It’s true. I don’t want to write today. I feel like I’ve poured myself out on the page lately, and I am emotionally exhausted. However, that’s what a writer does. Gets emotionally exhausted and keeps going. It’s like an Energizer bunny of sad until it’s all out. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about how I wrecked my life from the ground up, and how much I miss Dana and Argo and Aaron and the whole bit until it got weird.
Actually, that sums up a lot of the last two years. It got weird.
I’m feeling particularly crispy today because I’m going back to Alexandria to hang out with my sister, who’s staying there at a conference for her work. Going back physically is hard work mentally, because there are so many things on that side of town that I’ve been trying not to feel since 2002. The hotel where I’m going is close to “our” old movie theater, and that shouldn’t seem like much, but it is. I remember clearly packing up our townhouse and feeling like the world was going to end and saying, “Leenie (my nickname for Kathleen), can we just take a break? I am too emotional to do anything right now. Let’s go to the movies.” We saw Blue Crush. I thought it was a terrible movie, but a great escape from the task at hand. It was doubly hard not being able to take her hand in the movie, because it was my natural instinct and she’d already fucked three of her coworkers just for spite. I couldn’t decide whether to be mad, or just enjoy the few hours we had left together where we weren’t at each other’s throats over the furniture. Someone close to me that I will not mention told me to just put it out in the front yard while it was raining.
I did not.
I participated in the end of that relationship. She chose the trump card of adultery, but I was mentally ill and had been let go from ExxonMobil, so now I was mentally ill without health insurance. I was too much for her to handle, because I couldn’t own my half of the relationship. Depression had gotten ahold of me and wouldn’t let go. However, in that case, I couldn’t really be blamed for it. I mean, I take responsibility for my *behavior* during that time, which was mostly nothing (it’s amazing how much doing nothing is doing everything)… but at the same time, I had a TERRIBLE psychiatrist that just kept adding pills to my protocol hoping they would help.
They did not.
I was on Lexapro, Wellbutrin, and Adderall all at the same time. I am bipolar, but we didn’t know that at the time. So they were just throwing all these drugs at me to treat unipolar and ADD and surprise, surprise, not only did they not work, they threw me into a level of frantic anxiety I haven’t seen before or since. Well, maybe lately, but this time I have a great psychiatrist, a great therapist, and the RIGHT diagnosis. Then, it was more like, “let’s put you on THIS for a few weeks and see if it does anything.” Yes. My psychiatrist actually said that. I don’t think “let’s see if it does anything” is said by the people that graduate first in their class in medical school.
It was a nightmare, and I am sure that adultery was sheer escapism. At the time, I blamed Kathleen for leaving me when I needed her the most, because she did. Straight up. But at the same time, allowing myself to see her side of the story gave me a bit of power. I wasn’t as much of a victim as I thought I was. I went through a grieving period, but the pain was much less intense when I realized that even if I only had 10% of the blame, I needed to own my fucking 10% for all it was worth.
I’m sure I had a lot more than 10% responsibility. I am just using it as an example of taking back my own power. I let her have so much when I was sick, and our patterns of behavior were just outrageous to begin with. I married her because it was comfortable. Being treated like crap was what I knew, and her control freak nature fit me perfectly. It was okay that she blew up at me when something wasn’t done her way. It was okay that we fought all the time over stupid shit because to talk about real emotions was just beyond her capabilities…. It was okay that she wanted to run my life and rage at me that I wasn’t doing enough, because when I tried to assert doing things my way, it caused an avalanche of emotional violence. I married a pattern instead of a person, and it was totally okay with me, because I didn’t know any different.
She accused me all the time of falling down on the job, and wouldn’t let me stand up, either. It was a trap. I didn’t know which way to go or which end was up. I was shat upon no matter what I did.
But I felt justified in my unworthiness, so being treated like crap was something that didn’t even register. It was just the way things were.
Being in therapy makes me feel more powerful, because “if you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” I have been struck down, over and over, because of unworthiness. I feel bad about my sins, so therefore, living in perpetual punishment looks attractive.
Sarah and I have a lot of work to do, and I have a lot of work to do on my own. I do not want to live in the darkness, but walk in the light. Part of walking in light is recording everything here, because then I can go back and re-live what I was feeling in those moments and hopefully not revisit them in later relationships. I have, for lack of a better description, an instruction manual on What Not to Do.™
For someone who didn’t want to write today, it seems like I found something to say. Let’s hope I learned something from it, because that’s what I hope every day. I am grateful that leaving Houston and heading for Silver Spring got me into a great mental health system and a loving family all at the same time. In fact, we are having some morning sickness around here…………. stay tuned.