Wednesday 20th January 2010
I am surprised at how long it has been since I wrote in my journal. Lots of things have happened and although there have been a few times I thought about writing in my journal I didn’t because somehow things seemed to right themselves.
Rich has been off with severe depression since September last year (we did renew our vows in August and it was lovely.) he went to counselling and his counselling helped me in that I do understand that I am in the acceptance phase: What happened has happened
It has made me feel and react a certain way and that is just the way it is. I understand why or what has happened is natural and I don’t beat myself up over it; in the same way I understand why some people are like they are. But I still make a choice (for example to step away from it) to protect myself; and I don’t beat myself up over that either!
Reflection Here & Now
Much had changed, and we had renewed our vows, all shared in my book.
We had a wonderful honeymoon in France and when we came home I collected my company car and Rich did the reunion tour for his band: I supported him. But when it was all over in the October Rich had a breakdown: he was sent home from work because they could not trust him on the train tracks. It was as if he had been living on adrenalin for so long, and after we renewed our vows he felt safer in the knowledge that I would stay; so the adrenalin dropped and so did Rich.
Rich was absent from work for over six months. He had to see a psychiatrist twice a month and he could not return to work until the psychiatrist had signed him off as fit for work; even then he was not allowed back on track for another four months after returning to his duties.
The psychiatrist asked that I attend one of the last appointments with Rich. I had never asked Rich to tell me everything he had discussed at his appointments; I had come to realise that we cannot know everything about the person we love; even though we think that we have that entitlement: we don’t. None of us will ever know what is going on inside someone’s head and through all of this I learnt that I didn’t need to; it works both ways.
Rich had told me some of what had been discussed and it was clear that a lot of the problems that he had been experiencing were because of ‘The War;and his own insecurities in keeping me. Insecurities that I had played on in the early days after war broke out. I look back even now at some of the things that I did, at how much Rich worked to keep me whilst constantly living in fear and although I understand why I did them at the time (because I had been driven insane) the sane me of here and now would change them if she could.
When I went to that appointment and listened to the psychiatrist as he explained to me that one of the things that played on Rich’s mind was when I wrote in my journal: because Rich always thought that I was writing about ‘The War’ and planning my escape; I was shocked, because I didn’t realise that Rich still felt that afraid; and I knew then why the psychiatrist had asked me to go there: to help me understand that I held Rich’s mental health in my hands. It seems like a big responsibility to put onto someone who in fact had their own heart broken by the man who they now had responsibility for; but the biggest lesson I had learnt through all of this was how strong I was and how that strength could impact on others and I did not begrudge that responsibility, I knew it was one of the lessons that life tends to throw your way. I loved this man: a big, gentle man; who had faced every fear to keep me and I respected him for that. I did not want to destroy him.
My husband (and I am sure many others) cannot ever forgive himself for what he did; I wish he could. Although we can both see that it made us better people; Rich let himself down: more than anything he cannot take away the pain he inflicted on me and for that he still dislikes himself every day. On the tenth anniversary of The War’ I pulled up outside our house in France only to hear a record that Rich would put on that made him cry (the Bee Gees Love Me) instantly I knew that he had been crying. When I entered the house Rich came down with a smile and I said “How long have you been crying darling?” He smiled and looked at me and said “Ten years!”
I felt so sad because I didn’t want him to feel that way. Rich is one of those men who was truly sorry, would do anything to make it right but to him the only way to do that would be to go back in time and change it; which we all know is something that he cannot do. This is one of the reasons that I wrote this book: If you are reading it I would guess that it is because it resonates with you; in the same way that the books that I bought at the time resonated with me.
At the time of ‘The War’ I did not think that Rich had any ‘right’ to be hurt, or upset, after all it was ‘all his fault’; but now I know, having been through it that people make mistakes; and that some would do anything to change what they had done but, sadly, they cannot.
What I hope I can help people understand is you have what you have now, if you want it to work you have to work with that; not what you had, not something where you have the ‘right’ to be upset but your partner doesn’t, not something where you make someone ‘pay’ forever; because if that is what you want to do then your relationship will not survive.
I got to a point, as you can see from what I had written, where I knew that I had to work with Rich, or lose him. But I also got to a point where I was not prepared to let the negativity of what happened destroy me, our relationship or our family. I had to make that choice and I used everything that I had learnt whilst on that ‘Sea of Despair’ to help Rich and I, and so did Rich.