The Stranger Inside Me

As soon as I crossed that line to becoming a bitter, raving lunatic, there was no turning back. I didn’t recognize the person I had become. Someone had taken over my body and mind, and I was powerless to stop them. I grieved for who I once was…saw glimpses of her in my mind…became her for fleeting moments…until one day she dissapeared. I resigned myself to accepting the new “me”…this was my destiny.

How unfortunate for my family. I saw the fear in my son’s eyes as I screamed at him. His mother was gone…only to be replaced by this starnger, who looked like Mom, but didn’t act loving and tender like the mom he knew. I was filled with guilt every day, as I became more and more emotionally vacant.

I put on a mask when I went to work. It would be too risky to reveal to them who I really was. I had to keep my job. It took so much effort to keep that mask on all day, that when I returned home, I whipped it off with a vengeance…and all my cooped up anger and frustration was aimed at my family.

I cringed at my husband’s touch. I hurt him terribly. He couldn’t understand why…he figured I must be repulsed by him. He worked hard to earn my perceived loss of love back. Years later, when I was recovering, I retorted to his accusations of my verbal and emotional abuse, that he was emotionally unavailable…didn’t try to understand me or help me. He tried to remind me of all the ways he had tried. I couldn’t rememeber these times, but I know they must be true. How terribly sad that his efforts went un-noticed and remain a small fragment in the corners of my disturbed mind.

I tried to convince my husband that my cringing at his touch was not due to a lack of love for him…tried to explain that I cringed at anyone’s touch, including the children’s. Was he insinuating that I din’t love the children? How dare he! Maybe if he was being completely honest with himself, he believed that. I hope not. I could only explain it by saying “It’s too much! It’s just too much!” and covering my ears with my hands to demonstrate the point. “One more thing…one more sensation…and I’ll lose it..I’ll go insane!”. He just didn’t get it. I might as well have been speaking Chinese.

The cruelest thing about being mentally ill, is knowing you love your family, but being unable to show it…to prove it. The most insideous part of being mentally ill, is seeing who you want to be in your mind’s eye…knowing the actions you need to take and the words you need to say to be that person…but not possibly being able to accomplish that. Always a dissapointment to ourselves.

I watched the resiliance in my children…their love never wavering, as I sunk deeper and deeper into the abyss. Children are remarkable that way. Unfortuneately, that resiliance allowed me to keep putting off getting help or putting in any effort to change…because they would bounce back…maybe tomorrow I’d try harder. But I was so tired all the time…so terribly tired.

My husband became depressed. He was never depressed. He was up-beat, optomistic, troubled by very little. He rolled with the punches, was easily satisfied, and was the Ying to my Yang. That gave me some solace. Seeing him depressed scared me terribly. If he was unstable, who would keep our world from spinning out of orbit? Without my anchor, we would all float apart…and drown.

My husband began to drink…heavily. He was in a stupor most of the time…my doing. I blamed his slip into darkness a reflection of his weakness…his inability to find happiness. We had just moved to Maine when I began to fall apart…now he was. It must have been the transition, I thought…his inability to find work that made him feel inadequate, unproductive and worthless. Years later, when we actually learned how to communicate again, I would realize it was I who made him feel all these things. He was quite happy with status quo were it not for the constant nagging and negativity of his wife. It was I who hadn’t handled the transition…who blamed my husband for us losing our house in Massachusetts…for making me leave the job I loved…for moving me to this God-forsaken place in the hicks. So much time lost caught up in those thoughts. So much precious time spent not enjoying all the beauty of that place…all the down-home kindness of strangers, the tight-knit communities, the brilliance of the landscape.

My daughters loved that little yellow house…I wish I had spent the time to enjoy it with them. My now 7 year old never got the best of me. I was too ill by the time she was born. It breaks my heart. And yet, she has the most beautiful spirit. She literally says, “I love my life!”, skipping around the house. She travels in cart-wheels and laughs out loud at the world. She finds humor in everything. She is grateful for everything. When telling me her favorite birthday present this year, she said, “This picture…well it’s my second favorite.” I asked, “Second? Why? What’s your first?”. “My life of course silly!” she said, as if I should have known. I should have known. God Bless her.

Back to my husband. He’s so easy to make happy. It takes quite a concerted effort to make him miserable. Why was it easy to spend evil energy rather than good? I had all this energy that came out as anxiety and restlessness and irritablity…that depleted me of any sense of peace and satisfacton.

The passion in our marriage had long died. When my husband says I stopped loving him, he is partly right. I had stopped loving him like a wife loves her husband. I loved him like dear old friend…like a roomate. The kind of roomate that you’re comfortable sharing living quarters with, but who grates on your nerves sometimes.

I liked all the perks of my roomate. He was very handy. …there was nothing he couldn’t fix. He provided security and normalcy in my otherwise fucked up life. I took him for granted. He was my punching bag and he always would be. He would never leave me…ever. If he put up with me this long, nothing could drive him away. He tells me now, that he never gave up hope all those years. He kept hoping and praying that the real me would return..that I’d fall in love with him again. I couldn’t save myself. I couldn’t save our marriage. Within 6 years from the first night in Maine that he stormed off drunk to a bar to cool off (and get away from me), he would storm off drunk again, but this time into bed with another woman. I will have killed his spirit, his confidence and his pride. We will have come to the brink of divorce…and unbelieveably…I never saw it coming.

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~ by imasurvivor2013 on April 9, 2013.

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