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A candle without a flame


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After lurking for many months, I've decided to become "officially crazy". The first dilemma was to pick the perfect screen name.

Cute? Play on words? Silly? Obscure reference that only some might 'get'? Then I thought about how I feel and I realized that I used to burn bright with enthusiasm, joy, energy and realized that my "flame" had grown weaker and weaker over the past decade and now seems as if it's gone out completely. Since I LOVE candles, I thought Flameless Candle might describe me. A candle with no flame.

I'm a woman of a certain age ..... old enough to have a grown son and daughter but young enough to still have to work. I have a dear husband who is befuddled by this mental illness stuff but supports me as best he can, given that he truly can't understand how it is to be very depressed and anxious but still manages to function (with great difficulty most days). He wonders aloud where :the woman <he> married went - he'd like to have <her> back". Wouldn't we all? Lke I CHOOSE to feel this way!

My first husband (high school sweetheart) died of untreated depression - suicide - when we were both young - only 26. He was most likely bipolar - especially the hyper-sexuality part of mania. It didn't involve me; but it involved LOTS of other random women who graciously came out of the woodwork after he died. That helped me a lot at the funeral (ha ha). He refused to seek treatment since he was in medical school and was HORRIFIED that someone would find out and it would impact his career. It DID impact his career; he's dead now.

I was left with two little ones - a sweet girl barely a year old, and an angry and confused son who idolized his father... he was almost five. He's suffered greatly throughout his life with depression - two hospitaliatios in his 20's, mis-diagnoses.....but he's got some good insight now and is doing pretty well today. The little girl? She grew up to be a psychologist. Go figure!

Four years after I was widowed, I remarried and really lucked out. A wonderful man who raised the kids with me; often played the "bad cop" since I felt that because of "what the children had been through" that they deserved a lifetime supply of toys, books, and no discipline (read "no structure"). Our new husband and first-time dad jumped right in and brought structure and much love into our lives and NOW the kids understand why he did what he did....and love him for it. He is a wondeful father and husband..... he cooks, cleans, and even IRONS!.

I was first diagnosed with major depression in 2003 but I know now that I was depressed (and surpressing) for a long time before I actually saw a p-doc .......who I see to this day (the rare old-school breed who also does therapy). .

For many years when the children were growing up I was "everywoman"- perfect wife, perfect corporate executive, perfect mom, PTA board member, volunteer extraordinaire, the keeper of the perfect holidays...... you name it - the busier I was the less time I had to THINK about the past or to even feel my feelngs. Eventually, I crashed and burned in a great big way.

In the middle of the journey to treatment, I decided it would be a grand idea to self-medicate with opiates. I've been clean now for just over four years. THAT threw a wrench into things. Two of my three brothers still do not speak to me. Another story for nother day.

Rehab, and different counseling, groups, NA....again....another story for another day.

I also suffer with anxiety and the more anxious I became in earlier times, the harder I worked. I eventually lost a really good corporate job in 2007. I took some time off, and then pursued something I loved (and had done periodically since grad school while working full time, fortunate to have a flexible job. So now I teach accounting and business (not quite full time) at a career college.

OK this has turned into a blog and for that I apologize (I apologize for EVERYTHING...I'm SO sorry about the economy and for the never-ending wars we're in. I seem to think everything is my fault. It's one of my worst faults. Ha ha.

Looking forward to being a contributing member of this wonderul board. Just call me "Flameless" If you have read this far, may the gods bless you!

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There are several of us here who are "women of a certain age," so I'm sure you'll fit right in. Be sure to read the rules when you get a chance, and don't be afraid to contact a staff person if you don't understand something.

olga

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For many years when the children were growing up I was "everywoman"- perfect wife, perfect corporate executive, perfect mom, PTA board member, volunteer extraordinaire, the keeper of the perfect holidays...... you name it - the busier I was the less time I had to THINK about the past or to even feel my feelngs.

This is me right now. Thank you for sharing your story. As a young mother and wife (and volunteer, and children's book writer, and doll maker, and anything else I can do to keep from thinking!) I really needed to hear it put in those terms. Thanks again, and welcome!

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