Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Waking Up from Limbo

s. e. smith, the author of this ain't livin' wrote this lovely post about not treating disabled individual's as if they are in limbo. Limbo is a good way to explain the state the we have been in for the past year. We knew that Steve's pain would never get any better and that the "fixing" was complete, but we were at a loss as to how to proceed. So we stagnated.

Of course, we first tried to go back to "normal" life. But after a few weeks of Steve crying in his sleep because of the pain from sitting in a chair, in front of a computer monitor, all day and me watching his depression deepen and his anger increase, we knew that wouldn't work.

So, he went on short term disability (again), we moved closer to a more sympathetic doctor, then we entered limbo. Every day was exactly the same as the last. The pain lessened, but will never go completely away, his depression sort of "evened out" but he was still depressed. Day after day of lying on the couch loomed in front of him and he had absolutely no plan or even desire to change it.

I became depressed. I started questioning my life. Would ever have the man I fell in love with back? What would become of us? Was I doomed to be a single mother with the children's father lying right there? Could I handle that? Did I want that? What kind of life was this?

After a few months, his doctor and I convinced him to go to counseling. His first counselor tried to help him accept his limitations, but her viewpoint seemed to be that I should just "suck it up". This was his life now and, if he just accepted that fact, his depression would lift. It was ok to lie around all day doing little or nothing.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint), Steve is not a "do nothing" sort of guy. He's always had projects going. Sitting around watching movies doesn't work. Yeah, he liked that life for a little while (who wouldn't) but his depression still didn't lifted.

His new counselor is more proactive. She works with both of us to help us figure out our new life. Steve is still coming to accept his limitations, but he's back to working on his projects and helping out with the kids. Our roles have changed, but at least we are living.

It's going to be a long, hard road ahead. There is still a part of each of us that refuses to accept the change. I still want to be a "kept woman," whose only worry is whether the house is clean and the family is fed. Steve still wants to be the primary breadwinner. (I know, so 1950's, right?) But, that's not our life now. Instead of stagnating, we are living. Each doing our part to make our life better. Each day coming closer and closer to understanding and accepting our new life together.

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