The First Downslide

It wouldn’t be a Madeline story without a serious dash of crazy seasoning. But I promised honesty.

I saw Tony last in April. I don’t recall if we spoke on phone subsequently or not, probably. But the last text was mid-August. Full stop. My last text said:

“I am having surgery on Sept 7th that I don’t expect to recover from and since you have decided to be such a jerk and I won’t recover you can expect my letter to you and your wife then.” I was furious at him for being a douche when I was dropping my son at college after I supported him through dropping off two kids to college. He could have been kinder. I should have been less crazy, but that sets the scene.

And I blocked him for a while until I went to Mexico, hoping I would hear from him because he knew the surgery date and my birthday were around the corner.

Needless to say, while fighting for my life, I finally stopped focusing on Tony.

Until I started to feel better and talk about it in therapy.

As my body healed and the new meds kicked in, the desperate addiction I felt towards him increased. I knew myself well enough to know trouble was brewing.

But I did all the right things. I called friends. I diverted myself. I even went on a couple great dates (those stories will follow and were therapy approved dates). I finally felt happiness, real and true, outside my home with my family the day after Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving day and the subsequent party took all the life out of me. I slept for 2 days following. My cousins hire professional photographers and post literally hundreds of party photos.

To step back to provide context: my x never enjoyed these family parties. He didn’t want to play football with the cousins (boys and girls) he didn’t like to socialize and every year became a struggle. I love this family and would do anything to be included and they always were inclusive to The x and my boys. But towards the end of marriage I gave up on being included. I’m still surprised at all the times I said no and they asked again.

So when the guy I met asked me to a strange second date I quickly said “I will trade you for a football game!” The whole story will follow but, god bless his heart, he was so excited to be included.

My cousins are short – the girls are under 5′ and the boys under 5’8″. So I made a joke to my very serious boy cousins that I was bringing a 6’4″ athlete who could be QB (knowing full well I would never live it down). Everyone he met said “oh! Your Mads 6’4″!” And that’s all they called him all day. 6’4″. He loved it.

He was the star of the game so my cousins loved him. He’s gregarious and wonderful so it was super easy.

I was really happy that day.

So what happened to being out Trixie?

I admit I check often if Tony and I are friends in FB. It was the only social media we remained connected on. He shut it down for months but opened it last week sometime.

My social media stopped when I went in the hospital. But now I had a reason to open it because the photos from the party were fabulous. My cousin tagged me in all of them and they post to my wall.

There is a beautiful photo of 6’4″ and I together. We look like a couple. There’s photos like that with my cousins too, but I know they are my cousins. My cousin also tagged all of 6’4″s football hilights with my name. And they made comments under the photos about 6’4″ doing me proud on the field.

Today I saw Tony had unfriended me on FB. I went into shock. I couldn’t think and my reaction was to reach out. But he has been deleted from my phone for so long I truly could not recall his phone number. So I sent a text to his two emails and they didn’t come back with “delivered”. I scoured the internet with phone combinations for 40 mins until I hit it. I really couldn’t recall it. I called from my phone and it went straight to VM. I called from the house phone and it went straight to VM. I was blocked.

I called where I thought he was working and got as far as reception and hung up and called my friends and admitted my cray.

An hour later he replied that he was flying home, couldn’t text or talk now, and I was never blocked. I apologized and said I overreacted and he asked what prompted it. I didn’t answer.

Will he text me tmrw? I don’t know.

I made it through 7 months of not seeing him and 3 full months or more of no contact and I lost my shit the instant I felt rejection.

My friends say it’s because I have the photos with the guy up and he doesn’t want to see things like that. I interpret that as he doesn’t want me happy. I get confused. Why now? What’s the big deal of FB friends when we don’t communicate any longer?

But it hurt and flipped the Trixie switch.

My call with my therapist is at 10am tmrw. But what can she say that I don’t already know? Why do I keep doing this to myself with a man who clearly doesn’t want me. Or any connection with me.

I have to get to the bottom why rejection causes Trixie to trigger. And I want it to stop. I want to stop thinking about him and wanting him. I can believe he gave me the world and it was lovely but I have to also believe it’s gone for good.

I am angry and embarrassed at myself. And worried about him reaching out to me soon.

I was doing well. But my little child, Trixie, stomped her feet and wanted to know WHY now….why take me off FB now. It was a small and innocuous connection. But it was something to me. And now I’m hurt all over again.

Coming Back to Life?

I find it strange how often I still think about writing on the blog, when I haven’t really committed to writing in almost a full year.  I felt the need to write when I divorced, it felt important to me.  Once I met Tony (Bennett), my psyche was clever enough to stop me from writing the truth.  I knew if I wrote I would have to hold myself accountable.  And, I knew I didn’t want to be accountable.

That doesn’t mean what I wrote during the 2 years with Tony wasn’t true, that’s not my style.  My skill is in being able to be honest out loud and literally ignoring my own best judgment.  You have all watched me do it for 4 years now.

I’m in therapy and my therapist condones writing on the blog, so I am going to give it another shot.  At the moment, I do nothing, I feel nothing.   I am going to be able to write a lot that literally causes no emotional reaction, when it should.  I am entirely disconnected.

While the ups and downs of Tony were obvious throughout the entire 2 years, the worst really hit in April 2018 when I finally said “enough is enough.”  At the exact same time, my job imploded and I was told I wasn’t “good enough” and I should look for another role.  Add in three teenage boys, one loaded with drama going away to college and you have a recipe for a mid-life crisis.   Or a nervous break down.  Call it what you will, I was broken starting April 2018.

I thought I lived through bad times and believed I was resilient, but truly nothing compares to my ability in the Summer of 2018 to play at life while hiding my biggest secret: I didn’t care if I lived or died, but I couldn’t commit suicide.  So, I chose a passive path: gastric surgery in Mexico.  This way – if I died, I died.  If I lived, I finally had a chance to be thin.

I knew deep down my decision was wrong.  I came to the blog to write and called it a “reset” and those few that I did tell, I convinced them it was for the same reason.   It never was.  I had a death wish.  I lied to everyone about how I felt, everyone except Tony.

During the summer, I told Tony my mind was collapsing.  At the same time, I was angry and cruel to him, pushing him as far away from me as I could with all my threats of telling his wife.  I told him I was going through the breakdown, but I didn’t tell him about the type of surgery.   I was asking the wrong person for help in the worst way possible.  Any good that was in our relationship (for him, because I don’t feel it) is ruined by my behavior between May-August.

I made the decision to go to Mexico by late July.  I dropped my son at college around August 17, and stopped speaking to Tony around the same time (I hadn’t seen him since April).  My job ended on September 4th and I was on the plane to Mexico September 6th.

Arriving in Mexico made me feel nothing.  I spoke to no one.  I had no desire to compare stories, I didn’t care.  I wanted the surgery over and done with.  I had no feeling it would end one way or the other, nothing crossed my mind.

I’m not going to talk about my surgeries, because I don’t want to.  I had to write a recap for a lawyer and I could barely recall what happened when.  But the high level recap is the Gastric Sleeve seemed to go fine, except I have so much scar tissue that they nicked my intestines.  They did a second surgery trying to fix it and made it worse.  Then a third surgery for a bowel resection.  All in Mexico, in a language I didn’t understand, in such complete pain and shock I couldn’t properly react, and in a place that wasn’t equipped for this type of surgery.  I was able to fly home September 19th and was back in the US hospital with infection and abscess 2 days later.  A 4th surgery in the US corrected the issues and I came home October 10th or so.

Make a fist on both hands.  Hold them together.  That’s how big my open wound on my tummy was, and just as deep.  That’s a whole lot of healing. 3 full months just for it to close.  We are 2 months in…and at least I can look at it now and change my own bandages.

That brings us to today.  Physically, I am healing.  The wound will close.  The sleeve works and I have adjusted to eating properly with the sleeve.

The emotional or mental healing is another story entirely.  Working through my x putting into my kids head that all of this is “my fault” – hell, working that fault through my own head – is not easy.  Working through my ability to move on from Tony.  Working through the drama of the teenage years.  Working through the job loss, the “not good enough” and the finances.  Working through what dating would look like and undressing in front of someone.   I was spinning too many plates.  I didn’t drop one, I dropped them all and banged into the mother fucking porcelain cabinet while I was at it.

So here I am on the floor, covered in broken glass, trying to figure out how to get back up.

Some motions are easy: go to the doctors, eat, drink, feed children. It literally stops there. My brain isn’t working.  They say I have PTSD.  I need time.  More time.  I’m still healing. One day at a time.  I will recover.  That’s what they say.

I take steps.  It looks like I am moving forward.  I look pretty good when I clean up.  But then I don’t shower for days and lie on the couch.  I sleep 10-12 hours every night, straight.  I don’t want to DO anything.  I stopped typing and came back to this post because I don’t really want to write.  It’s more doing I don’t want to do.

I don’t like the “have-to’s”

I have to get a job because I am a single mother who has 3 children.  2 in college.

I have to earn enough money.

I have to leave the house to get a job.

I have to speak to people to get a job interview.

I have to get dressed, do my hair and makeup.  I have to act.

I don’t want to.  I can do, I have done, but I don’t want to, period.

I was at a family party the day after Thanksgiving and had an amazing time, the photos show a beautiful,  happy woman.  My family and friends were so happy to see me.  I even opened up my social media and added photos for the first time since August.  I thought – let’s show everyone I can (and will) recover!  I was really trying to show myself – look! you can do it!

I did it.

Then I slept for 2 days straight.  My mind is right back in the black hole.

What scares me the most is I already know I am going to recover and heal, outwardly.  I will play the game again and be good at it again.   But will I really heal?  Can I do the real work required for self love and acceptance?  Do I want to do it?

I also want to say “Thank-you” to all that reached out with care and concern.  I didn’t place enough value on the strength I could gather from the love of strangers, but I now realize that I need to truly acknowledge  all forms of generosity and love – so thank you from the bottom of my heart.