Over the course of the last 10 years or so -- is it really that long? -- since my husband's first injury and now, just two years or so since his actual diagnosis with RSD, I've done a really good job of keeping it all together. Or at least that's what I've thought.
Friends will say things like: I can't believe how well you cope, or, He's so lucky to have you. While really I can't get past the part where it's his life that's hard. My life is great, I have my health, I can go to work every day, I can get out of bed, I can go to the store and drive my car. I've really gotten almost tired of the feeling that people are worried about me when, let's be serious, if there's anything at all wrong with me it would probably just be the guilt. You know, the part of you that feels bad when you leave the house, the part that hurts when you are able to hike the hill and he's at home just waiting for you to come back.
Is it really possible to guilt yourself into physical illness? Sometimes I do think so. If for no other reason than the horrible sleeplessness that's really taken over my night-time. I'm not sure why I can't sleep, I just know that it's difficult. Oh, sure, as soon as I lay down I fall quickly, but that's a result of sleep deprivation. I am so exhausted, it's not unusual for me to fall asleep before even the 8 o'clock shows are over. Then I'll wake up somewhere before midnight and, boom, that was it. Now I'm awake. I'll play around on the computer, maybe sew, lay down off and on, but really no success. By about 5 in the morning I'm starting to get really tired, and then I may be able to get in an hour of sleep, but when I get in the shower I just know that I'm going to be struggling through my day at work.
History tells me that this sleeplessness is a symptom, and yes, I know that it is. I probably even know what it's a symptom of. And for this reason I have finally sought some help. So today was my second session with a counselor, someone my general practitioner recommended. It is amazing how hard it is for me to talk about myself and even how guilty I feel going to this person. I haven't confessed this act to my husband yet, and I don't know that I will. He feels bad enough as it is, he shouldn't have to worry about me. I'm not clear how long I will see this person, how long it might take for me to wake up and figure out how to get back on an even slope (though isn't the definition of a slope a slant?). How am I supposed to help him when I'm sliding downward myself? And his energies really would be best spent taking care of himself and certainly not worrying about me.
So I've begun to make sure I'm "taking care" of myself and today the assignment given to me was to think a few times during each day about what it is that I'm feeling. Really, truly ask myself: How am I feeling right now? And then I'm supposed to write down my responses and keep track until my next visit. Well, this is enlightening. I didn't even get halfway down the road when I realized that most times my answer will probably be "mournful." Even the word saddens me, more than I already am.
I guess I'm mourning the loss of so many things that it's been hiding from me that this is what I'm feeling. The loss of our bright future together, the loss of a love life, the loss of having someone take care of me occasionally, the loss of innocence at the world (there are bad things that happen and it's been proven now), the loss of who I was before. And those are just the first ones that come to mind when I think of me. I certainly have a whole other couple of lists related to my husband and my children.
Oh, woe is me, I can't believe I went from the perkiest girl in class to this! But this is why I've started seeing this person. I believe I can get back to that perky girl (oh, yeah, I guess I'm no longer a "girl" -- age has a tendency to take away that moniker!).
So it only took me to my third blog post to get to the real truth of why I've started blogging. I need to journal, but I hate to write by hand. Putting my thoughts out in a blog is a bit risky, as who knows what others will think, if anyone will really read this, but it is an opportunity to get down somewhere -- really, of course, out of me -- what's going on and how it makes me feel. Cleansing really.
I promise to not dwell forever on the sad. Please check back as things get better, as I know they will. Then I will spend more time talking about my husband's illness, how it came about, what the diagnosis is, and what it means for him. Because, after all, I do believe that this is the best use of my space. I have been so enriched reading the blogs of other RSD sufferers and their spouses, I can only hope to achieve maybe half of what they have for me. It's just great to know we're not alone.