I started searching for me, putting myself and the wellness of my body first. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, another is trying to find peace within my mind.
Trying to put my needs above everything else in my life has always been a struggle for me. Having three kids and a husband made it even tougher. I remember having a discussion with my doctor after a kidney infection left me wiped out for several weeks. He said to me “Stacey, how do you feel about the numbers on the scale?” Well of course I didn’t like what it was, 350lbs…shocking, depressing, embarrassing. “Do you want to make a change in your lifestyle?” Of course I would but how do I find the time to do all that I need to do for my family and do everything he was asking me to do? His response was “Ask for help. Right now it’s just overweight, next comes diabetes and numerous other complications you need to make a change” Asking for help was something I was not very good at. Even today, it’s still hard for me.
I started a program that the Dr recommended for weight loss. I talked weekly with a therapist, weighed in, worked out, went to group support meetings with 29 other people in the same boat as me, and followed the plan for a year. I weighed food, counted calories, tried clean eating recipes, walked kilometres upon kilometres every day. It wasn’t easy to do because it required time and energy.
The first week was the hardest. I remember one night being completely exhausted, crying and wanting to give up when my husband took me by the hand to our bedroom, pulled out my pyjamas, and tucked me into bed. “Stacey, you are doing such a great job. This is such an amazing thing you are doing for our family. You need to be healthy for our kids, they need you and so do I.” His words stuck with me, lifted me.
After a few weeks I found my groove. I walked on the treadmill in the morning after the two older kids went to school, my youngest got plunked down in front of a couple of shows on the Disney Channel and I walked for an hour. I thought about a lot in that hour but mostly how I was beginning to feel strong. I was loosing weight, my confidence was returning, I bought a few new clothes and at the end of the first half of the program I was down 83lbs. In the second half of the program I had to rely more on myself and less on the program. I had to step out of my comfort zone at home and join a gym, and then came a boot camp. By the end of the year I had dropped down 120lbs all on my own by following the Dr’s orders, watching calories, and exercising.
I put in all the hard work, but then something started to change and I was slipping. I wasn’t working out as much or as often. I couldn’t quite put a thumb on the beginning of this anxiety I was starting to feel. Was I anxious because I was now done with the program and that I would just fall off the clean and sober calorie wagon? I kind of feel like food is an addiction as well, and sometimes the binges are uncontrollable. Then with the binges come the guilt and remorse. It was during this time that things had started to change in my marriage. I asked my husband if there was someone else and he laughed it off and said no. He lied. His lie has made me feel like everything I’ve ever done, especially in the last few years, didn’t matter. That his little speech should have been saved, that he didn’t really need me because he decided that an affair did suit his needs.
For the first few months after I found out about the affair I quit doing everything. I couldn’t wrap my head around what was happening or what had even happened. I still can’t for that matter.
I had talked with my Dr about the next step, gastric surgery, because I was worried that the weight was going to come back, and by the time I convinced him, I had already put 50lbs back on. The surgery itself was pretty easy, I already had all the tools to make it work and my anxiety over the possible weight gain went away. My will to exercise has not returned. I hear songs that I used to listen to when I ran and I want to be that woman again. The one who felt strong and in charge of her life. Now I just feel like I can’t be her anymore because she didn’t matter to the one person who I loved and trusted the most.
I’m struggling right now with the changes that are beginning to happen in my life. My oldest son is graduating this year, and my daughter decided she wanted to try a boarding school in another province, my youngest will be at home still for at least 8-9 more years so the house will not be empty. I feel like things are weighing me down and I don’t know how to process these feelings. I returned from dropping our daughter off at school, a very emotional trip for me, and I’m barely able to keep it together when my husband starts hitting me with what our oldest son is dealing with in organizing his grade twelve year. We have to go meet with this counsellor, and lists off a bunch of potential options of what we can do to help our son. What he’s not paying attention to is that my anxiety has landed heavily on me, and when I ask to just go home, he says “No, you can come” He’s annoyed, I can see the look in his eyes. He doesn’t listen to me and as he’s about to pull into the school parking lot, I can’t breathe, my chest is hurting and I’m crying that I can’t deal with this meeting right now. I just got off the plane from leaving our little girl at a school 15hrs away, she is never moving home because after boarding school she’ll be off to university. I don’t feel like I can keep it together and talk about the impending graduation and what we need to do to help our son get there. I hate showing emotions to other people, I feel silly to be upset that my kids are growing up. So I have all of this piling up on top of the unhappiness I feel in my marriage.
I’m not happy. I can’t get past my husbands affairs. I want to, but something won’t let me. I want to know, was he unhappy in our marriage which led him to the first affair? Did he want me to leave him like I always said I would if I ever found out that he had an affair? He doesn’t know. He doesn’t know how to deal with my anxiety. He doesn’t feel he should have to justify his whereabouts to me, or leave his phone and computer unlocked now. I feel if there is nothing to hide, then what’s the big deal? I’m not asking that it be like this forever, I’m asking for peace of mind until I feel like I can trust him. Right now, I’m just waiting for him to reach his limit with me and drop out of reality and take a week off to be with the girl he met on line. He said he thought that I was doing better. I feel like I’m just getting better at hiding my feelings from him.
Today we talked about separating and what that would mean. Do I want that? I don’t know what I want anymore. I feel like he is just a friend, I don’t feel married and that we are just together because we don’t know how to leave each other. I feel like I need some time away from him, and kids and everyday life but I’m afraid that if I go, I won’t ever come back. I have to come back, I have a little boy who still needs his mother for at least 10 more years.
I wish I knew what happened to derail our life and when, maybe we could have fixed it before the train totally derailed. I didn’t want to give up on us, but he can’t do what I need him to do to make me feel safe, and that he’s in my corner again. I need him to be my person. I want him to be the guy I fell in love with, the great guy that everyone thinks I’m so lucky to have. Unfortunately though, I don’t see him anymore. That guy he used to be is gone, and I feel like the person he still wants me to be is gone too.