Thursday, July 22, 2010

the lies that bind us. {part 2.}

look at how good i am with the follow-through on this-to-be continued story!

you don't need to give me a pat on the back, i have just done that for myself. but thank you kindly for the offer.

{here's part 1 if you don't want to scroll down.}

so where were we? ah, yes....

there i was, 2 weeks before delivery time. experiencing nightly anxiety attacks about the upcoming prideandjoy that was about to spring forth.

after convincing myself that ben was going to make it all better for me, one day i got to hear these amazing words tumble from his mouth,

"i was offered a full-time, overnight graveyard job on the weekends. i think i'm going to take it."

and that, my friends, was when the protective walls i had built to shut out the panic attacks came crumbling down.

now, before you get all "what is the big deal here?" on me, let me just explain.

when ben and i had talked about him going to grad school, the adviser that was assigned to him told him that it was not a good idea to work while attending school. she said that the school highly recommended not doing it, because school in and of itself is full-time and extremely stressful. we made the decision that we were going to prioritize school, and we would have to live off of student loans.

but for those who have experienced the student life, you also know that it is extremely expensive. ben also picked an even more extremely expensive school to attend, for the basic reason that he would be able to finish it 2 years earlier than most programs. so we were entering into double the amount of student debt that most psychology Phd students were accruing.

also, because he was attending a private school, pell grants and stipends for living expenses were not offered. {to give you a breakdown: the student loan that we were given was for $33,000/yr. ben's school is $27,000/yr. that doesn't include books, or the extra prerequisites that he was taking to catch up for not getting his BA in psychology. so when it came down to it, we were actually in the hole the first 2 semesters.}

to top off all of this awesomness, the economy went kaput! about 1 month after he started school. so the grad plus loans we had applied for were suddenly cut in half. half! we were shocked, and completely broke.

since i was pregnant, we decided that we didn't really have much choice except to have ben look for a job and try to do both school and work.


my understanding was that he was going to try to find something part-time that was during the day, in-between his classes and that he would be home to study at night.

i didn't have a car by this point in the game, and when he said that he was going to accept this full-time, overnight graveyard job, my analytical mind went to here:

1) he is going to be gone now not only almost all day, every day, but now every night and weekend too. and when he was home, he would need to be asleep. after talking through his schedule if he accepted the job, there was going to actually be about 24 hours twice a week where i was basically not going to be seeing him at all.

2) because of his crazy schedule & random locations, i knew that me pulling caleb & the newborn out of bed to take him to work at 10pm and then pick him up at 7am to drive him home and then back to class would not work. so i was going to be on my own, without a car, for 90% of the week.

3) we have no family close by. by this point i had a few friends, but knowing myself i knew that i would probably not have the gumption to ask for help from them if i needed it.

4) keep in mind that i was seriously anticipating a difficult newborn. sleepless nights, doctors appointments, and crying crying crying.

so, i did what any hormonal woman being told that her protective blanket is being ripped off of her would do....

i panicked.

now when i panic, i don't get weepy and high-strung or clingy and emotional,

i go into what ben kindly calls "business tone" and just speak really firmly and become rigid in my opinions.

"this isn't a good idea. i don't like it. i don't agree with it. you can't do it." i said, with my jaw set.

"what? why? we're insanely poor & we need the money." he answered, surprised that i was completely on the defense about a solution he had offered for our desperate situation.

"because," i answered. and since i couldn't bare to speak up about the anxiety i was feeling in my head about how i feared the thought of being left with a shrieking newborn all on my own, i tried different avenues to bring him to my side.

"what about your school? how are you going to function being sleep deprived? you can't get lower than a B or you fail the class and you'll have to re-take it. what about caleb? he needs his dad. what about your church calling? you're going to miss every sunday & will have to ask to be released. what about the new baby? you won't even know her. you'll miss all of those sweet moments in those first few months. they grow up fast, you know," i said all in one breath.

"i know, and those are good reasons, but i just don't know what else to do. we have no money, and i haven't been offered a daytime job yet. i can do my homework while i work, so that's a plus. we've been praying and praying for help and this is what has come up," ben replied gently.

deep down, i knew he was right. but i just couldn't do it. not on my own, not without him. i wasn't strong enough, i told myself.

"no! NO. i don't feel good about it. please don't do it. please. just trust me, something else will come up, i just know it," i began pleading.

and because he is ben, and loves me, and knows that i normally don't say "no" unless i feel strongly about something....he turned down the job.

i gave him a big hug and kiss, thanked him, took a deep breath and pulled back the security blanket to cover myself up.

6 weeks later.

leah was a little over a month old, and had proven herself to not be as difficult as caleb....but she was also no picnic. i know people say "all babies cry" and i get that. i'm no idiot, here. i don't expect newborns to just coo and squeak around when they want something or are upset.

however, our "little sweet pie" as caleb called her... was colicky. and there is a difference between a colicky child and one who cries like a normal baby should. i'm talking daily 10 hours of screaming with about four 20-minute naps during that time. her stomach growled constantly right after eating and we could tell that she wasn't just "crying like all babies cry" but there was something else.

{i wrote about it in the 2 week curse, exorcisms and stung guns, and losing the desire.}

gripe water and gas drops provided minimal relief. we swaddled, bathed, rocked, shushed, all of it. nothing really worked though. so we just hunkered down, and dealt with the situation.

i was so glad that ben was there with me through this and knew, just knew that the only way i was getting through it was with him.

not like i was doing great, by any means. but i was surviving. and even though this was hard, it was much easier than the first go-round we had with caleb.

it was at just this time, 6 weeks after the original conversation, that the bomb dropped again.

ben came to me and said,

"you remember that job that i turned down a couple of months ago? well they called me again and asked if i would re-consider taking the job. i know your concerns but now we're 6 weeks past that time and nothing else has come open as far as financial security. i feel strongly that i need to take it, and provide for our family."

i remember this night vividly.

because it was the night that set me up for what was going to be a long few months of my life. a few months that would cause me to spiral down, down down a sad path that i couldn't break free from until this january. it's what led me to seek help outside of myself and come to a more true place of honesty of discovering who i really was, and why i did the things that i did.

and most importantly, how to change what was broken inside to become better.

but that night, as ben and i discussed and re-discussed our differing opinions about taking the job, we came to a place where we just couldn't find common ground about the decision. ben and i have never been "fighters" in our marriage. we don't yell or call names or say cruel things, and before this night i couldn't even remember a time that we had left a situation still upset with each other. we just always seemed to be able to work out whatever it was, and end peacefully with no grudges or hurt feelings.

however, this time around, something was different. i was different.

you see, 6 weeks before this as i lay awake during those nights full of anxious thoughts, i had started on a very destructive pattern.

i had lied to myself.

and even worse, i truly believed the lie.

saying to myself the words "i. can. not. do. this. alone." was a complete lie. it was me being fearful and not wanting to go through what i had built up in my head that would be an absolutely overwhelming situation.

i was setting myself up for failure. telling myself that i was incompetent and not strong enough. i was afraid, and was so enveloped in that fear that i convinced myself that i was completely inadequate.

but the truth is, i could have done it. even on my own, without ben. because i was leaving out an important fact:

i am not, and never have been, alone.

i know that there is a God in heaven. i know that he knows who i am, and is mindful of me in every situation i am placed. i know that he loves me individually, and that he is with me.

and during those sleepless nights i had forgotten what i knew. what i have known for many years. and the fear crept around my heart and took a hold of it and lied and was so convincing that my faith began to tremble and wither.

the seeds had been planted.

meanwhile, as the 6 weeks were passing, i was still convincing myself that i could not have made it this far without ben. and even though i know now that that isn't true, i didn't then.

that night as ben and i went around and around the subject of taking the job, we finally reached a conclusion.

i told him that i didn't agree with his decision, but that i knew what he was trying to do was the right thing, and i would support him as he accepted the job.


i lied to him too.

deep down, i knew i didn't support him. i knew that i wouldn't be able to play the role of "the happy wife" who is stuck at home all week long by herself and a screaming baby, and a 4 year old who was adjusting to not only a new sister...but a screaming new sister.

and that was when the biggest lie of all popped into my head, and i couldn't get it to leave.

"if ben loved you as much as he says he does, he wouldn't take this job. he would know how hard this is going to be on you and he would realize that, if he loved you enough."

of course i didn't voice these thoughts out loud to him.

i went to sleep, pretending that i was okay with the decision we had come to. but like a self-centered, dejected child i mentally dug my feet into the ground, folded my arms across my chest.

and carried on, believing the lies.

to be continued:

the lies that bind us, part 3.


Rachel Chick said...

Oh, Lyns. I love you. I was talking to Nels about things similar to this the other day. I think - as women, as humans - one of the worst things that we can tell ourselves is "I can't". Because what if you have to? And the only thing you can change is you? These are things that I've dealt with over the past many years of marriage (with four kids and very busy husband) - and I've learned that there's nothing that I can't do. Lots of things that I don't want to do, but NOTHING I CAN'T DO. I've even learned that I can BE HAPPY during those times. If that's what I CHOOSE. It's amazing. The trick is to keep those lies at bay.

Thanks for sharing. I love you!

The Pyne's said...

Lynsey, I love how you are able to express yourself. Because I too have been there, but I do know it's true and that we CAN do anything that we are given if we just try and lean on our Heavenly Father. As you know I have suffered with severe anxiety the past oh 5 years or so, but every time it starts to overwhelm me and take fear over my heart (as you said) I always ask lance for a blessing. It doesn't make it go away, but I am reminded that I am LOVED and that I can do this small trial here on earth with Heavenly Father's help!!! Glad I'm not the only one out there who feels like this! and glad to see that you have fabulous/outstanding friends out there who love you and can also help you out!!! can't wait to see you guys!

Heather of the EO said...

Wow, Lynsey. Is there a part three yet? Just checking.

This resonates with me SO much. We went through hell, we just did, in the first few years of our boys' lives, and I did the exact same thing. I focused on what I could not handle and secretly resented my husband for traveling for work-I wanted him to JUST GET A DIFFERENT JOB ALREADY. I look back on how I was thinking and acting and...well, that's when my drinking spiraled. Instead of listening to God's truth, I listened to lies. Now, I'm not kicking myself or living in shame, but I just simply recognize this.

Anway. Thank you for the linky love and for sharing your story. I'll have to see if I can find the next part :)

Lauren @ SuperMom Central said...

My Sis,

This is true courage. Facing these truths on your own is very brave - sharing them with your husband so that you can both heal is very VERY brave. But giving your experiences, your realizations, your TRUTH to world, with the hope that it may resonate with others - well that is a rare and beautiful courage. I'm extremely grateful to have someone so honest in my life. Thank you.

Much love,

Your Sis