7 years ago it was my wedding day. Despite where we are today, it was still one of the happiest days of my life.
It was 42 degrees, which normally would have me complaining. But I was so chilled out that even the hairdresser commented on how she's never seen such a calm bride. And I was calm, everything went to plan, and it all just felt, right.
For our honeymoon, we had our first overseas adventure together to Bali. The first 2 days were a disaster and we had to rely on each other, we turned the worst trip into the best.
I remember going back to work after our honeymoon and thinking that I had literally just lived the greatest 2 weeks of my life.
For the first few anniversaries we took the day off work and went to Sky High or the Healesville Sanctuary. We had picnics on the beach and watched the sunset. My idea of heaven.
But things are different now. It's 8.00pm and I haven't even seen Steve, let alone wished him a happy valentines or anniversary. He's in bed. Benn there all day, I suspect. Which is what he does on special occasions. Actually, it's what he does most of the time now days.
His depression is probably the worst it has ever been. One minute I could bet my house on the fact that he hates me. The next, he's talking to me like every thing is fine. But it's mostly hate.
He rarely acknowledges me, if I ask him a question, his response is generally a grunt. He takes absolutely no interest in my life, rarely answers my phone calls and is straight out mean. He didn't even come to my Uncles funeral. Didn't even send me a message with his condolences on the day.
It all happens so often that it has become my life, it's become the norm. I wake with anxiety, drive home with anxiety and walk on egg shells the whole time I'm home.
Most of my family and friends have given up on me. I mean it has been like this for over a year now. I hope I never put an expiry on my support or compassion if a friend ever needs it.
What people don't understand is that this is a mental illness. This isn't Steve feeling a little sad. This is someone who is very sick, both mentally and physically. For want of a better word, right now, Steve isn't normal.
Steve doesn't go to counselling. His counsellor gave him a 2 year prescription for his meds. Meaning that he is still on his original medication, without any further evaluations. He doesn't do anything to combat the problem. He spends most of his time in bed, has strained his relationships with friends and family, if not removed them completely and wallows in his depression. This combined with his epilepsy and back problems is a recipe for disaster. He is in a huge black hole and can't see his way out. Nor does anyone that cares for him.
I know that our relationship is a major factor in his depression. But it's a catch 22 situation. Leaving now would spiral his depression out of control, and with bat shit income and not physically being able to return to work at this stage, he would have no chance on a new beginning. I can hear you all now... It's not my problem, right?! Wrong! This is what I signed up for, "in sickness and in health, for better or worse". Besides, this is exactly like throwing a cancer patient, who's not handling things, out to fend for them selves. I don't know anyone who would do that, or expect someone they know to.
But don't be fooled, family and friends, that I'm here playing happy families. I am literally a carer for a very sick person. A pretty shit one at that.
I'm not a doctor and more often than not, I fuck it all up. But I am compassionate (to a point), and loyal. I'm nice, because that's who I am. I've learnt not to yell back, or stoop to his level of name calling. I've learnt not to expect anything from him, but to also expect anything. I've learnt to shut my self in my room when things start getting smashed and voices raised. I've learnt to listen if he wants to tell me about his day, knowing full well he's not interested in mine. I've learnt to be lenient - perhaps too much. I've learnt to rob Peter to pay Paul just to survive. I've learnt that after a few bourbons, he's 11 foot tall and built of steel and will want to fight (not me, but any guy that even looks at him sideways). Ive learnt that he holds a grudge and never. ever. forgives. I've learnt that he is who he is and will never apologise for it (not necessarily a bad trait).
But I haven't learnt to be who he wants me to be, so I'll never be good enough. I'm fine with that. I'm a good, decent person, nothing to be ashamed about. Sure, I have issues. The things he hates about me most are the lack of affection I show and the fact that I don't look after him. He's damn right. I do need to work on those things, I have so much trouble letting my guard down to change it. Plus I'm a Taurus, I'm stubborn! But I do truly think that if I was really shown love, I could give it 10 fold. I also think that I deserve that love. I deserve respect and love.
I guess the issue here is that Steve needs to try and fix him self. That's what everyone needs. Not to fix this marriage. at this stage, if we're honest, it's gone. Has been for a while. Maybe one day in the future, if we are truly soul mates, we'll find that love again. But our priority, before anything like that, has to be to fix our selves.
One day we'll both have a happy valentines again. Maybe not together, but I'll always be thinking of what a wonderful day I had on this day in 2004.