Years ago I went through a stint of watching a television show called “Hoarders”. I was in a unhappy relationship where I felt I was giving my all and not getting the same love in return. On this one episode it was of a very large woman living in a small home packed with things that gave her comfort. Her collections of stuffed animals and other knick nacks. The home was nearly impossible to navigate through and the kitchen was packed with so many things that the only thing that would work to make food, that could be accessed, was the toaster oven.
In this episode they interviewed the boyfriend of this woman. He was a good looking man, had a home that was clutter free, but he spent his time with her, struggling to get through the madness of her home so he could heat her up some food or just spend time with her. They asked him why he put up with it, he said…”Because I love her.”
While watching this episode I was shaking my head and saying to myself, “Why are you doing this, you idiot? This is YOUR one life you get and you’re wasting it on someone who is clearly sick. You could be doing so much and you’re here in this FILTH of an existence. Get away from the sickness and maybe you’ll see how she’s dragging you down into her pit of hell!”
Then he said he loved her and I was all, “Oh for the love of Christ. I am healthy, of fairly good looks, I am talented and loving and I DON’T LIVE IN FILTH!…why can’t someone love me like that?”
A few years later I was given that kind of love and I couldn’t believe I could be so lucky. Someone truly loved me.
On a photo shoot in L.A. I had a meltdown of sorts. I had been battling my 19 year anxiety disorder and had it mostly under control when all the sudden the anxiety turned into a depression I had not experienced for a very long time. I hid it until I got home and then and then I was unable to cope with any situation from everyday life. Everything was, “just too much. i can’t. i just can’t keep doing this.” The simplest of tasks made me so fearful that I would lock up and lay down, waiting for the nausea and hammering heart to subside. It felt like it never quite did.
It was soon after that I knew that I had to get on medication, talk to someone and hopefully get some kind of handle on what was going on with me.
I was working on the first month of medication when I started to slowly feel a shift, but that first month was trial and error of trying to get a handle on what time to take each medication so I wouldn’t wake up a zombie the next day. I was informed I should take it at bedtime. For someone who has insomnia I had to guess as to what time normal people went to sleep and I took it at 10pm. Zombie. The two weeks was trying to pinpoint the exact time to take it. Of course, by the time I figured it out, my body was use to the medication and I was constantly altering the time. It was a struggle with just that one aspect of the medication, the next came when I realized I had absolutely no interest in spending time with anyone, talking to anyone, I became very disconnected. I have interest and hobbies. I love to hike and take photos. The thought of leaving my house was so overwhelming that I didn’t do any of these things unless I was forced.
Work was a daily challenge. On a day to day basis I am unsure as to what kind of day I am walking into. It was my job to be certain that everyone always stayed calmed and if they didn’t, I did, so I could lead them through the chaos until it was over. All the while with a fake smile answering the phones and dealing with customers. By the time I got home through traffic I was mentally and physically exhausted. Yes, I was making it through the day without the thought of hoping my next breath was my last…but just to function. If I could get through the day without mentally shutting down it was a success and that is really all I was doing. A zombie with a smile.
This brings me back around to the episode of “Hoarders” where I was pissed at the guy for sticking around through her sickness. His one life.
This wonderful person I was blessed with, he spent countless days trying to find what it would take for me to be the happy person he was with when we got together. Bending over backwards to make me genuinely smile. The thing is, there was nothing I could do that could bring her back unless I went off the medication and got it out of my system. If I did that I risked being back in the dark place I was two months ago. Scared I wasn’t going to see my daughter graduate or the day they got married.
He would have stayed. He would have spent as long as it took for me to get back to the fun girl who tickle him and lay on the couch and watch stupid tv shows. I couldn’t do that to him. It wasn’t just him, I shut everyone out. My sister, my best friend, my family. If I had my wish, it would to just sit alone in my apartment in silence and stare out the window. Finally understanding why mental patients did that. It’s calming. You’re safe in there…you don’t have to communicate and try to pretend that you’re okay.
I could see how my illness was draining him too. It’s frustrating when you’re trying to do everything to get someone to want to live, to laugh, to talk…to be in love; to be normal…..and they don’t respond at all. He would have spent all this time trying to save my life when I wasn’t trying to save my own.
He hates me now. I understand all the things he’s going through. I broke up with him to set him free from all this, and also selfishly because it was breaking my heart to see him so sad. It was like looking at my failure in the face and seeing what I was doing to another human being. I couldn’t get well fast enough for him and I don’t know how long it will be until I am okay again.
I’m in an 8 week class and round 2 of blood tests. 3 different medications. I have no idea.
Someone said, “Hate isn’t sustainable.” and that is what I keep holding on to. Someday he won’t hate me for the choices I had to make to save my life….and his future.