Y’all. I swear. Some days all I can do is laugh…because really there are simply no words.
Since I told you about my Lexapro flu in my last post, I’ll pick up from there.
I went for my three-week follow-up on Wednesday, and he convinced me to give Vyvanse another go. So far so good. Cross your fingers; say your prayers; channel all that good energy I know you have my way. I need this to work. Heck, even if it’s temporary. I’ll take it. I just need hope.
For those of you who are coupled up, I don’t know how it is for you, but for Gil and me, at this stage of our relationship we text a lot and have unfocused discussions while we direct children here and there. Many of our conversations revolve around grocery lists and who’s picking up kids from various activities.
Prior to my Lexapro flu (for those who didn’t read my last post, this is my term for the extreme fatigue I get on the one antidepressant that actually works for me), I would often lounge with Gil on the couch after the kids were in bed, but for the past three weeks I’ve been utterly worthless past 9pm.
All to say, we haven’t been communicating much lately — no fighting, but no connecting.
As many of my long-time readers know, the old marriage flames have been up and down for a long time anyway. It’s a practice for sure. One day at a time.
Lately things have been okay. We’ve returned to an easy friendship. We co-parent. I like him. He drives me crazy. I drive him crazy. But we’re still in it, working on common goals. Seventeen years has a way of doing that if you’re lucky enough to make it that long. Things are far from ideal, but we’re doing life alongside one another. Something happened when I turned forty. My perspective changed. This is where I want to write more, but I’ll return to my initial topic (maybe that Vyvanse needs some tweaking…)
Last night we had some minutia to discuss after the kids were in bed – holidays, finances, home repairs (ain’t adulting fun? I use to dream of the days when I could make out with this dude whenever and wherever I wanted. Sigh…) And as we often do when we haven’t been talking regularly, we found ourselves discussing random topics like, “Hey, OneNote is helping me; you should try it…or at least browse through my notebooks. You have access to all of it.”
Or, “So, I’m thinking Piers could use some therapy for his anxiety. Any thoughts?”
“Nope, you’re angsty. I think we’re just gonna have to help him through it. But if you find someone or whatever, that’s good too. I’m open to him talking to someone.”
Then we’d venture into other topics – tennis (Gil and I are starting up another mixed doubles season. We did it last year and had fun, so here we go again.)
We also talked about my medicine. While Gil was in a good space and things were relatively light, I chanced asking if he could tell a difference in my mood since I started the Lexapro. He said he could. He gave me more details and positive feedback (this is huge because Gil is very anti-medication.) He said I seemed easier going and just more chill in general. I FEEL that way, so it was nice to see it wasn’t my imagination and that someone who knows me well and interacts with me daily is witnessing the same thing.
We talked some more about tennis. I’ve played since I was a kid, while Gil picked the game up as an adult, so he looks to me for tips and advice. Plus we play together a good bit. I was zoning out a little at this point; and as I mentioned above, we were covering a range of topics (this is relatively typical for us.)
We chatted some more about our plans when the kids get out for the long Christmas break, and Gil kind of went on and on about tennis – how he’d been playing and how he’d improved and what he needed to work on since last year. I was getting sleepy and must not have been focusing all that much, but really neither was he – he was simultaneously working on a spreadsheet for work, watching the muted History Channel Documentary and bopping his head to the music I was playing from my phone.
I asked him some more specific questions about his observations of my mood. We talked about his mood as well. Gil struggles with seasonal depression, feeling overwhelmed, little energy when he’s down, etc., but he has seemed more upbeat lately. He’s been exercising more which absolutely helps his mood, even though he often can’t see that. I certainly can!
At one point I asked, “You don’t see that you’re better? Heck Gil, three weeks ago you were barely getting off the couch when you weren’t at work. Now you’re going on about OneNote, and you really seem to be getting more done — both personally and at work. That always makes you feel better. I can see it, big time.”
We chatted about other things – “What day are we leaving for Atlanta? Do we need a dog sitter or can we board them or take them with us?”
Then he said, “You’re doing great. More consistent and calm. In the moment and you don’t seem to be letting stuff get to you as much. You’re actually having fun. I’m always that way…you…not so much.”
“Oh, whatever, Gil. You’re as up and down as I am, you just aren’t as aware of it. I’m very aware of it.”
“I think I’m consistent. I’ve definitely gotten better, don’t you think?” — like he was looking for confirmation…but um…sorry…he’s as moody as they come.
“Look, you know I’m not a sugar-coater. I’m going to shoot straight with you, and I want the same in return. You’re up and down. We both are. It’s okay. Right now you’re up and getting some important things accomplished. All I’m saying is be patient with yourself when you’re down. That’s just how we’re wired.”
“Wait…what are you talking about?”
“What do you mean what am I talking about? I’m talking about mental health and medication and mood swings. What are you talking about?”
At this point we were both laughing because it hit us at the same time that we were having two different conversations.
Gil face-palmed, “I’m talking about TENNIS!!!!!”
“Oh my god, Gil, we’re hopeless. Geez. Weren’t we JUST discussing Lexapro?”
I wish I could tell you all that this sort of thing never happens in our house, but that would be a giant lie.
We struggle. As we’ve grown in our marriage, I’ve come to realize that neither of us is the guilty party all the time. We both zone out. We get lost on our phones, our books, our dreams. On the flip side we absolutely have the gift of attention. We can hyper-focus like you can’t begin to imagine. I think that’s what initially drew us to each other. We had this unique ability to go off in our own little Gil/Viv world. I still feel that. There’s just not really anywhere to go to get away from it all. We need to do better carving out that place and time. I suppose late night couch dates in the middle of our filthy living room will have to work for now. Ahhh…adult goals. Heck, I should call them middle-age goals. We’re hardly spring chickens.
I recently read something about ADHD that made complete sense to me (naturally I can’t remember who said it or where I read it):
ADHD is not a deficit of attention; it’s inconsistent attention.
Obviously I’m paraphrasing, but that is so true for me. Gil, too. And our children. We can become so absorbed in something that interests us that we lose all track of the actual world we’re in. Herein lies the root of our time-management challenges. On the flip side, I am more distractable and hyper and can flit from task to task, interest to interest.
I honestly love it and hate it at the same time. My brain is amazing; my brain infuriates me.
I am thankful I finally found a doctor who listens and who I believe can help me if I’ll work with him and stick with a med regimen long enough to actually determine what’s working and what’s not.
In the meantime, it will be okay. I’m thankful beyond words for Gil and Piers and Wallace…and the two dogs…and the temperamental cat. (You have to be special beings to deal with our brand of chaos.) They GET me. I GET them. Even though we live in a world that expects us to hop to, home is our safe space. We cherish our wackiness and view it as a little extra flavor. The past few months have been challenging, but things feel better — more manageable. An upswing.
It’s easy to forget all the wonderful parts of ourselves and our partners and kids when we’re in the throws of mental health struggles. I hope those of you reading who have similar struggles can make a point to do the same for you and your family members. It’s not an easy task by a long stretch, but it is oh so important.
Thanks so much for reading and sharing yourself. This blog community is pretty amazing.
Any experience as a couple with ADHD? I’d love to hear how you make it work.
Have a fabulous weekend!