Irony is spending twenty minutes trying to explain how you haven’t posted in days because you lost your damn mind and having your daughter delete the entire damn post on accident.
Son of a bitch.
Let me try this again.
My dad, stepmom, aunt and sister were here from Sunday night thru Thursday this past week. I’ve been wanting to tell you about how great it was – about all of the things we did and saw and shared together – but I’ve been too damn tired at the end of the day to string a sentence together. And I’ve been too ashamed to talk about what a raging bitch I was for their entire visit.
Even now, three days after they’ve gone, I keep thinking about picking up the phone to apologize. But it’s too much. It’s too big. I can feel the weight of it just on the outskirts of what I can handle, and I want to run from it because it will crush me if I let it in.
I screamed at my dad for bringing the kids home late from the beach. I was an absolute bitch to my stepmom and everyone around me because Devin has to get home and in bed early!
I was awful. I was absolutely awful. And I hate that their memories of this trip, of the hundreds of dollars they spent to see us, will forever be tainted by how unpleasant I was to be around.
Let me try this again.
Thursday morning, while my family and Emma went off to find alligators one last time before they flew home, I was at home working. I spent 40 minutes on the phone with a client. I pace when I talk on the phone. So for 40 minutes I walked back and forth between my office and my kitchen. By the time I got off the phone, I couldn’t breathe.
Great, I’m so fat and out of shape that pacing has become too vigorous for me.
I hung up and tried to breathe. I sat at my desk and tried to answer email and still, I couldn’t breathe. The words jumped around on the screen and my mind tried to follow them, all while I tried to fill my lungs with air. I finally gave up and decided to watch TV until it was time to take everyone to the airport.
Just get them to the airport, and then you can fall apart.
I don’t know how to explain what was going on with me on that drive to the airport except to compare it to clenching a fist, to holding on, hanging on – except my fingers were fine. It was my brain that was clenched, my jaw that was tight, my mind that was holding on to reality as tightly as I could for just a little while longer.
I got home, laid Emma on the couch beside me, and let go.
I gave up. I quit. I ignored the phone in my office that was ringing. I shut off the ringer on my cell phone. I hung on to my children and that was it. Everything else was gone. I was done.
Eventually, they’ll all give up and go away. They’ll be mad, and then they’ll have to go away.
I laid there like that for hours. For the rest of the night. I knew Adam, my boss and my friend, would be angry and worried. But I just didn’t care. I couldn’t care. I didn’t want to care or worry or think about what this was doing to anyone else anymore. The kids ate and played and watched movies around me, and nothing beyond that mattered.
I’m alive because of those babies. I cannot leave them. For them and for me – because I needed them to be OK.
In the middle of the darkness, they were the only thing that could bring me to the surface. For moments at a time, they would need me and I could be there for them and it was as if it was someone else responding to them. I know that doesn’t sound right. It doesn’t make sense. But they were the only ones who could ask me a question or need me and it didn’t feel like the whole world was crashing down on me. In that moment, while I was holding them or answering them or getting them what they wanted, I was whole.
And then they’d return to their games and I was gone again.
I finally texted Adam late into the night. “I’m not dead. I’m just hiding.”
I knew that wouldn’t be enough, but it was all I had to offer him. It was the only excuse I could manage. I was prepared to lose my job, possibly my friendship. All of it could disappear and I just didn’t care. Someone else could fix it. Someone else would just have to handle the consequences. I was done.
Adam sent me a text message just after 10. The kids and Jared were in bed and I was losing myself in the easiness of TV sitcoms from the safety of my couch.
“I’m coming over.”
I begged him not to come. I told him everyone was asleep. He didn’t respond. 15 minutes later he knocked on my door.
I was angry at him for making me face him. I was furious that he hadn’t listened. And then I cried. I sobbed and apologized and told him I knew he deserved more than what I could give him and he needed to cut me loose. I wanted him to give up on me, to fire me and walk away and just leave me to disappear.
I sat on my back porch and cried for what seemed like hours. And he sat by me and told me that I wasn’t crazy. He promised everything would be OK when I knew it wouldn’t be. And then he sat on my loveseat while I laid back down on my couch and watched TV again.
I want to say something here about why it was Adam, and not Jared, that sat with me. I know there are people who will judge both me and Jared – and possibly Adam – for the roles each of us played and the ones we didn’t that night. I want to make you understand what it’s like to fall apart in front of your husband. The man who loves you, the man who counts on you – who needs you to be OK – and how that becomes just another weight on you.
Why won’t you talk to me?
And I couldn’t tell him that I was afraid of what was wrong with me. I couldn’t tell him that the blood tests came back and said I was fine, and yet I knew I was not fine. I’m torn between wanting him to see that I am not completely broken and needing him to know that whatever is happening to me is bigger than I can handle. And I think, too, he is torn between wanting to reassure us both that I am fine and struggling to know how to fix me.
It is because the love and the need and the expectations are too damn big, I think.
It’s the same reason I couldn’t face my own mother. Because I’m always her daughter and she’s always my mother and there’s just too much in that relationship to face when you’re struggling to hold on.
So, that was Thursday. I survived, through my children and the TV and, at the end, Adam.
I had my doctor’s appointment Friday.
I dragged myself out of bed and got Devin to the bus and Emma to daycare. I came home exhausted after being awake for about two hours.
Just hang on until you get to the doctor.
My appointment was at 11 and at 10:15 I considered not going. I laughed a little at the irony of being too tired to go to the doctor and explain that I was just so damn tired all the time. Instead, I got out a piece of paper and made a list of the symptoms. Tired. Irritable. Numbness and tingling. That breathing thing. Weight gain. I finished the list and folded it up and tucked it into my back pocket. I gathered up the print off of my blood tests – the one that said I was fine – and put one foot in front of the other as I made my way out to the car.
I picked up a stack of checks that needed to be deposited on my way out the door.
The bank was directly across the street from my doctor’s office. I was a few minutes early and decided to be productive by stopping to make this deposit. I took my wallet out of my purse and the handful of checks, locked my car door behind me, and went to the walk up ATM.
Checks not received.
The ATM spit out the first check I’d tried to enter. My hands started to shake. I couldn’t get the checks into the machine.
Fuck it, I have to hurry.
I walked into the bank lobby and a stranger had to show me which way was the entrance into the roped off line. I found myself wishing I had put makeup on as I stood there shaking, clutching my wallet and my checks and my last shred of composure.
I can help who’s next.
I laid my checks on the counter and told the teller I needed to make a deposit. She asked for a deposit slip and I felt like she’d asked me to take a test.
Can’t I just.. here… can’t you…
I need a deposit slip. Fill this out.
I scribbled in the amounts and added up the numbers. I was trying not to cry – over a fucking bank form. I stared back at the numbers and saw that my math told me I was depositing over $3,000. Except I wasn’t. I knew I wasn’t. I couldn’t make the decimals line up and I couldn’t do it again and –
Nevermind, I’ll use the machine.
I gathered up the pile of checks and the goddamn slip and walked back outside to the ATM. Breathe. Breathe. Put the checks in slowly. You can do this. And I did. I made my deposit and made my way back to my car. I unlocked the door, and went to put my debit card back into my wallet.
Where is my wallet?
Son of a bitch. I ran back inside the bank and pushed my way to the front of the line, shaking harder now and failing at not crying. My wallet wasn’t there. It was gone. I ran back out to my car – looking across the street at the doctor’s office as I ran. I tore apart my purse and pushed the seats back on my car.
I’m sorry, there’s nothing we can do.
It was gone. And with it was my ID and my insurance card – and my doctor’s appointment.
I was sobbing by the time I made my way into the lobby of the doctor’s office. Thank God no one was there to see me except for the receptionists. Through tears I explained what had happened. One of the receptionists gave me her card and told me to call when I found my ID.
You can’t treat someone without ID. I knew that, but I went in anyway so that they wouldn’t charge me for not showing up.
I drove home through big sobs. I searched my house on the off chance that I’d left my wallet at home. I called Jared and sobbed and apologized and told him what had happened the best I could. I was so fucking humiliated. I’d lost my goddamn wallet because I was too frazzled to use an ATM properly.
I spent the rest of the day in bed watching movies on my laptop. For the record – do not watch movies with horribly sad endings when you are depressed. Jesus.
There are more details I’m leaving out. Adam ordered me a new ID and got my prescription for Cymbalta refilled after calling my last doctor at home. Jared picked up the kids and my prescription and ordered me a new insurance card and fed me chicken tacos. Four movies and countless hours later, the fog started to lift.
I called Hilly and found myself laughing. I was able to explain what had happened without crying. I called Erin and again, didn’t cry.
I can do this.
And then I slept until 12:30 this morning. I never, ever sleep that long.
I don’t know what is wrong with me. I’ve given up trying to diagnose myself. The disappointment in finding out I am wrong is stress I don’t need right now.
I’m disappointed in myself. I wish I was stronger and better and more of what my husband and children deserve. I’m angry that I am not permanently fixed after clawing my way out of depression last December. I’m scared at what that might mean. I’m embarassed that I seem to be so horribly, terribly flawed.
My family reads this blog. My husband’s family reads this blog. People who love my children and my husband read this blog and I fear that they will shake their heads and wish for better for them, in much the same way that I do. Normal, whole, healthy people read this blog and I’m horrified at how they will see me.
I don’t understand why I can’t handle the things that everyone else can. I don’t understand why I can’t just be normal. Permanently. I hate what this – whatever this is – does to the people who love me. I hate that I can’t be better for them. I hate that I can’t be everything that they deserve me to be.
Jared didn’t grow up with this kind of shit. He grew up surrounded by perfect, normal, healthy people who led perfect, normal, healthy lives. I want that for him, and for Devin and for Emma. I don’t want this to be part of their story. I don’t want this to be my story.
I wish I could leave this body behind and start over. I’m so tired of trying to figure out what’s wrong with it. I’m tired of feeling guilty for who I am.
I’m just so goddamn tired of being broken. Again.