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AWOL

 

The following has been playing on my mind a lot lately…Let’s call this…Therapy

A few weeks ago I heard news of a shooting on a military base in Texas – Fort Hood.

I didn’t know anyone involved or even anyone living nearby but it affected me massively.

The shooter was a military man, he had a wife and kid(s) and he killed -I believe- 3 people, injured around 14 others and then killed himself.

Apparently this man was suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) or something similar… he was troubled in one way or another and to be honest I feel for him. I’ve been in dark places before, thankfully not dark enough to harm others but the thought of harming myself…well it wasn’t out of the question. Looking back I shudder at some of the things I used to think, It actually embarrasses me thinking about it but ultimately I got help, things got better and the only times I look back is to remind myself how far I have come.

I realise that we are never safe, there are bad people out there who will hurt us randomly, we will be in the wrong place at the wrong time…stuff like this happens. To be associated with or linked to a military base always holds that worry of attacks, they are obvious targets and perhaps one reason why I wouldn’t choose to live on the base itself but to have someone FROM the INSIDE do something like this is absolutely terrifying.

I’m sure you can see where the PTSD links have affected me. I know there are different levels of it, different versions even and of course different causes; I know that not everyone with PTSD will end up shooting a bunch of people but the fact that this happened…I don’t know.

What about the people injured, the people who witnessed friends and colleagues die…the family and friends of those people… think of the affect it will have on them. Therapy, Some form of PTSD, alcoholism, drug abuse…you know, things to ease the pain. The anger, the hurt…the breakdown of communication between loved ones. Think how many people would be changed by that day and who would then change their relationships at home. The ripple effect of repercussions is terrifying! Where and how does it end?

I suppose this incident has shown me one extreme outcome but all I keep thinking (apart from about the families of those involved) is ‘his poor wife!’

Did she know he was at this point? Were there signs? What were they? How exactly would you ever assume – or believe- that the person you love would actually do something like this?…and what happens to her now? What on earth is going through her mind? Apparently this woman discovered that the shooter was in fact her husband because they said it on the news! How terrible! They had children, how do you explain to a child why daddy isn’t coming home and why these people are looking at them strangely? How does that family move on from this?

This incident has scared me, for the first time since being married, since finding out everything about my husband… the thought of not really knowing your partner – or what they are capable of- has hit home. I don’t for one minute believe he would do anything like this, or that I would let it get to that point… but I’m sure the Fort Hood shooters wife thought the same thing about her husband.

How do you get past this?

xBx

 

 

 

 
 

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#13 As sick as your secrets

**Continuing on from my last post (here) ***

Number 9 Sign

Number 9 Sign (Photo credit: tedeytan)

In order for this to make as much sense as possible, its probably a good idea to read back (if you haven’t already) about our rating scale technique – posted here.

After telling me how he knows he can trust me and explaining that its hard to tell me the things he WANTS to tell me let alone the things he’s not ready to talk about yet…he then said something which made my heart stop.

“I’m really tempted to tell you my 10…but I don’t feel like it’s right yet…

so are you ready for a 9?”

Of course I wont go into detail of it here but that 9 of his was shocking…and not in the way you would assume. what took me by surprise was how NORMAL his 9 was…this massive secret which he was too scared to say to anyone for his entire life…this 9 out of 10 on the scale of difficulty…was something so…common that had I not known it was a ‘9’ for him i probably wouldn’t have batted an eyelid if he told me.

I’ll give you what I think would be a (fictional of course) comparison of this ‘9’ of his…

  • ‘I wet the bed till I was 11’
  • ‘I still cry at Disney films’
  • ‘I’m afraid of the dark’

Of course the content was a relief…you would assume something as hard to disclose as that would automatically mean it’s something bad but -like she said before- it’s not always the content that is hard to tell…it’s just that its something of his. What has blown my mind repeatedly in all of this is how little he has ‘Googled’ about this stuff…because if he had then he may have worked out by now that he is not weird…or that other people go through this stuff too. Regardless, because I knew how hard it was to tell me- BEFORE he told me, I was able to react in an encouraging way. Instead of shrugging it off i thanked him for letting me in, instead of giggling or making an inappropriate joke i was able to take it seriously and actually listen to what he was telling me but most importantly i was able to reassure him that he is not a freak…that he shouldn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed and that this thing is more common than he realises…I was able to put his mind at ease -so in that sense the rating scale saved the day as without it i probably wouldn’t have reacted – or appreciated it – the same way.

His therapist had explained to me how he should be telling himself ‘its ok…nothing bad happened’ at any times when he does something which he sees as a ‘fuck up’ – for example spilling a drink like I explained in the post about the oxygen mask…OR when he tells me something of his. So again I was able to remind him of that once he told me his 9- literally by telling him ‘see…nothing bad has happened…its ok’ and then physically by keeping my body language the same, by kissing him etc -My health and social care teacher would be proud lol…those A levels are really paying off now ha ha.

He allowed me to ask questions so I started slow and eventually (a handful of questions later) we got to a point where he didn’t want to talk about it anymore so I let it go and we carried on as normal (see…nothing happened!) I thought it only fair to share one of my higher numbers with him to even the score but again, seeing as I’m probably a bit too open all i could find was a 5/6…that being a poem I had written on the Community Storyboard about cuddling him in bed (here) The reason that was a 5/6 was because its my true feelings about us and its MY blog but I shared that with him (whilst hiding behind a pillow) and he liked it so I think we both felt a little lighter after that- and closer to each other too.

For me to find a 5/6 is pretty rare…there’s not a lot that i wouldn’t tell him or share with him…or not much that i would find difficult anyway… but there was ONE other 5 that I let him into and that was meeting BeetleyPete a few weeks ago. For me meeting Pete (and Mrs Pete) was important to ME. It involved going somewhere I usually go by myself…one of my happy places I suppose (which I don’t have many of now I live here) and introducing my husband to THE blogging legend himself. It was something I was looking forward to and I was almost a little bit protective of…something I didn’t want to be tainted by anything or anyone…something for me…which I allowed him into…something I shared with him. THAT was hard for me to do…but I did it…and nothing bad happened 🙂

Another thing his therapist had explained during that session was what he would feel like after divulging something of his; and so with this information and knowing how big this secret was for him I was prepared for what happened next. I knew how shit he would be feeling…and it was obvious that he was; He said he felt physically sick and that night he asked me NOT to cuddle him in bed (and apologised for asking lol) But i understood why he was being that way so did whatever I could to make him see that no matter what I was still here for him and that this secret had not and would not change anything. For the next few days he was a little bit ‘off’ but I was able to let him ride the wave without giving him too much shit for being in a mood and keep reassuring him without actually making a big deal out of it.

Its been a while since his 9…and he’s back to normal as far as the aftermath of it goes but he’s still not ready for his 10…and I am not pushing for it. Its good to know he felt safe enough to open up to me – and that I knew how to handle it once he did; I think – for us- this was a major breakthrough, I feel closer to him – almost smug actually lol- and I hope he feels closer to me too…but most importantly I hope I have shown him that it IS ok to let me in…because nothing bad happens when he does 🙂

xBx

 

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Farewell

goodbye

goodbye (Photo credit: lanier67)

Last week was my final final session with my counsellor.  We actually had loads to talk about for a change – mainly good but also some recent revelations (which I will leave for another post so I can go into more detail without swamping you today lol) Towards the end he stopped me from moving the topic onto something irrelevant and random (or fluff as I call it as it fills time) and reminded me that it was nearing the end of our session and that we should probably acknowledge the fact that this is our last session as its easier to just talk till the end and pretend its not happening but that’s not the best idea in the world.

We discussed what I should do next in terms of finding a newbie that I like and how to contact them etc. He gave me his ‘final thoughts’ which included his take on our situation and how unique and (not amazing but I cant think of the right word… like shocking/astonishing/fascinating) it was. He said he was proud of the progress – from both of us, that he’s impressed by my determination, my logic, my brains (at which point I made a zombie joke )He said he thinks I should write a book on it or be a counsellor or SOMETHING because I blow his mind every time we meet.

When asked about whether he will go away and wonder what happened next for us he explained that in his job he is trained to distance himself, to leave his work at work and that he is more interested (usually) in the way relationships and mindsets work rather than the context of them BUT he said he probably would wonder because he had never come across a situation like ours or a client like me lol.

I had gone in there thinking I could maybe slip him my blog address in case he ever got curious but I thought better of it, I mean how self centred to think he would WANT to look it up in the future lol but I think part of me just wanted to keep a tie to him so I could know he hadn’t vanished. As the final minutes ticked on he asked how it had been for me, what had I learned etc. I told him it had been a life line – honestly. To be able to get out and talk to someone who had almost gone through it with me from the start, whom had witnessed the moment my life fell apart….I couldn’t have made it through some days as easily if it hadn’t been for him…or at least knowing he was there if i needed him.

I told him he was my sparring partner, my sounding board; that I had learnt that its (our situation) isn’t all about me or caused by me, its not my fault but that I was still allowed to vent my feelings on it (i.e. in sessions) and still needed to look out for myself, my own health -both physically and mentally. Overall I think I have learnt that I have balls! lol I have determination, I am stronger than I ever thought I was or could be and I am as logical as ever…but I already knew that last bit 😉

Obviously I thanked him for everything and as he held the door open for me to leave it took everything I had not to hug him goodbye lol. I walked to the car, proud of myself for doing so well…I had been dreading saying goodbye…and then it hit me and I cried the whole way home lol (silly) I felt so stupid for getting SO upset but all I kept thinking was how that was it, that was 1 of 2 people in my life…in HUMAN/FACE TO FACE/VOICE form, whom know both the situation in detail AND MY thoughts on it…in detail…gone…forever. Screw the worries of meeting the newbie and having to talk about it all over again…this person is gone for good.

At no point in all of this did I delude myself with the thought that he was a friend or anything, I’m very aware that I am just another client to him etc but still, even on a professional level the thought of him gone, my weekly sparring session, the routine, the change…its gone. Urgh I actually got a little watery eyed just now by thinking about it again lol.

It felt like when you were younger and made friends on a 2 week holiday (vacation lol) and you wave them off without thinking much about it and then you realise that those people affected your whole holiday, you now have new memories, you had good times with them but the chances are (unless you live close) you’ll probably never see them again (pre facebook/skype etc)

Luckily – once home – my boss got in touch and asked if i was able to go to work a little earlier so I jumped at the chance and offered to start even earlier otherwise I probably would have cried for the next few hours about it and turned up a mess. So…a week on…and it’s still feeling a bit fresh. I did cry about it a few nights ago when talking to hubby about it but I think yes in part its the sadness, the loss but mostly its about the change and disruption to the norm (again)…anxiety about the unknown I suppose. BUT I need to stay positive…

*deep breath*

  • I CAN do this
  • I WILL find a newbie whom I connect with
  • In theory my counsellor didn’t do anything except listen to me – I’m the one doing the leg work
  • Meeting a newbie will stop me getting into a rut and test my social skills lol
  • It will give me a chance to talk about everything again -now that I know more details perhaps a few more things will click and make sense
  • Continuing with counselling with help me AND hubby as I cant be strong for him if I am not strong for myself

So I guess now all I need to do is pick up the phone and make an appointment…wish me luck

xBx

 
 

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Guest Post – The Other Side of the Glass: What are relationships like without emotions?

The next instalment from our mystery blogger:

PTSD Nation

PTSD Nation (Photo credit: Truthout.org)

This is the third posts in the series The Other Side of the Glass, where I explain in detail what it feels like to live with PTSD. I’m writing this series to give Beth, and anyone else that has a loved one with PTSD, an understanding of what it is like to live without emotions or to be emotionally numb. Each person suffering from PTSD has their own trauma, their own symptoms, and their own circumstances, but I’m just trying to give you a glimpse of what it is like to live with this horrible disorder.

What does it feel like? is the first in the series. If you have not already read that post, it would be best to start at the beginning.

Now that you can see what daily life is like without emotions, now we will examine what it like to try and have relationships without emotions.

What are relationships like without emotions?

Naturally,the relationships with your family and friends no longer make sense.Why do you want to be around anyone if you cannot feel the love or bond of friendship that you feel for them?

I lost contact with a lot of my friends during this period in my life. I started to isolate myself more as I had little in common with anyone. I didn’t want to discuss my situation and I knew no one would be able to relate anyway. After all, none of my other friends talked about waking up a zombie. No one else was telling me how they felt The Void. No one had that blank stare in their eyes.

That reminds me, I once met a man who had just come back from Iraq. The same emptiness he had in his eyes is the emptiness that I had in mine when I looked in the mirror.

The eyes truly are the periscope to the heart. When a person’s heart is in the glass box, the eyes go blank. They are empty and cold. I wonder if Beth knows that look.

Since Beth is dealing with her husband, I will try to focus on that type of relationship.

Here enters the cycle of insanity – You should love the person you are with,but you do not have the ability to love, or feel anything for that matter. The person you are with desperately wants you to feel something
so they do not feel so hurt and alone, but your heart is in that glass box on the shelf.

I think this dynamic becomes more intense when the husband is the one with PTSD. A man thinks things through, but a woman is more prone to her feelings.

Since Beth’s husband cannot feel, Beth is hurt by it. Beth wants the security that her husband loves her and that their relationship is solid. Her husband is a blank man, a zombie, bringing insecurity and fear into the
relationship. Beth then gets angry because her feeling have been hurt by his lack of love. Beth’s husband can see the hurt he is causing and he logically reasons that he wants to fix it so that his wife will not be hurt as he know this causing tension in the home. Unfortunately, the one thing that Beth wants more than anything, his love, he cannot give even though he desperately wants to.

Welcome to hell on earth…

As one that was in the glass box, this is the most frustrating situation to be in. You see the cycle happening but you feel as if there is nothing you can do to stop it. My purgatory was waking up each day
knowing it was going to be like the last. It was going to be a fight from morning until night to make sense of the world and everything in it. It was going to be a struggle to find myself and to feel anything. I
would have to dodge the demon and try my best to not to fight her every night.

Thankfully,Beth’s husband has a wife that loves him and wants to help him in any way possible. This will definitely help in his recovery.

But what about all the things that he is doing to upset her? The porn and the masturbation. The sneaking around to masturbate?

When I read what her husband was doing, my only thought was, ”Well…that sounds familiar.”

Have you ever watched a man try to fix something around the house? We ste back and stare at it. We aren’t stupid or dumbfounded, we are thinking.We are running solution after solution through our minds to see what
will fix the problem.

When we have relationship or emotional problems, we do not discuss it with our guy friends, our parents, or our coworkers, we go into our man caves and we do our best to process it all, seeking out solutions to fix the
problem. We seek out isolation and try to work it out in our heads.

The only problem is that a person with PTSD cannot stop thinking.

I wanted to stop thinking and I wanted to feel something..anything. I did the only things that helped me to escape and feel. I watched porn. I played video games. I lied.

Sound familiar?

My next post will deal with The Cave.

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2013 in Guest Post

 

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Guest Post – The other side of the glass: What does it feel like?

memory void

memory void (Photo credit: esmtll)

As promised, here is the first Guest Post from our mystery blogger

The other side of the glass: How does it feel?

I happened to come across the Comfortably Numb blog and I immediately contacted Beth. I wanted to give her some hope. You see, I have a unique perspective on all of this.

I was the one with PTSD. I was the one feeling numb.

Over the next few posts, I hope to give you some insights into what Beth’s husband is going through. I’ve also privately offered some suggestions to Beth, as my only hope is for her husband to feel once again.

I am by no means an expert, I’m just a survivor. If you are going through this yourself, talk to someone. Anyone. You can overcome the symptoms of PTSD and live a very normal and productive life just like I have. The treatments available today are much more advanced than when I had to deal with PTSD nearly ten years ago.

If you have a friend or loved one experiencing any of the symptoms, please encourage them to get help. Be there to listen and try to be as understanding as possible.

Without giving too much information, I dealt with female on male domestic abuse. An ex-wife abused me mentally, emotionally, and even physically over the course of our marriage. After dealing with this for many years, I was worn out emotionally. The marriage was loveless and arguments occurred daily. (This is a very simplified explanation of a very complicated situation. I’m just attempting to give a little back-story on how the PTSD came about.)

After an exceptionally difficult verbal fight that lasted twelve hours, I went to bed.

After sleeping a short three hours, I woke up the next morning in a fog. It was as if I was awake, but I was still dreaming. I had tunnel vision and nothing felt real. I could barely feel even physical touching, and when it occurred, it didn’t make sense to me.

I will never forget the look a young girl gave me when I went into a restaurant to eat. It was as if she could see the emptiness of my soul. She looked into my eyes and gave me the most…touching look. It was as if she was reaching out to me, through her eyes, to comfort me, because she immediately noticed the pain I was in.

I assumed I was experiencing all of this due to the lack of sleep. I assumed it was just a bad day and the evil feeling would be gone the next day. I was wrong.

Waking up the next day was stranger than the first. The fog had lifted from my brain, but The Void* was definitely there. I was emotionless.

What is The Void? The Void is what I call that feeling you have when you suffer with PTSD.

This is how I’ve tried to explain it over the years. Imagine that your beating heart is confined to a glass box that is in the same room you are in. You can see it. You know it is there, but you cannot touch it and you cannot feel anything from it. It functions physically but everything else is disconnected from it.

Imagine waking up and not being able to “feel” anything. No happiness, no sadness, no frustration, no sorrow, no joy, no elation, no anything. In my situation, the one emotion I could feel was anger, and quite often rage. Other than that, I felt absolutely nothing. You could have told me that my mother had just passed away and I would not have shed a tear.

The Void is pure emptiness in your soul. It is a suffocating nothingness. I used to talk long walks at night, because it was one of the few places I now felt comfortable. It was the one place the dark, cold, emptiness inside of me matched the dark, cold, emptiness on the outside.

The Void had moved in and it would take several years for it to move out. Thankfully, I made many changes and once I left that abusive relationship I started to heal. Other PTSD sufferers have a much more difficult road ahead of them. Their trauma is deeper or more hidden and their wounds more severe. However, my message is one of hope, and when The Void takes over your soul, you will grasp onto any hope that you can.

The feeling is wicked and evil. You don’t want to feel blank. You don’t want to feel empty. You don’t want to be nothing. You want to laugh and smile and cry and giggle…but it is gone. It is a very unnatural feeling and even though you know you are broken, you can’t just snap your fingers and fix it. So you learn to live with it.

What is it like to live without emotions?

That topic will be discussed in my next blog post. Until then, hug your PTSD sufferers. Hold their hands and kiss their cheeks. You will not get much, if anything, in return, but the person…the real person that is stuck behind The Void will appreciate it more than you will ever know.

* Every PTSD sufferer may not have the same level of emotion that they personally “feel”. Each trauma, person, and situation is unique. I’m just trying to give you my perspective to help you relate.

 
 

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A new perspective: Thinking INSIDE the box

Three-Point Perspective

Three-Point Perspective (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As mentioned yesterday I recently received an email from a fellow blogger. He told me he knew personally about the numbness of PTSD and wanted to give his perspective on the whole situation… ‘How I felt, what caused it, and most importantly, what you can do for your husband as he goes through this’

The emails went back and forth between us, we established that all experience of PTSD is different…every PERSON is different and that some situations or causes are more complex and deeper rooted than others… BUT regardless it was encouraging to read his account. It helped me to understand SOME of what my husband is going through and he’s also offered to write some guest posts for me to delve deeper and explain more about it so those posts will be up soon. For now…I want to share with you some of the points which struck a chord with me and hopefully help YOU to understand a little bit more too.

‘I want to try and explain this part clearly so you know what your husband is going through. I know this probably has to be the most confusing aspect of PTSD for you – I knew I had a heart because I could feel my pulse, but I could not FEEL any emotion whatsoever.

…as for your husband, I have no idea why he has PTSD so I cannot tell you what to avoid or how to specifically help him, but I can tell you what I would have liked as I was going through it…

  • Love him – This part is going to SUCK, because you won’t get much love in return. Hold him. Kiss him…While his heart may not understand, his head will. When he finally awakens, you will have a stronger relationship.
  • This one will be especially hard. Make love to him. Loveless sex may be difficult for you, but the intimacy would be appreciated by him. His sex drive may be lower right now. If so, it definitely isn’t you, so don’t put that blame on your own shoulders. With his brain in overdrive, the thoughts may not be focused on sex.
  • Get him help – This is beyond your abilities to help him by yourself. PTSD is evil. Being a zombie is evil. Living that way feels awful. The sooner he can talk about it and deal with it, the better.
  • Encourage him to write – It helps. Buy him a notebook and pens. If he is writing, don’t disturb him. If he asks that you not read the notebooks, respect his penned words and leave them alone. The words will only hurt you and it will break his trust.
  • Encourage him to exercise and eat right. After fights with the ex, I would walk the city streets at 1-2 am. It was the only thing that helped calm me down. Look for a co-ed sport that you both can participate in. Talk walks together. If he wants to talk, let him talk. If he doesn’t, talk to him about ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE PTSD. Make walking and meal times PTSD free zones. Don’t let him eat fast food as it will only make him feel gross physically. Encourage him to eat right because he needs all the brain power he can get.
  • Limit video games – I’m a gamer and I started playing A LOT. I didn’t have to think when I was playing. I didn’t have to feel when I was playing. I could get lost in the world I was playing in. While it can be a help at times, don’t let him go overboard. Men like to go to our “cave” when we are dealing with issues. Don’t let him get lost in his online cave.
  • Don’t ask him how he feels. He doesn’t fucking know. Honestly. Pressuring him to answer that question or any other question about feelings is going to make it worse. In fact, try not to talk about emotions as much as possible. Yes, that is unnatural and completely foreign to you.
  • Don’t take what he says personally – I remember saying some crazy shit during that period of time. Remember, he cannot feel, so statements he makes have no emotional motivation to them. They are just words. Conversely, try to remember that your husband is in a PTSD cocoon. He may want to tell you that he loves you…but he can’t feel it right now. When he does say the words, in whatever form he says them, cherish them. I’m sure it was hard for him to say them.
  • Find a support system for yourself – You will not be getting the same kind of love from your husband as you are used to. Rely on family and friends. Treat yourself to a spa day once in a while and keep up your appearance. Go out with the girls and get drunk and dance your ass off. You deserve it. This is FUCKING HARD! It is perfectly OK to spoil yourself once in a while to recharge your batteries.

You two CAN DO THIS! You can win against EVIL. You can get your husband back. You can have an AMAZING marriage. It CAN BE DONE. Do not GIVE UP. Failure is NOT an option. I have faith in both of you.

I will do my best to help you understand what he is dealing with and I will give you as much insight as I can. Honestly, I lived with that shit for far too long. If I can help your husband get better, I will, because I know exactly how it DOESN’T feel.’

There IS hope

xBx

 
 

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The now – Therapy

turtle therapist

turtle therapist (Photo credit: andessurvivor)

He had his first therapy session this weekend. I’m dying to know what was said but of course he’s guarded and doesn’t ‘do’ talking about anything in as much detail as I do.

All I know is that he has been asked to admit when he impulse lies to me…and when he does that I am meant to avoid reacting in any way…how the hell am I meant to do that?? Just change the subject?

He cant think of an example of what kind of impulse lies he has been telling me…so I’m anxious about keeping any reaction to myself but apparently he’s meant to do it in order to realise himself when he’s doing it and my lack of reaction…well I’m assuming its to stop him feeding off it? To take away a reason for him to do it, to show him that’s its pointless and doesn’t achieve anything.

I must admit it’s a hard to come to terms with the thought that my husband, whom apparently trusted me with everything…whom said I was the one person in the world he could talk to…is now talking to someone else about his deepest thoughts. I know I know, its good that he’s seeing a therapist, he NEEDS to see a therapist, he needs to talk to someone who is trained to deal with issues like his and I am so proud of him going to see her. But its still hard. Probably because it reminds me that when he said those things to me, when he ‘talked openly to me about everything and anything’ it was all bullshit :/

I don’t like being out of the loop, it used to be our loop, with just the 2 of us in it…but now its not. Now its just…well 2 straight lines, there is no loop, its been cut.

I’m so worried that there is more bad stuff to come, of course its bound to be worse before it gets better but this way I have to wait to find out what that bad stuff is; I have to rely on him to come home and put his therapy techniques into practice…what if there are more revelations? I don’t know if I can handle much more.

What if he comes home and tells me ‘I made it all up…I can love I just didn’t and don’t love you and I needed a way out’ ? what if it turns out that he realises he did feel but he didn’t know what these feelings were…and that in fact he can love, he does love but he doesn’t love me? What if he gets better…and I get crushed in the process…what if I end up resenting him because of all of this and at the end of it its me who leaves because I no longer love him?

The back-story was all well and good…because I knew at the time of writing how it was going to end…but I don’t know the answer anymore. Its anyone’s guess and I am absolutely petrified.

xBx

 
 

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Part 11: Hope

elephant talk

elephant talk (Photo credit: gin_able)

A week after he had thrown the word ’divorce’ at me, he came home and was ready to talk.

He told me that despite me telling him not to think about therapy right now…he had done and he had realised that he needed help. Basically he gave the ultimatum that its therapy (not starting tomorrow but within the next 2 weeks and with a different therapist) or it’s over between us because he couldn’t allow me to put myself through this unless something was going to change for the better.

I had asked if he loved me and he told me honestly that he didn’t know…but he did know that he didn’t want to be without me. He enjoyed having me around, he liked spending time with me and I was the only person in the world that didn’t make him feel alone. He wanted me to be the one by him side, the one to help him through this… but he understood if I wanted to leave.

I told him that I intended to stay with him, to support him but until I had experienced the real him I had no idea how I would cope or react. I would need to keep seeing my own counsellor for moral support and I would need to understand his frame of mind…his motives…his world. I wasn’t going to push him into anything again but at the same time I wasn’t going to allow him to shit all over me. If he wanted 2 weeks until he started thinking about therapy then fair enough…but if it gets to 2 weeks and nothings been booked then I would choose one for him and hand him the fucking phone!

I had asked what would change…he’d said he wasn’t sure. I’d asked if hugs and cuddles were out of the window if he came back (he said no) which prompted me to ask whether he would benefit from them…or actually want to cuddle…or whether he would be doing it to shut me up…he’d said he could go for cuddles.I asked why he had done it, why he didn’t just be himself from the start and see what happened, and why he had gone as far as marrying me when it hadn’t worked? He’d said he thought maybe I could be the person to change him, he wanted to change and he wanted to feel something. He felt guilty…which I pointed out was a feeling…an emotion…he thought maybe he felt a little guilt, sometimes a little sad or a little happy but he didn’t know for sure. Mainly the only thing he ever felt was numb. He didn’t look numb though, he actually looked quite sad -which of course I pointed out- but he said he didn’t feel sad…maybe he’d repressed it that much that he didn’t realise it anymore.

I told him I would need to ask him questions all the time in order to try and understand what was happening…that’s just the way I am; that I was worried that that alone would push him over the edge or simply push him away. I told him he would need to be honest and “himself” in order to go anywhere…there was no point in falling back into the old habits because that would just prolong the bullshit. He agreed with all of the above, he seemed OK in general, just a bit quieter…sadder than the normal him.

...Hope...

…Hope… (Photo credit: ĐāżŦ {mostly absent})

Of course I was apprehensive about things to come but there was no way I was giving up on us. By this time I had googled ‘emotional numbness’ until my eyes ached. It was actually reassuring and a massive relief to see that so many other people were going through the same thing as him. I had cross referenced symptoms and causes, downloaded articles…talked it out with my counsellor…with people on specific forums…my trusted friend…everything I could think of. It was through doing this that the idea of mental illness/disorders (apologies if that’s not the right terminology) in particular PTSD (which i have an added an info page about here) came to light, everything fitted, my counsellor agreed and I felt better in the thought that there was an answer to all of this…a reason…a cause. OK so its still shitty and we still dont know for sure but at least its something we can work with, something we can try to understand and most of all its not because he’s just a massive dickhead. It doesn’t excuse everything but it does make sense of it all…most of all it gives me hope.

He was home, for me that was all that mattered right then. The fact that we have a chance to work through this and a chance for closure one way or another; a chance to figure out whether we could live with the changes that were due to come…and I felt ready…until he went up to bed…without saying ‘I love you’
xBx

 

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Part 6: Progress

English: Progress 20% Polski: Postęp 20%

English: Progress 20% Polski: Postęp 20% (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We had booked the marriage counselling appointment and were feeling hopeful. In the mean time we tried some of the things he had suggested trying. We couldn’t get to Ann summers in the end due to a change in work schedules but I dressed up – (I’m creative, I’m good at making something out of nothing…aren’t most women good at that? lol,)- we role played and although nothing changed physically, the emotional connection between us felt stronger. The trust had grown, we felt comfortable enough to express ourselves and the pressure had lessened as we focused more on having fun and enjoying ourselves.

We even got as far as pleasuring ourselves…together. A BIG step for both of us as I knew how much of a private thing that was for him and to be honest I never really did that myself so the experience was liberating. It made me feel closer to him, it was a good way for me to learn from him…but overall it was amazing to know he was satisfied and removed the fear of him sneaking off to do it alone.

We took it slowly, first ourselves, then each other….and then it happened…he climaxed and I was responsible for it. For the first time in a year -and the second time in our relationship- I did it for him. OK so it wasn’t through intercourse but it was still my doing and for us that was a big achievement and a big relief.

Over the next week the progress kept coming (excuse the pun), we took it further, lights off first, then lights on but with me blindfolded (as he felt embarrassed but still liked the visual) and eventually lights on but with him blindfolded to heighten his senses. It worked every time and with the small changes each time but the end of the week we were feeling better than ever…finally I felt like I was enough for my husband.

xBx

 

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Part 3: Medicals & Medication

Pills

Pills (Photo credit: Grumpy-Puddin)

Over the next few months my husband was checked for all the obvious things, appointment after appointment, week after week. He was checked for everything they could think of.
We waited for results, for some kind of explanation to what was (or wasn’t) happening. At first they thought maybe it was to do with a slipped disc and trapped nerve but scans proved that to be wrong.

He was referred to a therapist on the side to try to establish a psychological cause. He can’t remember anything before the age of 9, he vaguely remembers being beaten by a relative but the memories are blurry with big chunks missing; he drunkenly told a friend that he was sexually abused – which that friend then assumed I knew about- my husband has no recollection of this or of telling the friend but by the time we established this the friend had moved on and we were unable to contact him about it. So therapy seemed like a good place to start and a good way to explore all options without dragging it out or focusing too much on one area.

However, the therapist was shit…and that’s putting it nicely. Though thinking back it was probably because my husband had edited the details when explaining the problem so it was set to fail from the start, but at the time- and only knowing the edited version myself- I wasn’t impressed. The first thing he did was put his lack of sensation down to performance anxiety and swiftly prescribed him some anti anxiety medication. He was told they would relax him for up to 4 hours so to take them whenever he intended to be intimate with me. The idea was that they would help him relax enough to stop worrying about what was or wasn’t going to happen…he also advised that my husband abstained from any ‘solo action’…which was the one thing i did agree with.

These pills are strong and known for being addictive, he was meant to take half a pill, the first night he took a whole one and, for a few minutes, he had sensation but it quickly wore off; regardless we were happy with the slight improvement. The next time he took 2 pills…which I definitely wasn’t happy with. He had no sensation that time purely because he was too high to know his own name! Afterwards we lay together and he told me he was ‘high as fuck’ and just wanted to sleep…it was awful. Having your husband dependent on drugs in order to sleep with you is absolutely soul destroying, let alone when you’ve only been married a matter of months AND he takes 4 times the amount of it! it’s the equivalent of ‘needing‘ a shot of Sambucca for Dutch courage…and then having 3 more just in case. It made me feel so so inadequate, it knocked my confidence even more than it had already been knocked by all of the stuff beforehand. BUT, despite feeling that way I never told him that, I just went with it.

I couldn’t, however, ignore the fact that he was technically overdosing on a highly addictive drug so I asked him to promise me that he would take the recommended amount in future and to carry on seeing his therapist. He did, but at the next appointment the therapist simply asked him whether the pills had helped (no) and then said ‘Well what’s the problem then? I don’t know what’s wrong with you, I think you should stop taking the pills and probably look for someone else to talk to because I’m stuck with this one’

I remember the day he came home from that appointment, he was angry and upset, he seemed shot down, embarrassed, frustrated and alone. Having been told myself when I was a teenager that I should find someone else (by a counsellor) I knew exactly what that felt like, you feel completely let down, you feel embarrassed, like you’re too messed up to be helped and like this person cant be bothered to deal with you.

I comforted him, I told him I would support him and that we could try again with someone else when he felt ready but in the meantime there was still the possibility of a medical reason coming back to explain at least part of it. There was still hope, there were still options and I wasn’t going anywhere.

xBx

 

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