Another early morning, and life goes on

I woke up early again today – got about 6 hours of sleep, total, which is not great, but at least I slept at all. Funny – when I was back from my weekend road trip, I slept 8 hours straight, which was pretty amazing, but since I’ve been back… well, not so much.

That’s to be expected, I guess. I was very, very active, last weekend, and I didn’t get a ton of sleep. But now I’m less active, just dealing with the day-to-day, as well as additional irritations at work. So, that’s getting to me a little bit — waking me up and keeping me up, no matter how I try to get back to sleep.

That whole adrenaline business is a trip. My head gets going, and before you know it, my body is awake, and there’s no turning back. The melatonin that was working for me, the first few days, is not working anymore.

Oh, well. Whatever. I’ll just use the time to catch up with some things that are hanging over my head. I have a lot of things I have to do, which are nagging at me. I’m sure that’s not helping me at all. It’s just this constant stream of to-do items that never seems to give me a break. Plus, my spouse is going out of town on a business trip this weekend, so I need to help them get their act together. They’re seriously spinning… have been a basket case for weeks, now. It’s pretty much of a drain, especially because all that spinning is coming from inside their head, with them creating drama and conflict where none existed before, avoiding uncomfortable truths about difficult situations they are creating with others, spending so much time justifying things that could easily be faced and fixed… holy crap – the things we do to ourselves and others…

But this weekend, I will have some peace, and I’ll be able to move at my own pace, get some work done, and not be intermittently distracted by their need for constant stimulation. How the hell did I end up with such a needy person? I swear. … Oh, actually, I know how that happened — once upon a time, I needed to feel needed, so marrying a profoundly needy person was just the ticket to make me feel good about myself. Now, I’m older, more experienced (I won’t say “wiser”), and I’ve dealt with a lot of the things in my life that ran me ragged, so I don’t have that same need to be needed.

Funny how that happens.

My spouse, however, has not changed much. If anything, they’ve gotten more needy over the years. They haven’t been helped at all by two decades of mental health issues, as well as increasing physical issues, thanks to all those years of poor habits (no exercise, poor food choices, etc)  I’ve stayed positive and supportive over the years, and I continue to be — encouraging them to make healthy choices and handle things more pro-actively — just being as supportive as I can. Yet, for some reason, they don’t seem very interested in being positive and pro-active. Unless they’re around other people. With me, it’s all about being a drain and a drag, from what I can tell.

I’ve been sorely tempted to leave them, many times over the past several years. Their bad behavior, their abuse and neglect of self and others, their freeloading (if you want to call it what it is)… it all gets to be a little much, after a while. At the same time, though, that’s not all there is to them. Like anyone, they are a mixed bag. And I’ve reached the conclusion, many times over, that the pluses of staying with them far outweigh the minuses. So, I stay. Plus, I don’t want it on my conscience that I ditched them when they were declining — which they are. I’m looking at a lot of long years ahead, if they hang in there… slowly spiraling downwards, mental and physical capabilities decreasing, thanks to continued poor choices.

I wish I could see another path ahead — maybe there is one — but short of us becoming independently wealthy to pay for the level of care they need to get their physical and mental house in order, I don’t have much hope.

Funny, how much your health can depend on whether or not you can pay for it. To do more than survive (and keep your teeth), you’ve got to be pretty much made of money. Or know how to work the complicated, convoluted system.  I’m in neither camp.

I’ve become a bit philosophical about my situation — kind of watching it from a detached distance. They make all sorts of really bad decisions about the people they do business with, and how they interact with people. They’re a bit of a sociopath, actually, with a hefty dose of narcissism tossed in there for good measure. All they seem to know, sometimes, is their own pain — and how to assuage it. If that means they take advantage of others and use them and take-take-take, then so be it. At lest

I also never know, when my spouse drives somewhere, if they will come back alive, or if I’ll get a knock on the door with a couple of cops telling me my spouse was involved in an auto accident, and can I please come down to the morgue and identify the body. They’re not a great driver, and they have trouble seeing at night, and something about the way they drive infuriates other drivers, who have actually chased them down the road, threatening them — for reasons my spouse cannot fathom. They also love to talk on the cell phone when they’re driving, which is a pretty terrible habit for them to have, considering that they have trouble driving even without a cell phone glued to their ear.

I often feel sick to my stomach, when they go away, because I don’t know what’s going to happen. But I have to let that one go. It’s beyond my control. There’s no point in me making myself sick over them. I have to take care of myself. I have to keep my own act together, or we both go down.

It’s just part of getting older, I guess. Couples often experience one partner losing their capabilities before the other — this past weekend, when I was visiting a relative in a rest home, I saw a number of couples where one was visiting or taking care of the other. It happens. Mild cognitive impairment sets in. Issues come up. Accidents happen. But people hang in there. I saw spouses sitting with spouses who’d had strokes, as well as couples sitting together on park benches – one obviously doing better than the other. It happens.

And we deal with it as best we can. In the case where there’s an injury that heals over time, that’s one scenario. But in the case where there’s no substantial recovery imminent, and what lies ahead is basically a long, slow slide downhill…. that’s another. And that’s the scenario I’m looking at, right now. My spouse is declining. That much is clear to me. So I’d better brace myself for the coming storms.

It’s funny — I’ve been denying this decline for some time, now. I haven’t wanted to think the best, I’ve wanted to be supportive and hopeful and positive. But a few weeks ago, I just quit staving off the sneaking suspicion that I’m married to someone who’s just not going to get all that much better — and is probably going to get a lot worse, in the coming years. Who knows if it will be 5 or 10 or 20 or even 30 years? It could go on that long. Granted, I’d be living with the love of my life, so that’s a plus. Yet, after a certain point, do they stop being the love of my life and become someone different?

I don’t know the answer to that. I guess I’ll find out.

If they don’t kill me first, with the stress…

Assuming that I don’t go to an early grave from dealing with a crazy person, I’m starting to look at my different options. I have always been deeply opposed to rest homes — they depress the crap out of me, and I can’t stand the thought of just “dumping” someone there. At the same time, though, after seeing my relative in the home where they’re at, and realizing that they actually are receiving good care and are more engaged on a daily basis, than when they were living at home full-time, I’m of another mind. It might turn out to be a good idea to make arrangements for them to go to a home, if they get to be too much for me to handle, personally. It all depends on the home.

Then again, if we could simply develop better community connections and be more social and have more access to people — instead of living off in the woods in this house, miles from our nearest friends — that could be a better alternative. Of course, none of the changes would happen without money, and since we have almost none of that anyway, it’s premature to be talking about any of this.

Still and all, it’s a relief to be thinking it through up front. At least I’m not denying it anymore. If this change is going to happen — and it has already started — then I need to keep fit and stay strong and take action on my own behalf. There’s no sense in me losing my own quality of life, because of issues someone else refuses to face and deal with. When all is said and done, I’ve got to look out for myself and make sure I’m as fit and as healthy and as strong as I can be.

Speaking of which, I’m going to join a gym. There’s a special they’re advertising that ends at midnight tonight.

Onward.

 

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Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

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