I've been through a lot personally since I last posted. I don't have the time to go into it all here. But here's a quick summary: W, after the episode I described a few days ago, fell into a horrible depression -- literally staying in bed for three or four days, with the curtains closed, and taking pills like they were cough drops and drinking. It was nuts. She began slowly coming out of it on Sunday, I think. Then I had another meltdown, this time of a different variety: I was washing the dishes, and W made her way out of bed and came into the kitchen and hugged me. This was a very good thing, a wonderful gesture. She was quietly crying -- but she'd been crying at different volumes for days on end, so really that meant very little. But then I started sobbing a little. I tried to hold it back, because I want W to know -- or I guess I should say I want her to think -- that I'm okay, I'm in control, I'm taking care of things. She can freak out, and I'll still be strong and holding shit down. But I was completely incapable of holding my tears in, and then I just started crying like CRAZY. I don't know if I've ever cried like that before. I kept saying "oh my god, oh my god, I'm sorry, I'm sorry." I didn't want to cry in front of her, and I realized that I was so sorry that things weren't working out. I just felt like, I have FUCKED UP YET AGAIN. I've failed my wife -- again. I put her through three years of waiting, put us so deep in debt I can't even think about it, and now when it's time for her payoff, I can't give it to her. And I cried for like twenty minutes, or more. I made my way to the bed, and was lying in the fetal position with my hands over my eyes, just sobbing. And W was comforting me, and telling me that it was all okay with her, and that she loved me.
Now, this is what I wanted to post about. I realized, thinking about this episode and its effect on W, something. I know she doesn't want a man who is vulnerable and needs taking care of (at least I'm pretty sure) -- she wants the guy I was trying to be, who will be strong and handle things, and take care of her and pamper her. But I think it is good for her when I show her my vulnerability. Because she pulled herself out of her horrible depression, to be strong for me. And ever since, she's been coping. Don't get me wrong, she still cries on the daily and breaks into bitter tirades about how horrible things are. And actually, the day following my meltdown she went even further than ever before, telling me that she seriously wanted to commit suicide. That's something I can't forget or ignore. She came to me, as if she wanted to propose this idea to me -- what if I killed myself? Everything would be so much better for everybody, she said. I sat with her, for hours -- basically all day -- and held her, and told her how much I needed her, and told her everything I could think of -- that I would be furious with her, that I would be completely helpless and lost without her, that I love her and need her in my life. And eventually she came out of that too. I have to remember this though. That's not the kind of thing that just goes away. She will raise that again some time, and I'll have to be ready.
Anyway -- having reminded myself of the timing of that episode, maybe I need to rethink my idea about how it's good for her when I am vulnerable. But the point is, I want to write this idea down so I don't forget about it, and so I can build on it if it makes sense to do so.
UPDATE: this is a few weeks later. I've been thinking about this. It seems completely crazy for me to say that she reacted to my breakdown by being strong and coping, when the following day she actually told me she was planning to commit suicide. But for some reason, it still seems true. I can't quite figure it out. Possibly -- and listen, this is so fucked up sounding -- possibly she said that to me to sort of even things out between us. I'm sort of picturing a scale here, you know, two pans. She had been very far down for days. When one of us is down, the other one goes up, to balance the other out, and to be able to take care of the other. Then I abruptly plummetted, and she went straight up. But her position, being up, didn't reflect reality at all: she was feeling absolutely horrible, and that fact didn't in itself change. Some part of her knew that I couldn't be allowed to languish at the bottom, because she needed me too; so I wonder whether she came to me saying the awful things she said as a way of evening out the scales between us. I sound like I'm accusing her of some horrible manipulation, but I'm not. I don't suggest she did this consciously at all; I just think this is the way our relationship works. I mean, I'm actually saying she has intuitively learned the lesson that I was just figuring out when I first wrote this post -- that by showing vulnerability one of us can be the catalyst for the other's recovery.
Something else that I'm not suggesting is that she was somehow lying to me when she said those things. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that she was feeling the horrible things she said she was feeling. But I think she came and sort of presented them to me as a way of saying, "look at me, I need your help, I need you to be there for me." And that's exactly what I did. And the fascinating thing is that we've both been coping ever since. Barely. Just barely. But we've been coping. And she's been strong for me.