This morning at 8:22am I texted my wife to wish her a Happy Tranniversary. Two years ago our lives changed as she stepped out of the shadows. It’s humbling to think about how much has happened in consideration of how little time has passed. It’s also tremendous to realize how long some of these days have felt.
As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been having a terrible time. The combination of graduate school, working, and learning to navigate transition has been daunting and I’ve been struggling. This is coupled with revelations by my wife about how unhappy she is in our marriage, about how she feels as though there is a lack of physical touch and I’m not able to meet her needs emotionally. The part of me who wants to validate my wife’s feelings while also standing up for myself has struggled to see how we move forward. In the almost-seven years we’ve known each other, neither of us have ever doubted our relationship in the ways we have doubted over the past month. I’ve never felt less secure in it. Since Katie came out, we do fight more and that’s scary for two people who barely bickered before. The divide between our individual understanding of what’s been happening created a deep valley I didn’t know how to traverse.
I believe we are two individual people with individual needs. I believe we love each other. I believe we’ve done an excellent job at navigating this very difficult journey. I believe the increased bickering we have experienced is because there are now two whole people in our relationship where there was only one and a quarter before. We didn’t have two sets of emotions to navigate before Katie came out, we only had mine. Katie’s were buried in the valley we didn’t know was between us. To learn my interpretation of the events since Katie came out might be inaccurate, that maybe my wife is truly unhappy with meis a shame I haven’t carried very well. I’ve isolated myself from my usual social routines.
All of these conversations about our longevity together were happening simultaneously with Katie’s increased days in bed. When I wrote that post, I thought my exhaustion was because of our incongruent communication and the rift in our relationship. I thought my stress was the result of the limited energy now being split between school, work, transition, and our marriage teetering on a precarious ledge.
After I wrote the last post, I went to the bedroom where Katie lay in bed at 7pm on a Monday, the day’s events before having caught up to her to the point where she couldn’t do more than lie down, and I told her I was experiencing a difficult time. Terrified, I asked her if she thought our lives had to be this hard. I explained everything I’ve been observing: her discontent with me and our marriage, the stress I feel, my own inability to function at what is normal functional levels for me, and my concerns about the increase in low-energy days. I asked her if she had ever considered that maybe, just maybe, the days she has that are good days are not even the best they could possibly be. I asked her if she thought she needed medication.
Now, I’m writing this post in fear of what people will think about me. Common’ Natalie, you can’t actually think medication will fix your marriage? Katie’s just being herself, she’s low because you’re making her miserable. You’re coming to the solution of anti-depressants pretty quickly, Drug User. How selfish are you to think this is about you when it’s about Katie?
I’m not naïve enough to think that medication will fix the things we still need to address in our relationship. I know our fights haven’t stopped and that we still have work to do. That said, if I imagine every person can only give 100% of their energy on any given day, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen Katie capable of giving it. Depression has been this conversation point we have talked about a handful of times, each time identifying a potential solution that caused us to believe that maybe, just maybe, she’s not clinically depressed. When she was at her lowest point since I’ve known her, Katie came out to me – was it dysphoria or depression? We’ve spent the past two years doing the work, each in therapy together and separately, trying to assess our own individual boundaries and roles in our relationship, trying to do the right thing for both of us. It’s been hard fucking work. And after I wrote my last post, I realized – maybe it doesn’t have to be thishard.
On that Monday two weeks ago, Katie agreed that maybe, just maybe, things could look different. Maybe the chemicals in her body aren’t able to make her happy and if the chemicals in her body normalized, the things she wanted to accomplish wouldn’t be so hard. Maybe she wouldn’t need to feel so sad all the time, or so low-energy. Maybe Katie’s best-energy day is only 60% – what would our lives look like if she had even an extra 10-20% to give? Maybe I’m tired because I’m over-functioning (a point I will be addressing in therapy, by the way).
I don’t know. I don’t know what the answer is. What I do know is Katie talked to her therapist and her doctor last week. We’ve had numerous conversations about if anti-depressants are the right choice for her. I believe this decision is Katie’s – this is her body, her mind, her life.
Today, on her Two-Year Traniversary, Katie got a prescription for anti-depressants. She is confident in the decision. I’m so proud of her. This has been a journey in the making for decades.
I cried at my desk when she texted to let me know she obtained the prescription. In the flurry of Monday morning. I had forgotten Katie even had the appointment. The potential for relief for both of us feels so tenuous and volatile and, just like two years ago, all we can do is take the leap. If it’s anything like the leap two years ago, I’m optimistic. Despite all the unknowns and struggles, we’ve had an incredible two years.