Have you ever had that friend/significant other/family member that you want to help but can’t? Not fix. At least, I’ve never tried to fix them. And I don’t mean help them like loan them money or bake them a cake. I mean watching them tear themselves up inside and being helpless to stop it. It’s something that I’ve experienced twice so far in my life and it’s something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. It’s like watching someone suffer with a physical disease. It doesn’t kill them, but it does eat away at everything that makes them vibrant and unique.
First case study was my college roommate. I loved her. And not in a ‘she’s a great friend’ kind of way. I mean, I really loved her. I am sure you remember, faithful reader, but I grew up in a very conservative farming community. As much as my parents were quite liberal, I’m not sure I actually met a lesbian until I got to college (there was one openly gay man at my high school). My roommate told me she was bisexual our first semester, though she never made a move on me. But that’s not what made me fall in love with her. It was her spark. She was so vibrant. I wasn’t necessarily sexually attracted to her, though I may have considered it had we pursued a relationship. She made me happy to be me because she accepted me as me.
And when she was that vibrant, sarcastic ball of energy it was wonderful. We were close and we did everything together. I even think we had an attached at the hip nickname at one point. Again, when she was up that was great. But when she would hit a rough patch, it was one terrible ride. She would lay in bed for days. I would bring her food to try and make her eat. I would try and bribe her with pie from the local Amish bakery just to get to shower. Helpless doesn’t even being to describe watching someone do that to themselves. Our senior year she finally decided to get help, but by then I had been too sucked in. I hated her for what she did to herself; for what she put me through. I hated that I just couldn’t make the depression go away. I mean I had depression too, but my dips and lulls were nothing compared to hers; I didn’t understand that. I just couldn’t take the suffering and self-loathing. Watching her destroy herself. I haven’t spoken to her in almost two years, ever since we moved. I told her that I loved her a few years ago and she just looked at me. Blankly, with nothing to say. All those moments when I felt helpless in college to make her better were destroyed in the look on her face that said she didn’t care. The last time I saw her she had had a mental breakdown at work because she forgot her meds and spent the day curled up in Sir and my bed until her husband (a real douchebag by the way) came to get her on his way home. She didn’t even say thank you.
With this extreme study as a groundwork, you would think I could handle anything. Sir’s depression is different. But it manifests itself as guilt and shame mixed with anxiety and fear. He always feels like he’s not good enough for me, or his job, or the kids. He never feels worthy. There is never kink on his bad days, he feels worthless, not dominant. And that has made me bitter. Yesterday he came home sullen and upset and I immediately got frustrated. And I hate that. Rather than be supportive and feel helpless I’m short-tempered and snippy. I hate that just want him to get over it sometimes. That I want him to believe when I say that he’s enough for me. That the kids and I couldn’t ask for more from anyone. He just sighs, says thanks, and mopes in front of a video game for a few hours. Most of the time he comes to bed late, grumbles when the alarm goes off in the morning, and is generally back to his old self by breakfast. Staying that way until he dips again.
I hate watching him beat himself up. He’s supposed to do that to me, right? The pain on his face lets me know I could never be a sadist. I stare horrified at his inner turmoil, not turned on by it. And what I hate more is how poorly I respond. I just want him to get better. I hate that I can’t be strong enough for him when he needs me to. That just because ‘buck up and deal’ was a constant part of my childhood means that I struggle with compassion for others when they need support. And that I’m worried that my college roommate sapped the empathy I generally produce. I obviously don’t judge those with mental illness. I have my own demons and we all struggle from time to time. I just hate watching those I care about hurt themselves, even if they don’t leave visible scars.
Brownies and fried chicken usually work for my mood slumps. Too bad others’ spirits cannot be lifted so easily.
This week’s Wicked Wednesday prompt was Zombies. And I guess I am starting to feel like one. Fighting in a battle against an enemy I can’t win. I can’t even see. And watching it eat away at someone I care about. The worst part is I almost hate them for not fighting harder. And I hate myself for thinking it should be that easy.
See who actually followed directions and wrote on the prompt of possibly sexy zombies on this week’s Wicked Wednesday.