Wow. It has been a year and five months to the day since the last post. Aptly titled “Hope > Doubt”, I’ve been trying to grapple with that idea ever since.
If context clues are your game, you probably can guess from the previous sentence that it’s been a struggle.
A few weeks ago, a coworker mentioned a blog she writes for fun. It reminded me that I used to do the same thing… except swap “fun” for “last desperate attempt at sanity”. I had just gotten my second laryngeal surgery, and wanted to see how things had changed since I last wrote. Or more accurately, I wanted to prove to myself that they had.
When you’re sick, it can feel like life is a lazy Susan of medical procedures, spinning round and round. When you spot your favorite horse on the carousel, you know the tiger isn’t far behind. When you get laryngeal surgery, you know it’s followed by two weeks of voice rest (or for me, two weeks of feeling incredibly stifled), two weeks of trying not to freak out about the fact that your voice isn’t normal, two months of post-op visits, two months of voice therapy…
And then, if I look at last time as an indicator, after two months I will be back to the same swelling.
That sentence is the hardest one to fight.
After reading over a few posts from this old blog, I realized my mindset had not changed. Every post was, “I’m trying, but…..” I have always felt entitled to the crushing sadness that accompanies voice loss. It was my sadness. Take away my voice, but at least let me cling to this.
I felt entitled to get upset over every little thing. Because I was going through something so terrible all alone. Something no one understands. While they seemingly shoved their misunderstanding in my face with ignorant comments, misuse and taking for granted of their own voices, and ill-advised advice.
After realizing my mindset was stuck, I decided to unstick it. I decided to be happy. To choose happiness. To be positive.
With my particular condition, there is any chance it could get better or worse. It is equal. So why dwell on the negative? I have just as strong a chance that things will be great. That this surgery finally did the trick. That it was the last one.
And I did really well for a while. For two weeks, I maintained a positive outlook. I let the negative thoughts pass through my mind without stopping to chat with them. I didn’t give them the chance to say, “Yes, BUT…”
Then this weekend came. I don’t know what happened. I had voice therapy for the first time since surgery five weeks ago. And the night before it I felt a little anxious and couldn’t feel comfortable in bed with Jack. It was too hard to let go. I ended up fighting with him and making him feel bad about my discomfort. I made him feel selfish and inconsiderate. I don’t think he is those things. But my anxiety… I don’t know. I don’t want to make excuses. But it came out. Somehow, things I don’t really believe to be true seem to come out at the worst time.
The next day after voice therapy, the anxiety had grown from just occupying my stomach to also inhabiting my chest.
By the time I got home from therapy, I had an hour to get ready for a wedding. I tried meditating for five minutes. I was able to let go more than I thought I would, but when I was done it seemed like I was right back in reality.
I made the bed. I got undressed. Just keep doing things that you have control over. Do things you’re supposed to do. You can feel sane. You will feel sane.
Then I fell crying on the bed. It was a relief. I had wanted to cry since the night before. I still don’t know why. It was in and wanted out.
After a minute, I pinched myself and remembered that I now had 45 minutes to get ready for the wedding. Got up, wiped my face, and started getting dressed.
I got ready like nothing was wrong. Turned on some music, danced with my make up. I told Jack I was feeling anxious. A little later he hugged me, but other than that nothing happened. I wish something had happened. I needed that to be acknowledged. It was so hard to tell him I was feeling anxious right before we went to his good friend’s wedding.
I felt selfish. I started hating myself for feeling anxious.
By the time we got to the wedding reception, I was all but done.
I ended up on my own for probably an hour, crying in his car. I didn’t tell anyone where I went because they were all talking with people and there was no reception – not good excuses, but enough justification in my mind at the time to not communicate.
He was upset that I’d left. Or that’s what Amy said anyway.
By the time I finally reconnected with him, he was nothing but supportive. Meaning Amy must’ve gotten to him too.
Why do I only feel like he loves me after something bad has happened? I don’t get enough from our regular interactions somehow.
It is my fault I think. I care too much about what everyone thinks of me, especially him. He can never make me believe that he loves me or that he believes in me or thinks I’m good at anything or worth anything. I really struggle to believe that. Even now.
Part of my brain says, “I have history that tells me he does love/believe in me.” But emotionally I feel desperate. Like I’ve never been loved in my life. It’s crazy.
Then yesterday we fought again.
I said I’d make a deal with him: that I’d go to the dentist when he went to the doctor. He looked at me like I was stupid and said, “Why would you wait for me?” in this tone that was just… mean. Like I’m an idiot. He does that sometimes. It is crushing.
I got so upset. I couldn’t even move. I just sat there. My arms felt so heavy. I told him to eat his half of the sandwich he ordered us because I left my wallet at home. He did. He moved on. I was stuck.
We ended up talking for a while about depression. I cried. A lot. My cheeks are still raw from the thick linens I used to try and conceal the tears (completely in vain). I told him everything about how I felt. It had to come out. I don’t think he gets any of it. So I try to explain it to him so that he will remember how I’m feeling when things like this happen.
I tried to convince him to leave. That he has every chance for happiness and that there’s nothing wrong with chasing it. He has a show every week with his friends’ bands. He just started school to pursue a career he loves. I am the worst thing in his life right now.
The biggest stressor; the unnecessary financial burden; the emotional drain.
He says he can’t forget the times that we have joy. That it’s his choice to stay and he chooses it. But I can’t get over any of this right now. I don’t know.
The positivity that I clung to for two weeks is gone. Did I use it all up? I want to rebuild it, but I am still entitled to my sadness. It becomes a warm blanket when everything else is going wrong.
I am trying to find someone good to talk to about this. A professional. I can’t afford it. I don’t have time for it. But I also can’t keep living this way.
For now, I am going to start over. Just try to be positive again. Starting now.