Wednesday, May 25, 2016

This is How You Drown

It starts small, a minor annoyance here, some frustration there. It's not worth it to even mention but it sits there simmering because you know you can't really talk to the person who is causing those frustrations, not when you know you'll only be invalidated.

There's the loneliness too, a lack of real social contact. You're busy though and not much of an extrovert anyway but it hurts to be excluded. Again, you can't really say anything though. What's the point, first of all? And really, you're probably making too big of a deal out of it anyway.

But it grows. You push it aside by being busy. The semester is hard and you're just barely keeping your head above water there. So you really focus on it, especially as the semester gets closer and closer to the end. You might just pass that class, maybe even get a grade above a C. You just have to keep on going a few more weeks.

In the meantime, everything else goes to heck because no one helps. Everyone expects you to do it all. Sometimes you try to in a spurt of motivation (or maybe procrastination because dang it, that one class is REALLY hard and you just don't want to deal with it right this second) but it never gets fully caught up. The tension increases but you struggle on. Sometimes you want to ugly cry but you don't. Conceal it, don't feel it. Don't let it show. You just hold it all in as best as you can. Sometimes little fights will happen but nothing big. There are problems but they aren't dealt with because you just don't have the time. Just a few more weeks to go and then I can deal with everything, you think. I just need to get through this semester.

The semester ends. You did well and made the President's List for the third semester in a row. Now it's time to get to work. You're going to tackle everything you're behind on, get everyone on a schedule. You're now home full time for the next four months. You have plans to write, blog, clean, eat better, maybe even exercise.

It's not so easy to transition to that summer vacation mindset. You're feeling unmotivated and tired all the time. You end up having to pay the rent because your husband didn't have the money for it. What?! Where did it all go?! You're frustrated and angry but determined that this too will be conquered over the summer months.

Then crisis hits. The electricity goes off because the bill (now over $1000) isn't paid. It's more than a month after April and even though there was an arrangement made, your husband didn't follow through. "I didn't think they would turn it off!" he exclaims. You have nowhere to turn. He tells you not to call your sister and when you call the coaching phone, no one responds. The electricity situation is remedied but the power won't be back on until the next morning. You shut down. No one sees it as an emergency. Perhaps it's not really but there's nothing to really distract you from it either. No power means no light, no power to charge devices, no wi-fi. You're angry with your husband because he was SO irresponsible but he won't even allow you to say anything without him turning your anger issues back at you. Besides, to him it's a big, fun, adventure like camping. He goes out and gets subs for you and the kids and you take two Xanax so you don't feel anything anymore. Conceal it, don't feel it, don't let it show.

Your sister is having her own crisis so can't help when you do finally call her. What can she or anyone do anyway? She calls the next day when you post that the power might not be back on before 3:30, more than 24 hours after it was turned off. She reassured you about the food (which would have helped the night before), then came by to take you somewhere for coffee and breakfast since you can't make coffee without electricity. At least the girls are at school and can get both breakfast and dinner.

The electricity thing gets resolved but the response from the therapist when you see him is not helpful. To be honest, you're hurt and you feel rejected when you're told that there shouldn't be more than a session a month at this point. The idea is to find NON therapy support. Yeah, lots of luck with that. That's not something that's worked well in the past.

You're back to where you were before though. Problems aren't resolved. Money is being spent on dinners out because you're not home due to babysitting. Never mind that it was a Friday and Friday is usually pizza night. Money is also being spent on a party that's planned by your 10 year old daughter. Not that a party is a bad thing but it was something thrown together with no thought to the money situation at all. Meanwhile, 20% comes out of each check for the tithes and your husband plans to pay for the two girls to attend Bible camp over the summer even though they're very likely to be eligible for financial assistance. After all, you're already receiving food stamps and the county very quickly paid off most of that $1000+ electric bill with energy assistance.

The lack of motivation doesn't improve and on top of it, you become sick with a cold. It doesn't take long for another crisis to come up though this time, it's something entirely trivial. Still, those emotions have nowhere to go anymore. It's been building and building and finally it erupts like Mt. St. Helens.

You're drowning and no one can see you are drowning. Worse, they're drowning you in the process.


Karen Loethen said...

Being with him is a problem. It's total chaos and unpredictability.
I'm so sorry, Janeen, all of the worst things... <3
I'm beginning to see your dilemma.

Janeen said...

Thank you Karen. It is chaotic and this is not the first time it's been like this. And to deal with that and at the same time be berated for going back to school, for working on a degree with the plan to get a job after, it's not worth it anymore.