Over the past several months I have struggled mightily. With relationships, work, personal stress, trauma and essentially anything else that was thrown my way.
Recently, my life came crashing down. I had been feeling not myself for a while. I had a pair of deaths in my family, my son suffered a pretty bad injury, although it could have been much worse, my job was becoming too stressful and had been taking over all aspects of my life for a while, and beyond that my wife was teetering on the edge of leaving me. On Thursday, my wife informed me that she believed that she was done with our relationship. I had pushed her away for so long, I had spent so much time at work, that she had grown to be normalized with the idea of being alone.
We obviously discussed this at great length, and by the end I was left with a void, she seemed unwilling to try and salvage what we have. Due to recent traumas in my life, this hit me even harder than it would have normally. I felt tingling sensations all over my body and I began to feel nauseous. The conversation ended with both of us in tears and no resolution in sight.
Despite the fact I was clearly hurting, the next day I decided to return to work. As it turns out, that was a major error in judgement. As I was changing into my chefs uniform in our office, I began to cry uncontrollably, I tried to wait for this to subside but after an hour and a half I decided to leave. That night my kids were sleeping over at their grandparents, and my wife went out to a baseball game with a friend. I was all alone for the first time since these feelings began. I drank. And I drank. And I continued to drink until my drinking options were limited. I tried to give her the space she needed but I was so hurt it was nearly impossible. So instead of sending her text messages I did what any broken human would do and relentlessly cyber stalked her to see how much fun she was having while I was crumbling. *Note: This was very poor judgment because she appeared to have a great time.
The next day my wife had a trade show 40 minutes from where we reside. She called me soon after leaving letting me know that she had forgotten certain displays she needed for the event. I believed this was her reaching out to me finally after days of being ignored and hurt. As it turns out, she just needed displays and after they were delivered she promptly told me to leave her alone. I had reached out, gotten excited and been promptly rejected by the person I love the most. I have never felt shame and embarrassment like I did in that moment.
I returned to my car, only a few hundred feet away from my wife’s booth and began to go into crisis. I hated the person I was, I hated everything about myself in that moment, I hadn’t thought about suicide but I contemplated doing my family the favor of just being gone. I clearly held no worth. When it became clear to me that something major was happening psychologically, I reached out to my family doctor to try and get a rush appointment. I thought “I can hold out a few days like this if I need too” well a few days for an appointment ended up being 5 weeks. My heart crashed.
I could feel the blood rush from my head, my entire body began almost vibrating, I had tunnel vision, I had begun sweating profusely, I thought I was dying. I took myself to my doctors office in hopes they were doing walk-ins. I spoke with a lovely doctor that told me I should seek help at emergency with the hospital crisis unit. The idea of that scared me a great deal, I had seen wife wife deal with those situations but never myself. I had always been clinical in the way I dealt with emotions, never taking a moment to acknowledge my difficulties. Never allowing myself to cope with the horrible things I had seen in my past. Never allowing anyone to see me vulnerable. Vulnerability was weakness after-all, I am not weak. But as it turns out, I wasn’t weak, I was broken.
The crisis team at the hospital took great care of me. My wife even came to sit with me during all of this, she seemed supportive enough but yo could tell she resented having to be there for me in that moment, which hurt. The psychologist diagnosed me with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and he believes I have been battling it for many years. In my mind PTSD was an illness for those who have seen the worst of humanity with frequency. War veterans and emergency service workers, not me. My sons injuries he sustained and the initial thoughts I had of him passing away had been haunting my dreams nightly.
I hadn’t really slept since he had gotten hurt. That moment was a trigger for my illness and now I will live with this for the rest of my life. The sadness I have felt over the past few days has been extraordinary. I am dealing with problems I would have never begun to believe were possible for me. My entire life, I struggled with self-esteem but I could always rely on the fact I had my intellect and rationale. Now I couldn’t trust my greatest strength. So what had I become? and what was even more devastating was who would help me.
With the marriage issues where they are at present, I am lacking the support I need in these times. I understand my wife needs space, but I am crumbling and scared and alone, I have so many fears and yet my greatest lays with the idea that the love of my life will go away. She has been my world for 11 years, she is the most beautiful woman in the world, and she has no idea.
She doesn’t know because for years instead of giving her what she needs, I prioritized work, and when I was tired instead of telling her how happy she makes me, I assumed she already knew. And now she wont look at me or touch me or talk to me.
Mental illness is a terrible thing, you don’t know your sick until everything falls apart. Then after it crumbles you don’t have the coping mechanisms to deal with the damage your illness has caused your life.
All I can do is keeping charging forward, doing the right things and trying to rebuild the life I love so much, and for once that includes me.