role reversal

I am not what I would call a ‘strong person’.  Stubborn, strong-willed to a point, but not strong emotionally.  I’m not even strong physically, but I’ll be damned if I don’t give it my best effort!  This last week has forced me to seek out a strength that I still don’t actually believe exists in me.

My husband was involved in an attempted hijacking / carjacking, 700km from home last week Wednesday.  He phoned me that afternoon, looking for details about his work cell phone, and I knew immediately that something had happened.  He wouldn’t tell me what had happened (he was in the police station when he called me) and when I asked if he was ok, he paused, and then after a brief silence he said “I am now.”  My blood ran cold.  Only 2 hours after that first phone call, did I finally find out the whole story.

3 guys hit his car at one;  1 got the boot, 1 got the passenger door and the other got his door.  My laptop (he took it with him to watch movies etc), his bag of clothes, his petty cash, his wallet and his company cell phone were stolen in the heist.  He doesn’t even know if they were armed, as his first reaction was to put his foot down on the accelerator and drive.  When we spoke he was angry;  angry as far as I was concerned, was good.  Angry, as it turns out, was not good.  Not good at all.

I happened to be off work last week for 2.5 days (Tuesday-Thursday) with the flu, so I was home when my husband got home from his trip.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, as when we had spoken earlier that morning, and I’d asked him how he was doing, he was very quiet, and said “ok I guess.”  That’s when I knew that he wasn’t ‘ok’.  When he got home he was utterly exhausted, as can be expected.  In the days since he got home, our roles have very quickly reversed.  And this scares me.  I am not the strong one; I pull the strength to get through each and every day, from those around me. Now, my rock, my foundation is crumbling, and I don’t know what to do.

My husband is a changed man; jumpy, on edge, suffering from insomnia and the spark in his eye is dull. We generally ‘share’ the responsibilities of our daughter at home; he’ll bath her and I’ll sort out supper, or visa versa, but these last few days I’ve had to assume much more responsibility in our house than what I’ve had to in the past. Feeding the animals, general chores around the house, sorting out our daughter, thinking about supper – these are some of the things that I’ve had to assume almost full responsibility for, as my husband is just not able to at the moment. Even if you don’t know me personally, you know that I detest any form of domestication, and lazy should have been my second name instead of Leigh. I am now exhausted, and on top of my insomnia, the exhaustion is not exactly helping with my stress levels.

I am fully aware that my husband is the victim in this whole awful situation; however I would be utterly naïve and a fool to not admit that this has and is affecting both our daughter and me. Because my husband is on edge and is jumpy, I find that I am having to hold my tongue when I want to snap back at him, but I realise that he’s not thinking 100% and that by saying what I want to say, will only worsen the situation. A trauma counsellor came around to our house yesterday, and recommended my husband see a psychiatrist to try and work through some of his issues, as due to the hijacking and his already stressful life, issues from years and years ago have subconsciously reared their ugly heads and are causing him even more stress. I made an appointment with our GP for him this morning, so that he could be referred to a psychiatrist for further treatment, but our GP has decided to treat him himself, and will have weekly appointments with him to see how he’s doing. He also left the GP’s rooms this morning with a mini pharmacy of pills, the description of which I’m not going to go into, however this whole ‘exercise’ will be going on for a minimum of 6 months.

I myself have got so much crap going on in my life, more mentally than anything else, and this was quite honestly the last thing that any of us needed. My husband has always been so sure of himself; he now doubts his every move. It is heart-breaking for your adult husband to admit to you that he’s too scared to leave the house, and that he’s too scared to drive.

This whole ‘being the strong one’ is totally new to me, and I hope that I learn fast.

I just hope that I don’t crumble before he’s ready to pick up my pieces.

G

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