Monday, November 10, 2014

Cleaning up My Own Crap

This evening I had a mind-changing conversation with my husband over health insurance. (Stick with me here). As we both cried, as I tried to apologize for forgetting to mail a check almost a month ago, as he tried to express his feelings of hopelessness, the Holy Spirit hit me in the head with a two-by-four, because apparently that's what it takes.

In a flash, I remembered my wedding vows, and it occured to me that those weren't only for my husband. I too had promised things in that ceremony. I know, it's shocking.

You see, in the course of my legitimate health problems and depression, I forgot about responsibility. I believed, with the fervency of a True Believer, that depression was a valid excuse for neglecting my health, my marriage, my friendships, my work, and any other duty or relationship in my life. And if a small voice ventured to disagree, I shot it down with woe is me histrionics that ended in suicidal fantasies, pulling my hair out by the roots, and other constructive behaviors. In addition, I had convinced myself that my husband's job was to put up with it all, because after all he had taken those vows didn't he?

There is more than one way to leave your spouse. There's the one we see in divorce courts, but there's the one I grew up watching my parents model for me. They are still married in a technical sense, and they still live in the same house. But anyone who knows them at all knows it's a farce. The lack of mutual respect is palpable.

I thought that because I'd married "better" (that is, we're more compatible than my parents, though total opposites in many ways), that we'd weather the storm. However, I asked him to do all the weathering. And now he's starting to crack under the pressure.

What's so humbling is that the things he asks of me seem so small. To take care of myself; to get up at a reasonable hour; to make friends locally so that I'm not so dependent on him for social interaction; to get exercise and fresh air; to put in the hours at my job that I need in order to finish my work. You know, to act like an adult.

It's true, part of my problem is depression. Depression/ anxiety/ PTSD make those "simple" tasks seem monumental. However, I threw in the towel before the depression had a chance to attack. My self-respect shriveled so low that I drifted through life, emerging occasionally to decry injustices on the internet rather than face my own problems.

What does God ask of me? The simple and boring, the acts of love that they don't talk about in women's magazines, the daily duties that require perseverance rather than sprints.


  1. Oh Caroline, how I wish I lived closer so I could be there as a flesh and blood friend for you! I have experienced similar sufferings, and I remember the isolation tendency and how it did not help! You both have my heartfelt prayers!

    Also, if it is possible for you to think of those routine activities as your "daily medicine," perhaps they will not seem so bad. Because really, the getting up and showered, taking that walk, going out and interacting with people; all those things are part of the remedy. I will pray that you will be able to start actually enjoying them, relishing that shower, breathing in that fresh air, noticing your surroundings. All little things that inch you toward healing.
    For me, depression is something I have to fight off. My really deep, bad days are in the past, thank God, but when I sense it creeping around the edges of my thinking, I have to immediately attack, by doing all the same things. I also try to get to adoration and daily mass whenever I can. Even if I can't focus too well, at least I am there in His presence.

    If you ever would like to contact me by phone, just say the word. I am back at my old job, working with the formerly homeless women, but my hours are scattered. My depression is in the past, but I remember all too well what it was like and my heart goes out to you and your husband.

  2. You don't know how much this meant to me. Thank you. I would love to chat. Is your email address on your site?

    1. Honestly I had to go look and I don't see that it is. But all my comments come to my email first and are not published till I release them. So, I will go and reply to one of your comments and send you my info. :) Sorry I was slow to see your response, Dang work! :)

    2. Darn! Big mistake on my part! So sorry. I just realized I can't reply to the comments I receive. at least not by email. Here is my email address: