As I mentioned in my previous post, I get derailed easily if my strict daily/weekly routine changes. I said that the biggest thing that gets me off track is when my husband gets sick. Well, he was sick with a bad cold last week, and it felt like my world came to an end, especially because this is the worst time of year for me. Once again I realized how dependent I am on him, which I hate because I want and am striving to be more independent.
The first day of his illness, he still drove me to my psychiatrist and dentist appointments, because I haven’t driven in over a year due to anxiety. Also, I’m too scared to take a taxi service. Sit in a car with a complete stranger and depend on him/her to drive you to your destination? No, thanks.
The second day, I could barely get out of bed knowing that I had to face the day without his taking care of me: he’s the one who makes the coffee; he’s the one who takes the dog out in the morning and late at night; he’s the one who cleans up after the cats eat because dumping leftover (wet) cat food in the trash gives me the dry heaves; he’s the one who cleans the litter boxes; he’s the one who cooks; he’s the one who deals with food delivery people because I’m often scared of interacting with strangers. And, except for cooking, he did all these even while sick. Again, except for cooking because I can barely make a grilled cheese sandwich, I know these are little things that I should be able to do, but I can’t. And I’m not lazy — I’m depressed and anxious.
When I finally got up, hours after I normally do, I burst into tears. I sat on the edge of the bed wanting so badly to cut myself or punch/slap myself upside my head, but I didn’t. Unlike the past, I didn’t want to cut because I wanted to transfer the emotional pain into physical pain; I wanted to do it to punish myself for being such a loser. He sat next to me and asked me why I felt like cutting. I said, “Because I want to do things on my own but I can’t, and you’re sick.”
He replied, “You’re sick, too.” That was incredibly kind of him to say, but that’s the type of person he is — kind. I felt bad that a part of me didn’t believe it even though the other part of me knew he meant it, and that it’s true.
I’d been doing so well, walking to my physical therapy appointments by myself, and walking Rudy alone. My mood had improved because of the Prozac my psychiatrist recently put me on, and I thought I was stable. My husband’s being sick is a trigger for my anxiety and depression. I don’t blame him obviously, but historically, this is true.
I cancelled my 2nd physical therapy appointment of the week I had scheduled that day, which I’d done the last few weeks because I haven’t been able to get myself there. I couldn’t shower, could barely meditate, and just wanted to lie on the couch and stay there all day. Instead, I rallied: I got dressed and walked Rudy that afternoon. I also posted a blog post because it was already written, so that was easy to do.
On the third day, my therapist and I had a phone session, and she pointed out that when I’m feeling low, I see all of my perceived inadequacies through a magnifying glass instead of seeing the whole picture. She reminded me of my progress: going out alone, which I wasn’t doing when I started this blog in August. This helped put things into perspective, at least for a little while.
The weekend went a lot smoother because my husband felt better. I finally got up at a normal time and showered, but I really had to push myself. As some of you know, for me, not getting up nor showering for several days are red flags for an oncoming depressive episode, which I was worried I was spiraling into. But after we went out for brunch, which was the first time I left the house in 2 days, I no longer thought I’d go into a depression, which was a relief. I posted a blog post because again, I had already written it ahead of time (which I usually do).
I still kind of feel like a loser because I reacted to the situation emotionally rather than responding to it reasonably, and was unable to do so. (I’m writing about reacting and responding in my next post.) I feel like a weak person who depends on her husband too much. Yes, I realize that I’m mentally ill, but sometimes it’s hard to separate that knowledge from the way I feel inside.