Let The Voice Be Heard

We podcasted last night about trauma and how do deal with it. My friend Alisa was coming off of a rough time since her place got caught up in a fire. She lost somethings, but at least her cat was saved. It was nice to see the people she knew and the community in our small town come in and help her out. She talked about how she felt fortunate that there were so many people out there to help her out, but it was Sarah’s turn that made the podcast the more interesting aspect of the night.

Sarah has always been the quiet one, and it hasn’t been until the last few years that she’s found her voice and wanted to be more then just the supportive person in the background. One of the things that seems to bother her is the fact that she doesn’t get recognized by other’s as a reason for my success. I know that I have stated it, and that I appreciate everything she’s done for me, but she wishes others would praise her for doing such a good job.

She’s been a caretaker ever since she was fourteen and had to help raise her siblings after her father died. She was never really thanked for it. The truth is, caretakers: mothers, fathers, nurses, Hospice, etc. are thankless jobs. Janitors, are also thankless jobs, but once one of them stops doing their job, it’s noticed. At that I want to be a person that thanks these people for the thankless, tireless, jobs that they do.

I know that I’ve done just about all that I can do to make her feel appreciated, but I also know that some of her anguish comes from the fact that she has Crohn’s Disease. It has been playing with her mind for sometime now, as she doesn’t feel attractive and she feels that she’s a burden when talking about her problems.

She’s tried to blog about her issues, much like I do, but seems to receive mostly negative comments, and that becomes frustrating for her. I get that it’s hard when family and friends are the harshest critics out there. She feels frustrated  that she doesn’t get the same response that I get when it comes to talking about the issues. I had to do a lot of thinking about why that is, and I could come up with a few that sounds similar to things that have happened in my own journey.

First, Crohn’s Disease is an invisible illness, and most people don’t seem to understand it. It’s not in your face like MS or Parkinson’s, however it’s a serious matter that robs people of productivity in their lives. Sarah just happens to be finally get the answers she’s been looking for with her new set of medication. It’s helped her manage her issues so much better.

Second, there’s a fine line that we balance when it comes to talking about our issues. I’ve been criticized for being too open and honest about what I go through, a “it’s better to deal with your issues in private” type situation. Being that it’s family that often comes at her makes it more difficult and frustrating to share. I believe that she can and should continue. While it isn’t an easy road, there have been people who have come out in support, at least in my instance. I wish that I could be more supportive and understanding on what she’s going through, but I know that we’re still discovering this together, and we’re trying to figure out the seriousness of the issues.

Third, while it’s hard, I think the point is to never stop giving a damn about what it is you’re trying to say. Not everyone is going to agree with your opinion, and you can’t just spend time trying to make everyone happy. That’s not how this life works, and it’s a shame that it’s the people you feel like you should be able to count on that seem to shit on your truth the most.

This has more to say about them than her. Some people associate honest truth as a way of showing weakness. If she decides to stop at talking about it, then they’ve won. Keep shining is what I have to say, it’s not for them to understand the journey that Sarah starting to take. The best way to have her voice heard is to stop giving a damn about what everyone else is going to say about it. Yes, people are going to say things, both positive and negative. The truth is some people can’t handle that much honesty because it makes them uncomfortable to know the truth.

Some of these people feel that battling illness should be done in private. I know that myself being open has been met with mix reactions, but mostly positive. I think that if she sticks it out and keeps pushing through, then Sarah will find that community of supporters. I told her that sometimes that is where people should start, in a community that already shares that common bound. Build from there, and it will grow into something so much more positive and better.

I want to hear her voice, I want to hear how she feels, and what she has to say. Unfortunately she has nay sayers that make her feel that she needs to keep quiet. I can say that I’ve been there with her on a few occasions, and I don’t always have patience with her because of her issues. That is where I’ve failed her, yet, I’ve never told her to quit. I always supported what she wanted to do with her life, even during the times that I’ve failed as a husband. Her worth is so much more than she knows.

Silence isn’t the answer, it’s just the reaction people give when they feel uncomfortable about the situation.  Some people feel that the only important thing to do is to look perfect, too look strong in front of everyone else. I hope that she can find the voice that I’ve taken up when it comes to her situation. She has a right to talk about what’s troubling her, and if people don’t like it, then they have the right to not read, or block, or unfriend, whichever is better for them.

Facts of being honest about weakness, has showed me support, as I’ve had many reach out to me about my depression and call me brave for being able to share my own issues and struggles that I constantly go through. I’ve had good days, but when I struggle, that’s when people tend to pay the most attention.

The biggest part of sharing those experiences and giving sound to find that voice is that it’s to help oneself, maybe it’s just so that we can find peace in knowing that we struggle in hopes that others might be enlightened and understand that it’s a constant fight.

My faults with my wife is that our roles have reversed in such a dramatic way that I’m not always patient with the things she does. I try to support her, and see that it isn’t easy being the strong one when needed. I see her frustrations as she’s had to be the strong one since she was fourteen, and she doesn’t know how to let it go. I will do all that I can to help her, as I realize that with the physical ailments that she’s come down with. It has also messed with her mentally and that’s where her struggles lie the most.

If you, the reader would like to know more, then comment, like, subscribe to this blog and we can get you the links to her stuff as well. This is the director and that’s a wrap.

Nineteen-Years of Love

Today, September twenty-ninth, 2019 is the nineteenth anniversary of mine and Sarah’s first date. That day we got together and haven’t been apart since then. Usually I would talk about how good it’s been, and how I wouldn’t ever see my life without her. Yet, I think that this should be more about the acceptance that’s had to come over the relationship.

While I do love my wife, there are things that we’ve both had to come to accept about each other, for her it’s about how unorganized I am. For me, it’s how stubborn she can be about doing everything. She’s very OCD’d with house work, and it has to be her way. As these were our problems in the beginning of our relationship, we took several years to figure out that we both sucked at communications. Now, it’s not as bad.

So, we’ve grown as people and as a couple, and I think the biggest challenges have been met head first on many occasions, but the last few years have taken us in a different direction. One was the fact that she had to handle me going through the weight loss surgery and adjusting accordingly with the dietary requirements. It’s always been nice when we could do things as a couple because that’s been something that’s kept us as close as we have been.

Yet, with all these changes and personal growths, this last year has probably been the most challenging. Sarah was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. While the news hit us almost a year ago, it’s taken time to get things figured out. Things that we are still in the process of figuring out and manage. Now we’re waiting for another appointment to happen in November so that we can figure out how to proceed to a specialist for her joints.

That’s one of the bad things about Crohn’s Disease: the fact that it attacks the joints and I have to see her suffer from that. I watch her get frustrated at the fact that her hands don’t always work the way they used to. Then there’s the fact that she’s sits a certain way for the whole time I’ve known her, and I see that it brings on a pain that makes it difficult to move. I hate the fact that I can’t really do much to help her through these times.

This is were I find myself dealing with the fact that I have to be the strong one in the relationship. That I have to be the one that steps up and be the strong one. I know she hates it, but it’s just a fact in life. I don’t always feel that I can be as strong for her as she has been for me, but I do try my best. I guess that self-doubt is the enemy in this situation, as I feel helpless watching her cry and suffer from her Crohn’s.

It’s been a common feeling as I’m not able to make the situation any better, and the side-effects from her medicine isn’t the most pleasant experience for her. I have felt this way with watching my children suffer from depression. I try to reach out, but find that words can’t be said, more than an  I know how you feel, or an it will get better. This is where I feel that I fail as a father, and as a husband. Now I also watch Sarah deal with depression, and until we know how to manage her pain, I’m not sure it ever will get better, and I don’t know how she’s going to deal with it. Hell, I don’t know how I’m going to respond to the way she ends up dealing with it.

I know that this is piled on top of other things like her wanting to grow professionally. Since she doesn’t have a degree, and that my schooling is costing us a bit of money per month, she’s scared to take that leap, and she wants to find something that would be easier for her to do that will help elevate the pain she gets when doing her current job.

In the end, I know that we’ll find a way to manage. I know that we’ll find a way to over come what has been thrown in front of us. It’s just without all the answers, it’s a scary time. Fear of the unknown is rampant in my head right now. I can say that she feels the same way about her situation. Has Crohn’s put a limit on the time table on her life? Will I be a widower before my time? These are things I constantly think about, and I wish I had some sort of solid answer so the I could prepare myself, and the family in what’s to come.

I love my wife, I always have, even when I wasn’t the best person at loving her. I will love her for the rest of my life. With that being said, this is the director, and that’s a wrap.

The Position Changes

There are things that happen in a relationship that can change the dynamic. I know that a I’ve talked about how the ideal relationship that’s supposed be fifty-fifty isn’t usually the way things are, and my relationship has never been that. The most beautiful part of my relationship is the fact that I have this wonderful support system that’s been formed as a part of it. I have the most loving and supportive wife, and a great set of kids that do the same.

As I’ve had my struggles with mental health and being overweight, the brunt of a lot of our relationship has been placed on her. No, I don’t think that it’s fair, but it happened that way. Now that I’ve been in a better place, things have come up that have caused me to have to pick up the slack. Sarah was officially diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in November of last year, and we are still discovering everything that is related to her health issues.

We discovered that she doesn’t have Rheumatoid Arthritis, so that is a check in the win column. There were other things that came up in her results that had left me more questions then answers. I also know that we are in for a long journey to get her to where she can deal with her issues in a better manor.

One of the great things is that I do have a support system, and they’ve reached out to me, too help be a support system for her. People that I’ve known longer than I’ve known her, have talked to me personally about it, some who have to deal with Crohn’s themselves. That was the most touching thing that happened while at work.

Relationships, aren’t fifty-fifty, and I think that when the majority shifts in the other direction, that’s what shows what a relationship is truly made of. You see these examples all over Hollywood. Look at Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, as soon as the popularity switched, they were done as a couple. If you explore the net, I’m sure you could find so many more examples, I just don’t have time right now.

Back to the fifty-fifty though: I’m not sure how I’m doing with this change in dynamic. I want to say that this has been the easiest transition, but it hasn’t. It’s been hard to deal with the frustrations that come with Sarah’s problems. I get frustrated because I can’t do much to help her as her joints ache and her body swells. She can’t grip things like she used to and then the frustration of that gets projected on the rest of the family.

I understand her being pissed off because her hands don’t work as well as they used too. I understand that most of the time she doesn’t feel well. I’m frustrated and pissed off for the same reasons, but it’s hard when that energy gets directed in a different direction. I’m trying to be strong for her, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

It’s put some insecurities on me, but I’m overcoming any traces of depression. My frustrations with the situation has caused me to want to quit. I haven’t because I view it as a pretty shitty move, especially since she’s been there for me through everything. I want to help, but most of the time I feel helpless because I know that I can’t just make everything better.

I think that the recent switch in shifts is going to help out so much. I know that it’s helped put me in a better mindset, and that with recent news not going the way I was hoping, I’ve been able to handle everything fairly well. I’m not letting this stuff keep me down, and I hope that all her news won’t keep her down.

I know that while we are dealing with this, other things in life tend to get in the way, i.e. children going through puberty and getting attitude with the hormones. Me, not getting the promotion, us still dealing with the aftermath of the Earthquakes and the aftershocks that keep coming. Yet, we remain vigilant. We will overcome.

John Lennon put a line in his song, Beautiful Boy, and it says that “life is what happens to you, when you’re busy making other plans”. I’ve quoted this line before, and it’s probably one of the most relevant things ever to speak to me, and it’s so true. In the end, we will overcome, we will survive. I’ll do my best to love and support my wife for as long as we are allowed, I just know that it isn’t easy.

I remain diligent on my weight loss journey, and my self care is just as important as it ever was, because if I don’t take care of myself, I’m gonna be useless to my family, even with their own issues.

I leave you with this final thought: We all have a journey that we take in life, we all represent something that we stand for. Some people take this serious, some don’t care for how they represent themselves. My own representation has evolved over the years, as I was toxic to myself, more than others. I had close minded ideology, and I needed to change. I now represent positivity, and stand for physical and mental health. The uplifting of others is how I choose to present myself to others as well.

As always, this is the is the director and that’s a wrap.