How Did It All Start?

Mark's parents are gone, but surprisingly it was a very pleasant visit!  I got to know them so much better than I ever have and have a lot of respect for them.  I now what good, good people they are with such big hearts.  Even more surprisingly, Mark has been a bit bitter towards his parents but he really enjoyed them visiting an as soon as they left, he said he didn't realize how much he had missed them and commented once since then that he really misses his parents.  I can't even describe how huge of an about face this is!  So...even though I said it was awesome we moved far away and no longer have to ever visit them again, we have now decided to spend Thanksgiving with them.  There is still the issue of his sister; however, but maybe distance and perspective makes the heart fonder.  I feel absolutely no ill will towards her now, but really, it was always because of her treatment towards me and little comments she would make.  It was her that started the animosity between us.  We shall see what happens.  It's only one person in the entire family that I have ever had any issues.

I'm doing pretty well emotionally, but Mark is definitely not.  Maybe it's supposed to work that way. 
When one significant other is down, the other is strong so they can give them the support, or at least whatever support they willing to accept.

I was thinking the other day - what was the catalyst that a therapist decided I needed to be on psychiatric medication? I started to remember it.  I couldn't afford my therapist at the time, but for some reason she offered to see me for free.  I was with my abusive boyfriend and knew the best thing for us to do was break up, but I was convinced I was  unable to live without him nor did I want to.  And I was especially afraid that I could never love someone as much as him. I sat in her office and just cried and cried, completely opening up my heart to her, and after years and years of her being my therapist, I suppose she realized it was a true crisis situation and called a psychiatrist she knew who saw me that same day.  I didn't realize that meant psychiatric medication until he explained it to me and gave me two prescriptions:  Effexor and Xanax.  He told me how often to take the Effexor but not the Xanax, so I asked him about it.  I have yet to have a psychiatrist tell me this again, but he said the real danger was not taking ENOUGH of it and I'm sure he had to write a prescription with a dosage, so I guess it was huge.  I wouldn't have known then what a normal dosage of Xanax nor how often to take it would have been.

After a few more visits, he diagnosed me with "chronic depression".  Then came the ups and downs (not like there wasn't already) with my ex-boyfriend.  He ALSO thought he could not live without me.  Very tricky situation to be in.  Obviously I broke free because we are no longer together and wish he could cease to exist, that a genie could blink him away.

Many years later, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and my new therapist has finally given it a name.  Bipolar II, frequent bouts of depression but rare hypomania.  Yes, I would say for me, the true danger is how low I get and how quickly my thoughts turn to suicide.

I am so very curious what happened in anyone else's life that led them to take psychiatric medication and if anyone was diagnosed properly the first time they saw a psychiatrist.

I know I'm asking a lot, but if anyone would share their journey into the medication world, I would love to hear it.  Sometimes I still wonder if Bipolar II is the correct diagnosis.  Perhaps it still should be chronic depression but I can't ignore the fact that my hypomania isn't rational.  As my family doctor once told me about a different illness I have, there is no blood test to prove you have what a doctor says you have.  I wish there was, but I can only blindly believe what someone tells me is wrong.



6th Anniversary Today!

Today is our anniversary!  6 years, but we've been together over 16.  In 16 years, SO MUCH has happened!  Even in the last 6 years!  It's amazing to me how people can stay together this long.  We've weathered many storms and had some very awesome times together.  I wouldn't want to be with anyone else.  Yet...even after all this time, I still worry that we will break up one day.  Everyone in my life has always gone away eventually, except for this relationship.  I've never had any relationship - spouse, friends, family, last this long.  And actually, were it not for my husband being so stubborn about not letting me sabotage our marriage and take me seriously when I say we should break up, we wouldn't still be together.  It could be as simple as trying to find something on television.  I'll see that we can't find anything we BOTH like and what I say is automatic.  "We don't like ANYTHING the same!"  This used to lead to my breakup conversation - yes, over something as simple as finding something on television.  But now Mark just sighs and rolls his eyes and says "I know, we have NOTHING in common and need to break up, RIGHT?".  Then I realize where my train of thought is going and he's right.  I do tend to push everyone away whether I am aware of it or not.  Maybe it's a survival thing - push everyone away before they have the chance to push me away and hurt me?

I saw my therapist and we talked about Mark's mid-life crisis and I told her how difficult it was for me, not knowing what to say, how to react, what to expect from him.  She said she has a client dealing with the exact same thing right now, how her husband goes on and on, angry about his life, gets mad when she says something.  She suggested I try, when he is like this, to ask permission by saying "May I say something?" to him.  Sure, I TRIED it, but he just looked at me like "What in the world are you saying?".   I asked him what was wrong, and he told me that was not like me to say that.  I didn't give up, though.  I tried it a few more times during his rants and now he teases me about it.  I'll be talking and he'll say, "Can I say something?" and we both start laughing.  He thought I was being totally ridiculous, but only because it is SO not me to say that.  I'm not shy about stating my opinions to him in this area typically but I HAVE learned to just let him rant, go on and on, and if I don't say anything all is well.  In fact, I don't think he even notices that I don't say anything so I guess he's not actually talking to me but to himself.

I've gained about ten pounds and it is totally, totally freaking me out!  I feel horrible, but it's my own fault.  No exercise lately and not eating properly.  SO...I bought a package to the weight loss center where they helped me lose the last 25 pounds last time.  I say "helped me" but they really just gave me a diet plan to follow that included things I should never eat and phentermine.  Still, it was helpful with the worst time I have of eating what I shouldn't:  when I wake up in the middle of the night.  But...last time it changed my mood a bit, I wasn't as positive or something.  I didn't feel people were SO NICE here any more.  But only 10-20 pounds, less then three months and I should be good and can surely maintain that.  I know, so why couldn't I maintain it before?  Having a hysterectomy, sitting around for a few months and then overdoing it with my exercise plan until I felt SO HORRIBLE my doctor thought I had a thyroid problem really set me back.  So how often am I going to get a hysterectomy in the future?  Uh...never.  And I'll change my running program for now to the one on Runkeeper that is called "Running for Weight Loss" or something like that until I lose what I need to.  I mean seriously, I don't want to be wearing my fat clothes anymore!

Mark's parents are visiting us for a few days starting this weekend.  We set up the guest bedroom and I think it looks really pretty!  But it was dusty in there in general, and when we were in there moving around I'm sure we put the dust in the air, more so than what you could just feel by walking in, and my allergy to dust mites did not like that at all!  You would think that taking an allergy pill and singular daily would keep anything from happening, but no.  I think if you totally immerse yourself in what you are allergic to, the medication helps a lot, but it is not going to keep you from having some symptoms.  Just a theory, though.

Emotionally I am okay but I think I am getting my nights and days switched as far as sleeping goes. I need to figure out how to fix that.  I suppose if I do take phentermine again, that will most definitely do the trick!

There's a song, "Counting Stars" by OneRepublic that I discovered way before it became so popular.  For some reason, I just HAD to figure out what he was singing about and maybe made it way more deep than it is.  I showed the video to two people and shared what I thought the lyrics meant and asked them some pointed questions about themselves.  They acted like I was strange, like it was impossible for them to conceive a world that I was trying to describe.  I just gave up.  But NOW, they keep bringing it up, saying how they've really thought about what I said and asked them and NOW coming up with answers to my questions.  Maybe some things take time to search within yourself and find an answer.  I read the comments on YouTube and was really surprised that people were saying it was about something I never considered.  I don't think it matters - a song is whatever it means to you.  I am curious what anyone else thinks he is saying?

 
Counting Stars, OneRepublic
 
Lately, I've been, I've been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
But baby, I've been, I've been praying hard,
Said no more counting dollars
We'll be counting stars, yeah we'll be counting stars

I see this life like a swinging vine
Swing my heart across the line
In my face is flashing signs
Seek it out and ye shall find
Old, but I'm not that old
Young, but I'm not that bold
I don't think the world is sold
I'm just doing what we're told
I feel something so right
Doing the wrong thing
I feel something so wrong
Doing the right thing
I could lie, could lie, could lie
Everything that kills me makes me feel alive

Lately, I've been, I've been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
But baby, I've been, I've been praying hard,
Said no more counting dollars
We'll be counting stars

Lately, I've been, I've been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
But baby, I've been, I've been praying hard,
Said no more counting dollars
We'll be, we'll be counting stars

I feel your love and I feel it burn
Down this river, every turn
Hope is a four-letter word
Make that money, watch it burn
Old, but I'm not that old
Young, but I'm not that bold
I don't think the world is sold
I'm just doing what we're told
I feel something so wrong
Doing the right thing
I could lie, could lie, could lie
Everything that downs me, makes me wanna fly

Lately, I've been, I've been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
But baby, I've been, I've been praying hard,
Said no more counting dollars
We'll be counting stars

Lately, I've been, I've been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
But baby, I've been, I've been praying hard,
Said no more counting dollars
We'll be, we'll be counting stars

Take that money
Watch it burn
Sink in the river
The lessons are learnt

Take that money
Watch it burn
Sink in the river
The lessons are learnt

Take that money
Watch it burn
Sink in the river
The lessons are learnt

Take that money
Watch it burn
Sink in the river
The lessons are learnt

Everything that kills me... makes me feel alive

Lately, I've been, I've been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
But baby, I've been, I've been praying hard,
Said no more counting dollars
We'll be counting stars

Lately, I've been, I've been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
But baby, I've been, I've been praying hard,
Said no more counting dollars
We'll be, we'll be, counting stars

Take that money
Watch it burn
Sink in the river
The lessons are learnt

Take that money
Watch it burn
Sink in the river
The lessons are learnt

Take that money
Watch it burn
Sink in the river
The lessons are learnt

Take that money
Watch it burn
Sink in the river
The lessons are learnt


Easing into LIving with a Man in Mid-LIfe Crisis

I did some research on male mid-life crisis - what it was, how they felt, their typical reactions and what a spouse should do during this time. 

Yeah, seems like I was saying all the things they said NOT to say.  After I wrote my last post, it was maybe a few hours later, my husband called me from work to say how frustrated he was with me.  In my opinion, women usually want to "fix" their husband.  I want everyone around me to feel good, be happy, and will go to great lengths to do that.  Whatever he says he is unhappy about, I have a need to try to give him a new perspective to change his mind or at least feel a little better.  That's where his nickname of "Pollyanna" came from.

So...I read not to do that, and that is exactly what he said on the phone which got me to researching it afterwards.  I learned to give him plenty of space, that it has nothing to do with me although at times he will think and tell me it does.  I now have to concentrate solely on my own happiness, my own hobbies, my own life and let him go through his journey alone.  Apparently he will not be the same person on the other side, but perhaps a happier person than before. 

So now that I am no longer showing him how he is lucky when he is complaining things suck, I just agree with him.  I had NO idea how often my natural response was to try to make it positive, it is practically all the time.  I know this because I now have to think to stop myself from doing it, and it is a lot.  BUT...I guess that also means he complains a lot - about everything basically. I'm sure he has, but I can't remember him saying anything really positive lately except things like I love you and Bailey is such a good dog.  Well, he is, the best dog in the world! : ) My best friend, my constant companion, and oh, so very sweet, even though he is an ankle biter to strangers who come into the house!  But a 6 pound dog without all of his teeth just makes people laugh when he bites them.  It's still embarrassing and I do all I can to prevent it.

My life is boring, boring, boring.  But our anniversary is next weekend, and then Mark's parents are coming to visit us for a few days.  My biggest concern about them coming?  What in the world am I going to cook for them.  Mark and I each have our own daily breakfast we always eat, during the week I eat a Lean Cuisine and his workplace provides him lunch, and I am just left with making dinner for us.  On the weekends, we go somewhere for lunch and again I make dinner unless it is date night.  So what do I do about breakfast and lunch?  I have no clue.  Make pancakes?  Eggs and bacon?  And when people eat at home for lunch, what do they eat?  Mark's company caters lunch from different restaurants for him every day, and I don't think they will be happy with one of my Lean Cuisines.  I know that is probably weird not to know what to do for breakfast and lunch, but we have had our own system for what seems like forever now.

Emotionally I seem okay except I have no idea why, it just seems like I need a klonipin in the afternoons.  I can't really describe how I feel.  Just like I desperately need to bring how I feel down a notch.  Is it anxiety?  Too much coffee?  That's what it feels like so I should probably cut down the amount of coffee I drink and see what happens.  I have been drinking a lot, but I have in the past I'm sure and never seemed to have a need to "bring it down" a notch?  I could see where if I liked the taste of alcohol and had no klonipin I might consider a drink to calm me, but I hate alcohol and it gives me hangovers at just the slightest amount depending on what it is.  I can sort of see how people with bipolar disorder can become alcoholics now, except I'm still suspicious that it is the coffee.

Mark has been complaining that he seems to be gaining weight, things don't fit as well as they used to.  Well, I am DEFINITELY not going to tell him this, but he has been drinking about two beers per night now.  Those calories add up - guess he has never heard of a "beer belly".  I know he thinks because he runs he can eat whatever he wants, and he's right, he never seemed to gain weight, until now.  But it could also be the tremendous amount of pressure he is under at work, the unhappiness at his mid-life crisis, etc.  One time he was telling me about how unhappy he was and I told him he wasn't helping anything by drinking a depressant every night.  It would just sink him lower and lower but he didn't like that response.  When it comes to how certain things affect your mood, I'm a border line expert probably!  But you can't make someone do something they don't want to do and right now, he is so unhappy, I just give up, which I am supposed to do anyway.  He sees a therapist so they can deal with it together.

I still think it is weird that a few hours after I wrote my last post about how frustrated and upset I was, once he got to work and would have had time to read it, he called me all upset, kind of addressing what I had said in it.  However, why would he not have been frustrated with me over the same things?  I was at the end of my rope with him and he probably felt the same.  We worked it out though.

We are debating whether it is going to snow this week.  I say definitely not, he says definitely it will.  All I know is you can't trust the weather forecast for Chicago.  Whatever they say it will do, the exact opposite will happen.  I just plan things and ignore the weather forecast because it is always wrong anyway.





Husband in MidLife Crisis Rant

Life with my husband is still rocky, but I think I am the only one who sees it that way.  He is going through his own emotional crisis and I am just trying to avoid the wrath of the male mid-life crisis. Basically I think I'm trying to avoid him.  Being trapped in a car with him is awful.  He will start ranting and raving, maybe yelling if you consider being upset and raising your voice and I have nowhere to go with nothing available to distract me.  Yes, he's listened to me go on and on about how I feel, but I don't get upset with him when he tries to make me feel better.  I appreciate different perspectives and someone trying to build me up.  But anything I say makes him angrier, like I don't understand and truthfully, I guess I don't.  I've never had a midlife crisis like what he is going through so I don't understand, but he doesn't want empathy either.  He doesn't want to hear things will get better, that he IS successful, but I don't want to validate his feelings either.  What would THAT be like?  "Yes, you're right, you haven't lived up to your potential, your life is awful because this is not where you expected to be at your age, and I totally get it, you are a failure" when he's not!  But if I say something POSITIVE about his life, OMG, watch out.  I try to zone out, but trapped in a car with him, it's pretty much impossible.

What made me mad though, really upset me was when he said what he is going through is very similar to what I went through before I was hospitalized for being suicidal.  SERIOUSLY?  I *thought* he understood me, but apparently he doesn't.  Men going through a mid-life crisis do not check themselves into the hospital, get drugged, are constantly observed in a hospital setting to make sure they don't harm themselves.  AND...THEY get to keep their shoelaces!!  (If anyone has been hospitalized for being suicidal, then they will totally get that and how annoying that is). 

I don't want to minimize what he is going through and he has an actual diagnosed case of mid-life crisis.  But he shouldn't compare one to the other, they are TOTALLY different!  He said I would just come home from work, go straight to bed and cry.  Yes and?  What was his point because that is not what he does. 

HOWEVER, this is HIS emotional crisis, and I do not take it lightly, I just am unable to help him and if I try it makes him more upset.  A  job seems to define a lot of men.  I told him HE was the one that talked me into going to the hospital, trying to show him that he DID tell me what to do during my hardship, so what is so different than me offering him positivity?  Yes, I can listen and not say a word except to change the subject, but how rude is that?

Living with someone who is SO negative is really hard.   Yes, I realize living with someone with bipolar disorder is probably even harder, but it's like they are complete opposites.  On one hand, you've got someone who has an inflated ego and on the other, you have someone who thinks they are dirt.  I can't relate.  He said his therapist told him he needs to learn acceptance. 

I hope he accepts that soon.  I encourage him to play his game on his x-box, first and foremost because I know it is an escape for him, and secondly, we don't have to spend time together.  I basically feel like I live alone and told him I feel completely disconnected from him, but he disagreed.  How can he tell me how I feel?  Doesn't he see that we spend all of our time, even when he is at home, apart?  I no longer want to have date night and made an excuse last weekend why I didn't want to go.  What are we going to talk about exactly?  I'm trying to AVOID his emotional crisis because I can't help him, he doesn't want me to, I guess he just wants a blow up doll to listen to him but shut the hell up.

He has a short temper. 

Ugh, writing about this is dragging me down.  I haven't been posting a lot lately because I really don't even want to think about how I am feeling which is what writing a post is all about.  YES, I'm so appreciative of him allowing me to stay home right now while he works these incredibly long hours at work and from home.  But he's addicted to his Blackberry.  No matter where we are, what we are doing, even if *I* am in the middle of a conversation, he will get it out and check his mail and even sit there and write responses.  It's CONSTANT, like every couple of minutes.  Maybe he feels he is required to do so now, but what wife wouldn't be annoyed that their husband seems married to their job and not there for them, ever.  It's been happening for so long now that when I am talking to him and he does that, I just stop talking and get SO annoyed, but you know, I don't even think he notices.  I don't even think he realizes I just stopped my conversation in mid-sentence which tells me he wasn't listening in the first place, he is married to his job, not me.

I'm sure I have no right to complain, he takes good care of me physically.  But emotionally?  I have no emotional support and not just from him, from anyone.

Men In Mid-Life Crisis, Not Easy for the Wife, Either.

I'm not doing bad at all - no crying spells, I seem to get happy a normal amount of time.  But there IS a problem that I'm not sure how to deal with at this time.

I know that in a healthy relationship you are somehow supposed to detach your emotions from your significant other.  I don't mean not CARE about them, but not to let them ruin your mood or bring you down.  Is that actually realistic? Because I just don't know how to do that and get a tremendous amount of anxiety.  I'm the type of person that wants to "fix" everyone.

My husband is going through a rough time emotionally right now.  He's got a lot of stress at work, woks way, way too much, and says his therapist said he is going through a mid-life crisis.  It is very difficult to listen to...all the time we spend a significant amount of time together.  It usually seems to come up a lot when we are in the car together and I'm trapped.

I've learned from him that a man's way of crying sometimes is to get angry.  When he complains about being unhappy, treated unfairly, his life not turning out the way he wanted it to and is SO down about it, it does effect me.  It effects my whole mood. 

I end up getting so anxious that I take klonipin over the whole thing.  I don't KNOW how this will end.  It's pretty much about his job, but also his place in life.  I consider him very successful, but apparently he expected to be so much more than he is now at 37 (omg, really?  37? He is the highest ranked professional at his age in his department, yet that means zero to him.)

A man's mid life crisis is so incredibly difficult and I have no idea if or when it will end.  I don't know how this will turn out, and I hear so often when men go through this they get younger girlfriends and divorce their wives.  That isn't so much on my mind, but I am constantly trying to be, as I am with other people and I wish I was this way for myself, the glass half full person to him.  But that infuriates him more, so instead of giving what he calls "Pollyanna" advice, I've just learned go with it and agree with what he says. I am not saying that he is wrong in his views, his feelings are valid and his reality.

I just wish he would DO SOMETHING about his complaints and anger (it's not towards me).  I constantly suggest and that, but it's his life and he is going to do what he wants, even if that makes him miserable.

So when he feels this way, I do take on his emotions, it can totally bring me down. It may be a sense of the "unknown", I have no idea what he is going to do or feel on a daily basis, and especially what he will ultimately do.  He said over the weekend that he wished he would just die.  I don't take things like lightly.  I asked him if he was thinking about suicide and he said no.  But then I asked him if he would tell me if he was, and he responded with "Probably not".

After telling him there was no way I would move back to Texas, now I just want him to be happy, whatever that is.  But it gets so old, hearing the same complaints all the time yet he does nothing about it to change anything - his circumstances, how he feels - nothing.  That is so opposite of me. I go to the psychiatrist, to therapy (when I don't cancel) to do anything I can to "feel better".

We are also opposite in what we think of ourselves.  I tend to think I'm not good enough, not worthy of anything, while he thinks a whole of lot of himself and everyone else (he works with) are idiots and he is better than they are.  He becomes frustrated when he sees other people be rewarded when he thinks he has done so much more than they have.  And honestly, he has done miracles.  The work he just completed made national news.  I was in SHOCK about that. Supposedly everyone at work considered it a "miracle" he was able to accomplish it, and I don't disregard him telling me that.  He is the most determined person I have ever met in my life.  I have seen in his personal life, once he decides to accomplish something, he does it, things I have found impossible.  He does not fail, it's not an option for him. It is truly an inspiration and I have no idea how he does it, but he pushes himself too hard. 

Because I take on his emotions, I am constantly anxious.  I want him to be happy, in a good mood, but he really isn't, probably ever.  And there's nothing I can say or do that changes his mind, just for him to call me "Pollyanna".  He doesn't WANT to see things differently, he doesn't WANT to consider other reasons for things.  I'm the kind of person that thinks of reasons why people who do things that upset me might have done them, and perhaps not have meant it.  Obviously not ALL the time, I get pretty frustrated, but of course it is easier to look at someone else's life, not your own, and see it that way.

I've got to figure out how to let him have his feelings without it effecting me.  That seems so rude though.  To be in a good mood in front of him when he is obviously feeling mentally tortured.  I really think he should go on an anti-depressant for a short time, but maybe I'm wrong and there is no way my suggesting it would get him to do it.  He loathes taking psychiatric medication.  And...since that is my answer most of the time to "fix myself", that doesn't mean it is the right answer for everyone.  He is entitled to his feelings, not saying they are wrong at all, I just want him to be happy.

It just sucks to feel one way the minute and be totally frustrated or down in the dumps because of his emotions, his inability to mentally turn things around.  He said his therapist told him to stop trying to manage my emotions, it makes him unhappy, and that is good advice actually.  Wish I knew how to do that as well.
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