The rabbit hole

4:00pm

After over 4 weeks of radio silence she suddenly reaches out to me. Here is our exchange:

Michelle: Can I come over and get Christmas stuff I left there, some of it is pretty sentimental.

Me: When would you want to come over? I will make sure the house is unlocked and I am not home (so you don’t have to see me). I am meeting some friends out around 6:30pm…you can come over then

Michelle: Ok that works, I’ll go there tonight

Me: Please don’t bring your new boyfriend into the home we shared.

Michelle: I would never do that but I will bring someone so I’m not alone

Me: Because I am dangerous? Really? Is that the reason…because you think I am a physical risk to you?

Michelle: No, just because it’s the smart thing to do. Delena is coming

Me: It’s the smart thing to do when you’re with a strange man you can’t trust.

You could have just said Delena is going to be with me. You didn’t need to insult me (again). Just can’t help but twist the knife can you?

Let’s do it this way. What sentimental things do you want? I will pack it up and mail it to you. That way you don’t need to be at the house at all.

Michelle: I don’t even know what is all in there, just let me come get it. You put words in my mouth…please stop

Me: No I didn’t…you said that with a purpose. I feel like you are just fucking with me again. I don’t like it. Tell me what you want and I will mail it tomorrow evening.

…blah, blah, blah. What am I doing? It is such a waste of time and energy. It went further and further down the hole with us back and forth. I eventually got mean insulting her new boyfriend again.

Me: Enjoy Christmas with your Barista.

Michelle: He’s actually a software developer for an engineering firm

Me: Who gives a shit

He looks like the shih-tzu you always wanted. From the way people have described him he is. Your mild, little doormat. Good for you.

Thank God for therapists

8:00am

I feel better. I emailed my therapist. She replied:

No, some things (holiday, anniversary date, a particular event or place etc) may trigger what we may call a “relapse, where you may feel more sadness or other feelings. If it continues beyond a week or two, or becomes too overwhelming it might be helpful to come in for a visit. If a need arises let me know and we will set something up.

Reading that made me feel better. It made me feel less panicked and dispelled any notion that there was something wrong with me.

I worked out when I got home. I spent the evening with Dennis and Brad. We had a lot of fun together. I read my book. All of that (especially being with the boys) made me feel better.

I am not on the verge of tears. I feel like I am back on the path now. It feels good.

What is happening?

10:00am

I am getting a sinking feeling in my chest again. Not as intense as it has been but it is getting worse. I think something might be wrong with me. I think this is what a panic attack is. I am short of breath and my heart rate is elevated. I just sent my therapist the following email:

Hi Lisa,
Ever since I went to Chicago over Thanksgiving I’ve been having a really hard time. Just feelings of being overwhelmed. I’m not sure what is going on. I’m in this weepy, about to cry at any moment place. I’ve not been sleeping and thought that might be it. I slept well last night and felt better until about 15 minutes ago and now I feel like I’m back to where I was the last few days. I don’t feel right. I feel like I did when we first met those few months back in August. Is it normal to have these kind of “relapses”?

What a difference

7:30am

What a difference a day makes. I have struggled for days with depression. I was texting with a friend last night trying to get my brain under control. I realized I hadn’t had a good, full night’s sleep in almost a week. I took some Advil PM and went to bed early last night. This morning I feel brand new. I slept through the night and didn’t dream about anything (especially Michelle). I still have a touch of fog on my brain from being tired but I’ll clear that up tonight by getting to bed early again.

I am so grateful this morning. I am grateful my mind is quiet. I am grateful I have the tools to do that for myself. I was starting to get worried and scared yesterday that something was wrong with me. I guess there is, I have anxiety. I was worried it was more than that. I spent the majority of Monday and Tuesday holding back tears. I cried driving in to work yesterday and I cried coming home that evening. I cried making dinner. I cried listening to a sad story on NPR. I was starting to feel overwhelmed by this grief that was all over my body. I had this sense of being completely alone and hopeless…like the sadness was just going to get worse or never stop.

This grief and depression is a problem with a simple solution. Take care of yourself physically and the mind will follow. I will continue to work the problem. Tonight I am going to exercise, spend time with my children, have a healthy dinner, read, and go to bed early.

Not important enough

1:45pm

Here is a great quote from a novel I’m reading by Alice McDermott, ‘The Ninth Hour’:

“What man accepts a promise from a girl so young?”

Fucking-A right!! I should never have committed to Michelle all those years ago. She is too young to understand herself let alone understand what a committed relationship takes. She wasn’t prepared to be a happy couple because she never experienced it before. Once she realized what it took she left. The next fucking time she is in love she’ll be able to commit because she knows what it takes.

The boys and I were fucking practice. She broke our hearts on accident…on a whim. Fuck her…and fuck me for trusting against logic. What a fucking asshole I am. I should have known better. Her longest relationship was 6 months before me. I just dove in. Here are my children. Here is my life. Let’s bend our and your life together and be happy. I just assumed she had the maturity to know what that meant. She didn’t. We are the remainder of an equation she never fucking finished because she found it too difficult. We weren’t important enough to put in the work for.

9:30am

Chicago was a completely fucked weekend. I had a complete melt down that went into Monday back in Omaha. I was fucking miserable there. It was an unintended exercise in masochism. The only thing I enjoyed was my morning run through down town Chicago and seeing Hamilton. The rest of the time I was sad and lonely. I missed my kids and I missed Michelle.

To top it all off, I found out Friday night she is in a new relationship. She went to the Nebraska football game in Lincoln with him (which was odd as she despises football) and posted pics on Facebook. I went off the deep end and sent her a series of ill-conceived text messages.

Me:        You should probably update your relationship status to whoever that guy you’re with instead of me…don’t you think? It makes me sick how happily you discarded us. We were a family and you moved on like we meant nothing.

Since when do you go to fucking football games?

Your little hipster boy looks ridiculous. Let me guess…is he a vegan, barista at a coffee shop that only uses locally sourced coffee beans? You’re tragically and transparently hilarious.

She read the messages and took down the post immediately. Sunday morning I thought better of sending  it all and sent her the following message:

Me:        I know you won’t respond to this. I wanted to apologize for lashing out on Friday. I am sorry I said those things. I was only trying to be mean. It serves no purpose.

You look happy and content with your new life. I am glad for you. I am still working on my “moving on”. It is mostly going well with a few bumps (Friday would be one) along the way.

I still regret what happened to us and wish I could go back and change it but I know that isn’t what you want. Dennis and Brad still miss you being their step mother. So do I.

Again, I am sorry I lashed out Friday!

I know I sound like a crazy person for saying this but: I still love you so much! Take care of yourself.

I have been a mess since Friday night in Chicago. I feel like I am on the verge of tears 90% of the time. It feels like the work I did with Lisa and on my own has been erased. I feel like I am mid to late August with my emotionality. What the fuck?!?! I really felt good about things. I missed Michelle but it was fading. Writing this journal entry I have gotten weepy twice. This is bullshit!

Getting the reins back

7:30am

I didn’t write in my journal yesterday. I was way too busy with work. In spite of my best efforts the last few months (said tongue in cheek) I am more productive at work. When you’re sober (aka not hung over), the mornings are quite pleasant. I think the exercise and being in way better physical shape is adding to that. Topping those two things off is my weight loss and extremely good nutrition. If you think about it, I really don’t have a choice but to be productive.

Yesterday was a fucking rough day with respect to Michelle. She had her big 30th Murder Mystery Birthday Party over the weekend and she posted a bunch of pics to Facebook. It was photos of so many people I care about who are no longer a part of my life. She looked so beautiful and happy. I was a mess all day at work. I got home and immediately changed and ran for 30 minutes. I had to go and pick up Dennis from swim practice right after that. I stepped outside, paused to enjoy the cool air on my skin, and thought to myself, “I feel better.” I did. The vigorous exercise calmed my brain. I still had thoughts about Michelle but the obsessive, unhealthy stuff was gone. I love that I can turn my brain off without using alcohol or marijuana. This method has absolutely no negative consequences. Weed wastes an entire day and I eat like 4000 calories. Booze I’m hung over and feel terrible about myself.

At work, I felt like my mind was out of control. I ran it all out on the treadmill and I was able to get the reins back.

If this then never that

8:30am

Driving into work, I was listening to Story Core on NPR. It was a conversation between a woman who received a life-saving kidney and pancreas transplant and the mother of the young man who died and donated the organs. Both the recipient and donor were addicts. The young man died of a heroin overdose. The recipient said what motivates her to stay clean is her family and legacy of the donor. She said she needs to stay clean to honor his death and her life. I know I’ve said this before but it helps to put it down on paper. I will stay sober for my children. Dennis and Brad deserve a father who is the best version of himself. I deserve a life where I am the best version of myself. I will stay sober.

I can’t escape the obvious benefits of doing so. Every aspect of my life (exempting my relationship with Michelle) is better: the boys and I are closer than we have ever been, it feels like I have a handle on my control issues and anxiety, I am more productive at work, I have read 7 books since I quit, so far I filled 190 pages of a journal, I sleep better, my complexion looks better, I have lost 33lbs, clothes fit better, I can run further and faster than I ever have, I am physically stronger than I have been since my 20’s, I am sharper mentally, generally speaking I am more attractive (physically and emotionally), the list just goes on and on. So the verdict remains the same, sober David is a better David.

I was talking with a friend over drinks last night (mine were the non-alcoholic variety) about Michelle and I. She is of the same opinion of all of my friends who spent a lot of time with Michelle and I. She thinks we should not get back together. She said Michelle hasn’t dealt with any of her issues. She feels like Michelle is in the “look everyone at how great I am doing” space. I know Michelle has run up credit card debt because she has started getting offers to help her refinance high credit card balances sent to my house. She said Michelle will eventually have her anger and rage subside and I will be getting a phone call from her wanting to talk about us getting back together. I doubt that. She doesn’t know just how deep Michelle’s anger issues run. Michelle was promised $500 from a past employer over 3 years ago (he never paid) and when it comes up in conversation she still has the same level of anger/resentment she did back then. If she can’t let go of a promised $500 that never materialized, what are the chances of her letting go of her anger with me?

Plenty of fish

8:30am

I had the boys last night for dinner. We had a blast! We went for pizza and then cupcakes at Jone’s Brothers.

I signed up on Plenty of Fish yesterday. I am going to have a good friend help me set up my profile this weekend. I already had some nice looking woman start chatting me up so that’s nice. I have been thinking about this for a while. I am totally out on a serious relationship with anyone who has kids or wants kids. I think I should avoid anyone who is seriously younger than I am. That is seriously going to narrow the field. I don’t know if I am ready for this shit but fuck it. Michelleisn’t taking me back.

Turn the page

it is about time

I turned the page. no one else

can. I might as well.


4:30pm

Driving home tonight I thought about my divorce. Specifically how I was able to move on almost immediately and Collette had a more difficult time. I had been thinking about (fantasizing really) about leaving her for a long time. We were so unhappy together, I wanted a different life. I know that is why Michelle has been able to move on so quickly. She had been thinking about (fantasizing?) leaving me for quite a while. She was ultimately not invested in our relationship. She went through the motions but was leaning towards leaving. I imagine it was the boys that had her holding on…that was the only reason. She doesn’t believe she could do what she wants to do in life while being with us. She thinks we would hold her back and stymie her ambition. I wish she had talked to me about it. I would have told her how proud we are of her and her accomplishments. I would have told her we could have made an internship out of state work. I would have told her I love her and we could make anything work as long as we were together. There is so much I would have said to her if she had just talked to me.

My drinking and her total lack of communication is what killed our relationship and destroyed the family we had built. The stupid, crazy, hopeless romantic in me still thinks it’s not too late. We could see a family counselor and start working on everything. That’s silly and naïve. Michelle is all rage and hate. She’ll never change that. It’s her armor. We are never going to see each other again. We are never going to speak to each other again. I will never find the intimacy and love we found with each other. We will find love again…someday but it will fall short. The only conciliation is what I said this morning, in 10 years I’ll remember how I felt but the feeling itself will be worn down. I hate that we are done.

I have been recording my blog posts in a journal. I am starting a new journal tomorrow. The one I have been using is almost full anyway. I’m going to put this one on a shelf, where it belongs, and leave it there.