The day before Z came home my body stopped behaving. I had a twitch in my left pointer finger and thumb that was unrelenting and terrifying. The anxiety made my throat close up. It was hard to breath, it was hard not to cry. And I was furious. At everyone and everything.
He’s been back for a week and a half. We had an awesome night in a bed and breakfast complete with a couple’s massage. We slept until 7:20am. If you don’t have kids I promise that ridiculous sentence actually means something significant. Five years ago I wouldn’t have believed it, but such is life. We’ve spent time with my folks, my Gram, his sister and her family, his folks. We’ve done a bunch of really cool stuff. The boys are so happy to have Z home they can’t see straight.
My anxiety, on the other hand, has gotten much much worse. When I’m in the middle of it, even when I should know better because none of this is new, I can’t articulate what is going on in my brain. I withdrawal. I have zero patience. Z wants to help, but I won’t let him. I won’t tell him what is going on.
The last few days at my parents were difficult because I didn’t want to leave. While Z was gone my parents had my back completely. I didn’t know how to thank them, to convince them that I understood how much they did for us. Every time I would try and tell them I’d end up crying. They made me feel safe when I was raw and vulnerable I didn’t know how to say goodbye. No one knew what to do with me.
On the drive to Z’s parents the boys fell asleep. Z had been back in the country for a week and I was finally able to share with him the lies that the anxiety was telling me. The longer Z was gone the louder she got. She told me that he only missed the boys and not me. She told me that I was nothing more than a childcare provider, I had no other value in our marriage or in life. She told me that I will never have the opportunity to do something for myself like Z’s trip to Japan because I was tied to the boys. She told me to resent him, to be eaten alive with jealousy. She told me it was ok to be angry. She told me even when he got back it wouldn’t get better.
So I’m angry. Which makes me ashamed. I hate myself for being so small. For not being able to handle a month in which I have an enormous amount of help with any grace. I’m ashamed I need him so badly, that I still question if he loves me. I’m ashamed that my anxiety has been so acute that the one thing I’m supposed to be doing-being a Mom- isn’t going well. I spiral from fine to apoplectic with them in the blink of an eye. I’m yelling all the time. I’m ashamed that I’m so lucky and have been given so much and am still shackled by the stupid voice in my head. I’m ashamed that none of this is new-hell I’ve written near identical posts numerous times-yet it feels new every single time.
The moment still came when I was able to open up to Z. To find the words. To tell him the thoughts I had that scared me the most, the thoughts I can’t figure out how to write about yet. And he exhaled, “Oh, Karen…” while he was driving down the highway. He reached over and held on to my leg. He told me he loves me. That he knows I am having a hard time.
And I’m able to realize some important things. For the month he was gone we did a shitload of stuff. Saw family, went to the beach, went to a cool hotel/waterpark, the aquarium, swam, boated, walked, played. I participated in life. I took my meds and let them help me. When I needed time away from the boys I asked my folks for help. I went to three yoga classes. I got two massages. I took my mom for a pedicure. My friend came and visited for a few days. From the outside I looked like a completely normal human. Just a few years ago I wouldn’t have been able to do any of that.
I’m still struggling. It’s hard on Z and the boys. Hard on whoever we are staying with at the moment. Hell, it’s hard on me. We are ready to be back home. I’m ready to go to therapy and talk about how to let this anger and fear go.
Over on Instagram it certainly looks like we are having the time of our lives. We are having a good time. I am having a terrible time. What does that mean? What is the lie? I don’t think either of them are lies. Still rocking the honestly over here. I’m in love with my family. I think my boys and husband are beautiful and want to share their pictures. The happiness and excitement is sincere. The pain in sincere, too. It’s just harder to see. Harder to show.
I’m proud of myself for this. I hate boats. I hate rafts. But I did this for the boys and they really dug it.
Our pre-date overnight picture. Now that was a good night.
My boys in the bottom of my folk’s pool.