A year and a half ago I was going over the pros and cons of a new ObGyn practice with Josh. I told him about some blog posts that I had read that had been negative about a particular practice. I also told him that there were other things that made me question whether the bloggers were entirely balanced in their views.
Josh responded that being the doctor for women with hormonal imbalances was pretty much the worst job he could imagine. Unfortunately, I don’t have the exact quote since I did not think it appropriate to blog at the time.
More’s the pity, as I think it might be the perfect way to describe what I imagine it is like to be married to me.
These days I am a fire breathing dragon who often lacks the energy to get flames out far enough to burn anything other than myself. When Josh comes running to see the charred remains of his wife, he frequently suffers from severe smoke inhalation. Such is life, right?
Recently–when not busy wishing
life these days weren’t so dreadfully long–I have been thinking about what we are doing right. Yeah, I said “right.” Humor me here, okay?
Josh has a terrible memory. That is perhaps 80% of why we are married: he can’t remember all the reasons we should not be.
One of my more boring cyclical symptoms is absolutely incredible memory failure. I am sure that it is a tremendous problem. But I am not so certain that Josh does not ever appreciate my lack of memory- just a little.
So I do my best to pull a reverse Prince Rilian and inform/remind Josh of what he is about to deal with again before I go completely crazy. It does not really work in the way I intend it to. I’m not sure whether Josh spent too much time reading The Chronicles of Narnia as a child, or is just terrified of my wrath if he ignores what I say in any given moment, but he never actually follows my warning and completely ignores my ravings. I still try though, not only because I hold on to the hope that one day he will believe me, but also because it does help when trying to repair the damage after it is over and I remind him that we both knew I was insane.
In fact, this tactic really only works when it comes in the form of data on paper.
One of the helpful things that came out of seriously seeking help was the Symptom Chart (read that with an ominous tone). I could never remember all of my issues in order to explain them to the doctor, so Josh started a symptom chart. It looks a lot like this one, except customized just for me, because I’m special like that.
The major unintended benefit of the chart is that it means that each night Josh is getting a pretty stinking comprehensive update on my physical state that I wouldn’t otherwise share with him. Seriously, no one wants to hear all that. Yet. Yet it can be incredibly helpful for him to be clued in when the way that I am acting does not reflect what I feel. I attempt to not be a complete pain all of the time, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t helpful for Josh to have an extra clue when I have just stolen someone else’s brave face for the day.
Perhaps even more helpful is the fact that even though I am making up all of the stuff for Josh to chart (seriously, how am I supposed to know whether my feelings of anxiety were a “2″ today or whether I am misremembering my morning?!) it still ends up revealing trends. This enables Josh to point out things that should be obvious–like when Prometrium is giving me headaches and I never realized it.
Josh undoubtedly has numerous secret strategies for dealing with me, but I can’t share them with you because I don’t know them. I will, however, tell you mine as long as you promise not to tell Josh.
Josh gets most frustrated by the fact that when I am upset I tend to feel like everything is wrong. Because it is, duh! Ehem, anyway. I frustrate Josh when I see everything wrong with life and have an extensive list of everything that needs to be remedied. Add in the fact that I have great skill with going through these times at precisely the point when his work is extra demanding, etc. etc. and it is a great way to make it incredibly difficult for Josh to hold everything together enough to help me.
So–at least on days where my brain sort of functions–I choose one area at a time to ask Josh to help me improve. Sure, I may need for us to improve our finances, save our neighborhood, plan our funerals, become Saints, and many more tremendously important tasks, but telling Josh all of that at once is nothing more than a good way to overwhelm him into doing nothing. Instead I try to figure out which single thing is most essential to developing everything that I want, and talk to Josh about that. And sometimes that one thing is just encouraging Josh to take more time to take care of himself (so that he’ll have more energy to fix everything for me later,of course!).
I realize that I have many other techniques for coping, but they are mostly the results of decisions made long ago with no thought for this day. Who knew, sharing a religion with your spouse is a really good idea?! So there is that. And my plans for future improvements involve convincing Josh that the Chinese are right: he is lucky to get to live with a dragon!
- Married Money
- Why I Stopped Taking Prometrium