Seven years ago today I married my husband. Last year, on our anniversary, I talked about how even though we are very different, he was the right one for me.
And then? Somehow and quite suddenly, it fell apart.
Not everything fell apart, exactly. But everything shifted. I'll admit that last year was a rough one for me, emotionally. No one told me how life-changing it would be to write a book about your life and then have people read it and comment on it. That sometimes the comments would be really mean and make you feel like crap about yourself and your life. No one told me I would question my decisions. No one told me I'd lose friends and people would start treating me really oddly. No one told me that doing one of the things that I always wanted to do really wouldn't fill the void inside. And I promise you that I don't remember anyone ever telling me how very difficult it is to do book promotion when you're a socially awkward introvert. Because it's really freaking hard.
My fault? Yep. I guess I should have known. I make it my life's mission to tell people all of this when they say, "Hey, I think I want to write a book". They think I'm jealous or a hater because CLEARLY they can write MUCH better than I can. And hell, maybe they can. And maybe they're okay with a lot of attention. And maybe they'd do just fine and not have crushing anxiety and feel really alone and sad and scared. Maybe I'm the only freak in the world and if so, that's okay. But no one told me how it would be and I don't want anyone to go in blindly.
I respond to depression differently than most people, I suppose. I take a day or two to sob uncontrollably, convince myself that flinging my body out a two-story window is not an appropriate response, and then I carry on. I have children to feed. I have a job to attend to. I have people who count on me to be where I say I'm going to be. I can't just curl up in a ball and cry no matter how much I want to do just that.
My husband, however, is not similarly wired. Thus, when he fell into a particularly painful episode of depression, I didn't see him for a year.
Well, that's not technically correct. He was present in the home. He went to work every day. He came home from work, ate dinner, and then retreated to the bedroom. He sat, alone with his thoughts, while I attended to the children and their activities, the dishes, the dog, the duties of life.
He barely spoke to me. We didn't go out. When he did anything with the family, he was snappish and angry. We all stopped confiding in him. Every conversation became an argument. I said to him, more times than I care to remember, "You don't care about me, you just care about being right".
And eventually? I got very resentful.
I started paying attention to everything except my marriage. Another man started paying a lot of attention to me, and while I knew I would never cheat on my husband, I did very much enjoy his attention. I threw myself even more into my work. Whenever a project came up, I was the first to volunteer. I developed elaborate money saving and couponing plans and threw myself into those. I started writing a really tragically horrible romance novel. Anything to avoid what was really going on.
Really ugly things were said. Some really ugly, painful things were exposed. Things not appropriate for a public forum. Things that, after ten years of knowing this man, knocked me on my ass.
The D word was spoken. And I don't mean douchebag, for once.
Meanwhile, I tried to pretend everything was okay. I went through life never mentioning to anyone how bad things had become. In the blog world, no one wants to hear about problems or strife (except some jerks who take pleasure in other people's misfortunes...and you know who you are). People want happy family blogs. They want people to be in love. They want smiles and hugs and kisses and pictures of Junior and JuniorAnne playing soccer. They don't want what we'd become.
I remember on Christmas morning, waking up and feeling like I didn't even want to be alive. Like I didn't even want to watch my children open their presents. Like I just didn't care about anything. Like how much I dreaded having to get out of bed and put on a happy face for everyone around me.
God smacks me around a little bit from time to time, as I've mentioned. The desired effect was achieved. I was scared. Really, really scared.
Finally, in total desperation, I talked to one friend. One.
And she didn't think I was a loser. She didn't tell me everything I did wrong. She didn't tell me what a jerk my husband is. She didn't tell me to cut and run and she didn't tell me if I had just been a better wife, a better person, more attractive, or any of those other things that maybe this would have never happened.
She reminded me of all the good things in my life. She prayed for me. She told me that in his heart my husband is a good man, even though he's made some bad choices and said some bad things. That I am not a bad person, even though I've made some bad choices and said some bad things.
She reminded me that I picked this man. That he is my husband. He is part of my family. Out of all the men in the world, he is the one that I picked. That there were plenty of other men who would have married me, but I picked Jason. And there had to be a reason why.
When I cried, "It shouldn't be this hard!" she said, "Who says it shouldn't?"
Today is our anniversary. It's been seven years.
Seven years ago I was full of love and hope for the future.
I am still full of hope for the future.
This is the most difficult I've ever written. It feels so shameful to not be one of those happy blog families with no problems. I wanted, so badly wanted, to write a story of redemption. To say that everything was okay and to fully believe that it would always and forever be okay. I'm realistic though. Problems are not solved overnight. I'm not perfect. We're not perfect.
But I'm trying. We're trying. I want more than anything for this to just be one of those blips in the road.
I don't give up easily. I won't give up now.
So here's to a new start. Today seems like a good day.