Thursday, July 28, 2011

Creative Tension

So back at it.  Reasons that I took a week:
  1. I was depressed.  Seriously depressed.  More than I had been in a very long while.  It was not good.  It was however briefer.  I switched from the generic effexor (still getting occasional brain zaps) to generic welbutrin.  It does not seem to be working as well on mood or depression.  Although I have a lot less side effects.  
  2. I was beginning to take myself too seriously or at least the blog.  I was checking the number of hits on the site as some sort of affirmation of who and what I am.  I forgot that I was writing the blog for me more than for anyone who  might read it - hope that doesn't burst anyone's bubble :-).  But I've found processing out loud, so to speak, with the blog works.  I have another that is completely private - this one for some reason works better.  I then see how right or how asinine I can be.  A lot of the comments have been  very supportive and/or helpful. 
  3. I needed to see if the blog helps or hurts.  It helps me.  And that is the bottom line I keep overlooking.  In my journey through being gay and married and a father of younger children (youngest just turned 10) what helps me.  Somewhere along the line I have internalized that I don't matter, that I should sacrifice myself, etc.  That leads to all sorts of craziness and dishonesty - we all work to meet our needs one way or another even if we "seem" to be self-sacrificing - or at least that is my experience.  Of course my needs matter.  So do those of C and the kids.  And as a dad there are times the kids needs are prioritized over mine - hell a lot of the time that's the case.  But my needs don't fall off the map no matter what - that is not a moral judgement, but IMNSHO is a matter of fact.  I can look at them upfront and honestly or I can ignore them and let them play behind the scenes.  Today I choose the former. 
    So where am I at this point.  I am afraid to have a deep conversation with C because I fear where it will go.  I do not see us having a future.  This will cause pain.  I am not ready to move out, to be away from the kids, or frankly be away from C since she is my main support through all this.

    I want to live on my own as a gay man.  I want to remain married to this wonderfully supportive woman.  Part of the issue is that my wants are conflicting.

    Fear.  Paralyzing fear seems to be where I am at this point.  

    The problem in my history is that then I pull back - way back - into a (seemingly) impenetrable shell.  And I have begun to do that already.  The therapist C and I were seeing has dropped off the map.  We went on vacation, she went on vacation and I haven't reconnected.  And I don't want to.   Nor am I motivated to find some one else.

    Then when I have pulled in enough the depression hits hard.  The suicidality then follows pretty quickly.  I remember this as a kid when I first shut (slammed shut) the very thought that I might even be a teensiest bit not entirely straight!!  Seriously - I couldn't even think around it.  I spent a good bit of time putting myself in harms way.  I was actively suicidal for most of the teen years.  That has continued, very infrequently, over the years.  But since I've been dealing (or not dealing) with being gay and married it has returned more.

    I'm back in - or still at - a place of tension.  I hope it is a place of creative tension.   I had written about that some time ago.  The blog helps me move through or at least lessen the negative aspects of the tension, relieving it to a level that is tolerable.  In the midst of the tension I get all to easily to a place where I see no workable solution. 

    But I cannot see the future state of the picture.  What I see is the current state.  I don't like it very much.  I'm depressed. C is depressed.  I am walking around ready to bite anyone's head off for the smallest of reasons.  I've been walking around like Sue Sylvester on Glee - I'll slap you down for no reason whatsoever. 

    I can sort of see the tension - I don't look forward to it.  But it can't be any worse than the current state except that it is unknown.  Again fear of the unknown is the chief motivation for not moving.  And the tension holds positive promise.  There is a future state out there - not all the pieces will be idyllic or even okay.  But it holds promise to be better than the current state.  The only promise that the current state holds is to get worse. 


    1. Two thoughts.

      First, and I realize this is a cliche' but it's something we all recognize as true, "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." We all have our habits and they can be very difficult to break, but your pattern of withdrawal and depression hasn't worked in the past and it's unlikely to work now. As best you can, you have to force yourself to break old habits. For example, if you'd normally say nothing when you're depressed, FORCE yourself to talk to C about small things that make you happy. You're not breaking new ground by having an important conversation but you're changing your old habit in a positive way. Ask for her help, I'm sure she'll gladly give it.

      It's very difficult to change old patterns, but honestly, you will never make progress until you do.

      Second, most middle-aged women who know they are married to a gay man don't want to divorce. They WANT to work things out. Often so badly that they'll agree to almost anything. They'll sit home with the kids while you're out having sex? Many of them will do it. And even the ones who say 'absolutely not' are often willing to co-habitate and raise the kids together. They're very practical. Would they rather be broke, saddled with kids and alone? Or would they rather keep their life mostly intact?

      What I'm trying to say is, don't assume that any conversation with C will end badly. She has shown a lot of patience already. My guess is that she'd much rather work with you than against you.

    2. My opinion for what it's worth is: if you honestly had to choose, which would it be: Living on your own as a gay man or continue to living with the wonderful woman?". Be true to yourself and make the choice that's best for you. Your conflicting emotions and subsequent depression doesn't seem to be doing you any good. Hang in there, buddy. It does get better.

    3. Thanks guys. Cameron - neither C nor I want me to be out screwing around while she is home watching the kids. Co-habitating is an option both for finances and the kids. I'm not sure what that would look like, but can imagine ways it would work at least for the next few years.

      Cecil - You're on the money. The depression is not working by a long shot. And for us at least I think it is a choice between the two - for some couples accommodations within marriage seem possible. I don't think that is the case for either C or myself. Then comes the choice - if I had to choose being true to myself . . . that is the question. I think I know and know I fear the answer to that once.

    4. There will be costs no matter what you and C decide to do. Since my wife moved out (seven months ago), we are all much happier, kids included, living in two relatively happier households than in one household which is fraught with tension and anger.

    5. Jim, why do you fear the answer? Actually, it's a redundant question because I know (at least for me) and that is: the unknown! I didn't know what was going to happen to me once I came out, I thought the world would hate me, my family would disown me, my children would deny me as their father. Not only does the world not care, my family is supportive and my children still love me and now they love my partner as just that: my chosen same sex partner.