There are few things scarier as the spouse of a person with severe and clinical depression than a regression or a “slip up” on the new life patterns.
Thankfully my current and more recent experiences with these “lapses in change” are few and far between, but it happens. Add in work stress, deadlines, someone at the office quitting suddenly and equally quickly I see Ken slipping into old patterns. Chores undone, choices in chores a wee bit wacky (he seriously is the only person I know that, when he falls back into old destruction choices finds himself a BIGGER chore to avoid the ongoing list). All I see is a great big red WARNING sign.
MY frustration is quickly felt as household promises fall to the wayside in favour of work and stress. After all, part of Ken’s therapy is the realization that (as long as it won’t endanger the household) it is not appropriate for me to swoop in and do something FOR Ken. That gives him an out, like a child who does a chore badly to get out of it (and I HAVE experienced that, I might add). Rather, I have to (equally frustratingly) sit back and leave the chaos to rest until Ken comes round to the mental and emotional realization that he must stop running from that particular responsibility.
This is all something which, when Ken is in the moment, he DOES NOT SEE. And there is a balance there too, I can’t just scream out DO THE CHORE the second day on, he has to have the opportunity to become self aware (little heads up – we are NOT there yet… quite). Self awareness is a tricky thing. Do we ever clearly see our own actions when emotionally compromised?
There is always, in the back of my head, a little voice saying – “keep aware, be diligent.” I know I have mentioned this before and talked extensively about being the “healthy one,” but sometimes it is a hugely frustrating endeavor. I am not sure WHEN I will ever assuage myself of the guilt of missing cues. Why didn’t I see the spiral earlier on? Why was I so blind to the now obvious suffering of one of the most important people in my life? So there is the additional worry that I will be hyper vigilant or accidentally take to “calling wolf.” (are we all familiar of the story of the Boy Who Cried Wolf? If not HERE)
Luckily this newest roller coaster (mini as it was) was over messes at work that were not the fault of himself, and deadlines and crazy hours (like skype at 3 am… kid you not, darn international companies!). What is utterly amazing is that every phone call, ever little WORK related deadline or promise was hit, met and exceptionally dealt with. Just don’t ask about the dishwasher issue, the pictures that need to be hung where tall people live, or the room we tore apart to paint… oops.