So J and I have decided to separate. Before everyone freaks, let me tell you it’s essentially exactly what we have been doing over the last nine months-living apart in different countries. The only difference this time is that instead of working on our relationship long-distance and trying to figure out plans while both of our heads were in no shape to do so, we are going to focus on ourselves.
This picture was taken in August 2008 on Magnetic Island. J and I were engaged, and I was in Australia meeting his family for the first time. There was so much love and happiness that it seemed nothing could break us down. I was on a high I had never felt before. Soon I was going to be a bride. A wife. Everything with us was so whirlwind-he proposed nine days after we met in person, and due to the Visa requirements had to instantly move in together and instantly get married after he was approved. There was never any turning back (not that we wanted to). I was doing so well and was so successful personally that it never occurred to me that having J actually in my world would be a massive change. I just naturally assumed that he would fly over here and adapt to my life. I thought he would assimilate and I would take care of him until he didn’t need to be taken care of anymore. I forgot one minor detail: I could barely take care of myself.
On my days off of work, I slept. I ate take-out every day. I washed my clothes once every three weeks at best. I had bad days and loved to be left alone. As soon as J and I got married, I fell apart. I set up the wedding; picked out the house and the furniture; got him comfortable and tried to go back to my life and I couldn’t. It was almost like my brain went “what the hell now???” I was so depressed by Christmas (less than twenty-five days after our wedding) that I couldn’t even decorate the house or buy presents. By the end of January I was seeing a psychiatrist. By the end of March I was on medical leave from my work.
Everything got better on meds and then progressively worse. I was never put on a mood stabilizer for my bipolar so I got higher and higher until I crashed and took everything down with me-my job, my house, my finances. I haven’t worked since November 2009. I have been on my own since I was twenty and this is the first time in ten years where I have to rely on my husband and my parents to take care of me, and I hate it.
I have only been feeling better for the last few months, and while I was putting myself back together J started falling apart. It’s pretty common for spouses to suffer from depression related to stress-having to take care of their loved ones for so long and not worrying about themselves would wipe anyone out (like Catherine Zeta-Jones' struggle with Bipolar II after her husband’s cancer went into remission). I was so focused on myself and my pain that I was unable to see J’s own hurt. He’s now also in treatment and trying to deal with the guilt and loss of the last two years. It’s like we are constantly bouncing pain off of one another.
This is us back at Magnetic Island two weeks ago, nearly three years to the day after the first picture was taken. We are no longer in love-it’s much deeper and complex than I’ve ever felt for someone else before. I can truly say there is no one else I want but J in my life, and I know he feels the same. But is love enough? The last nine months I haven’t had him near to pull me up, and yet I was able to. I know now I am a better person when I am alone-I guess I am programmed that way. But my heart doesn’t want that. It wants J. We have a lot of things to work out, and we are going to do it separately. I’m torn on how I feel. On one hand, I’m already excited and looking forward to going back to the States and getting a damn job just to prove to myself that I can. On the other hand, I know that I won’t be able to fully move on until J and I have made serious decisions about our future, and that takes both of us.
I hate that I don’t know what the future holds. I want to press the “play” button on my life again. It feels like it has been on “pause” for so long, and I’m not getting any younger. I wish there was an easy answer. But there just isn’t, and it sucks ass. I’ve never been more torn in my life.