Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Crying Uncle

I don't know if it was family upbringing or just my natural state, but I grew up fiercely independent.  I didn't ask for help; I researched it on my own.  I learned how to do what needed to be done by myself.  I cowboyed up and got myself through the tough times.  For so many years.

Giving help was fine.  Receiving it was not.  Asking for it was an abomination.

Enter chronic illness.

Wow.  Let me just tell you, independence goes out the window with chronic illness.

Yes, I've studied psychology and had enough therapy to know that interdependent is the healthier place to be.  Knowing that wasn't enough to get me there.  I had to be dragged there kicking and screaming.

I'm still not good at it.  I still think I should be able to do everything I used to.  I still want to be everything for everyone.  I want to solve all the problems.  I want to be the hero -- not the damsel in distress.

But life doesn't always turn out as we planned.

Tonight I had a lesson in interdependence.  Tonight I cried uncle.

Lots of things have slipped since I got sick.  The house (a wreck).  My job (gone).  Volunteering (non-existent).  All of those things are difficult to accept.  But for the most part they are just irritants.  The one that was dangerous was money.

You see, I've been in charge of the money and the bills for most of our marriage.  When I got sick, things started to slip.  We bounced checks.  Bills didn't get paid.  Collectors started calling.  (I hate the fact that my kids are well trained in the art of avoiding the bill collector calls.)

I went through good periods and bad ones.  I'd catch up and then fall behind again.  But all along the way, I was sure we had enough money and I just wasn't managing it well enough.  And I would pledge to get on top of things.  Tomorrow.

Somehow, tomorrow didn't seem to want to appear.  I kept waiting for that magical day to happen when I would be able to conquer the piling debt and stress and get that monkey off my back.

But it didn't come.

I don't know why.  I don't know what kept me from being able to do it.  I know how.  I have the capability.  But I just couldn't do it.  (I have theories, but they would take too long here.)

And now the money problems are at a dangerous level. 

So tonight my husband and I had a meeting.  Not confrontational.  Not a fight.  Warm and open.  Supportive and affirming.  A meeting where I said, "I just can't do it.  I hate that I can't, but I can't."  And he said, "You've done everything for so long.  It's my turn."

And that was it.  He is now in charge of the bills and the money.

I promised to let him do it his way.  I will not interfere or correct or complain.  And when I do (as we both know will probably happen) he will kindly remind me that I promised to trust him.

Lots of feelings of failure.  Lots of feelings of inadequacy.  And so many tears.

And then peace.

Sometimes crying uncle is the right thing to do.  No matter how hard it is.



I love You. You are amazing. Bill is, too. Robin, thanks for this post. Get feeling better.

A.Marie said...

I know what you are saying. Trust me. I do. I used to want to be SuperMama..the do everything kind of a gal. But, illness does change what you can and cannot do. Bravo to you for recognizing this and Bravo to hubby for stepping up to the plate! :)

Just Another Person said...

I can sense from your words a seemingly high level of feeling of being a failure and possibly a feeling of guilt for not being able to do things that you think you should do. And I think that all those negative feelings just help feed depression more. Your husband is kind enough to take that responsibility, so don't feel guilty about it. Feeling guilty is only going to make your body to not want to do things.

I felt guilty for my wife who is the moneymaker of the family . But I realized through therapy that I do have an important and difficult job of overcoming depression. I tried stopping my thinking process when I started to feel guilty or like I was a failure. I stopped feeling the guilt after a little bit. And I was actually able to get back into doing some of my anxiety triggering difficult tasks.

just remember that depression is treatable. And you will be able to do more things little by little. Take tiny steps at a time! Believe me, it adds up over time! Goodjob for working so hard. And keep up the good work.

also thanks for all your comments they are so meaningful to me.

Kazzy said...

This is a big step for you, I know. I had the same chat with my husband a few years ago, and it has been an incredible burden lifted. We collaborate much more now, instead of me thinking "I don't want him to have to worry about it."

Jessica Grosland said...

Don't worry, Mom. I'm not freaking out. See? Smiling. :)

I know there's a lot that goes on behind the scenes of our house that I don't see. I'm pretty perceptive, though. And maybe you forget that I've seen and remember some of the worst times. It's been a long time since I've thought our family was anywhere near invulnerable. When we walk the line, I see the rocky depths on the other side of the cliff.

It may make you sad that I see these things, but I hope it doesn't. There's a line from a poem that says, "They stand more straight / who learn to walk beneath a weight." I hope you can see that this is the case for your kids.

Libby said...

You may not see this but I think relinquishing this job is a good thing. As always, thinking of you.

Megan said...

Letting go of what we know can definitely be a hard thing to come to terms with but good for you for admitting that you just can't do it any more!! (((HUGS)))

(Thanks for stopping by my blog. =) )

BlackEyedDog said...

It's so true that losing your independece is hard and scary...but somehow I think that regaining it...or the attempt of doing even scarier. maybe it's depression...trying to keep me from doing something new. Don't know.
But I will have to accept, that I just can't do things like I used mind's just not up to anything overly challenging.

well...I just wanted to say, that it's a good thing that you passed the baton to your husband concerning the bills and's better for you.


Running Circles said...

I think this is beautiful that you were able to let someone help you, although I wish you didn't have to feel all the things that came with it. Been there, done that...probably will continue to do it lol. But you are absolutely right that sometimes crying uncle is the right thing to do. I'm glad you can recognize it.