Saturday, March 04, 2006

Wishful Thinking/The Cracks are Showing

I should have blogged a new post a long time ago (is it "blogged a new post"? "posted a new post" sounds really redundant- oh, the things I waste neurotransmitters on). Apologies. Jeff came home on the 15th. He's attending the partial hospitalization program at the hospital- his sister calls it "day care"- and it is doing him a ton more good than the month in the hospital did. Sad but true.

Post-trauma, we're rebuilding some around here, and realizing that we still have a long way to go toward health individually and as a couple. And as a family, for that matter. As I said, the partial program has been very helpful for Jeff, but I find myself annoyed and downright disturbed at the fact that the idea of Jeff leaving us, temporarily or permanently, has been covered not once but three times now by various staffers in the program. It's not a new idea for us- we'd discussed the possibility of him moving out to try to reduce his stress level before hospitalization became necessary for him- but at times it seems like they are pushing the idea. At least it seems that way to me, and I know Jeff isn't happy about it either. I realize that they are supposed to be pursuing his good and doing whatever they can to aid his recovery, but it honestly seems like they are doing this from the viewpoint that the only good to consider is Jeff's, an idea that horrifies me.

Obviously, his has been of foremost importance lately. A doctor in a war zone doesn't tend to people with bruises and scrapes when there are some who have gunshot wounds, and rightly so. But it just seems like they are dwelling on this as a possibility, when he has told them flatly he isn't open to it (incidentally, that's exactly what he told me when we tackled this before Christmas). I wish they would give him the skills and education he needs to better deal with the mess o' stress that is our family instead.

Note to the staff of the partial hospitalization program @ HCMC-
These things probably aren't going to change:
1. Jeff has a mental illness.
2. So do I.
3. Two of our kids have behavioral problems; one might possibly have serious ones.
4. All three of our older kids display, to a greater or lesser degree, either mood or anxiety problems (which is why we have Allie in counseling already, and we're keeping an eye on the other two).

So that's my big beef this week: why are his staff members wasting time on wishful thinking ("if only you didn't have a wife and four kids..."), which is totally unproductive, instead of dealing with reality? It just seems so counter to their job.


This reconstructing business isn't easy. To some extent, we have to start from scratch. Jeff is learning how to better take care of himself, which is good, but it's upset our relationship dynamic in some ways. It will all be to the better, but it's hard. I've known him (going on) 14 years, and we've been dating or married nearly the whole time. The things he's learning (like being direct about his feelings) are new- to him and to me. And we're both having to navigate it. So to go back to the example of being more direct, it is healthier for him to be open, but difficult. It's better for me to know how he feels than to guess, but it also brings me to the rather harrowing realization that it feels like a loss of control for me- it feels threatening. Part of me really likes passive Jeff. Repressed Jeff. It's a sad realization for me how the unhealthy in ourselves or those dear to us becomes, over time, so familiar that a change toward integration feels not only frightening but also bad.

At the same time, it is cause for hope. If we have gotten this far, stayed together this long, with everything we've had to deal with (separation, an exceedingly difficult baby, preemies, twins, a pregnancy after we'd decided we were done having children, financial problems, untreated mood disorders), then how much better will we be doing once we start to shed a lot of the junk we're still carrying around from our childhoods?

So to go back to the second half of my post title, there are definitely cracks a'plenty. To extend the metaphor a little- if we couldn't see them, they'd still be there; we'd be in danger of something collapsing without warning and burying all of us. Something did collapse, and it's a wonder we weren't buried. But I guess that the advantage in having our faultlines displayed to each other, and to the world, is that we can see where the repairing and rebuilding process needs to begin.

Cliches have their comforts in a time like this. Amen.

No comments: