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Tag: acceptance

I told my wife I wanted to die.

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Trigger Warning: Anxiety, Suicidal Ideation, Stress, depression

If you’ve been following me for a bit, you might know that Welcome Home Healing (hey, that’s this blog!) is a friendly corner of the internet. We talk about the fact that I have Cerebral Palsy, depression, and all kinds of things. I’m also a volunteer crisis counselor for CrisisTextLine.

In every day life, and in the volunteering I do, I talk about suicide, debt, substance abuse, personality disorders, chronic illnesses, divorce, death, child abuse, and all kinds of sticky topics on a daily basis. By no means do I ever feel desensitized to talking about these things, however, they’re not necessarily shocking or surprising to me, and I’m grateful that I can have honest dialogue about such difficult issues.

Honest and open dialogue has the ability to prevent hurt feelings, relationship difficulties, and the most preventable cause of death: death by suicide.

I’ll explain more about this, and how you can be receptive to someone who is having thoughts of dying in a future post. Right now, I’d like to show you what happened when I told my wife that I wanted to die.

Some of you might know our situation and what we had to leave behind in order to get our lives back together, but if you don’t, here is the condensed version:

I come from a traumatic background, she does too. In 2014, we got married as husband and wife. In November 2017, after finding out I had PCOS, we suffered a miscarriage. Early 2018, she came out to me and told me she wanted to start Hormone Replacement Therapy, as one major source of her distress had been caused by Gender dysphoria. We were in the throes of family issues, and trying for our second child.

In 2017, we entered Marriage Counseling, and we decided that we are better together. We have remained committed, and yes, we still love each other very much.

As you may have already guessed, I’ve sacrificed more than enough to make our marriage work. Do not be mistaken, my wife has as well. We have sacrificed and prioritized each other, and somehow, we realized that it’s a waste of time to resent or be permanently angry at each other.

Sounds stressful, right? It is. So, when stress and the inability to cope decided to come knocking at my proverbial door, I began to truly feel like living was much too hard and that the future would look better without me. In short: I wanted to die. This was only a few nights ago. Tonight, I’m glad to be alive.

I didn’t call a counselor, I didn’t text anyone – I went to the one person I’ve been through a lifetime of events with in just a few short years. I went to my wife after recognizing the signs of suicidal ideation in my head. I went to her, I said:

“I don’t want to scare you, but I really need to talk. I really need someone. This is serious.”

Immediately, she stopped what she was doing, and we went to our bedroom. I sat up, and let her in. I told her that things had gotten out of hand, and that I was really overwhelmed and sad. I told her that I wouldn’t hurt myself but that the thoughts of suicide had gotten too heavy. I told her that I was having trouble handling everything we’d gone through and that I’d felt like a fool for letting things get so messy in my head. I told her, that yes, while I was confused and scared by everything, I had also been upset with her too, but that I still loved her and that it was time for us to really think things through – or put everything to bed, including our marriage.

I thought she’d shut down. I thought she’d minimize the situation, and I’d go to bed feeling sad and unheard. But man, when I tell you she showed up for me, she really showed up.

She listened to me. She validated how stressful things had been on me, and she owned her part in being the creator of a portion of that stress. She sincerely apologized and said she would always be there for me.

In response, I LET MY GUARD DOWN. Holy crap you guys, (and ladies, and humans) I am such a guarded person that sometimes I forget I’m the one who constructed that wall. I forget that she can’t do her job as my spouse, if I don’t sit down, shut the fuck up, and OPEN THE DOOR FOR HER. LET DOWN MY WALLS AND SHE CAN HELP ME. How can she know what my needs are, if I hadn’t asked her for help?

So, I’m sitting there, like, “Wow, yeah I forgot to make room for two, didn’t I?” I also opened up and owned up to my portion of the mess we had created. And hours had gone by. I was talking and talking and crying and she was too. And then I realized, once more, THIS IS WHY WE ARE STILL MARRIED. THIS IS WHY IT DOESNT MATTER IF SHE’S MY WIFE NOW, RATHER THAN MY HUSBAND. BECAUSE WE SHOW UP. CONSISTENTLY, AND WHEN IT MATTERS MOST, WE HANDLE THINGS WELL, TOGETHER. BECAUSE, MORE THAN ANYTHING, SHE’S MY FRIEND.

She’s my friend. She’s my friend. <3

I had just told my wife, my absolute best friend, that my anxiety was getting the best of me, and that the world she exists in would be better off without me.

She listened to me, without interrupting me. She listened to me, and then she validated my feelings. Afterward, we began to talk about our next steps, and then we collaboratively problem-solved. Sometime later, we held each other, like always. We got up the next morning, renewed and looking forward to the new life we are presently making with each other.

Now, 90% of the resentment and frustration we held onto is gone. Simply because now I know that she does love me, and that she does listen to me.

(90% means the major hurdles. 😉 it’s a fake percentage I used for demonstration purposes).

As for my wife, she got to see me, the real me, in my rawest form. She got to see me breathe for the first time in a long time. She got to see me, the me that is unwound, lackadaisical and creative, a fellow gamer, and as always, a sucker for love and happy endings.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, if you feel unheard, invalidated, ashamed, afraid, please know it’s okay to talk about it. I am here.

You can also text HOME to 741741, and you’ll be connected to someone who cares, and someone who will listen and be there for you.

I’ll have my resource page back up soon, if you are in need of other connections.

Welcome Home.

I love you.

You’re safe here.

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Tomorrow

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Tomorrow I’ll be back in the swing of things, and I’ll once again be posting regularly. I’ve moved and was without steady internet connection for a while. I have not abandoned this home I’ve made. I hope you, little reader, forgive me for my absence. There is still a place for you in my heart and in my words.

I have still kept my word that I’d put everything into this blog as well as into my artwork. Currently, I have an amazing air mattress (I’m not kidding, it’s amazing)! and a projector that serves as my TV. Honestly, it was a pretty cool idea.

My apartment is empty but my heart is full. When we rid ourselves of the “stuff” that was weighing us down, doors opened, literally and figuratively.

I don’t feel broke, or broken. I feel accomplished and confident knowing that when we need to, we can make our lives work. Making decisions that are scary can be liberating.

We had to sell our vehicle for a cheaper one. We don’t regret this decision, although it really stung to trade in a car that had just recently been paid off. Upon leaving the dealership we got pulled over and were warned that we had a brake light out. Needless to say, we were both pretty irked, as it was sold to us this way.

Freedom is indeed chaotic at times! All we have is each other now. We do have a good friend near. The three of us do our best to look out for each other.

Once settled, I’ll do my best to build again, one day at a time.

I’m excited to get back to volunteering with CrisisTextLine. It’s the one thing I’ve missed most while being “unplugged” for the good old internet. I missed putting my time into something that saves the world, I guess.

I know my latest posts have been conversational, and perhaps even a bit off the beaten path, but if you’re still with me, thank you so much for being here during this tumultuous and beautiful time. We’ll figure it out as we go. Tomorrow somewhere between 1-5, I’ll do my best to liven our humble corner of the internet up again.

I will always remember you, fellow bloggers, artists, wayfarers and dream chasers throughout the day, and hopefully keep you good company as I continue telling you stories of healing through written word.

I love you.

Welcome Home.

You’re safe here.

I am pretty peaceful these days.

Paying Homage to Caregiving, and Being Taken Care Of – Part 1 of 2

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On one hand, living with a disability or chronic illness creates so many barriers; nearly all of these vary or are contingent on a plethora of routes and lives lived up to this moment/up to the onset of disability.

On the other hand, supporting someone with a wide variety of needs, such as someone in a wheelchair, or a loved one who is meeting the passage of time – that’s no walk in the park either.

It is difficult to be the helper. It is also challenging to be the one who needs help. At some point, we all will be fortunate enough to understand both perspectives and their respective realities.

If we are in this dynamic, we might find ourselves feeling guilty for what we can or cannot offer the other, both may feel inadequate or undeserving of the other at times, and because it feels as though we are on opposite sides of the fence more often than not, this can also mean we are prone to forgetting what a sacred relationship we’ve been given.

In my life, out of all of the other relationships I have witnessed or been part of, there is no greater relationship in which two people are more able to give and receive love than that of the caregiver and the loved one to whom care is given.

I have been fortunate enough to see both sides of the “helper/helpee” coin. I’ve needed help, and I’ve been there to help others as well.

One thing that I see most often from people who have Cerebral Palsy, a Traumatic brain injury, or another illness is their struggle with allowing themselves to receive the assistance they deserve.

For some, it may be a matter of pride, modesty, or sheer self-reliance; for others, and I suspect for all of us who have had to look to others for support, and in harsher circumstances, survival, the issue is a matter of much more than surface-level traits. With this in mind, I’d like to express my perspectives on what it felt like to be in each place drawing from my own, perhaps limited, but no less truthful experiences.

To the beloved well-meaning caregivers:

You’re doing the best you can with the tools you’ve been given. These resources are often limited and scarce, and it is you, the advocate, nurturer, and lover who often bears the brunt of your family member’s/patient’s/client’s frustration. I see you. I personally thank you. You are doing God’s work.

If I may, I’d like to remind you that the resistance to your help isn’t out of stubbornness or a desire to be contrary: Resistance is often just a big word for fear. Fear of being of too much, fear of being seen as more of a taker than a giver, fear of facing the prison we sometimes find when seeing our atrophied legs or degenerating muscles, or our declining mental health.

We know we’re difficult to be around. We know you’re tired. We feel that. We know we’ve been in eleventy-seven different moods by the time night falls. We know, no matter how much your good heart denies it, that sometimes we ARE the reason you’re burnt out.

We want you, our caregiver, to know its okay to be tired, and yes, we know you’ll never admit to this because you dont want to hurt our feelings or cause us to feel as though we’re a chore to be dealt with.

Sometimes that makes us, the loved one you’re taking care of, sad. Not because you’re doing something wrong or because we are ungrateful, but because we want your life to mean more.

We don’t want to be the reason you’re held back. We love the quality of your care and of the neverending reach of your love; so much so, that we would also love to share the gift of you in your entirety with some other well-deserving people too!

We often feel as though you’re chained to us by unfortunate circumstances, and we forget that you’ve chosen to care for us because you love us. Sometimes we need to be reminded that you’re here by choice, not because you got stuck with us. Remind us that we didn’t get any less cooler just because we need you more than before.

I’m willing to bet we both forget why God placed you with us: because you have more than just the capacity to love us best. You’re also really good at it, even when you think you’re falling short.

You know just how we like our coffee, pancakes, and sometimes you have to put us to bed or remind us to eat, take our medicine, or tie our shoelaces. You manage to do these things without making us feel worse about the fact that you’re probably the only one who cares enough to do these things.

Let’s not forget your remarkable and convincing arguments on why we’re not the burden we see ourselves as: It is a core belief system you’re working with when helping someone who is disabled in some way.

Speaking from the perspective of someone who is disabled but also works as a volunteer crisis counselor: There’s so much pain involved in asking for help than one might realize. In a sense, it is similar to a collapse of self.

Asking for help is more than just succumbing to percieved weaknesses or afflictions. Oftentimes, grabbing the hand of someone who reaches out to assist you says a great deal not only about one’s level of trust in the person, but of their trust in the world as well.

If I grabbed onto someone else’s lifeboat before I found yours, and the last person tried to drown me under the guise of saving me, I’m going to think twice about accepting your help, even if you’re trying desperately to drag me to shore. Re-establishing trust/building rapport/showing me your intentions is important.

Asking for help is revealing to you that I am a vulnerable human being. It is giving someone access to a wound we would really not like to be shamed for.

There’s a reason no one likes unsolicited advice and hovering, though the intent is to help. Sometimes it communicates that a person may not have enough faith in the bond that is shared, or in the abilities of the person you’re advising. After all, if you’ve told me I can come to you, will you keep giving me advice, or would it be better to let me explain to you what my needs are, and then you help? How can you help if you don’t know what my needs are? Jumping in to help can tell the person that you doubt their abilities; ultimately, you don’t trust them. They will respond in kind, even if you’re intent was the opposite.

Asking for help is an art, just as much as giving it is. Trust that the person you are caring for will come to you after you’ve built a bond, and they will come to you; otherwise, it can come across as nagging, harassment, a sales-pitch or manipulation.

See? All of that is required before someone can comfortably depend on you, especially if they’re disabled and need to keep boundaries in place more so than another.

TLDR, if we bite back, we’re scared. It’s not that we don’t love you, it’s probably just that we’ve forgotten that you love us.

Nosedive

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I’m excited about what lies ahead. In a few weeks I’ll be starting over.

I’ve become comfortable with uncertainty; it’s even a bit thrilling. I’ve always known that nothing is certain, but this time I feel it on a soul level.

My motivation, and my stubbornness have carried me this far. Not only that, but my faith and absolute determination to not take no for an answer.

I’ve had to sell nearly every item in my house, publish a patreon, fight tooth and nail to not let greed get me down, forget that pride exists, and loosen my grip.

Nose diving into my life with reckless abandon isn’t so scary once you’re off the ledge.

I’m in awe at how I’ve surpassed myself and my expectations of myself as well.

But, a one-man-show is never a one-man-show. I could do nothing without the help of God and the people who have been there to catch me as I was free falling.

An invisible army is still an army.

To you, Sweet Baby

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I cant seem to smoothly connect with you in person, to no fault of your own. My baby, I know that you’re trying. It pains me a bit to know that I love you on paper, more than I do right beside you.

Still, when I am gone, I will leave my writing to you, since all of this was inspired by you, and written for you, by me in the first place.

I love you. I admire you. These words will never suffice, because my anxiety, and codependent thoughts get in the way.

I really appreciate you.

Seven years. We’ve been through your gender transition, the loss of our only biological child, our family stepped out quietly. And I’m not the greatest at coping with Cerebral Palsy.

You still bathe me. You still clothe me.

You still hold me. You hold me when rent is past due; when the debts are high and the accounts are low, you still hold me. You believe I am worthy to be embraced.

You play Stardew Valley with me. You make time for me.

You believe I taught you what love was, simply because I stay; when it is you teaching me how to love – calmly, steadfastly, and quietly.

Thank you.

I love you always.

-Your Wife

F*ck it. Smile.

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You know how we see motivational speakers and when they’re done speaking, for a few minutes we believe the world won’t eat us alive? Me too.

I’m not saying that your dreams are too far out of reach; I’m not saying that you shouldn’t believe their light.

I’m saying that at this very moment, I’ve done all of the things that my spirit and creator asked of me. I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone, I’ve let myself see and be seen, and I’m proud of myself.

Still, it sucks when then there is little to show for it.

If you’ve put your last few dollars into a dream, your last bit of faith in a cause that seems to turn it’s head, if you’ve struggled to see results, or if you’ve doubted your purpose at all, I’m here with you.

When It seems easier to light a match and watch it all burn, while simultaneously flipping the debris a middle finger, (I can’t believe I’m about to say this) SMILE.

Can’t pay rent? Fuck it. Something will shake, or you’ll move on. See the road.

Got cancer? Fuck it. You’re still alive and beautiful. Your sickness does not define your legacy.

Homeless? Fuck it. Mortgages are expensive.

Negative in the bank account? Well, now you damn sure cant give those thieves your money.

I empathize with you, and I say these things to help laughter bubble up in your chest.

When we can’t choose anything else, we can choose to laugh.

I love you.

Welcome Home.

You’re safe here. <3

An LGBTQIA+ Story

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Hi there. My name is Carla.
(pseudonym: Esmeralda Marie)

My wife’s not much of a talker.

Yet, the past few years had been engulfed in more silence than usual. She had shut down, even to me. She sat in front of a computer screen, her face turned to stone; her body always felt like it was holding on for dear life.
Her eyes darted to and fro, and I realized she was frightened. Of what, I could not tell.

I began to assume that perhaps it was me that frightened her. Maybe she realized that taking care of me was too much for her. (I have Cerebral Palsy, so I use a wheelchair to get around).

I had put on weight since my miscarriage and was no longer social as I usually was. We were buried beneath life. Only, we could not put our finger on where the pressure had come from.

Eventually, she started to tell me things.

She told me she felt ugly. She felt like she was disfigured. She was uncomfortable.

She would often tell me how badly she wanted to be the spouse I deserved: a spouse that was capable of giving and receiving intimacy, that wanted to be my friend, a spouse whose flesh did not turn to ash when I touched her.

I awoke on December fifth, 2018, with hope, which was unusual, to be honest.

Actually, it was the day my wife came out to me and told me that she was a transgender woman. This would explain why the ‘man’ I loved all this time was uneasy, unsettled, and absent.

This would explain a lot.

I am not unfamiliar with the LGBTQIA+ community. I have always been an active ally, and I understood the fear that was associated with coming out. I am supportive of her transition.

Admittedly, though it did take a while for my perception of her to adjust, after realizing she’s still the same person, the fear of losing our marriage de-escalated.

Since coming out to her family, she was told that she would not be able to visit ‘if she had titties’. She was told that she could ‘dress up’ in her room, but that she would never be accepted as a woman. It has not been safe for her to see her siblings.

She has since had to take on three jobs so that we could make ends meet, and family that we both cherish no longer has a relationship with us, because we’ve been “ghosted”.

As her wife, it has also been painful to hear the assumptions about us. It has been assumed that she has had an affair, that she has betrayed me, that she has used me. Of course, this does little to make a tough situation easier to navigate.

I would like to make it transparent that I am not angry at anyone. It is not my objective to point fingers at or to shame anyone. There is enough of that to go around and I don’t intend to spread any more negative feelings surrounding something that has brought so much light back into my wife’s eyes.

I am not suggesting that everyone should be ashamed of themselves for not knowing the proper terminology or etiquette, for not being as loud as me in my support.

What I am saying is that we need to start treating each other as people. All of us. Stop making assumptions; stop living in fear as soon as you can, and be brave enough (and courteous enough) to ask appropriate questions.

As someone in a wheelchair, I am often faced with similar discrimination, including gatekeeping. Therefore,

It is not only about what we identify as. It is not about fighting fire with fire. It is not about the obstacles or about the questions we face, but in the questions we choose to answer and in how we choose to answer them.

God loves all of us. God loves questions because questions lead us closer to him.

Most of us, including myself, feel that there is something wrong with misunderstanding. There is nothing wrong with not knowing; none of us have all the answers.

However, choosing not to do better is our own responsibility. Choosing to remain ignorant even after a human has said,

“Please, try to understand me. Please, call me by my name. Please, love me, because I love you, please acknowledge me as a living, thinking, feeling, human being, because I accept you”,

is a choice we must live with. It is a choice. We all have the right to make them. No one can take your choices away from you, nor should they try to.

By asking you to acknowledge the existence and the validity of transgender human beings, I assure you with all sincerity that I am not trying to change your mind, or your beliefs, or your faith for that matter.

I am asking you to love them.

Love requires acknowledgment and acceptance of the entire person.

Loving the sinner, but hating the sin is an excuse. It is a poor excuse for a person to say, “I love you, but I don’t love all of you“,

or “I’m afraid of what my love for you will do to my image, but I don’t want to be seen as unloving,” so I will say this to avoid fear.

It is simply convenient.

Human existence is not convenient. Stores are.

I am asking you to step out of your comfort zone and into the love zone. I am asking you to lose your life to find it.

Again, I’m not here to change your mind. I realize that no amount of reasoning can change a set mind.

I’m here to lift your mind. If I cannot change it, I can lift it.

My wife has spent every day since 2012, bathing me, clothing me, and loving me despite her own fears, despite her internal struggles. My wife has shown me more love than I have ever been shown in my entire life.

My wife is a transgender woman who has shown me more of what Christ resembles more than anyone I have ever been around in my entire life. She did this by loving me.

She did by this clothing me when I had a bad day and took it out on her. She did this by bathing me when I was too sick to do it myself. She still does today. We have lost everything, but in losing everything we have found joy in recognizing who we really are and what we’re supposed to do with our lives.

So, when someone tells you, or someone you know that they love someone, but their opinions prevent them from doing so wholeheartedly, please tell them of my wife.

Tell them that her existence, and yours, is not and will never be an opinion.

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