with some who is absolutely perfect for me about a year and a half ago. We are now engaged to be married and I can't wait! I also lost my job teaching online and got a job teaching in a classroom. That was a very difficult change for me, one that has had devastating effects on my mental state. After being depression free for over 2 years, I am now back in the thick of it.

It's been extremely difficult to admit to myself that I am depressed. I am supremely happy with my fiance. He is so kind and supportive and also wonderful with my kids. But my job added a level of stress that continually ate away at my confidence and love for life. My anxiety kicked into high gear and I began to see physical effects of that stress on my body and well being. I began to have panic attacks at work, I started losing track of important information, I misplaced assignments, and could not put together properly planned lessons. I tried so hard but also fought extreme lack of motivation. Half of my Sunday was spent stressing out about Monday. The wedding I am so excited to have has fallen by the wayside as I struggle to find the want to get things done. I pushed myself to make everything work but when the panic attacks became more frequent, when I wanted to spend more and more time alone and not with my kids and fiance, and when my blood pressure became elevated for weeks, I started to see just how pushing through would not be an option for me. I knew I did not need to live like this and that I needed to be the person who changed things. So how would I do it while doing the least amount of damage to me, my family, and my pocketbook. If you think of something brilliant, let me know, because I got nothing.

I will not be going into detail about what led me to this point but I will tell you that teaching is hard. It is really fucking hard. You work your ass off everyday, for very little pay, and with very little support from parents. In fact, the parents are often the hardest part of teaching. At least in my school they were. And with all the stuff I was going through with my depression and anxiety, I was not physically capable of doing my job anymore. If you can't remember things or make plans because your thoughts are too frazzled, than teaching will be damn near impossible.I have been teaching for 11 years and I had come to terms with the fact that I no longer had the heart to teach. I needed a change.

The first thing I did was start talk to my mom, niece, and fiance about how I was feeling. They are my support system. Believe me, every person with depression needs a support system in place.They saw the effects my job was having on me, without having to say a thing, so the conversation was easy. They supported whatever decision I made. The next thing I did was talk to my boss. She also saw the effects the stress was having on me and offered to help in any way she could.  I ended up getting amazing assistance, but unfortunately, it was too little, too late. I told her that I did not see myself continuing after Winter Break. I wanted her to find a teacher that would be a good fit for our school, not one that could start the soonest. In the end, she found a teacher in 3 weeks and I was asked to put in my letter of resignation. I was relieved but also scared as hell. What was I going to do now? I knew that in the state I was in, I was no good to anyone. How would I start a new job if I couldn't concentrate? How would I learn to deal with new people if I couldn't deal with the few people in my life already. I felt myself caving in. Pulling in to my shell for protection and to hide from all the negative energy out there that weighed on me.

So I decided to go back to therapy. It has been great so far. I really like my therapist. She has been very helpful and I feel comfortable talking to her. It just sucks, because now that I only have two weeks left of my job, I know that my insurance has a ticking clock. I am covered until the end of November, and that's it. I can't even think of getting another teaching job because I can't do the work anymore. Lesser paying jobs would have me paying the majority of my paycheck for insurance. So I honestly don't know what to do. I guess only time will tell.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Changing gears

I'm going to change gears a bit and change the perspective of my blog. I've noticed that I am obsessed with analyzing and complaining about my life and the way it all turned out. But that is not helping me one bit. Everytime I start to feel better, I pull myself right back down. I let someone 600 miles away dictate my moods and how I see myself. I am too strong to let that keep happening.

So starting today and going forward, I am focusing on myself. I'm going to toss all my drafts where I bash my ex and or rehash shit I can't change. This is the day I start fresh. This is the day I start my life.

I am so much more than how my ex defined me. I am so much more than a pathetic woman pining over a man who no longer wants me. I may not have made the decision to leave but I can decide today to enjoy the gift I was given. I am free to pursue my wildest dreams, to have only the people in my life who lift me up, and to make life the way I want it.

I should be running towards this life, not hiding from it. I have always been the stronger one of my previous coupling, the motivated one, the ambitious one, the successful one. I can be whatever I want to be. I can be an amazing role model for my kids if I can just stop letting someone else determine my happiness.

Why have I fought so hard to be unhappy? Why am I my worst critic? Why have I been faking my way through life? You know what? It doesn't matter. My past is my past, ain't no way of changing it. Maybe I need some symbolic gesture to mark the death of my old life and old self. Time to get the creative juices flowing? Any suggestions?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Why I Cry

It has been over 6 months since my husband came back from Oregon and asked me for a divorce. He has a long history of fucking around on me but I knew this particular one was different immediately. And it was, he is now practically living with her, her kids have had the talk with her and her ex about her relationship with my ex, and he seems to have no problem being 600 miles from our children. Sending money, barely calling, and not showing interest in the happenings of their lives is the way he shows his love.

So of course people ask why I am still mourning him. Why do I let him affect my mood and my day? Well my first answer is that I have depression stupid, like I can control my thoughts. Believe me, I have tried. Positive thinking, affirmations, even the cold hard truth isn't enough to set my mind straight. I believe something even more dangerous than just having depression is an optimistic person with depression. Hope can crush you, hope can have you hanging on for dear life to a reality that shouldn't be. Hope can make you see good in something where there is none.

My ex, Mike, was nice enough to move us down from Oregon to my mom's in California, with the promise of a better future with him. He then went back up to Oregon for a month to fix our car that couldn't make the first trip and started a relationship with a friend he'd had for a while. He came down, guilty, his mind made up, and asked for a divorce. Now, I'm not saying things were good with us because they weren't. We had had many arguments in the months leading up to the move, specifically about his time, his staying out all night drinking, and his lack of want to be around us. So there were definitely red flags, lots and lots of red flags. But he kept saying he needed to spend time with all these people because we'd be so far away and that the boys and I would have him around so much in Sacramento that we'd get sick of him. (A promise he uses often and never actually follows through with. That was the promise for the move to Oregon too.)

But I was with this man for 17 years. We'd gone through ups and downs, been there for each other through hard times, brought our families together, experienced a love I thought made everything worth it. But it was naive of me to think that he could love anyone nearly as much as himself, that he could put anyone else's happiness ahead of his own for even a moment, that he could commit to being the half of him that is a great father and husband. Because when he wasn't fucking around, he was amazing, he was attentive, he showed that he loved us. But he has always had a conflict in him between the man he thinks he should be and the one he is when he lets his walls down. These two people are at odds with each other, totally incompatible. It's kinda funny because one of his reasons for leaving me was that we've never been compatible. But I was compatible with family Mike, not party Mike and party Mike became his default in Oregon. I tried to get him to understand that if he could find balance he could have both, but obviously balance was never achieved.

But back to me. I am now living with the kids in my mom's house, surrounded by history and memories shared with the person I'm trying to escape. I sleep in the room where he protected me from my dad, where we took care of our newborn second son after Mike was laid off and we had to move back to my mom's, where we made up so many times. I take baths in the room we would talk about our day and laugh and unwind. I walk to the backyard and see the playground he built for the boys and the pool where we taught them to swim. I drive to the store on a road we took family walks and taught our oldest to ride a two wheel bike. I drive past a place where we had a public sexual experience one fun night, multiple times a week. I can't even look at it anymore. And those just scratch the surface. I am in an ocean of good memories, floating out to sea, trying to keep the kids afloat while I'm hanging off the edge like Jack in Titanic.

I think of all the plans we made, even as we drove down to Cali the day we moved, and think how none of those will come to pass. I think of all the times I've already had to be both parents, how I've seen the kids do something I wanted to share with him so we could laugh together and how much I could use his help when the kids wake up sick in the middle of the night. I think of all the sacrifices I made for our future just to have it taken away from me. Most of all, I think of the best friend I lost, who probably never really was my friend because who treats their friends the way he treated me? And then I just feel stuck. Stuck in the dark, feeling alone, wishing I could go back to the days when he was just fucking around on me, and its so pathetic.

I know how it sounds and that is a huge reason I feel the way I do about myself. I feel like I was conned. Conned out of a life with someone who truly loved me, conned out of a father for my amazing children, conned out of a friend I thought I always had. I feel betrayed and jealous and this deep and intense anger. My heart actually hurts. There is a tightness that won't go away that I know will fade with time, but time is the problem. Time allows me to think, to dissect what went wrong, what I shoulda, coulda, woulda done differently if I had another chance. But time also allows me to see the time I wasted on a man who never deserved me in the first place. I've gotten to a point where I know this is the best thing for me, but I'm still so goddamn depressed about it. So why do I cry? For so many reasons.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The insanity of feelings

What you don't hear a lot about is the insanity you'll feel as you experience multiple conflicting emotions at once. Most marriages do not end with both parties feeling like it's time to move on and then waking away gracefully, still friends in the end. It happens, don't get me wrong, but most marriages end because one party feels like enough is enough, or they want to be with someone else, or they no longer want the responsibility of a family, or they feel betrayed and they know they'll never trust their partner again, or a myriad of other possibilities.

My ex had a history of going outside our marriage for sexual acceptance. (That's as nicely as I can put it.) It happened throughout our relationship and for reasons I now question, I tried to forgive him and move on. I said to myself that I knew who he was before I married him. That I could accept that part of him because I knew I was hard to live with and love at times. That once I sorted my shit out it would stop. That once he got older, sex wouldn't matter as much anymore. That he loved me. He loved me. He loved me.

It took a while for me to realize how harmful that was for me. He cheated on me. Often. My friends knew it happened, my family and his family knew it happened. They all tried to tell me that I deserved better. But I didn't see that in myself. I didn't think I deserved better and this is probably where daddy issues come in, but I didn't feel worthy of love. My dad was manipulative, he made me feel bad about myself, he was always in competition with me, and he lied. He showed his supposed love for me through these negative actions and even though I felt in my heart how much that hurt the first time, maybe there was a certain comfort in that feeling with my ex too.

For the majority of our relationship I justified his actions.

Just like when I was a kid, I blamed myself for his shitty actions. I saw the person I was as a flaw that I should be grateful he overlooked and loved anyway. Boy does that sounds pathetic as I write it, but it's the truth. My depression got really bad and I closed myself off when things got too hard. The ex could not do much about it, he did try in the beginning, but he soon found that he didn't know what to do and it was easier to find someone else who was "open" to get him through until I worked things out.

Sex was always a topic of contention with us. He wanted it everyday, I didn't. I didn't think about sex all the time, I was focused on school, on getting a better job, on enjoying reading and traveling and spending time with friends and family. Sex wasn't on my mind. This is where we don't make a good match. We didn't argue about money, or about each other's families, or about how we want to raise our kids. Those things we agreed on so well that I was willing to look past the indiscretions if he truly loved me.

Sex was the wedge that drove us apart, and drive it did. And for the record we both tried to fix things, to change in hopes it would get better. It would work for a year or two, but then stress would come in and we'd escape back to our corners.

I isolated these instances to only poisoning the bad times and not also the good.

To me, the cheating was a set of isolated instances, each having a definite beginning and end. I could mark it on a calendar and chalk that up to our relationship being at a low point in a relationship of more peaks than valleys. Obviously that wasn't the case. The cheating was always there. My ex is a hunter and his eyes were always open. He didn't always have sex with the people he cheated on me with either. There were a number of emotional affairs and sexting incidences that I'm sure I'm not even aware of completely.

Once I realized that this is something a cheater does so many times that it becomes habit, it occurred to me that it was probably happening when I thought we were happy too. He even admitted later that he was probably happier at some times in our lives because he had his side action. I mean how fucked up is that?

I didn't demand respect for myself.

He knew early on that I had a deep ability to forgive. He'd seen me try dozens of times with my dad. I don't let ordinary people walk all over me, you fuck up, I cut you out of my life. I'd done that, quite a few times. But for whatever reason, I could not cut my ex out of my life. It was like I was addicted to his love.

He knew that he could do whatever and eventually be forgiven. He rebelled against me like he would his mother. He lied, lied again when confronted, lied again when presented with evidence, lied again when I saw things with my own eyes. I felt like I was going crazy. I stopped trusting myself. I stopped demanding truth from him. I stopped demanding respect for myself. I became the woman I hated most, the woman who lets a man manipulate her until she hates herself. Many father started the job and my ex took it up when I cut my dad out.

Why did I allow that to happen? Honestly, I don't know. I really don't. It baffles me because I am a strong woman and with everyone else, I see through the bullshit and act appropriately. But with him...I just let it happen. I thought it was worth it.

I focused on the pain of the lies and betrayal and not on the act itself, like the lies came out of the ether.

I've said to my friends and family, to him, and to myself, that what hurts the most are the lies and secrets. That his act of cheating isn't what gets me. I don't know when I convinced myself that was true, but it is certainly not true. All of it hurts me. Starting with the first thought of stepping out on me all the way through to end of his web of lies.

He often complained that when things got tough for me to handle emotionally, I would disconnect and he didn't know how to get the connection back. That is true, I do that. But I fail to see now how fucking someone else and lying about it reconnects us. He says he got his needs met without having to badger me for sex I didn't want and that he felt unwanted and unloved himself but didn't want to leave the relationship. Sounds plausible, and I do feel bad that I made him feel that way. I see the damage of my actions even today. But what I did to him was unintentional. I didn't actively go out and do something I knew would hurt him if he knew. I guess that's the difference, not that it makes either of us better or worse.

In the end, I allowed him to keep doing this to me, whether out of love or fear of him leaving or comfort of having him there everyday or all of it. I don't know. But I do know that I see it now and I can't allow that to happen again.