Friday, April 9, 2010

He Wants Me Back...And So Do I

Arguing PenguinsImage by nouQraz via Flickr

My fibromyalgia seems to be in flare-up mode this week. Every body part aches so much more and the tiredness seems to permeates all the way to my bone marrow. Both these symptoms shrank my energy envelope and my corresponding ability to get things done this week. Perhaps the culprit is Spring, with her temperature swings, occasional rain showers, blowing winds and pollen everywhere. Oh, and her lure of it finally being Spring gardening time that beckons me back in the garden and get me overdoing it.

But you what really let me know I was having a rough time? I snapped at Robert several times this past Tuesday and got into two different quarrels with him that day too. My even temper and good nature appeared to have left the building. It's like an alien slipped in and took over my body and now I'm the host for someone entirely different. Someone overcome by chronic pain and fatigue, lashing out, dazed and confused.

In return, Robert got mad at me and snapped back. Taken aback, my first thoughts went something like this:
Apparently all the comments I made in the car on the way to our doctor's appointments Tuesday about how my pain and fatigue were so much worse didn't register with him. You'd think that after 5 years, he'd recognize that when I feel worse I have a shorter fuse.

Then I realize that's not the real issue here.

My hubby's life doesn't revolve around chronic illness, which means he had lots of other things on his mind. Given the state of our household, that he is the sole wage earner, I hope he never knows life with debilitating chronic illness. I need my husband to be healthy and fully functioning. He doesn't know what chronic illness feels like, so he simply doesn't understand how a flare-up can turn me into a totally different person. He just doesn't get it and that's O.K. with me.

I guess if I wanted a husband who could tune into every little detail about me and recognize the signs of my bad days before I do, I should have married a fellow mental health professional. Instead I married an engineer and engineers like to fix things. In many ways, our complimentary approaches is a key to what makes our marriage work: I help us recognizing and talking about the problems and then he helps us solve them. So you can imagine how unfortunate it is for him when he hears over and over again from my doctors that there is no fix for what ails me.

Hearing those words is hard for him, because deep down, my husband wants the real Selena back. So in defiance of the chronic illnesses that have a hold on me and won't let go, he won't stand by and let the sick Selena allow herself to be transformed into someone else . He keeps asking me to be me, like I was before I got sidelined and consumed by all my health problems. He wants me to do as much as I can do, be as much as I can be and act like I used to act before I became disabled. In many respects, he dogged determination to get me back inspires me to hold onto who I am and not be transformed into someone else by my illnesses.

Five years ago, I was never a person with a short fuse and I was not a person who snapped at other people. As I sit here writing this, I realize that I don't want to become that kind of person either. Instead, I need to better recognize how increases in my chronic pain and fatigue affect my mood and stop flare-ups from taking over and turning me into a grumpy mess. Yes, I need to learn to take additional steps to better care of myself in these situations instead of taking it out on my hubby. That's what the real Selena would do.

Thanks for breaking through my flare-up bad moments this week and reminding me who I really am, Robert. I love you for always reminding me who I am despite chronic illness.
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Mo said...

Selena, what a beautiful thought provoking post. You described exactly how I feel at times. My Husband wants to heal me too, but he walks around like he is walking on eggs. We generally do not even raise our voices at each other so when one of us gets frustrated it is hard to handle. Be easy on yourself...you have a great Husband there and he has a fabulous wife. Worrying like you do only proves how important your relationship is to each of you.

Give each other lots of hugs and kisses and cuddles tonight...you both deserve it.


Dana Marton said...

Your words are wonderfully written. I think your relationship is very similar to mine and my husband's. He is an economist, and I am (was) a nurse. As a nurse, I also recognize the problems, and he tries to solve them (although he wishes he could do it with a math problem). We do not usually fight, but when we do, it can get heated. I don't think it's that bad though. It forces us to talk. We usually communicate very well; when we fight then, we know we haven't been doing so well in that area. You will do fine though. He loves you. It's obvious.
Blessings, Dana

Jamee said...

Your post is so beautifully written and resonates so deeply with my own life! Thank you for sharing!

Jamee @ A New Kind of Normal

shalunya said...

In so many ways, I think it's actually harder to be the non-chronic partner. They have so much more on their plate and they have to watch us suffer. Sometimes it's easy for us to forget the bigger picture. Thanks for reminding me.

Selena said...

Thank you all for your wonderful comments.

My goal was to portray a glimpse of my real, day-to-day life and I can tell from your comments that I succeeded.

Someone once told me that a good marriage allows you to be yourself, to express the good and the bad, without having to worry that your spouse will leave you. I can tell you I have a good marriage. We both have survived through a lot of good and bad before and after the start of my life with chronic illness and we are still going strong because we are in this together.