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Tag: relationships

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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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.

Validation

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In someone else’s story, we are a villain. Despite this, we must know our own truth. Knowing is not enough, however.

In addition to knowing our experience, we must also give ourselves back to ourselves.
We must reclaim our lives back from the people, places, and even the very things that bring out the victimhood in us, even if our biggest obstacle is our inner critic.

Learning how to talk back lovingly but assertively to the voice inside that tells us we are undeserving, too lazy, too noisy, too loud, too much – is, therefore, an indispensable key to living life wholly again.

Validation of self is far more effective than validation from another. We won’t always have someone there in the flesh to make us feel good. We won’t (or don’t) always have a lover to tell us how beautiful, priceless and intelligent we are.

Self-love begins the moment we realize we don’t need someone to tell us we poop gold because we already know we do.

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

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