ESSAY | MONTHLY THEME | PROMPTLY WRITTEN
My Rolling Rock
Gratitude Journal — Day 1
For most of my twenty-year marriage, my spouse has been a boulder — sturdy, steady, and often immovable in many ways. Maddy is a hard worker and a great provider. We connect on a spiritual and intellectual level, and we are great companions for one another. S/he is more active and healthier than I am. However, s/he suffers from similar mental health issues as I do — Bipolar (with Mania; whereas mine is mostly Depressive), a personality disorder (undiagnosed, but possible Personality or bordering-Narcissistic), and OCD.
Early on in our marriage when my mental health was at its worst, Maddy wasn’t as understanding as s/he is now. S/he thought I was faking it or using it as a means to be lazy, especially when I was so deeply depressed that I couldn’t even get out of bed. And chronic pain. S/he didn’t understand how mental illness could lead to pain throughout my body.
Maddy has been self-medicating for decades because s/he never wanted to admit that anything could possibly be wrong. Not with Maddy, the steady boulder. Alcohol was the solution, or so s/he thought. However, the alcohol only numbed the senses and did nothing for the symptoms of ever-occurring mania.
Lately, s/he has been suffering from insomnia as a result of the mania. Maddy’s mind races all the time and won’t shut down to allow rest. While I rarely have manic episodes, I do recognize the behavior and I understand how stressful it can be on the entire body. And Maddy’s body has been slowly breaking down. On Sunday night, October 31st, s/he finally crashed. My boulder had turned into a rolling, unstable rock.
Since Maddy is resistant to most help but was clearly in distress, I took charge. S/he couldn’t seem to calm down, so I put on some meditative music, turned on the essential oil defuser and the pink salt lamp, and finally turned off all the lights in the bedroom. And then I started a guided meditation in a calm, soothing tone. For once, s/he listened to me and after about thirty minutes, I began to hear a soft snore. S/he slept, not long, but slept without alcohol or sleep medication.
I am so grateful that I had the tools to help Maddy. It has been a long road for me to get to the place where I could remain calm and in turn, help my spouse. And I am so grateful to Maddy because now s/he understands fully what I was going through all those years ago. S/he has been able to remain calm since the guided meditation and my heart is so full of gratitude right now that I am overcome with emotions.
©2021 Lori Carlson. All Rights Reserved.
Note: My spouse is a transwoman who has not fully transitioned. S/he, therefore, prefers the ‘s/he’ pronoun and I am honoring Maddy’s wishes by using that pronoun.
This is in response to the November Monthly Theme prompt — Keep a 30-day Gratitude journal. I am aiming to commit to this. Wish me luck!
Lori Carlson writes Poetry, Fiction, Articles, Creative Non-Fiction, and Personal Essays. Most of her topics are centered around Relationships, Spirituality, Life Lessons, Mental Health, Nature, Loss, Death, and the LGBTQ+ community. She is the Owner/Editor of Promptly Written and Not For Bedtime Stories. Check out her personal Medium blog here.