Jon and I texted back and forth a bit about my feelings about Lora not doing solo therapy. We cleared up one miscommunication – I thought that he was surprised that I was so upset that Lora wasn’t doing solo therapy. He was actually more surprised that we talked about it last week, and afterwards I seemed mostly normal, but then after we talked Sunday, I turned into Burned-Out Shell Liz.
A few weeks ago, I was more hopeful, and talked about using this time to focus on other things. Although I didn’t expressly say it (as Jon and I hadn’t talked about it yet), I did assume that sometime during this quieter period Lora would start solo therapy and Jon and Lora would start couples therapy. In my mind, I see a quiet, more stable time and I think “Oh, this is the perfect time to do some tough things – it’s so much better to start any kind of tough project when the current situation is steady, calm, and more supportive”. When Jon and I talked Sunday, he told me that Lora had recently said to him that she didn’t think solo therapy was necessary for her any more because things have been going better for them, and they’re not fighting as much. So the problems must be fixed, right? Or at least, they’re not really important, because they’re not happening.
This will be my…fourth “quiet before the storm” period while in a relationship with Jon. What I’ve been doing the past few months, as things slowly settled down, is feel good that Lora will have a calm foundation to work from, when she started therapy. So when Jon told me that the thing I see (and know, from hard past experiences) as the perfect time to start therapy is the very thing that Lora uses as an excuse to not start therapy, I thought to myself “Well that was a nice little delusion I had for myself – that Lora would get therapy like she promised and actually do it at a time that was really good for it”.
Instead of that happening, Jon is going to fight with her over doing it – I got the impression from our texts this morning that it’s going to take a fight. If he can’t convince her to start therapy then I’m going to have to talk to her again, and point out that she’s breaking her word to me, and also point out that we’ve had three blow ups since I’ve been around (I know that there was also at least one before Jon and I started dating). So the odds are good that there will be another and by not getting therapy to help start to break down the things that cause those fights, she’s going back on her word to me, which means that we should figure out how we’re going to separate homes. If for some insane reason I don’t insist that we no longer live together if she doesn’t get therapy and then initiate a split of homes, then I know that the next time a huge, blow-out fight happens and Lora tearfully says that she needs therapy and that she’s really going to go this time, I’m going to tell her to go fuck herself. She had her chances. I’m done. We already got to the tearful “Lora knowing she needs therapy” stage of things earlier this year! The idea of having to go back there again now – I just don’t have the energy.
Because on my health front, things are scary. I’ve started another physical therapy. My first two visits brought me lingering pain which (as my therapist explained) might not be a bad thing. We’re going to assume it’s not a bad thing. But I’m terrified that what this increase in pain means. This is the path that I took to get into the horrible place I’m at physically:
When my previous therapy wasn’t working, I went to my general doctor, who recommended a specialist. I went to the specialist and he thought I had a particular problem. He gave me a test that confirmed I had that problem. It was the first time in the years since this problem developed that I had a positive test that I confirmed I had a particular problem.
We started a very specific therapy. Because of the pain and weakness I have, he wanted me to do as little as possible when I wasn’t doing therapy, in order to give my body a rest. So I did. About a month into that, I started to develop another strange problem in a nearby part of my body. I asked him (and his physical therapist) about it, they said it sounded minor and unrelated, to maybe stretch a bit to ease it, but not to do too much, because it would interfere with the therapy that I needed for my original problem. I complied. When the problem got worse, I did a google search for what kind of doctor would be needed to look into that problem, and found one who had good reviews and scheduled an appointment with her.
It turns out that my new problems were caused by my enforced rest for the original problem – my muscles were atrophying and my tendons were shortening from lack of use. Meanwhile, my new doctor (who has a broader specialty that can include the area of the body that my specialist covers) sent me for two different tests. Those new tests proved that the test my specialist gave me had a false positive – I didn’t have that problem. I did, however, have another problem, which was confirmed in one of the tests (This confirmed problem doesn’t explain all my health issues, but it does at least explain some of them). My new doctor suspected that I had that problem, and that it gave me a false positive for the other thing.
The end result is this: because I had several months of therapy for a problem I don’t have, not only did nothing get better, another part of my body developed a severe problem due to atrophy. This problem has hindered my mobility and ability to do things even more than the original problem. It also needs to be rehabilitated before we can do much with the original problem. My first two physical therapy sessions showed me how incredibly weak that part of my body is and – compared to the other side of my body – things that used to be incredibly easy to do are both difficult and extremely painful. As we commence PT, the pain is ramping up again.
I have previously had pain from the original problem that was so bad that I would realize that I was whimpering under my breath, or muttering “please stop hurting, please stop hurting” while I was working. And yes, I do want to be working – because laying around doing nothing doesn’t seem to help, and at least at work I have something to focus on other than the pain. I got scared when I realized that I was idly imagining what I’d do if the pain got so bad that I couldn’t live with it anymore – what would be the neatest, least-traumatizing-to-Jon way to kill myself?
Let’s be clear here – I am not suicidal. I don’t want to die. But in the last year, I’ve been in pain that is severe enough for long enough that I can viscerally understand why someone who is in pain but not terminal might choose to die. That was scary. It’s the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced. I’m pretty good with pain, in that I have a high tolerance for it. The first time I needed surgery, I only took narcotics for the first day or two – they made me so nauseated that it wasn’t worth the decrease in pain, and I found that taking some advil and doing breathing exercises was enough to get through it. I’ve had a couple of out-patient surgeries since. I don’t even bother getting the codeine prescription filled, because I know I can handle that pain. But this mysterious pain in my body that still isn’t totally diagnosed became so constant and so bad that I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to keep living with it. And that was terrifying. Because I generally love living. Miserable current living situation aside, I love being alive. I don’t know if we get another life other than this one, so I’m trying to make this one the best, most wonderful, magical, packed-with-meaningful-things life that I possibly can.
And maybe that’s another reason why I feel so angry about Lora not wanting to do therapy. With my body, I am doing all the therapies that my doctors and physical therapists are telling me. I’m trying to do all the right things. And the end result after every little six to eight week block of work I do is that I’m either just as bad or worse. Whereas emotionally, we’re all having this calm time that would be very conducive to Lora getting therapy for her emotional problems and she doesn’t want to do it. It’s just too much.
And I’ve been here before. I’ve been in two other relationships that lasted for more than a year, but I ultimately broke off in part because my partner needed therapy and refused to get it. I’ve been through these cycles of “calm period, slowly building tension, horrible screaming fights, calm period” before. When Jon and I started dating, I didn’t know that he and Lora had that cycle. If I had, I don’t know if or how it would have changed how I felt about Jon becoming so important in to me. I know that if Jon and I had those cycles, we’d have stopped dating years ago. We don’t. It’s one of the things that I love the most about being with him.
Our texts this morning ended with him saying that he felt stressed and exhausted and angry at Lora. He said he needed to not talk about this or think about it for awhile, because he felt crazy. I told him that I loved him, and that I was so sorry, I wished I could give him more. Even now, I wish I could give him more. I know I can’t, but I so badly want this to be better for him. I so badly want Lora to understand that she isn’t going to get better without help, and that the longer she holds off on getting that help, the harder and longer the road is going to be. And the higher the chance that the people who are trying to support her are going to stop trying.
That’s when I start to wonder if she’s going to make it. Or if she’s going to continue to refuse therapy until I give up. Is she going to keep hurting Jon until he gives up too, and tells her it’s over? And then she can take us and add us to the list of people who gave up on her and let her down in the end, because it’ll be easier for her to live saying to herself that if people just helped her a little more, she’d have gotten better. But they didn’t, so she’s going to stay a miserable, hurting, abusive person because no one cared enough to give her the help she needed to get better. No one. Including herself.