Some thoughts as my ex-husband and I enter into new relationships.
This is hard. So very hard. I am having a harder time with this than I thought I would. As I see my ex give his new girlfriend the love and affection I begged him for, there are so many thoughts I am having. Was I not good enough for it? Was I not worth the fight? The effort? The journey?
Was I ever loved at all?
Yes. I was. But not in the way that I wanted. And not in the way he wanted either. This is why we failed. We were wrong for each other, but due to our desire to not look like failures, we stayed in a marriage that was wrong for us, and wrong for our daughter. We were teaching her that “love” meant sitting on the couch, not speaking, looking at our phones and spending time in separate rooms. We were showing her that love was not hugging or kissing, or holding hands in public, that love was boring and gray. Now we are showing her that love is going out for adventures and holding hands so tightly that sometimes it hurts. It means sitting in a different kind of silence; one that is full of satisfaction and contentedness.
She is seeing that it’s okay to leave if you aren’t happy. That her father and I, and herself in extension, are worth so much more than a mundane life. We all deserve the happiness we are pursuing.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve learned a very hard lesson. And to be honest, I’m surprised with myself about how long it has taken for me to learn this. For the most part, I’ve always thought that people were kind and trustworthy. Over the past year or so, I’ve become so much more in tune to how easy it is for people talk about the one individual who isn’t in the room. The topic of conversation so easily shifts from the weather to “So did you hear what she said? Oh. My. God.”
I’m amazed that I’ve gone for so long thinking that my secrets were safe with people. That even my NON-secrets were safe with people. But it’s not true. It’s human nature to belittle and destroy and degrade those who are not around you. Especially women. I’m not mad about this revelation. I’m only using it as an opportunity to add one more thin veneer to myself. I’ve often been accused of allowing people access to my heart and granting trust to those who don’t deserve it.
When I was younger, my mom once told me that I wear my heart on my sleeve. I asked her if that was a bad thing, and at the time, she told me “it can be, sometimes.” Now I know that such unequivocal transparency is a terrible way to live. That’s how people get hurt. That’s how I get hurt.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the Germanwings tragedy from a few weeks back. I can’t seem to let it go. I know my family and friends love me, but in the back of my mind, I linger on the thought: Do they think I am capable of that? I know my husband felt the same way after Sandy Hook. Those people who know he has Aspergers; did they look at him differently now? Even subconsciously? Were they extra careful with their words? More tender when they spoke to him?
Mental health is a serious issue not only here but worldwide. People are sick and because of it, people are DYING. I’m so tired of people being ashamed of their depression, of their loneliness, of their quirks. Talk to someone and get help. Learn to accept that this is a part of who you are. Sometimes there are dark moments, but you don’t have to live there all the time. Tell someone you love what to watch out for so they are aware. I have a team of people who throw lines down to me when I dig myself down too deep.
Stigma will remain until we crush the life out of it. It’s up to us. We can’t change if we don’t talk.
Recently, someone close to me revealed that in the recent weeks, they had briefly considered ending their life. I don’t mean they had stared down the barrel of a gun, or even stopped momentarily in the painkiller aisle at the grocery store and considered, “Which one would help me go fastest?” It was a fleeting, preliminary thought, but enough to make this person actually ask the Internet how to end their life in a quiet, pain-free way.
Do you know what Google says when you ask it this question?
This was enough to give them pause.
This message, posted at eye-level. Above the pro-suicide blogs, the nonsense articles about the “best” ways to remove yourself from life. This.
Hearing this story makes me feel like I’ve lost balance. It’s completely thrown me off because everything I thought I knew about the last month or so of my life is wrong. Every conversation I have had with my buddy has been veiled in a pain that I understand so well that it wrenches my heart out of my chest to know they kept it from me. And even worse, that I didn’t see it.
But what good does it do to throw myself into that black soul-sucking pit as well? Bad back or not, the only thing I can do it throw down a rope and slowly try to pull my friend up and out. Hopefully, along the way, I will gather friends, family and counselors behind me to help.
I just want you to know, that the hole in my heart would never heal if you were gone.
This is an article that was published on huffingtonpost.com a couple of months ago that I found to be really interesting. Of course, I related to the first bullet point: that people with concealed depression try to look okay. Of course we do. We try so hard to pretend that we are fine. Before I started this blog, and really, before I started being honest with myself, I was so scared that someone would see how deep my pain ran and I would become even more isolated than I already was. But the point that really stuck out to me was number 3: “They may have trouble with abandonment.”
Sometimes I find myself bugging my friends too much. Texting them at odd hours, or way too frequently than what is deemed polite or normal. And when I don’t hear back, I create scenarios in my head in which I have failed them and they have finally become tired of my endless neediness. I worry they have abandoned me. In my heart, I know they are busy. They have lives, kids, jobs; and endless slew of appointments and obligations that keep them from mindlessly reassuring me that they love me all day. However, this is in my heart, not in my head. My head tells me that they have finally seen the light and have realized that I am nothing if not clingy and weird. That I cannot go a day without a pat on the head or a nod in my direction.
It can be so difficult to be friends with someone with any kind of invisible illness, and I am so grateful to those who really have stuck by me throughout the years. And I have also come to forgive those who have had to walk away. I understand now that some people have had to disconnect for their own sanity and have had to put themselves first. As I have grown I get that now; I would do the same.
This morning was crazy color day at school. Soph asked me to make her some hair bows to go with the insane outfit she was wearing so last night I whipped up rainbow hair clips to go in her pigtails. When she saw them she said, “It looks like you didn’t even make these.” I was confused, so I asked her what she meant and she elaborated, “It looks like you bought it at Target.”
It was just enough motivation to get me to not get back into bed. Instead, I took a shower, SHAVED MY LEGS, (don’t you judge me, that’s huge) got dressed in real clothes and here I am. It’s eleven in the morning and I am not asleep. If you are able to do this on a regular basis then I am genuinely, really excited for you. I am not being an ass, and I am not being condescending. I am truly in awe of people who are able to get up every day and take care of themselves without the self-doubt and fear that comes with mental illness. And right now, it’s difficult to distinguish whether I am truly in a low or I am merely healing from this surgery and just blue from being home and forced to be limited in my activities.
It’s amazing though, how uplifting a kind word can be. A sweet and unexpected compliment from a 7 year old was enough to propel me through a brick wall that I had been unwilling to even walk around, let alone crash through. I know she will likely forget what she said this morning, likely before she even has lunch, but I will hold it in my heart for a long time.
I want to write about how I’m healing because I’m resting. But really, I’ve come to associate laying down, sleeping and taking it easy with the vise of depression. Even though my body craves rest, my mind rebels and pushes me to activity. It tells me to move and exceed my limitations because if I spend too much time in bed, I will be swallowed whole again by it. I will once again go under and sink to the bottom and stay there. I’m terrified that my convalescence will turn into a major low that I won’t be able to escape from. Yes, I am supposed to be up and moving, but I am not supposed to be 100% Amanda as I am trying to be. I think I can do more than I can, and then I suffer the consequences. And they are serious. I don’t need scolding, and know what I’m doing wrong. I just need understanding that I’m not doing this because out of spite or ignorance. I’m doing it out of sheer panic that my mind will be broken one my body is fixed.