I’ve been fighting off another bout of depression. This time around it’s more situational than chemical. In a nutshell, I am letting the past drag me down. Like, more than usual.
Yesterday would have been the 15th wedding anniversary for my first husband and I. While he and I have both moved on and married other people, October 28 always causes me to pause in reflection, in regret, in wonder of what might have been. As I have mentioned so many times before (I know I sound like a broken record by now) I left him and our two young daughters after eight years of marriage. It was during a manic episode and I did a lot of things I am ashamed of. I will never get that time with my kids back. I will never be able to rewind and rewrite the story. But it’s hard not to think about how different life would have been, for all of us, if I had not had that awful breakdown. When I think about how much I hurt him, how much I hurt our daughters, it rips me apart inside. And believe me when I say I think about it, literally, every day. And then sometimes I get bitter. After all, he listened to my pleas and got me released from the hospital. He filed for divorce. He helped me move out. Maybe he didn’t want to be with me anymore after all. But I pressured him into all those decisions, so I still take full responsibility for it. Meanwhile, he was the one who comforted our girls each night as they cried for a Mom that wasn’t coming back. Oh how much I hate myself for that, and I hate the illness that made me so blind to it at the time. It’s like something switched off inside me and I didn’t feel love or concern for anyone. I didn’t listen to my husband, my children, or my parents as they told me I was making a terrible decision to leave. How could I not see that then???
I spent a few years wishing to God I could go back in time and do the right thing. Maybe if I had just stayed in the hospital a little longer, I would have been alright. Maybe if my husband had not filed for divorce, we would still be together. I have thought about these things so many times and run it through my head backwards and forwards, always searching for a way to set things straight and be done with it, all to no avail. The damage can never be repaired. Now I barely see my girls, even though we live down the street from each other. I am only allowed to see them every other weekend, sometimes more if I get lucky. I am thankful that they have a financially and emotionally stable life with their dad and stepmom, but I feel like I have been robbed. And yes, I deserve that. But it doesn’t make it hurt any less. I know I am fortunate in the fact that some people don’t get to see their children at all due to various circumstances, so I don’t take those weekends for granted!
I am in love with my fiance, and I know we are perfect for each other. We have an amazing son together. This throws a tailspin in my previous wish to go back and change my decisions. If that hadn’t happened, I would have never met Douglas and we would have never had this precious little boy. So I find myself in an even more complicated place: missing my daughters, but being grateful for my son. If I had the magical chance now, to choose one life or the other, how could I possibly choose? So I guess it’s good that I don’t have that option.