I’m not really sure when I became such a burden, such a pile of “nothing” in human form. My guess is it was a slow, drawn out transition because there is no way this kind of thing happens overnight.
Or does it?
I’m pretty sure we all would have noticed if it was an immediate change, so I’m going to stick with the assumption that this has been dragging on for years. It makes me feel better.
People used to rely on me for things. For work on a project in the office, for advice on how to do things in a company setting. To teach them how to do something either at work or around the house. I used to offer my services to people for help with their kids or to redecorate a room.
I used to do things.
I used to be something.
For the third time in as many weeks there I was, sitting on my front porch listening to someone tell me how amazing my husband is. How hard he works, how he really must love me to take on so much at home. How it’s so amazing that he adopted my youngest daughter and is raising my Autistic son right along with me. How he works all day so I can stay home and deal with my chronic pain, his patience with my anxiety and PTSD from a years long abusive relationship.
He really is amazing.
The Hubs is grounded and calm where I am anxious and emotional. He is very “get to the point” where I will ruminate on the details for hours. He encounters something, deals with it and moves on to the next thing. His emotions never weigh him down, he never dwells or worries. He is incredibly steady when I am spinning out.
He is my rock.
When people talk about him they say that he is a hard worker, loyal, dedicated, ambitious. He is funny and outgoing and always looking for ways to make things bigger and better.
The best thing I have heard someone say about me in the past few weeks is that they never have to question if I am upset with them because I am outspoken. Because I always let people know how I feel. I rarely hear any of my friends tell me that they think it’s a good thing. (I feel like this deserves its own post)
When did I become so inconsequential? When did I stop being someone that people actually needed on any scale? At work I felt needed, I felt like I contributed. As a dancer I felt liberated on stage and wanted by the companies that employed me. I added to the atmosphere in a way that was positive and it felt awesome to be wanted. To know I was making a difference.
As a person I was motived. Motivated to do yoga or workout at the gym, motivated to make progress decorating my house, to have things neat and tidy. I had plans and a schedule. I paid bills on time and made grocery lists and menus and I contributed to my household in a way no one else did. I mattered.
Now it seems I am a ball of burden that brings medical issues, anxiety, PTSD, children with learning disabilities and two baby daddies who are often crazy to the table.
A few weeks ago an old high school friend came out of nowhere to tell me he had feelings for me. It was completely random and I feel like an asshole bringing it up here because it sounds so self-flattering. But he did, and like any wife would I told The Hubs about it. I expressed my confusion about it all and asked “He can’t really be in love with me can he? I mean, he doesn’t even know me. I haven’t seen him in 15 years! Does he know how much work this is?”
The Hubs laughed and said “No way honey. One week after living here and doing this life with the kids and the house and your stuff and he’d be running away.”
During a fight recently he said to me “We never get anything done with your anxiety.”
On more than one occasion he has said to me –after the incident is over- that he knew I was just acting all upset because my anxiety was going so strongly. Completely negating my feelings about the issue, excusing the feelings I was expressing as nothing more than “craziness” brought on by anxiety. (My words, not his)
I know that during a fight sometimes things get said that we don’t mean, but our marriage is mature enough at this point that we don’t really do the petty name calling and mud-slinging thing. Everything we say is rooted in some truth, and it seems like his feelings about my inadequacies are coming to light.
Which brings me back to my opening line; when did I become such a giant pain in the ass? When did I become the person who needs someone to help her with everything? When did it get so hard to stick to a sleep schedule or get ready in a decent amount of time? When did my body’s needs completely usurp my mental and emotional ones?
That’s when it all started to fall away I think.
That’s when the first major surgery didn’t change anything and I started to really give up the things I loved to do. That’s when I quit dancing and in 2013 I left my last job, the one I thought might be my forever career, and applied for disability.
Since then it’s been an ongoing slide down the slope of surgeries, recoveries and accepting limitations that may never go away. It’s been a laundry list of things I either can’t do, or can only do once in a great while. Now that we’ve reached the end of the search for a cure and have realized that there is no fix for this, I am facing a life of promised pain and limitations that make me feel so suffocated.
I mean, what I am supposed to do with the rest of my life? Nothing I try ever seems to stick. It seems like for all my wants and desires to have consistency in my life the pain and fatigue just come through and smash it all to pieces.
Every gym routine, every yoga challenge, every Bible Study schedule or even just making dinner five nights a week. For all my intentions to stick to something, to bring order to my life it just won’t stay.
No matter what I try, or how much I want it to work something is always getting in the way.
I used to be so on top of everything. I worked, danced and ran my household. I planned menus and did the grocery shopping (both things I love to do), I cleaned the house weekly and ran errands. I made costumes for events and scheduled other clubs’ dancers all while raising my kids and having a solid social life. These days I spend 75% of my time alone on my couch.
What the fuck happened?
I’d like to blame it all on my pain, and maybe it is really all pain’s fault. But sometimes I wonder if I didn’t give up? If didn’t say “nope, it’s too hard to do this and deal with being a full time patient.” And just let it all go to shit. I look at people I know in similar situations and see that they still go to work, they still go out and have drinks with friends. They still have active physical lives and I wonder why I can’t have that too.
Am I letting my pain get the best of me? Am I being too timid? Do I need to just say “screw it” and jump back in 100%?
I just don’t know.
I just……don’t know.