Oh, another week begins. We had a good weekend. Spent a lot of time outside enjoying the much needed warmth and sunshine. We went to Jake’s grandparent’s house for a bit and really just hung around the house. I made my first ever homemade quiche, and I must say, it was delicious! I posted on Instagram that I would share the recipe soon and my goal is to get that up this week for you guys.
Today’s post though is sort of piggybacking on my last post about Jake’s RA. I thought the next logical step in updating on our family and telling the story of the last six months was a post about control. Letting go of it to be more specific. I am an anxiety-riddled control freak. I am a total creature of habit and even the tiniest of changes can send me into a bad place, so you can probably imagine that the changes that happened over the course of those few months threw me for a total loop, but not even I expected what I was in for.
At first, it was good. I worked to kind of integrate Jake more into our daily lives. He helped me when I needed to do school with Addie, Piper’s behavior was so great with him around and in general, we were just getting to spend A TON more time together. Which I had been craving for a long time. But those first couple weeks turned into a month, 2 months, 3 months and somewhere around mid-December, I kind of lost it. I felt like our life was not our life anymore. I wasn’t happy he was around all of the time anymore, finances were getting uncomfortable for me and I started to go through; what I believe is probably normal for any spouse of a person with a lifelong illness like this, serious resentment.
Full Disclosure: He will tell anyone the same thing I am about to write here, and in the interest of being honest and transparent, I don’t feel like I can tell this story adequately without talking about the ugly parts.
At some point he got very depressed. I don’t know when it happened, because I was focused on my world and controlling everything I could so we didn’t crash and burn as a family. I took the hats he usually wore and put them on my own head, and unbeknownst to me at the time, he felt didn’t have a place anymore.
Jake’s always been the breadwinner, like I said in my last post. That was Jake’s drive in life, providing for his family, making sure I could home school, blog, whatever- Jake’s job has made that possible, along with a careful financial balancing act. Our life worked because Jake worked and I did everything at home. So I think somewhere along the way, Jake lost his identity. He started sleeping a lot. I don’t mean sleeping in, I mean not getting out of bed. I couldn’t get him out of bed for anything. We stopped laughing together, we stopped talking at all most days. So our marriage started failing and then the toll fell on our girls too. Everything became a struggle.
Like I said above, I took on the job of us both, in every aspect. That coupled with the need to control everything, caused me to fail at everything I was taking on. I kept picturing myself spinning plates on those sticks in the air, adding another one and another one. Everything was bound to come crashing down but admitting that was hard for me. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t control what was happening to me, to my family and to Jake. I was working as hard and as much as I could here on the blog, getting school done, mouths fed, bills paid- alone. Except, I wasn’t alone- he was here. I just felt alone.
It got to the point where everything boiled over big time and Jake left to stay with his brother for a couple days. Over those hours, I slept very minimally. I went over the months prior over and over again, trying to figure out where we went wrong in our plan. He was making progress with his health, the infusions were starting to work…why were we all now suffering? Why could he not muster the motivation to even move?
I remember crying for what felt like an endless amount of time and then finally it stopped and it dawned on me that there was no controlling a storm like this. It had to run it’s course. It had to destroy things in it’s path, things we worked really freaking hard to build.
Looking back now, I truly believe that all along this needed to happen to us, to show me that some things just cannot be compartmentalized into pretty boxes. Life is a mess, for all of us, at one point in time or another. Marriage is hard folks. Marriage isn’t always pretty photos in a field of colorful flowers and laughing faces. It can sometimes be a daily struggle to look at your partner and sometimes you see someone you don’t recognize anymore.
After he came home we talked and cried some more, then he made a promise to me that this would never happen again. I didn’t need that promise from him though, because I had already told myself I would learn to lean into the turns more from then on out. I decided imperfections make life more interesting. All I needed was for him to push a little harder and keep doing this with me. To not give up on himself or me or our family.
He did eventually pull out of the depression when he started his new job and made the daily conscious effort not to focus so much on what was happening inside of his body. I try very hard to understand what it must feel like to be in his shoes. To have to quit being an EMT, his passion, because he physically cannot do it any longer. To feel like your body is breaking with every step you take- at 27 years old. I can’t even pretend to know how that feels.
I do however, know what it is to watch him suffer and struggle mentally and physically and not be able to make it go away. I know the feeling of complete, 100% loss of control, and feeling like I was on the cusp of losing my best friend, my marriage, my life partner. This diagnosis has really done a number on the both of us, all four of us really.
That said, I am thankful for that turbulent time in our life together simply because, for whatever reason that I will probably never know, we are a couple who grows stronger with adversity. During hard times, our roots just dig in deeper and harder and we’ve made it through many a storm, maybe not of this magnitude, but we’ve had our share of crap go this way, that way and sideways on us.
I am sharing this with you though, because I want you to take the time to find a way to let go and live, like I am trying to do. Even if it means you merely survive for just one more day. You have the permission to simply make it. I think we finally start appreciating life when we stop trying to manipulate it into what we think it should look like. I think once we loosen the reigns a bit, in any facet of life, we can see more clearly. The blinders come off, the sun feels that much warmer, happy times are that much sweeter and that my friends, is the entire point of this life.
If you made it this far, you deserve a prize. Thank you for continuing to follow along on our story, and as promised- I’ll continue the update as I can! For now though, tell me below, are you a control freak? How do you cope?