Friday, March 11, 2016

The worst birthday I have ever had.

This will likely be long so if  you're up to it, grab a snack.

My entire life I have really tried to live by the golden rule of treating others the way you want to be treated. Sometimes I fail, sometimes I take the easy way around it, but most of the time I live by that. I try to treat my family and friends really well. Even when I can't afford it, I send a card and/or a gift. Sometimes I fail and resort to a Facebook message or email. If anyone has ever needed something or someone, I have always dropped what I had going on and been right there. I feel like I'm a really great friend. I feel like I'm a really quality person for someone else to have in their life. I feel like no matter what is going on, the people who know me know that if they need me, I'll be right there. I'll help you bury that body and while I might have some basic questions, I won't judge. I support everyone in my life to the best of my ability. I bend over backwards and go beyond what is asked of me a lot of times and I just really assume that it would always be reciprocated. I know this year I've really slacked because of my depression but I'm really trying.

Until it's not. And it leaves me questioning basic relationships and wondering if all of my time and effort is for absolute nothing.

It's no secret that I have been dealing with some pretty severe depression. I finally relented and started taking the Lexapro I was prescribed despite my fears of birth defects because the truth of the matter is that there have been some scary days for me. And it was enough to warrant me to take a gamble because at the end of the day, I'm worth something to my family. I hope.

But last week, and this isn't totally related and I might have a separate post about it another day, Joey Feek lost her battle to cervical cancer. If you don't know her, she's one half of the bluegrass country duo, Joey + Rory and I'm pretty sure everyone's Facebook feeds had shares of Rory's blog posts that are just heartbreaking yet beautiful and honestly, your end goal in a life partner should be to find someone who loves you like Rory loves Joey. But her death, though we all knew it was coming for awhile now, hit me really hard in a really strange way. I got to wondering what would happen if I died? Would there be just a handful of people who thought to show up to a memorial? Would there even be one? Or would lots come out of the woodwork to tell my remaining family what I meant to them at one point in their lives? I'm not sure. So really since last week I have been in what is easily the darkest days I have ever experienced in my life.

So I did a little experiment. I purposely didn't mention my upcoming birthday. Unlike past years where I have essentially planned my own birthday party or celebration, told Matt where I'd like to go for dinner, eagerly gave people a gift list, etc- this year I did nothing. I said not a word. I will admit, Matt did say something last week about dinner and I said I didn't know, and that we could do whatever. I really wanted to see what would happen if I didn't force people to celebrate.

And I should just insert here that I am not, nor will I ever be, that person who dreads a birthday. Aging doesn't scare me, but death does. I'm aging appropriately, I'm not upset about wrinkles and cellulite that isn't going anywhere. The varicose veins I have popping up on my legs, the stiffness of my knees, the complete exhaustion, none of that bothers me. I'm graciously welcoming new phases of my life and I'm totally OK with all of it. It's bound to happen and I don't want to be that person gripping the last straws of my youth in the sad way so many do. But when I was a kid, we didn't have the money for birthday parties. I didn't really have friends, and even as I got older, I was a bit of a loner. I had a few friends but I wasn't invited to things and I was more of that sit-next-to-her-and-be-nice-because-she's-smart friend but once the bell rang, I was long forgotten. So as an adult, when I can control what I get to do to celebrate, I always want it to be fun and have a good time.

Needless to say, none of that happened.

Olivia and Jackson woke me up at 6 a.m. singing happy birthday and gave me the cards that they had quickly made that morning. They only knew it was my birthday because Matt had left me a card and my gift. Which, my "gift" was a candy bar.

No, I'm not kidding.

At first I was pretty upset because I don't care who you are, that's a really shitty, thoughtless gift. But then I thought, maybe he got me that as a lunch time treat and he will come home after work and I'll get a real gift over dinner. So I tried to not be mad, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't really upset.

Then my mom came over to watch Penelope so I could go volunteer at school, and she got me a gift- a pair of really funky, only-Sara-would-wear-them shoes with rainbow colored cats all over them. My mom ALWAYS gets me shoes because she knows I love shoes and these were pretty unique. Pretty much nobody will have these, and I'll post a picture soon. So I really thought things were picking up for the day. Not to mention my friend Andrea had given me an early present on Tuesday of candy (which I've already eaten, no shame), an amazing candle that makes my house smell like Lemon Pledge (and if you know me at all, you know that I would huff a can of Pledge if I didn't think I'd kill off half of my brain cells), and an Amazon gift card which I used to buy some outdoor toys for Penelope this summer so we can play outside in the sunshine.

Fast forward to dinner time and I hadn't planned anything for dinner because I assumed we would be going out somewhere. I had packed a bag of things for Penelope to eat/play with at the restaurant, and I was ready. Only to be asked what I was making for dinner by Matt.

No, I'm not kidding.

I sat there, stunned, and the kids were looking at me as I started to silently cry and wonder if I really meant this little that I couldn't even have a birthday dinner. He must have realized he screwed up along the way because he quickly said he did remember to buy me a cake but let's be honest, the damage was done. I ended up giving the kids each hug and kiss, told them thank you for their cards, and told them they can definitely have a piece of birthday cake after they have some cereal for dinner.

I went upstairs, cried for a solid 20 minutes in the shower, and went to bed.

About two, almost three hours later, Matt comes up and asks if I would like anything for dinner. I said no, it's fine, I'll just eat the remaining crackers I have next to the bed for morning sickness. He then gets angry with me  because I didn't tell him what I wanted for my birthday.

Admittedly, I lost my shit. I had absolutely had it. I couldn't hold it in and if I hurt feelings? Well it felt really fucking good.

I said I didn't think it was right how I bust my ass and save little bits of money on the side for MONTHS so I can make a fun family day for Father's Day, for his birthday, and all I get is a shitty card that I never think are funny and if it's a sappy one, I know for absolute sure he didn't read it but thought it would score him points, and a god damn candy bar.


And I'm not a selfish person, I really appreciate what people get me. I spent all day recognizing that yes, he either went out of his way to get it or he saw it and thought of me, and both of those are nice, good things. But in all of the years we've been together (14 now), I have ALWAYS made a big deal out of my birthday. I shouldn't have to spell something out as basic as "do something nice for someone's birthday". Frankly, that's common courtesy. That's just something you do as a decent human being. If you know you can do something to brighten another person's day, why would you not just automatically do it? It's just assumed that especially for your spouse, but certainly for friends, you should absolutely, 100%, ALWAYS do something nice for someone on their birthday of all days.

Except this year.

And he dropped the ball so hard it busted.

I swear to god, if he or anyone else asks me what they can do, I'm going TO LOSE MY MIND TOTALLY. Because that's the thing about depression folks, I don't know what I need. I don't know how to get better because if I did, I surely would have done it by now. Do people think I enjoy randomly bursting into tears in the middle of Walmart? The grocery store? I haven't even gotten groceries in 3 weeks because I can't not cry for a long enough stretch. I can talk to people until I'm blue in the face and I feel no better, oftentimes I feel exponentially worse. I'm trying to exercise, I'm trying to eat right, I try to get out into the sunshine every day. I'm trying to do things I normally love to do and I get bored and restless. I can't sleep at night, and when I do nap it's awful and you don't even want to know the things that go through my head.

I feel like I'm drowning and the person closest to me either doesn't recognize it or decides he does, but doesn't know what to do so he does nothing and hopes for the best. I finally said last night that if I died today, I don't even think he'd be upset. He'd be more upset trying to keep up with laundry and figuring out how to get the kids to/from school every day.

He wouldn't make it a week and he doesn't even care.

So needless to say- yesterday was a really bad day. Today isn't much better, but I'm trying so very hard to be positive. It's going to be almost 60 degrees today, so my plan is to get out and hope for the best. I have a lunch with a friend planned for tomorrow and I already bailed on her because I didn't feel good the last time, so I am absolutely going no matter how bad I feel. Jackson has a Boy Scout pancake breakfast in the morning and I'm going to try to not squeeze his cute little guts while watching him serve to people. Olivia has an all day honor choir thing she's at and we'll get to see her perform afterwards. Then Sunday.. Sunday I plan to be in my room with a stack of books and a notebook. All day. I think Saturday will drain every bit out of me and I'll need to be back to perky shape for the outside world on Monday. Because apparently, that's my role. Be perky all of the time and like it.


Shann Eva said...

Oh Sara. A candy bar is not acceptable. Not even a little bit. I did plan something for my birthday this year, got pissed no one RSVP'd, cancelled, then stupidly thought people would still call or show up when I said where I'd be. Nope. Not a one. People mostly suck at stuff like that I guess. I wish I lived closer, although I know talking doesn't help. Just know I'm out here thinking of you, and hoping you feel like your old self soon.

Shann Eva said...

And happy belated birthday. Bad birthday= Awesome year.

middlechild said...

No one can understand depression unless they have suffered from it. It sucks. I hear you. I wish there was something I could do for you. {{{{Hugs}}}}

middlechild said...

No one can understand depression unless they have suffered from it. It sucks. I hear you. I wish there was something I could do for you. {{{{Hugs}}}}

Unknown said...

you deserve so much better than that. I can not handle getting my feelings hurt. pissed, is fine. i can handle pissed, but deep in your soul sadness/being let down... worst feeling. Matt can not be this clueless. IDK, I would just make a list and tell him that in no uncertain terms will you tolerate him dropping the ball about the following days; Birthday, Anniversary, Valentine's, Mother's Day, Christmas.
If he needs help he can ask 1 month in advance, none of this last hour bull shit. he must make a big fucking deal. he can call your friends/mom if he needs ideas. but he needs to grow up and start doing things that are necessary in a relationship.
Birthday- present, cake and dinner out
Anniversary- present and dinner out
Valentines"- Dinner out and present/candy/card
Mother's Day- Nice family get together-card or present
Christmas- Presents, multiple.
Not difficult. Just standard humaning.

LisaMM said...

Well, guys are dumb. My husband needs it SPELLED OUT IN DETAIL or I get nothing, literally nothing. If I don't plan my own celebrations, I don't have celebrations. Honestly your morning with the kids sounded so sweet and made me miss my little girls, who are no longer little. Those days went by so fast and I'd give anything to have them back. Hang in there, sweet Sara. And, maybe it's not my place (well, it's definitely not my place), but saying nothing to see what would happen is kind of setting your husband up to fail. Been there, done that, and I do understand why you did it. It almost feels like it doesn't count if you have to make all the plans. Maybe next time say - I want you to plan my birthday, and I want to go out. I don't care where we go - surprise me - but please make some plans. And I bet he will. xoxo

Snazzytoes said...

You are a wonderful writer! And your husband has Asperger's Syndrome, plain and simple. Mine did too, and it is soooo unfair that the most giving, thoughtful, heroic souls like you get cosmically matched with men who are biologically incapable of meeting your needs. Sara, he's as Helpless of his "wiring" as you are of your depression... The difference is, you will recover, and Matt will not. I say all this to save you some time and tears. I was a victim of my husband's Colossal Cluelessness for decades, and it hurt. BAdly. Getting his diagnosis of Aspergers was a relief. Somehow, knowing that his brain chemistry literally stopped him from being emotionally "present" took some of the sting out of all the horrible episodes such as you described. It all comes down to expectation... You wouldn't be heartbroken if a person with, say, Down Syndrome forgot your birthday, because you already accept that, physically and through no fault of their own (important), things like that are bound to happen. Same with Matt. He cannot change. Only you can change your expectations of him. I speak from hard-won experience: it's not you, it's Asperger's.

Snazzytoes said...

P.S. My email address is If you feel like replying, please do. I have been there, and it sucks.

Claire said...

Oh God how crap. I don't even know what to say to you about this. Depression is bad news for anyone but for you with your family and being pregnant, well that's tough. If I lived near you I would tell Matt he's an idiot. (Does he read your blog?) MATT!! You're an Idiot!

thotlady said...

Well, your husband is clueless. I don't know him, so that is all I can really say. We don't really do birthdays big in our family, but I know they are important to you and Matt should too.

I have been struggling with depression for years. Things that help me, well, the big one is getting out of the house and doing something different. It's hard for me to get out of the house, because most of the time I don't feel like it, but when I do, it does help.

I work full time and I am okay at work, but when quitting time comes, I begin to feel my depression taking on new proportions.

So what I am saying is...I get it! Maybe it helps a little knowing people are out there cheering for you and wishing you better days ahead.