I never understood why Mindy, or anyone with a mental illness, couldn’t just “get better”. It was as frustrating for her, not being able to get me to understand, as it was for me to not “get it”. Not that I really understand it now, but I do have a more appreciative perception of what she went through. A lot of our disagreements were from our inability to bridge that gap. She had a need she couldn’t explain, and I
couldn’t wouldn’t see her need. I tried everything I could to help her, sometimes to her extreme disagreement. I just never could make it work because I didn’t understand the real problem, not like I do now.
I feel like the roles are reversed a little now. Not that I’m mentally ill or anything (although most days I don’t feel far from it!) but I can’t seem to find a way to fit back into “normal life”. My boss at work has been great at giving me room to work out family issues but I can tell it’s wearing a little thin. I just can’t seem to stay focused on work. I get the small trivial tasks taken care of easily but if there is something to be done that requires a few days of attention it’s very difficult. I want to be able to stay up late and write a little code to catch up, like I did in my life of before. I want to be out mowing the lawn and suddenly realize that I should have used some other pattern, run in and refactor what’s been done; I just can’t. I don’t have time to mow the lawn, I pay someone for that now (which I would never have done before) and my nights are consumed with three little people that don’t care much for coding. When they go to bed, on a typical night, I clean up from dinner, throw in a load or two of laundry, pay bills and if I’m lucky get to bed about midnight. I don’t sleep well, and it’s hard to drag myself out of bed the next morning. I’m up to get the kids off to school then I’m off to work; rinse and repeat.
Is this typical?
From those I’ve talked to it is; especially for widow/ers with children.
In dealing with life as a now single spouse, it appears that developing a feeling of split personalities is quite common. It could be in varying degrees but with the outside world pushing you to “move on” you put on a mask that becomes your public persona. The private side of your life grows behind the mask, away from the mostly well intentioned, uncomfortable public. At some point these personalities must come back together but for now it’s yet another gap I’m unable to bridge.
Unwilling to bridge.