I cannot think
I have no feelings
My heart is gone
My husband went to prison. Many people would say: “Good that is what he deserves”, however that is not the way I look at it. When people hear my story, many gasp and say “oh my gosh”, however that is not the response I needed.
After my husband was arrested, I fell into the deepest depression I have ever felt. I didn’t know things could get worse in my mind. I didn’t know there could be a new level of giving up on my life. To say I felt like a failure or to say I couldn’t think straight or to try to express my feelings in any way, would not express the depression I was in. I lost over 40 lbs. I couldn’t eat; I couldn’t sleep. It took every bit of energy I had to be able to talk to anyone because I just wanted to be alone. I tried to be the person everyone expected me to be and that only caused me to feel worse. Everyone wanted me to hate my husband, they wanted me to not ever forgive him or even talk to him again. I couldn’t do that. Remember, the one thing I have always liked about myself is that I am “too nice”. I don’t judge and I don’t get mad at anyone. I hated myself for causing my husband pain. I hated myself for causing my children pain. I hated myself for causing my parents pain. I hated myself for all the decisions I had made that affected everyone’s life in a negative way. In order to heal, I had to get back to being me because if I couldn’t like myself, I could not ever move forward.
I was afraid to be in my house alone. The quiet would ring in my ears and no matter how I tried to stop it, it wouldn’t go away. I found myself pacing the floors and breaking down for what appeared to be no reason. First my heart would start beating so fast it hurt; then I would feel sick to my stomach and my body would feel hot and flushed; then my head would feel like it was going to explode. I would start to hyperventilate and feel like passing out. My emotions were uncontrollable, I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t concentrate on anything; even when I realized my mind was drifting, I could not control where it went. If only I could make my mind not remember. If only I could replace the memories with something good. I struggled within my mind because I couldn’t figure out if I was afraid to be home because of the events that had taken place or because of being alone. All I knew is my heart would start to pound as soon as I got in the house. The harder I tried the worse I felt and the deeper my depression became. I was always the person that handled all problems and made sure everyone was okay, why couldn’t I handle this? What was wrong with me? Was I losing my mind? I am not a stupid person, why couldn’t I control my thoughts? Why couldn’t I figure out what was right and what was wrong? My mind would tell me I should be a certain way and my heart would tell me something different. All I could think of was going to sleep and never waking up. My life was now consumed with two main thoughts; 1st to find a way to pay my bills, pay for my funeral and have everything in order so my husband and children would not have to deal with anything after I was gone; 2nd to be sure my youngest daughter was okay since she was the only child not living on her own I needed to know she would be okay when I was gone. I tried to tell myself that my being gone would cause my family even more pain…if I could convince myself of this maybe I could stop thinking of dying. I couldn’t’...I couldn't convince myself because all I could see is the hurt everyone was feeling and it was all my fault. I felt like I was a bad person and that I was being selfish because I didn’t want to be mad, I wanted to forgive, I wanted to find a way to work things out…my wants were causing others pain and again my mind told me that everyone would be better off without me. The struggle going on within myself was taking over my life. It is a feeling I cannot describe…to be sad would have been a happy state of mind compared to what I was feeling. I just wanted to feel peace….why couldn’t I feel peace?
I went to a doctor for help and was put on some sort of anti-depressants. They took the edge off, however it didn’t take long for me to realize I felt like a zombie with no feelings at all. Which is worse…no emotions or extreme emotions? I went to counseling groups to try to understand my feelings. I couldn’t find support for the feelings I was experiencing because of the different levels of my depression. Groups that dealt with abuse, told me to be strong and to prepare myself. They focused on how to protect myself. Groups that dealt with addiction, told me to distance myself from the problem and to not take responsibility for “his” problem. Individuals that I tried to talk to, told me to not believe in my husband and to get away from him. No one seemed to understand the core of my depression. It was not the abuse or the addictions it was the struggle within myself. Nothing helped….it only made me feel worse. I felt like my mind was going to explode. I couldn’t think straight because everything in my mind conflicted with my heart.
I guess I can admit that my depression was due to my husband’s actions. However, it is not due to the things he did. It is because of his actions, I was forced into a struggle within myself because of my inner most feelings and beliefs. There is no way to express what I felt like, there is no way to explain the thought process I was struggling with because to say the words out loud would mean I would have to live with what others thought of me. I would be labeled as “stupid” or “naive” or even “weird” and “not normal”.
Everyone thought they understood my depression, they even said it was “normal after what I had gone through.” Everyone knew what was best for me…However no one knew who I was. I was/am not a person who holds a grudge or who judges. I was/am not a person who thinks negatively about situations. I was depressed because I felt guilty for causing pain to everyone. I was depressed because I couldn’t express myself without being judged or labeled negatively. I was depressed because I felt like I was causing separation between my family, because of my beliefs. I was depressed because no one understood that I loved my husband and all I wanted was for him to get better so we could resume our life together. I was depressed because I couldn’t be me…I had to not get upset if they talked bad about my husband…I had to act as if I was ready to end my marriage…I had to pretend to be someone that I was not.
I made a commitment to my husband till death do us part. I made a promise to God that I would do everything in my power to honor my marriage. I believe in forgiveness. There is a difference between forgiving someone and knowing the things they did were wrong. It is not my place to judge the things that happened. It is my place to forgive as I would want God to forgive me for the wrong things I have done.
If I cannot live according to God’s will
I would rather not live on this earth