27 March 2013

A Man Alone

Life is full of ups and downs. Some we create for ourselves, some are unavoidable. We do the best we can and hope that things we can't control go in our favor. Being in a relationship complicates things. It's nice to have someone with whom to share the ups and especially nice to have someone with whom to face the downs. There's a quid pro quo arrangement, though, in which we take on facing the other downs brought into the relationship along with our own. That's how it works.

I've been fortunate not to face a whole lot of downs throughout these last fifteen months. I've had Crohn's flares, and most of late July/early August was spent in bed or the bathroom. It was scary at first, as they always are, because I never know how severe any given flare will be, but thankfully Prednisone once more did its thing. On the whole, I've been able to handle things on my own. I don't care to elaborate what's going on but that good luck streak has come to an end.

I'm facing something right now that has overwhelmed and terrified me, and I have to face it alone. I've confided in my closest friends about the matter and they've all been wonderfully encouraging and supportive but it's not the same. They don't have skin in the game, so if things go badly they don't have to live with what that means to me. Not in the way that a partner/lover/spouse does, anyway. For the first time since 10 October 2011, when I learned that my marriage was coming to an end, I feel completely alone. I've been so overwhelmed that I took two anti-anxiety pills in the span of six hours Monday night and they barely registered with me.

There were lots of times throughout our marriage, of course, when I felt guilty for dragging my wife through my downs with me. "If it was just me, I could handle it but knowing someone else has to deal with these things because of me is too much," I thought. And it was; I really was consumed by shame and guilt. Now that I'm again facing something much bigger than myself, though, I find that I very selfishly wish I wasn't facing it alone.

I don't write this as bait to discuss how I'm doing or what's going on with me. I write it instead in hopes that it may give you, Dear Reader, pause to reflect on what your partner means to you...and what you mean to your partner. If I had one thing to say to you, it would be this:
Never resent having to fight alongside your partner in his or her battles. Always be grateful that he or she fights alongside you in yours.