Woman holding her face with her handsWell, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I kept waiting for my life to calm down, my husband to change. But life hasn’t, and my husband didn’t. And since I am sure I am not the only one struggling with hard choices, chaos, and turmoil, I figured I would write again.

I split up with my husband in August. The details are both tumultuous and wrenching, and that is all I will say. Except this – I was ashamed.

I was ashamed that a woman as intelligent as me stayed longer than I should have.

I kept forgiving and looking past his issues. I kept making excuses and even when I found myself clinging to an emotional rollercoaster, I held on. I didn’t hide or pretend like life wasn’t so bad. I kept seeing the side of him that I fell in love with. I kept seeing the part of him that was funny and caring. I kept seeing the family and the life we created and feared losing the kids because they were his and not mine biologically.

I believed that we understood each other in a way not many others did because of our similar health issues.

My health has wreaked havoc in my life.

Besides the moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis, I am hypoglycemic and have secondary fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis in my hips and knees, spinal OA (degenerative arthritis in my spine), celiac, and am hypothyroid. I also recently learned that I have inflammatory arthritis in my spine, radicular neuropathy, and have scored very high on the scale for sensory processing disorder with multiple senses. In addition to all these things, I have recurring bouts of anemia, struggle with low vitamin D levels, and have anxiety and depression on a regular basis.

And I’m ashamed to admit my health is one of the reasons I didn’t split sooner with my husband.

He and our daughter have both helped dress and undress me when I was in horrific pain and most vulnerable. My daughter and son both got me heating pads, brought snacks to me, and really went out of their way to be kind and loving as only children can be – in that honest and raw way that is often lost by the time we become adults. They were there when I needed help getting medication at the store, walking across a room, even feeding myself.

I stayed too long in my marriage because I was scared out of my mind to be alone.

I didn’t think I could take care of myself. What would happen if I couldn’t work? Or couldn’t fix food? What if I had a migraine so bad I vomited for several days? If I became overheated in the shower and couldn’t catch my breath and was unable to walk, who would help me? What would happen to me?

All those questions raced through my mind multiple times a day. Combine these thoughts with pain so bad just going to the bathroom felt like running a marathon and that’s a mere inkling of the anxiety and fear and then depression that would overcome me when I thought about us splitting.

But then I realized I just couldn’t stay in the marriage and preserve my sanity. So, we split up.

I am now in transition with my job and haven’t found a new one yet. I am living in a new place with my dog and myself. I was not been allowed to talk to the kids in two months – my ache is tangible. I feel it in my throat and behind my eyes. I am heartbroken in a way that is hard to even voice or describe coherently.
But I haven’t felt better in years.

I started walking in the morning to deal with the intense anxiety and emotions– something I have been unable to do for some time. I have now lost almost 20 pounds and my sweet dog Edgar could not be happier.

I started therapy with a Behavioral Cognitive Therapist (BCT) who helps me with practical steps and strategizing what to do. And, my friends have come out in droves sending me messages and listening to me cry and sharing their own stories on my Facebook feed.

I am finally taking care of myself. My RA medication started kicking in, and I was able to get off my 24-hour pain medication and reduce my daily pain meds used for break through pain episodes.

I don’t have answers and my life is still very hard. But I am discovering myself and reinventing myself. Not dampened by a troubled partner or a troubled relationship, I get to be me.

And I am no longer ashamed.

If you are in a bad relationship please reach out. There are resources out there and people who get it. There are people who genuinely care. You can contact me through my blog.

Don’t let your fear ruin what could be in your life.