Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Pendulum

An observer would note that the pendulum has now swung back the other way. I expect some who read this might find all of the back and forth maddening, but the point is to document my journey, so I have to write about where it takes me.

I'm struggling with depression, and I can't decide which is worse: the feeling that things will never get better, or the sense of apathy that seems to be taking hold. I've started having thoughts and feelings that are too deeply frightening and personal for even me to write about, but it seems to boil down to this: I'm tired, and I'm losing my will to fight. I feel like I'm flirting with insanity... or worse.

Some people don't understand why I would write about my most deeply personal feelings and experience. Some would even think I'm weak for showing such emotion, but that's fine. At the end of the day, we each have to cope with situations in a manner most effective for us.

I have a 9-day cruise booked for March. It's already paid for. My parents are going, and my wife and I had an adjoining room. While I enjoy spending time with my parents, I really don't want to cruise alone. Furthermore, since I've only cruised with my wife, I fear that being by myself would only serve as a reminder of what is gone.

To that end, I've made it no secret that I still want her to go -- even if only as friends. She has been "thinking about it". Last night, when I spoke with her very briefly, she said she didn't think she wanted to go. My heart sank. I wish there were some way I could change her mind.

She seems to be doing quite well. She shared some pictures with me of things she's been doing to her apartment, and I was floored. She's exercising a level of creativity that amazes me. (I asked her if I could post a link, and she said she would prefer that I didn't, so you'll just have to trust my description.) I was also torn about how I feel.

On one hand, here is this amazing woman who is creative, smart, and talented. Boy do I want to know her better! On the other hand, I feel a bit cheated. Why didn't she show me that side of her when we were together? Did she think I would shun her work?

I also feel a little sad about it. She is clearly having an easier time with this than I am. It reminds me of the chorus to She's Gonna Make It:

She's gonna make it
And he never will
He's at the foot of that mountain
She's over that hill
He's sinkin' at sea
And her sails are filled
She's gonna make it
And he never will
Last night my son had a meltdown. This happens from time to time, but this episode was especially venomous. Generally, I just try to give him space until he calms down, but at one point, he said "I know I'm part of the reason [my wife] left." I stopped what I was doing and said, "That's not true. Come here and let's talk about it, son."

He fired back, "Oh, so you'll talk about that but not other stuff?" I told him that was low, and I didn't want to be manipulated. Then he said, "You wanna know why [my wife's name] left? Because you're a lazy bum!"

Although I know they were merely the words of a child said in a moment of anger, I could not prevent being wounded by them. That nagging doubt in the back of my mind began asking whether or not maybe he observed something I had missed.

When I crawled into bed (which, this week happens to be the couch downstairs because I have company), I was really looking forward to sleep. Yes, I was tired - not just physically, but mentally, and emotionally - more than that, though, I wanted the escape offered by a deep slumber.

My wife has maintained that anytime I need to talk, if I'm having a rough night, I can call her. I decided to cash in that blue chip, and I called. We chatted very briefly, but then she complained of a sore throat and said she didn't want to talk anymore. I burrowed into my pile of blankets, and began my search for sleep. When it finally came, it was deep and restful, punctuated with dreams about the upcoming cruise.

When I got up this morning, I had another nasty surprise. As I have mentioned, I'm embroiled in custody litigation with my first wife. I could write page after page of the details, but the crux of it comes down to this: I already have primary physical custody of my son, my daughter has lived with me for two years, I want to memorialize the current situation with the court to make the legal documentation more accurately reflective of the current situation.

After some wrangling between attorneys (and her attorney telling her that her case was unwinnable), I ultimately extended a settlement offer to her that involved each of us paying our own legal fees, her not having to pay child support, and her getting extremely liberal visitation with the kids. She agreed that it was "fair" (a very subjective term), and I had my attorney draft the paperwork.

Although she's had the settlement paperwork for a month, and she's even signed and notarized it, she has yet to deliver it to my attorney to be filed. Recently, she's started dodging my phone calls, so when I finally was able to speak to her Saturday, I explained that this had gone on long enough, and that if she didn't have the papers to my attorney by 5PM Monday, I would be forced to rescind the settlement offer and simply allow the judge to decide what is and is not fair.

Sunday night around midnight, she called my daughter and told her to tell me to speak with her before I talked to my attorney. I've spent the last 2 days trying to call her, but she's still dodging.

What greeted me this morning was a note my daughter left for me when she went to school. It read:

Daddy,

Can you please stop the legal fighting with my mom? Yesterday, she called me to say that she was going to turn in the papers today, but she never wants to talk to me ever again because I'm not her daughter anymore. I don't know what to do. I know you've spent a lot of money on this, but everything is completely out of my control. Help Me.

- [her name]

In a word: despicable. I'd love to call her mother and explain how inappropriate and damaging that was, but she still won't take my calls. Instead, I'll make a note to talk to my daughter's therapist about it, and try to be as understanding and supportive as I can.

And so my life goes on, one day at a time, one challenge after another. I keep hoping things will get better, but I'm terrified that I may have reached my breaking point. I'm standing on the precipice, and the ground is crumbling beneath my feet.

4 comments:

Abigail said...

Hi,

I read your blog and it's been very helpful to me.

You can only expect to feel "depressed" with all you have going on.

If I were you, I would not contact the mother of your children (EVER) and let the attorneys deal with her. She sounds psychotic. Who could possibly say such a thing to their daughter?

I also think you should go on that cruise - it will be a mental break for you. Who cares if your ex isn't going with you? Her loss.

Dream Reader said...

Isn't it amazing what a difference a couple of days can make? Things suck right now, don't they? I'm really sorry that you're going through all this. But please don't give up. You have so much to do in life.
As far as the crise goes, don't you have a friend that can go with you? This doesn't have to be a bad thing, you could have a great time. I believe she's doing you a favor by not going, as much as it hurts. Why would you want to do that to yourself? You are a good person who deserves to have your love returned, not toyed with.

Wounded Heart said...

Some days are better than others - I suppose that's a fact of life.

Wounded Heart said...

I'm glad that this blog has been helpful to other people. As I've said, that was part of my motivation in starting it.

I plan to have a dialog with my lawyer about how best to proceed relative to my first wife and the kids. Maybe he can provide some guidance. If you ask me, that note from my daughter is the best argument for supervised visitation I've ever seen.

And about the cruise.... well, enough about that.