How long are you supposed to fake it for? I mean really? I feel like I have been going through the motions for so long. I am not happy in my marriage. There, I’ve said it. I’ve been pushing it to one side for so so long but the thing with being bipolar is that, those niggling little feelings that the ‘average’ person may be able to sweep under the carpet become all-consuming and eat away at your entire being.
I would love to be able to pretend and just paint on a smile and carry on regardless but it’s something I’m really not good at. The hardest thing is my Kid. She is the world to me and she senses when I am sad. I don’t want my unhappiness to affect her. As a child, my parents were so fucking unhappy – they wouldn’t even speak to each other, so arguing was never an issue. But I knew. Of course I knew. My mum told me numerous times that they were staying together for the sake of me, even though I begged them not to. In my young, logical brain it would have made much more sense for them to go their separate ways and both have a shot at happiness. But no, they did it for me – so they both lived in misery until the day my dad took his last breath at ages 50.
Now don’t get me wrong, my own marriage is not as extreme as that but he knows that I am not happy. He can read me like a book and he can sense that the issue is not just one of mental health but of a nagging unhappiness within our marriage. We still do everything together as a family but it feels that we are there as separates, interacting with our daughter. He tries so hard, grabbing me into a bear hug and ruffling my hair but I just don’t ‘feel it.’ Does that make sense? It’s like I have created an invisible bubble around me and no matter how many times I try to pop it for the sake of all involved, it just doesn’t work. My husband worships the ground I walk on and the thought of hurting him tears my heart out but I just wonder if I’m ever going to feel the way I used to.
I wish it were as simple as sex. Just a case of “Oh you just need to spice things up a bit and inject some passion into your lives!” Sex isn’t the problem – I wish it was. Sex has never been an issue for us – our sex life has always been incredible but it kills me that I don’t feel the connection to him like I used to.
I feel like I just need time on my own. To just be on my own but when there’s a gorgeous, wonderful, sensitive child involved, it’s just not that simple is it? So the question is, how long do I keep faking it?
The other night I met with my friend for coffee. In order for this post to make sense, you need to have read Broken…
It has been several months since he made the decision to leave this life. Several months for those who know him to begin to come to terms with their grief and continue with their lives in the absence of him. But not her. As we sat in Starbucks, we talked about the practicalities of how her life was going. I was fully aware that she has put herself under a lot of pressure to get back on with her life and resume working, despite the fact that she shared an office desk and entire working life with The Love of her Life.
We talked about how his things had been cleared out. How she begged his family to let her have several of his shirts which meant so much to her, yet nothing to them. The callous bastards threw the lot in black sacks and sent them off to the charity shops, leaving my poor friend having to track them down and tear through the bags while the ladies working in the shop looked on. We discussed how her counselling was going – she is undergoing EMDR for the post-traumatic stress of having found his body after his suicide. We talked about how her boss is being supportive of her need to do reduced hours and work every other day at home (can you blame her – she spent every moment of her working day sat next to him).
Nursing enormous mugs of Starbucks we talked through all this bullshit in the typical ‘stiff upper lip’ British way. And then she looked at me; really looked at me and her face crumpled. “B, what the fuck do I do now?”
And this is where the problem lies. There is nothing she can do. Absolutely nothing. She is left with a tangible anger that is burning inside of her. She knows that if she’d had 24 more hours with him, he would still be here. She knows that he took his own life without employing any of his ‘go to’ strategies. How the fuck do you move on from that?
She thanked me. She said through this whole scenario I am the only person (and she has a massive network of family and friends) who has not resorted to the bullshit cliches of “At least he’s in a better place now” or “There was nothing you could have done – he obviously wasn’t in his right mind!” I have said none of these things because I know that they are pointless. I know that if someone had said this to me, it would have meant nothing.
She appreciates that I am able to play Devil’s Advocate for her. She is glad to have the viewpoint of someone who does have a mental illness and who has contemplated suicide several times before. Having seen the complete devastation that has been caused it has more than likely saved my life.
But coming back to point. Moving on. How can she even begin to? I wish I had the answer for her. More than once I have told her that I would give anything to be able to take away the pain from her. When I look at her and see the shell of the person she used to be, I ask myself “Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?”
She’s probably asked herself the same question a thousand times over…
Finally, I can breathe. I am on my own tonight for what feels like the first time in forever. So here I sit in my back garden with coffee, cigarettes and the Mac. No, I don’t even smoke but I need something to take the edge off. My brain is in overdrive and to quote my favourite band Shinedown, “I feel like I haven’t slept in a century…it’s killing me.” I have been wound up so tight I feel like I could explode. I can only assume that I am manic.
I am beyond relieved that my husband is away for the night. I am sick of trying to fake it. I am sick of trying to convince him that I am happy. I am not. Am I depressed? No. I just am.
My best friend who is single and moans about it every second of the day, would argue that I should feel grateful to have someone who cares. Someone who loves me and worships the very ground that I walk on. In theory I know that I should. My rational side knows that’s how I should feel. Except I don’t. I feel smothered. I feel stifled. I feel that who I am is only ok as long I’m putting up the facade. What if I don’t want to fake it anymore?
I spent yesterday at a spa. It was a gift from my husband to me for my Birthday which was last week. The idea being that I could spend the day alone at the spa and enjoy a treatment whilst spending the rest of the day relaxing and making use of the facilities. I was so overwhelmed with social anxiety that I ended up coming home hours ahead of schedule just so that I could spend time in the house alone by myself without my daughter or husband.
When my husband is away, instead of feeling overwhelmed by complete childcare responsibilities as I would assume I would, instead I take it all in my stride – my daughter and I have a great time, getting done what we need to do whilst having a bunch of fun. In his presence, I feel the need to pretend to be the happy wife and mother who is fully aware of how lucky she is. He knows that I am not happy. He can read me like a book. He thinks that he can fix me but the thing with being bipolar, (or is it just with being me?) is that I’m never going to be fixed.
I’m sick of pretending.