This August my wife and I will celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary. The weekend before last we went out to drink and relax with some of the other nurses on her floor. It was nice for me to finally put faces to the names I hear about so often. I was my usual quiet self, but it seemed to be ok with the group. It’s not too often that the age difference between my wife and I come up, but I was by far the oldest person there. We even went to a club. As everyone else had that little stamp on their hand, I didn’t. They didn’t even bother checking my ID. I danced to hip hop. I can’t dance.
My wife drank a copious amount of alcohol, which is extremely rare for her. I had drinks over the course of the night, but barely enough to get a buzz. When we got home and I helped her change into her PJ’s, she started to talk to me. After seven years, she told me so much about her history. Some things I knew, some I didn’t. She’s had a tremendous amount of trauma in her life. I’ve always regarded her as the strongest person I know, and am even more certain of it now. Image how much trauma one would have to go through that in nearly seven years of marriage you finally open up about it. She said she felt horrible that it took her drinking that much to be able to talk about any of it. She’s still starting to cope with things that started in her early childhood.
One might think that this is a problem between us, but it’s not. She’s only gone to therapy a few times in the past and only had one good therapist so far. Unfortunately, the one she actually made any headway with in starting to close up some of the old, festering wounds with, is back on the east coast. She doesn’t want to start the process over again as recounting these events is rather traumatizing in and of itself. I’m glad that she opened up. I didn’t say much, just listened.
It’s hard to hear someone you love tell you about how much pain they went through and carry with them to this day. I’m someone who wants to fix things, and this isn’t something I can fix. I can support her, but I can’t fix it. It’s her choice as to when she’s ready to face these things, and as of right now, she’s not. When the day comes though, I’ll support her in any way that she needs.
I guess that’s what this post is about.. Trying to deal with the inner fire that’s lit when hearing about the things that have happened to your loved one long before you were in the picture, and they were powerless to stop. How do you deal with that fuming rage and desire to inflict pain and be the embodiment of retribution? To see that suffering so present and so entwined into their day to day actions is to feel helpless.
Having had my own history of trauma, I understand the place that she’s in to some degree. I was in much the same place when I was her age. She’s never had anyone support her in the past, yet she’s managed to move forward with her life. I used to use work as my way of coping. If I was focused there, I’d at least only have to deal with all of the things flashing through my mind when I attempted to sleep. I still see things in my mind’s eye flashing through during the day and more prominently at night. She’s told me that she experiences the same. My hope is that she’ll eventually not be as troubled by it, much like myself. Sure, I have bad days with it, but have far, far more good days.
I don’t know what to do other than listen and keep reminding her that I’m here. I suggest every once in awhile that she see a therapist, if for nothing other than to cope with what she experiences on her job. Time will tell if she opens up about it more. At some point, it needs to come out in one way or another. It’s a gangrenous wound that infects the soul. We’ll never be whoever the person we would have been without the trauma, but in spite of the wounds and scars, we push forward and learn to work with what we’ve got. Much like someone who suffered severe physical trauma, your life can take a very different tangent. I love my wife the way she is, but I don’t want to see her suffering now, either. Felling helpless to take away the pain of a loved one is far worse than dealing with your own trauma.
In other news, I’m sick. I’ve come down with something over the last couple of days that is really kicking my ass. I’m severely congested, very tired and can’t seem to stop coughing. Allergies aren’t helping matters any, either. I train a client tomorrow morning, give a detailed proposal in the afternoon, see my psychiatrist, then drive for five hours to another city for work for two days. I have Tuesday night to complete two proof of concepts, each being about a four to six hour project. My days on Tuesday and Wednesday are completely booked, then Wednesday night I drive home, which I’m expecting to be a rather late arrival. Thursday is training a difficult client, then Friday I’m guessing I’ll need to show proof of concept number two to another potential client. I expect both will take the proposal, which I’ve no idea when I’ll have to actually work on both of them. I’m booked out for seven weeks right now and none of it can be changed. Being out last Thursday has thrown everything else off. I need a day just to try to reschedule with at least a couple of clients to take care of the one that should have been seen last Thursday… So.. Yeah, I wish I had a large bottle of adderall and another of sleeping pills. Work nineteen hours, sleep for five; repeat for about three months including weekends.