Inside I hear my family~ the laughter and bouncy behavior of my young son, the bass of my husband's replies, the moderate soprano of my mother's questions. Inside, there are lights on. Inside, there is movement and noise and life happening. Why am I outside?

It's raining. I sit here on the covered porch overlooking the pond and listen to the thunder echo across the gray sky. It's getting dark, dusk is descending, and I feel safer out here. The only noise I have to contend with is the whirring of crickets, the shhhh of the rain and the thunder as it comes and goes. I love to watch the lightning as it streaks across the clouds- so many different colors; green, purple, pink, blue.

Why does noise and too much activity overwhelm me most of the time? I don't understand it, and it makes me sad because I feel like I have to sit outside the lines in order to feel safe. I constantly withdraw into myself, find a quiet place and read or write or just be. If I can't I find myself agitated and very irritable, sometimes to the point of screaming. Sometimes I feel like if I start really screaming, I might never stop…

Going out saps my energy reserves so much. Today we went to at least 6 different places, 3 of which were because of something I was looking for. We stopped at my in-laws house and I immediately asked to go lie down. I've gotten used to the quiet glances they give each other when I'm not doing well, and even though we've been doing this dance for over a decade I still feel like I have to explain myself.

"Do you have a headache or something?", my mother-in-law asks gently.

"No, the new meds just make me really tired, that's all."

I smile tiredly at her concern, and retire to the extra bedroom. I ask my husband to come lie down with me for a few minutes, to give me some comfort, to help me feel less alone in this. He doesn't really want to~ he understandably wants to go visit with his family. His little brother just came home from college. He sits on the edge of the bed for a minute, unwilling to really give in to what I'm asking of him. I realize that this is not going to help me any, so I tell him to go ahead, that, "I'm okay", even though I'm not. I'd rather be alone than be with someone who doesn't want to be with me.

So I fall asleep with tears running down my face, wondering how I got here in my life. How can I be almost 32 years old, and feel more lost than if I were 10 and at summer camp away from home for the first time? My husband is a good man, and he's stood by me all this time, but somehow he still doesn't really get it. I don't get needy very often, in fact I'm usually the opposite. So why doesn't he recognize that if I'm asking for his embrace or just the comfort of having him lie next to me, then something's not right? We've been together almost 15 years now.

I keep thinking in the back of my mind that maybe I'm not right in this relationship. I need someone who's going to help me, to be my advocate, to pay attention to details, to understand the difference between my healthy behaviors versus my ill ones. How can he not know these yet? This illness (and lack of knowledge of what the problem was in earlier years) has almost ended our relationship several times. And somehow, we pulled through. He refused to go to counseling with me, he never took me to any therapy or psychiatric appointments, he stuck his head in the sand and pretended it wasn't real.

But most of that was years ago. Recently, in the last 8 months or so he's suddenly taken an interest in what's happening with me. I don't really know what jump-started this, and actually I was angered at his sudden desire to be a part of it and resisted his attempts. Finally I gave in though, and I have to admit that I'm afraid. I'm afraid of trusting him to be my support system through all of this, I'm afraid to allow myself to love him completely, afraid to commit myself to the future.

We have both done some terrible things to one another in our marriage~ both of us have been unfaithful, both of us have done things out of sheer anger, we've even gotten physically abusive to one another (although, I have to admit that I was the one that got abusive first and he usually ended up hurting me by trying to hold me off).

Most of it came to a head about 4 years ago when my step-dad passed unexpectedlyand we lost our home at the same time. We moved in with my Mom to help her keep the house and I started a new job. The stress kicked off a severe depression that soon turned into hypomania. My husband was unsupportive (and we still didn't know that I was bipolar at that time) through the grieving process, so I found someone who would be. Or at least I thought. But I wasn't thinking right, or FEELING right. I'd be ecstatic one moment and extremely depressed the next. I'd never had a mixed episode before, let alone heard of one. But it was all there…the dangerous sexual behaviors, the complete disregard for other people's needs and feelings, the outright manic thoughts and then suicidaldips, the constant looping thoughts in my head that didn't make sense butI followed them anyhow.

Let's just say it wasn't aprettytime. I'm not proud ofwhat happened, but it did force the truthout of him about his own infidelity. Iasked him to leave. I was done.

But somehow, it wasn't. He never gave up. He refused to believe that I was through withour relationship. He knew that somehow this would pass, and that if we could talk about why things had happened in the first place, then maybe we could rebuild. But first the anger had to be dealt with. That took a long time.

As I've said its been 4 years.It has not been easy by any means.I know he loves me, andI love him. But I stillfeel like something is missing, something important. There's some basic necessary building block that is not in the foundation, and I don't know what it is. I don't even know how to look for it to try to fix it.

As I sithere, the rain continues.The same man who cheated on me with a friend and fathered my child, who ignored my needs and still doessometimes, the man I've been with for almost 15 years~ has made me a hot cup of chai tea with 3 teaspoons of sugar and milk, the way I prefer it. I didn't ask for it. He just sat it down next to me and kissed my cheek and walked away.

Maybe I just need tobe thankful for the"now". What's done is done and over with, and maybe I need to focus on the beauty of him instead of what he lacks. I'll have to work harder onthat. I've read somewhere that peoplewhotend tobe perfectionistsalso tend to be super-critical of others, especially the ones closest to them.

Maybe if I learn tobe more loving and forgiving towards myself I will learn to be the same towards him.


1 Comment
  1. tcsoprano 10 years ago

    You have been through a lot. Having your partner understand you is difficult, you have much more experience then I do but my bf and I have been together 6 years and it can be hard…a lot of guilt often accompanies for me. And I know that exact feeling of wanting to be alone & a lot of activity being overwhelming…”good” days (everyone's definition of that varies) for me leave me exhausted. And forgiving yourself is a good first step. I wish you the best <3 -T

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