By the time last Friday rolled around I was barely holding on in the anxiety department. The crappy thing is I was so far gone that I didn’t realize I was anxious. We got the boys to bed and Z was nothing but nice to me. I couldn’t even be civil in return. The night was a bust and it only got worse when our carbon monoxide detector started beeping and showing an error sign right at 10:30pm when we were headed to bed. All the windows were open, error clearly didn’t mean high levels and Z just wanted to unplug and deal with it in the morning. I lost my shit. Then I made us come up with a safety plan in case we had to evacuate the house. And then we went to bed.
C was up twice in the middle of the night. T came into our bed in the 6am hour, and I vaguely recall hearing him and Z leave the room at some point. But the next thing I knew it was after 8am. I looked out the window and one of the cars was gone. Z had taken both boys to the farmers market and let me sleep.
The night before we didn’t have a conversation about how on edge and unreasonable I was. But we haven’t been married for 12 years for nothing. He knew exactly what was going on even if I did not, he could have given me a hard time for being a brat, instead he let me sleep in. When I woke up to an empty house I was grateful and ashamed and I finally realized the my anxiety was through the roof.
I continue to try and push myself, to fight the urges to hide at home, to tell the anxiety to fuck off so I can get on with the business of living. But some weeks are still too much. Last Monday was our anniversary, Tuesday evening we had orientation for T’s school, Wednesday my folks went home, T went to the dentist for the first time, C has his 12 month well visit and three shots, and in the evening I had class, Thursday a friend and mentor of Z’s who I’d never met was driving through town so we had him for dinner, Friday we had a birthday party to attend for a sweet little girl who turned 3, by the time we got to Friday evening I had started to withdraw.
I wanted to do all of these things (Ok, not the orientation for T’s school-he was there last year so we know the drill), and I’m glad I did to them, even the orientation. Listen, everyone in the world who has kids or who has someone in the household who works in academia had a week every bit as full-the start of the year is always crazy. I continue to be ashamed that doing what most others handle every week makes me want to rock back and forth on the sofa and be left completely alone with a huge bottle of chill pills, a 6-pack of hard cider, and all 8 Harry Potter movies.
It’s hard to not hate myself for how much I struggle with the day to day stuff. It’s hard to not feel like a burden to Z and the boys. But one of the things that makes it easier is that Z knows me, sometimes he knows me better and faster than I know myself. Even when our marriage was a big pile of bird droppings he still knew me. We saw some pretty bad times about 7 or 8 years ago, I don’t think that either of us really understands how and why we (and a battery of therapists) were able to battle back from ending things. It feels like a miracle that he knows me more intimately than anyone else ever has, knows all the shameful and gross things, and not only loves me but likes me. I still don’t feel worthy of his affection. He gets pissed whenever I bring it up. He doesn’t want me to question him, he wants me to accept what he gives me. Hell, it would piss me off if he needed me to explain the million reasons I wake up wanting to spend the rest of my life with him. I’m glad that he feels like he deserves the love and the like I throw his way. I wish I was more like him.
So that is what I’m grateful for after 12 years of marriage, he knows me. He understands me before I understand myself. And a lot of the time he uses that understanding to be kind to me. He’s a good fucking guy.