2.14.2006

The Ring


June
1991
The story begins here, and we don't have time for it all. But as you can see, we were AND ARE a very happy couple. However (because every good tale has a however), like all happy couples, we've had some major bumps in the road. No one told us when we walked down the aisle you see and exited into our happy life, that it would not always be happy. Nobody said, "Just wait until you start to handle your problems by drinking and when the post/pre/and every part during pregnancy-type depression hits." Nobody said these things because nobody could foresee it. Not me, Not him, Not anyone.

So, the happy couple became just a couple. We were unhappy but not enough to become the official Unhappy Couple, just unhappy. Mostly because I was unhappy. A lifetime of health problems and chronic pain came crashing down and threw my life to a screeching halt about 4 years ago when my youngest was 9mos. old. What had previously been bad coping skills became No Coping skills. The amazing thing is that during this horrible time my husband didn't give up on me. He didn't say, "You're screwed up, too much to handle, too non-functioning....I can't take it anymore." I had lost myself, didn't know who I was anymore...can't say that he did either...but he remembered what I WAS...and stuck it out.

Fast forward to the present. Many things have changed. The chronic pain is somewhat under control, manageable anyway, which has DRASTICALLY changed my mental health. It's amazing what pain can rob from you....your self, friends, enjoying your love, your kids, your job...it's all-consuming. The happy couple is becoming happy again, and I must say, even happier than in the picture because we survived something that could of easily, should have easily, destroyed us.

Which brings us to The Ring.

One of my terrible coping skills was that when I got angry at someone, say my spouse, I wouldn't express that anger towards him as much as I would internalize it. Suddenly, without even knowing it, I would go from being pissed off at his pride to...now this is hard to say....wanting to hurt myself. Not a rational thing - - not a healthy thing - - not a right thing. After quite a long time I began to see that I was doing this. I couldn't change my pattern but I could see that I would enter this "cycle." When suddenly, my chronic pain began to get manageable...3 migraines a week down to one. WHAMO!! My life begins to change, my ability to enjoy life begins to change, everything that had once been consumed by constant thoughts of fear began to be infused with hope...including my marriage.

Now, don't think that means we are in a constant state of bliss, happines, perfect peace and agreement....what I'm about to share will prove that. I am desperately in love with my husband, but that anger that was once turned towards myself is starting to straighten itself out. I still don't handle things right when I get angry but at least I'm not taking it out on myself. Case in point: Husband talks in a tone he shouldn't, Husband has bad attitude when its pointed out to him, Wife doesn't like prideful attitude, Wife gets mad.....really mad. Wife wants to prove a point. Wife flushes ring down toilet.

That's right, you read correctly, Wife flushes wedding ring down toilet. In essence to say, "You'll see what I think about you."

Now this was crazy thinking when I did this, a week later I could never imagine that I would do something like this. But I could have never guessed what an impact it had on him. Of course, at the time I wanted it to make an impact, but I forgot that he's a real person with real feelings and that he would be deeply hurt by this act of rage.

Amazingly, he rescued the ring...went into the basement after I had fallen asleep and opened the sewer clean-out and found it. At first I didn't care that he had found it, I was glad I had flushed it...but now I am so grateful that its not gone forever. Just like I'm grateful that our marriage survived 4 years of mind-numbing medication, just like I'm thankful that our kids seem to be well-adjusted when Mommy was checked-out for such a long time....just like I'm thankful that a man let people kill him so that our lives wouldn't be "down-the-toilet" just like the Ring.

When I was thinking about commitment and what that means I got the dictionary out. Maybe I have a crappy dictionary but I didn't really like what commitment means. In the Thesaurus guarantee was another word for commitment, just as covenant, pledge, vow and oath are. I think in the instance of The Ring, I've learned a little more about marriage and commitment. I could never imagine a life w/out my husband except for instances of non-rational rage. I do not want to leave him and will not leave him. But what was flushed down the toilet, I think in his mind, wasn't so much The Ring, as it was the guarantee.

Guarantee: 1. firm assurance. 2. promise to make good if necessary. 3. assure with a gauruntee.

The Ring isn't back on my finger yet. Of course, it has to be taken to the cleaners...but it happened a month or two ago and still no ring. I was hoping to get it back today, being Valentine's Day and all, but I checked and its still in the spot he put it after he found it. I don't think he's ready to put it back on my finger yet. I think it shook his assurance of my commitment more than I could have ever expected it could. As I'm realizing how the flushing of The Ring hurt him, I'm realizing how turning my anger inward has hurt me. I know I'm making progress...I have faith that one day soon I won't do irrational things in my anger...so in a way, The Ring is a sign of my progress. I also think it makes my husband realize how harshly I was treating myself. In time I know he'll be reassured, and obviously, The Ring will take on a new meaning to both of us when he puts it back on my
finger where it belongs. I know we'll be together until we're old and gray....

copywrite 2006 by the CameraDawktor

7 comments:

CrabbyLou said...

I so understand the pain that makes us irrational. I broke my ex's finger once, because I just wanted to get his attention. A counselor told me that I didn't feel like I was being heard and needed to get his attention. That is exactly what it was. We need to feel heard. Best of luck and commitment also means staying when it may hurt less to go.

alison koh said...

just passing thru, nice blog. glad that you're feeling better now. we can only live one day at a time, so have a happy journey of life.

chafer said...

Found your blog after reading some posts on a different blog. Not sure that I can identify with most of it, but you have done a nice job with this. keep up the good work!

DWJSDating? said...

Wow! That was a powerful statement you made and I am sure that you got the messege across loud and clear to both of you. This was a cry for help, you knew that you were not good a coping, but probably not to this extent.

He was a good, loving hubby to get the ring out. Remember that on days when he gets to you. He has been there with you through it all and deserves all the love and respect you can give him! Hug him tight :)

CameraDawktor said...

Oh...if this were only the worst that I have done. He may disagree but I would venture to say that I have done much worser things (is worser a word, I like it anyway).

Jay said...

My dad was mentally ill for pretty much his whole marriage. My mom divorced him after 20 years. She couldn't take it anymore. Your man is admirable, but it was his duty if I think about it. He gave you the assurance of his commitment too. People shouldn't get married just for show. Let's just hope you treat him in the same understanding manner when he's in a (chronic) funk.

Very strong story.

CameraDawktor said...

Jay-
You are so right, people shouldn't get married just for show. I couldn't agree with you more.

I hope my story didn't trouble you and bring back too many bad memories.

I hope I can be as strong as him if he ever finds himself in a "chronic funk."

Sometimes life brings circumstances that are unforeseeable, I'm glad I've learned more about myself through surviving some tough years, and in the same way, we've learned more about how much we love one another and are comitted to each other.

For me, life has gotten better, and what I thought was a chronic funk was only a 5 year funk. I bet it was real hard for your Mom.

The reason I choose to tell my story is to encourage people, that things can get better. I know that sometimes they don't, but they can, and they have for me.

Thanks for taking the time to read my story.