There’s a Tension at Times
There are several elements of mental state I find it difficult to move past or resign to the past, intertwined like ivy in and out of strands of disability, until to remove one strand of ivy, rips down a whole section of your mind. This creeping invasive ivy gets into every aspect of your personality, of your mind, of your ability to relate to the outside world. It changes the outward expression of who you are, but yet underneath the tentacles, the leaves, the canopy of ivy, completely hidden is what you once were, near strangled to death and completely distorted. This ivy has many names and each main stem, of which there are several, has its purpose:
- One stem wraps around your confidence and tears it down bit by bit as the tentacles dig in between the mortar, loosening them, wrapping round them and pulling them down to the floor, creating rubble;
- Another stem covers your dignity with a thick canopy of leaves so it is starved of life giving light and exposure, slowly shrivelling and crumbling into dust till one is left with little of this essential quality. Every time the arse is wiped, the tackle is buffed, the groin is creamed, the defecation is cleaned, the humiliation is compounded and the canopy thickens constantly. Dignity gasps for life but life is the enemy and the nitrogen for the ever thicker mat of leaves crushing and starving it of positivity;
- As dignity become unable to function then confidence becomes laced with ivy’s rope like arteries that wrap, entwine, and take confidence to one side to make it off balance. Then the ropes are pulled tight and even the strongest confidence falls like a chainsaw has whipped through the base. The thud makes the ground shake, as it was not a small tree – my confidence was a mighty oak, but even the oak will fall when strangled and roped then pulled over as the base is saw cuts through bark sending shards of once strong fibres showered from cut till the creek and the snapping sound is heard. The ground shudders as my confidence is felled, laying helpless in the undergrowth, the ivy covers it and rots it down to be compost in years to come. A rotting stench which was once a might oak of confidence which I thought was indestructible;
- The ivy isn’t done. The desire to live off elements of myself is not complete, this parasitic plant wants much more of me and wants to spread to my family too. As my family moves in to support the crumbling person they see, the plant reaches out and connects, such light capillaries that are unnoticed at first, but connection is made. This is what I didn’t want, I prayed not to happen. I accepted, some would say gave up years ago, that I was destined to be fed off by this disability this parasitic condition until I was nothing, decayed and forgotten. I did not want it to transfer to my family – not ever. As I peer through the tangle of branches, the canopy that engulfs me, I see what it is doing to my family and I cry.
This final point is what I wanted to avoid at any cost, but it is too late, the thing to be avoided at any cost has become real, the beast feeds from them too, feeds from them liberally and I hate it. The beast is disability; my beast in this respect now has branched into each of my family – hateful! I was the host and have been consumed, now I am the parasite on them, on my Angel, the burden I have become, the worry and stress I cause her, I really do feel like a parasite on her, she really didn’t sign up for this. It worries me that I am dragging her down with me. So I look for the effects, I search and analyse every word, every inference, every tone and look, the expressions are scrutinised, I search for the smallest detail to affirm my belief I am dragging her down, I am the parasite on her now.
I do not have to look hard and see in her face she is disgusted with me at times, being doubly incontinent, wearing nappies, about to be permanently catheterised, less and less able to do anything, can I expect her to be anything but disgusted at what I have become by this blasted monster that has devoured me near completely. I sit back in pain and self-loathing and honestly 100% think she would be better off and have a better life by leaving me, cutting these tentacles that are sucking the life out of my Angel too. But she won’t leave me, won’t go, loyal to a fault, loyal despite the consequences to herself – how can I let her do this if I am genuine about loving her, genuine about only wanting the best for her, and that is not me.
My Angel should cut her losses and go, but she stays, is it from loyalty, from love or a sense that she is duty bound to me regardless of her own needs, perhaps a combination of all three – I just don’t know. With some of my past actions, my only motivation was that I did not want to be a burden to my Angel and wanted her to be free of the branches and tentacles that fix her to me, her loyalty her downfall. My worst fear has come true, she is my carer now, our relationship is changed forever, the balance of husband and wife shattered on the floor as I have to ask and wait like a child for everything. I have to time everything so that she is not too pressured after work. Carol is an absolute Angel and I worry so much about her, that I am the straw that is breaking her, my parasitic monster now feeds off her till we both suffocate under the canopy, both are left spent.
But then my Angel speaks a few words that casts brilliant light and makes the ivy shrink a little – “would you not stay with me if the tables were turned?” I would not even have to think about it and would dedicate my life to looking after Carol, as I utterly love her, totally unconditionally. This is the only thing in my head that makes sense, she loves me as I love her – unconditionally, without reservation, in sickness and in health, a love that has matured so much since December 1986 when I knew I loved her. This is the point, I look too hard for what I think should be there and miss what is in front of me, shrouds me in comfort and warmth, that she covers me in love and showers me in the care and regard that comes from totally loving someone. This I understand, this is the clarity I see, as I love my Angel in the same way, to the same depth, to the point that I would give my life for hers, and am dedicating my life to her.
Yes this disability warps what I see, blinkers my vision with pain and self-loathing at the rotting carcass that was once a functioning body, and yes I do not want this life, but I have it so it is tough on Carol and I. But we are planning again; we are pushing forward again, yes hand in hand as partners, not as carer and caree. I dedicate my love and my life to her, and she does to me as an equal, and this is what I need to keep in focus as this disability destroys me, it does NOT destroy us, as our love is indestructible and therefore we are. I love you Carol Wade, not my carer but my saviour.
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