I have never viewed myself as a strong person. Physically, yes. Ask anyone in my family, especially my husband who I just sit on when we play wrestle and he just lies there, stuck. I suppose that does have something to do with the fact that I am almost 20kg heavier than him, but I digress. Emotionally, I have always been weak. Perhaps strong looking on the outside, but on the inside, dying. From a young age I have cried at almost everything. I remember coming across school reports from pre-school; “G is s a well-mannered, happy little girl who is still very emotionally immature, and cries very easily when upset”. Things like that. It honestly hasn’t changed much as I’ve gotten older, I’ve just found ways to hide my emotions a little better, behind anger and sometimes even rage, and even the odd bedroom door. I find my release in putting on Eminem as loud as my little car speakers can handle the bass, and screaming his lyrics all the way home or to work, all whilst sobbing my heart out. Then I open the door, wipe my face, and carry on as if I don’t have a care in the world.
This last month has been extremely taxing on me, emotionally and spiritually. Unless you’re very close to me, you won’t really know what I’m on about, but it has ended with my husband now unemployed, him being in and out of 3 different hospitals in the space of 4 weeks, and just nastiness. Nastiness and bullying and cruelty. And there I was, in the middle of it, defending a man that I love with all of my heart and soul, because not only was it the right thing to do as his wife, but it was the right thing to do, because of who he is. He is a man of honour, integrity, honesty and loyalty, and the awful, despicable, allegations brought against him could have broken him. Could have broken us. But they didn’t. Or so I thought.
Two Tuesday’s ago, the world stopped for me. The husband was discharged from hospital number 3, and my brain just separated from the rest of me. I was there, but not there. My father-in-law dropped my husband at home, and we arrived at the same time, and whilst all I wanted to do was run up to him and hug and kiss him and just hold him, I couldn’t. I was numb. My legs were 2 lead weights. I offered my father-in-law coffee which he declined, thanked him for collecting and then dropping off the husband, and then he left. And I didn’t know what to do. I had been practically on my own for almost 4 weeks; the husband had been there on and off in-between hospital stays, but he was so drugged out on different medications, that he too was there but not there. I quite honestly do not remember much about that afternoon, but I do remember him looking over at me with hurt in his eyes, and asking me:
Are you even happy that I’m home?
I stated indignantly that I was, but inside I had no idea. It was like my brain had evaporated from my body, and my body was now trying to figure out what the hell to do without it. I asked him if he would take our nanny home and he said yes, and then the next thing I was in my car getting ready to take her home. He stood at the back door and asked me what I was doing, and I remember telling him that I was going to take T home, because I needed to put petrol in my car as I was running on fumes (what’s new). And so at 17h00 I left to take the nanny home. I got home at 20h30. 3.5 hours of my life, of which I don’t remember about 2 hours of. I know that I was in a dark place; I know that I messaged my husband about an hour after leaving home, and him phoning me over and over again, but I didn’t answer. I couldn’t answer. I had no voice. My words were silent. And so we messaged. He had in the interim phoned my mom, who in turn phoned my best friend. No one knew where I was. I didn’t know where I was, mentally, not physically. Although physically that too is a blur. I remember wanting to go to the beach. I hate the beach. I remember wanting to go and sit on the sand (I hate the sand) and just taking in the salty air, watching the ships on the water, listening to nature around me. I don’t know why I didn’t, maybe because the beach is about 70km away from me, I dunno. But I found myself at a pub down the road, where I had a couple of drinks, and then went home. The look on the husband’s face when I walked through the door, said it all. He just hugged me, and we sat on the couch for about 45mins, whilst I sobbed. Whilst this past month has shown me a strength that I never knew that I had, it has also shown me that I’m weak, and that I too need help at times. I went to work the next day, but left at lunch time as I mentally wasn’t there. I stayed off on Thursday too, as I just couldn’t face the world. In all honesty, I only started feeling ‘ok’ again on Saturday, 4 days after falling apart. And that scared me.
I’ve had moments before; who hasn’t. I’ve had my ups and downs, my moments where I’ve hated my life to such an extent that I just want to leave, and then my moments where I could not imagine myself happier. But this was different. And that scared me. I did not want to go home. I did not see a future for myself beyond that night. I had convinced myself that my children would be better off without me, that they deserved a mother who could function properly, and who could love them in the way that they deserved. I convinced myself that I needed to give my husband the opportunity to find a partner that could support him, love him and be there for him in ways that I couldn’t. A partner who could be strong for him. A partner who wasn’t crumbling into pieces. I kept telling myself that I was so blessed, and that I was so grateful for my 3 beautiful, healthy children, and for my husband who would move the earth for me if I asked. But deep down I was dead. Numb. Empty. I honestly did feel like there was nothing left to live for. Somehow, I still do not know how, I went home. I made the choice to live.
I went and saw a psychologist last Tuesday, a week after all of this happened, and she asked me to go and see a psychiatrist. She used the term “bi-polar”, which whilst I had sort of suspected this for about 2-4 years, still kind of worried me. I was lucky enough to go and get an appointment with an amazing psychiatrist last week Friday, a lady whom I felt 100% comfortable with from the get-go, and I just spoke. And spoke. And spoke. And you know what, it was good. It wasn’t just the stress and frustration and nastiness of the past month that I’ve been internalising; there’s so much more going on in my head, more that I’m not quite ready to share right now. But me being strong for my husband whilst he was so ill over the past month, that just seemed to be the catalyst for me; I simply couldn’t do it anymore. So the psychiatrist gave me a preliminary diagnosis of extreme anxiety and depression, with bi-polar like tendencies. Whilst this is a mild form of bi-polar, she said that if left untreated, it can over time sometimes manifest into either bi-polar 1 or 2, and I most certainly do not want to be afflicted by either of those illnesses.
So I am officially on meds. An anti-depressant, a mood stabiliser, and a tranquiliser. It’s not so much a tranquiliser as it is a calming tablet, but for all intents and purposes, it’s a tranquiliser. Today is day 3 of me taking the meds, and apart from a nasty headache and a rather tender tummy, I seem to be ok. My biggest concern was the nausea that can sometimes be a side effect of the anti-depressant, but the mood stabiliser apparently combats that, so so far so good. No, I do not want to be on pills. No I do not want to be sick. But if these pills are going to help me feel better about me and who I am and what I do have in life, then I have to try them. I have to give them a chance. I have a follow up with the psychiatrist next Tuesday, and from there we’ll determine the treatment for the next 6 months, minimum. That’s a scary thought for me, and I’m nervous and scared.
But I can do this.
I can do this.