On the Other Foot
I was talking to my husband last night (as we often do, seeing how we occupy the same physical space), and the subject turned to his particular mental health. We both accept that he’s got something ‘wrong’, but neither of us know what. I might know him better than just about anyone else, but he’s a very quiet introspective sort — one of our chief joys is being able to be alone in the same space. It’s companionable, but self-preserving.
Because of that, he often manages to surprise me with tidbits that I wasn’t aware of, or might have forgotten, or how certain things in his life effects his efficacy and sanity. He has a pronounced stutter, for example, and combined with being a not-scrawny person has always been very detrimental to his self-esteem. I know this, and I accept it, but it doesn’t mean I process it well — all the abuse and hatred I’ve received over the years has fuelled my stubborn to keep loving myself, ’cause fuck everyone else. But I hadn’t really known that he felt his attention span was too short to keep information in a meaningful way for say, jotting notes on his mental state. I consider him a proper clever person and I’ve always felt that he is most capable of remembering things. Having said that, but of us rely heavily on ‘Remind you to remind me to remind you to remind me that…’
I also have to remind myself that in those areas where we do overlap to not disparage on him. It’s so hard at times when you see other people suffering in areas you used to and think, ‘Hrmph. If I can beat that, so can you.’ We ALL do it sometimes, even if we know better. But then I have to remind myself that well no, it was no walk in the park to get where I am today. I joined the military in desperation for structure and discipline in my life. Some would argue with some success that signing away six years of your life to find structure and discipline is a very high cost. Maybe it was. But it gave me something very useful and key to my sanity that I nearly take it for granted. It means that I went from being able to do and maintain nothing to, even in the bad times, managing my daily writing and other minor commitments. This is a big thing, and I should recognize that.
Then of course, it comes around to what he had to deal with for the years between me moving here, and getting proactive about my mental health. I get to stand back to give him the space to approach his mental health, or not, as he sees fit and is able to. As I’ve told him many times, I will not nag him. I know that it is his personal choice, and just how much I appreciate that he gave me the space to find the inner strength and resolve I needed to move forward. I just hope that whatever decisions he makes for himself or doesn’t make for himself that I can be even half as supportive and awesome for him as he’s been for me. Admittedly, that requires coming out of my bubble a bit more… but I do try. That’s definitely one of my big reasons for keeping working on myself and my state of being — so my actions can speak louder than my words.
PS – A minor apology who is getting this twice. I’m trying to figure out plugin-related issues and it required posting fresh. Hopefully I’ve cracked it!
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