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Feeling like a burden (Spoonie Life Complication #3)

A few months ago I got stressed out which led to a horrible back spasm. I tried to fall asleep, but was kept awake by the pain. It was so bad I actually had tears in my eyes. I couldn’t find any position in which I was comfortable. I hemmed and hawed about whether to wake up Mr. Lyndsy. I posted about it on social media – asking whether it was okay to wake him up.

Overwhelmingly the answer was “Yes! Wake him up!”

But I still didn’t do it until a time when he might have been up anyway. (Obviously he wasn’t awake since I had to wake him up, but it was after 7am when he’s usually up.)

Once up he put some ointment on my back to try to soothe the spasm, but it didn’t help much. A little while later we headed to the doctor to get some drugs that would actually help.

Mr. Lyndsy was upset I hadn’t woken him sooner. People online were surprised I didn’t wake him sooner.

Here’s the thing, I constantly feel like a burden already. I didn’t want to be EXTRA burdensome by disturbing his sleep.

Spoonies, even those with the most supportive partners, often feel like burdens because we can’t do all the things we think we should be able to. Some of us can’t work full-time like we used to. Others can’t help keep the house clean or cook. These things make us crazy. We try to do what we can, even to the point of hurting ourselves, but we rarely feel like it’s enough. (Occasionally this is made worse by outsiders who add their commentary about how bad they feel for our partners, having to pick up the slack.)

We try to be as un-needy as possible all the time. We minimize pain we’re having or hide it altogether. We just don’t want to burden those we love.

So when something happens that we believe is going to be an additional pain in the ass, we’re indecisive about what to do. Can we manage on our own? How much should we try before we go to our partners? What’s the pain point that we really just can’t take it anymore?

That’s where it has to get before we’ll reach out. Especially if our partner is doing something they really enjoy, like sleeping or playing video games or out with friends.

It all comes back to the fear that one day we’ll be too much for someone. One day our partner will hit their breaking point and that will be it. So rather than push it to that point, we do everything we can to be as self-sufficient as possible. Because we believe we’re already a weight on our partners’ backs every day.

State of the Marital Union: The Exception to the Rule

Well, yesterday was our wedding anniversary. I have to say, I have no idea how 3 years has gone by so quickly.

The thing that remains true is that our marriage is easy. Life has thrown us some curve balls, but throughout all of it, our marriage has been fantastic. Our relationship has been so stress-free. We’ve had ONE really tense situation, and that was just because we hadn’t communicated well enough regarding a couple situations. We resolved it quickly too.

We were on our way to dinner with my mom and a close family friend (who’s like a mom to me) and they both talked about how marriage isn’t that easy. Again, it was pointed out how we are the exception to the rule.

I still find this amusing since I’m not sure what we do so differently than others that makes us the exception. I guess we’re just lucky.

We had lunch at The Melting Pot, which is a favorite of ours. At least we know which of the 7 Deadly Sins is likely to be my downfall. Yum, delicious GLUTTONY!

I hope we continue being the happy exception to the rule. I need the stability he provides in my life. He continues to tell me that I do something for him, though I have yet to figure out what exactly, LOL.

Why didn’t you ask me? A post about marriage

*This post is inspired by this comic. Probably should read it first.*

I love Mr. Lyndsy. I appreciate everything he does for our marriage. He works full-time and I work part-time. When I can’t cover my bills with what I make (student loans, credit cards), there’s a transfer so I can. (We have separate bank accounts because of where we earn money.)

When it comes to things about the house and our life together, however, we look at things very differently. Mr. Lyndsy is like a lot of men, in that he’s a problem solver. If there is an immediate need, he will address it and try to “fix” the situation. Trash needs to be taken out? He takes it out.

When I look at the trash though, I see that it needs to be taken out AND that a new bag needs to go into the bin so we can throw out more trash. That does not seem to ever occur to Mr. Lyndsy, because pretty much every time I go into the kitchen after he takes out the trash, there isn’t a bag in the bin.

Neither of us likes doing dishes. I sometimes think Mr. Lyndsy calls and schedules cleaning people JUST so the dishes get done. He doesn’t expect me to do things that he doesn’t want to do, which I appreciate. However, there are some things in life we just need to do and get on with it.

For a while I was the only one who did the dishes. I sort of felt obligated since I work from home and he was gone so many hours during the day. Then my body crapped out on me and I didn’t think it was worth the back pain to deal with a sink full of dirty dishes.

Around the same time, I left Mr. Lyndsy by himself at the apartment for a month. He’d decided that he wanted to eat healthier, which meant more cooking. When I got back from my trip, I noticed that he was washing dishes! Right after he finished cooking something, he transferred it to the bowls and washed the pan! The next day, he’d wash his bowl!

But that was it. There could be dishes in the sink from me or other things he’d eaten (like oatmeal – totally caked on), and he wouldn’t touch those. At least until he needed one. But then he’d only wash the one.

To me, there is no point in only washing one dish as I need it. If you’ve got soap on the sponge, make it work for you. Wash what’s in the sink. That way you don’t have to put the food you desire on hold. But that’s not the way his mind works, apparently.

I love efficiency and effectiveness. Given the pain I’m in on a daily basis, I’m going to make my actions work for me. If I’m going from the bedroom to the kitchen to get water, I’m taking everything with me on the way that needs to go to the kitchen too. If there’s a cup on the dining room table, I grab it on the way. I do the same thing on the way back. The bathroom is next to the bedroom, so if something needs to go there, it comes with me on the return.

My mind automatically seeks out the next step in pretty much any process. Because there’s almost always a next step. And that next step will affect the one after that. I’m able to identify potential problems before they actually become a real problem. We won’t be scrambling at the last minute trying to deal with something because I thought ahead.

What it does mean though is that the load falls to me to be responsible for the whole picture. I occasionally wonder if he just thinks magic makes things as easy as they often end up being because I do look out for the whole picture. I don’t know whether he has a true appreciation for the pressure it puts on me.

I know it’s not his fault that I’m built the way I am – to look at the whole picture – but he did marry me that way. He, and everyone in the same position he’s in, should appreciate the value that I bring to the marriage because I do operate that way. He should understand why I get frustrated when plans are sprung on me.

I’m not asking him to do things the way I do. Yes, it would be great if he spent more time in front of the sink, hands covered in dish soap. I’d like it if he folded my laundry when taking it off the rack like I often do his. But at the end of the day, I’d be happy with him expressing that he SEES what I do and VALUES it.

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Ripple Effects of Depression

I have a big personality. Anyone who has ever met me in person and maybe even some people who have only met me online will tell you that. When I’m joyful and happy, it’s infectious. When I’m down, it’s like a raincloud covers everyone around me. Depression blocked any recognition I may have of this. Now that I’m coming through the other side of the tunnel, I can see how depression affected people around me.

For months now Mr. Lyndsy has seemed down and upset. I know he’s been having a stressful time at work. He essentially has been doing two jobs for the price of one. I assumed it was that and let it go.

However, over the last week or so as I’ve really started to feel better, he’s seemed lighter and happier too. It was only yesterday that I acknowledged there could be a connection between how I was and how he is. Obviously people who live together affect each other, but from my opinion, this seems to have gone beyond that. I know he hates to see me in pain. All he wants is for me to be healthy and happy. So if I’m not, it bothers him.

It was just so much worse than I thought it was. His light is shining brighter. He’s less irritable, more ready to laugh, and generally easier to be around.

It’s not like I could have known in advance that this would have affected him so differently and I don’t blame myself for his moods. For me this is incentive to stick with my meds. His happiness and wellbeing are of paramount concern for me. Now that I know how deeply affected he is by my emotional state, I want to make sure I do everything I can to keep our lives as happy as possible.

Clearly I want it for myself individually. But I chose him. I chose to be a part of his life and accepted that things I do can affect him too. I have a responsibility via my vows to him to make sure I’m the best partner I can be. He deserves that much from me. I know he feels the same way and has that same sense of obligation to me.

I’m keeping a journal about all of this so in case I forget I can go back and remind myself. Constant vigilance is my friend. If you see me and think something is off, please tell me. I appreciate that you’re looking out for me and won’t take any offense.

As always, thank you for your continued support.

Absence: Why absence in my marriage makes me happy

For some reason the other day I was thinking about being married and why Mr. Lyndsy makes me so happy. The word “absence” popped into my head.

I don’t mean it in the “absence makes the heart grow fonder” sense. I mean, I get it. I *hate* when he travels. It’s like my sense of balance is missing when he’s gone. It is a great reminder of why we get married, but that’s not what makes this so good on a day-to-day basis.

Sometimes, it’s the absence of something that you notice the most. So what is it that’s absent from our marriage that makes this work so well?

Judgment, for starters. There are days I don’t get dressed. There are days I barely leave bed. I dye my hair strange colors. I get tattoos. I say I can’t make dinner. I tell him not to put another dish in the sink because I do NOT WANT TO WASH ANOTHER FUCKING DISH RIGHT NOW. Ahem.

No matter what I do, his response is pretty much “Okay.” He doesn’t think anything about it. If I seem sick, he asks what he can do to make me feel better. If it looks like I’m going to throw all the dishes out the window, he says, “I’ll do the rest.” He gives me a hug when he sees blue in my hair. He gets that my tats are expressions of myself. So even when he doesn’t know I’ve been planning on a new one, he rolls with it.

Expectation is also missing from our marriage. The only thing he expects is that I will continue behaving in the way I have since I met him. That’s it. And that’s all I expect of him. So far we’ve both been really consistent in that. We’re both pretty set in who we are, so I don’t see that changing anytime soon either. I think that’s one of the benefits of having met in our 30s instead of 20s. We both had time to figure out who we are and what we want – and we worked to do that (after some gloriously failed relationships).

Bullshit and by this I mean that we seek each other out for help when shit’s gone off the rails, but we keep our own bullshit as our own. I have mood swings from time to time, get upset about stuff that has nothing to do with him and I sort it out for myself. If I need a hug he’s there, but I don’t take shit out on him and he doesn’t take shit out on me. Any outside stress stays outside.

Monopolization of time doesn’t exist here either. We do things together (TV is our jam and we love the LEGO video games), but we leave each other free to do the stuff we like to do. I read for hours and hours on end while he buys every game on the Playstation store. There are entire *weekend* days we don’t see each other because we’re otherwise absorbed. I’ve been with someone who didn’t let me have time to myself. If he wanted my attention, he pouted until he got  it.

I suppose that each one of things could be said a different way where ABSENCE wouldn’t be what joins everything together, but what I noticed was the lack of all of those. Perhaps it’s because the presence of awful things is really what helped me form ideas about what would work for me in a relationship and what wouldn’t. However you want to describe it, this is what works for us.

I hope you like orange, Ms. Davis

Despite numerous orders to do so, Kim Davis refuses to issue marriage licenses to gay couples (read: to do her job). As a result, she’s been found to be in contempt of court and jailed.

The thing about having a legal job is that oftentimes you’re required to take an oath of office. The point is that you have to affirm that you’re willing to uphold the laws of the United States and the city and state you live in. This doesn’t always make things easy – people who are opposed to the death penalty participate as judges, attorneys, and jurors. I have seen firsthand how difficult it can be

However, people do their jobs. Kim Davis had to take an oath when she assumed her office about one year ago. Her oath was:

Members of the General Assembly and all officers, before they enter upon the execution of the duties of their respective offices, and all members of the bar, before they enter upon the practice of their profession, shall take the following oath or affirmation: I do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth, and be faithful and true to the Commonwealth of Kentucky so long as I continue a citizen thereof, and that I will faithfully execute, to the best of my ability, the office of …. according to law; and I do further solemnly swear (or affirm) that since the adoption of the present Constitution, I, being a citizen of this State, have not fought a duel with deadly weapons within this State nor out of it, nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, nor have I acted as second in carrying a challenge, nor aided or assisted any person thus offending, so help me God.

The supreme law of the United States is the United States Constitution. If there’s a conflict between a state law and the Constitution, the Constitution wins. People get pissy about the judiciary creating laws, but this is how people are protected. Without the judiciary it may still be illegal for a black person to marry a white person and schools may still not be integrated.

People are making fun of Kim Davis for the way she dresses, her hair, and the fact that she’s been married four times, in seeming opposition to her Christian values. She’s a rather recent convert to Christianity and offers that as her explanation for her past transgressions. I don’t think you need Christianity to use good sense about who you marry, but what do I know?

I’m also not sure how it is that Davis issuing licenses to same-sex couples has anything to do with her religious beliefs. This has nothing do with her personally. It is through her role as the Clerk that she would be issuing licenses. We all get that she doesn’t want to do that. She has made that abundantly clear. She isn’t marrying a woman. So what of it?

What she is doing is imposing her judgment and view of Christianity on others. There is obviously a lot of discussion about whether Christianity prohibits same-sex marriages, with a number of churches in favor of them. When last I peeked into Christianity, it is not the place of any individual to impose their judgment on others and no one lives a sin-free life.

There are a lot of jobs that Davis could be doing right now. She took the post from her mom who held the position for 37 years so I can see why she may be reluctant to step down. Issuing marriage licenses is but one of many things a Clerk does, but it’s something that impacts a lot of people on a regular basis. If she can’t execute the duties of her job, she should step down and let someone who can uphold the oath of office take over.

In the meantime, good luck with that orange jumpsuit.

Happy Anniversary to Mr. and Mrs. Impossible!

Wedding Wear

Mr. and Mrs. Impossible have made it a year! I had those shirts made for us because we wanted to get married in comfortable clothing, but I thought they should be at least a little personalized. The idea came to me because Mr. Lyndsy frequently had /has to ask me to quit being impossible. Things like falling in the shower because I tried to turn off the water with my foot, tripping over things when I wasn’t being careful, not following up with doctors. It all made him crazy. At the same time, he’s pretty stubborn himself.

Now that we’ve been married a year, I feel like those shirts carry another meaning. We have done what many considered impossible. We met online, fell in love, met each other in person, planned a life from 8,000 miles apart, got married, started living together after only spending 24 or 25 days together in person, and are still happily married a year in.

The day we got married someone toasted us and said that when he heard Mr. Lyndsy and I were getting married he had some concerns. We’d met online. How well did we really know each other? He emphasized that everyone knows how hard marriage is. He said he hoped that our relationship would still work out now that we would be around each other every day.

No one makes me feel better when I’m down. Some days I cry for no apparent reason and he just holds me until I’m okay. Before the surgery he rubbed my foot to try to ease the pain. Since the surgery he’s had to wait on me all the time. All of it he does with a smile. He just wants me to be healthy and happy.

And it’s not one-sided. I make him cookies because he’s pretty much the Cookie Monster. I love to watch him play football. I love going with him to football games. I will don a black and red jersey this summer and cheer on his favorite Brazilian team.

He loves me even though I’m physically and emotionally broken. 

I’ve heard over and over that marriage is hard work, that it will get harder as we add kids. But I know that no matter what happens, we will always have each other’s backs. We freely share our love for each other. We strive every day to help the other become the best we can be.

Because of our relationship and his love for me, I feel like I can take on the world, accomplish the things I really want to accomplish, and be the best version of myself. He’s told me that I do the same for him.

What more can you ask for from your life partner?

My wish for everyone who reads this is that you have your own Mr. Lyndsy or find him soon.

Just Married Selfie

In Sickness and In Health

Fun Medical MGD©

To be honest, I can’t even remember if this was in our wedding vows. I don’t remember anything we said, just that I was with Mr. Lyndsy and we were pledging forever. I’m pretty sure we both meant “in sickness and in health.

Things took a worse turn for me than either of us expected. I think it’s pretty clear that Mr. Lyndsy got the short end of the stick when it comes to this particular clause of the vows. I will be the *first* person to admit that. His back pain comes and goes, but with exercise, he manages to keep it in check most of the time. When he’s having a flare, I do what I can to make him feel better.

I was chatting with my mom the other day about my upcoming back surgery. I have no idea how it came about, but all of a sudden, I hear her saying something to the effect that if it were her, she’d have said “I can’t handle this anymore, this isn’t what I signed up for this.” I was like, “What are you talking about?” (I thought she was maybe talking about work.) “Your surgery and health. This is a lot.” She finished up the odd chat by saying that he must really love me if he’s staying with me through all of this.

It’s been suggested to me that she meant well and that living with someone who has a chronic illness or pain is hard and that couples who have been together far longer than us have broken up over less serious illnesses.

Had I thought Mr. Lyndsy would leave me over any of this, I never would have married him in the first place. There is more surgery in my future – my back condition is degenerative. From the first surgery in 2011, I was just asking for more. I didn’t really have much of a choice though. The same with my upcoming tendon transfer. I could live in a brace that causes me pain for the rest of my life, or I could try to do something to walk more normally and hopefully with less pain (“no pain” is unlikely since I still have nerve issues).

I do not take Mr. Lyndsy’s support for granted. I was engaged to a man who didn’t even stay at the hospital while I had my first back surgery. He didn’t even wait for me to be under before he left. I was in a room, crying and in miserable pain, by myself for a while until a friend showed up.

I do everything I can to be as self-sufficient as possible. Because I am home most days, I clean the apartment. When I remember, I do all the laundry – his and mine. If we’re eating at home, I do the cooking most of the nights. I do the dishes the vast majority of the time. We go out and do things we both want to do. If he wants to see a sporting event, we go. We got to the movies. We go walking sometimes.

I do all of this despite the fact that most days almost every step hurts. My back pain is back with a vengeance. I do it because I made a commitment to him and our marriage. I HATE feeling like I’m a burden to him. I HATE knowing that our trip to see his parents and family, his first trip home in over two years, isn’t going to be what it could be because I’ll be in a space boot and not really able to walk. I know how much it hurts him to see me in pain.

When we got married we had to decide where we were going to live – in the US or in Qatar. Because he loves his job and mine was no longer healthy for me, I chose to move 8,000 miles away from everything I’ve known. To a place with weather I hate (I miss Seattle), where dust tries to attack me every chance it gets, to a medical system I knew nothing about even knowing I needed good medical care, and where I had one friend. My dress fits local customs and I watch how I behave in public so I don’t get deported. I did this because I love Mr. Lyndsy and I want him to be happy. Ultimately I don’t mind living here. I have a comfortable life (until I walk outside from May to late September). I have made other friends.

Why did I mention that? Him marrying me, knowing about my medical conditions – including the need for the surgery I’m having in a few days – was a choice. None of this came as a surprise to him. He knew what he was getting himself into when he said, “I do.”

When I mentioned my conversation with my mom to him, I asked him if he was burdened by my illness and injury. He looked at me like I’d lost my mind. “In sickness and in health, Wife.”

*This post is Day One in the 30-Day Project for June*

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Happy Birthday, Mr. Lyndsy!

boy-birthday-cake-clip-art-GIFT2

How I managed to marry a man who doesn’t like to celebrate his birthday is beyond me. Fortunately he’s fine with me treating mine like an international holiday.

Anyway, he doesn’t want to celebrate the day he graced the world with his presence. But I do.

I met Mr. Lyndsy at a pretty fucked up time in my life. My health was taking a turn for the worse, my job was killing my soul, and I was trying to figure out what the hell I was going to do next. Meeting him, even virtually, made me smile. He told me that whatever health issues I was dealing with, he’d be right there with me. We talked after all my appointments, he strongly encouraged me to go when I was ambivalent, and made me put myself and my health ahead of my job.

He knows when I’m lying to him about how I’m feeling. He’ll stop whatever he’s doing if I look like I need a hug. He doesn’t mind when I cry and get snot all over him.

Things lately have been pretty stressful. Unproductive doctor’s appointments, trying to make sure I’m taken care of after surgery, job stress. Above all, he just wants me to be happy and will do whatever he can to make sure I am happy.

I was reading in bed the other day and he came to lay down with me. He complained about a headache. I put my phone down and we rested together for a while. He passed the hell out and then got back up and continued playing video games. I asked how the headache was and he said it was better, that he just needed a hug from Wife. He always makes me feel good.

He is the anchor of my life and the one person who can always make me smile. For this, he deserves to be celebrated. Happy Birthday, Mr. Lyndsy!