My fragile resilience aka easily cracked

Since I posted about feelings of happiness beginning to emerge late last year, these have continued to be more frequent occurrences. My son and I hiked to the highest peak in our state a few weeks ago and covered some 30km during the 2 night walk and it was exhilarating.

I catch myself feeling happy from time to time and bask in the feeling like the warmth of the sun emerging from clouds. I try and appreciate and savor the feelings, knowing that emotions are just like the sun on a cloudy day. The warmth comes and goes almost unpredictably. And I’m ok with that. If I can practice my mindfulness, I’ll be even better at observing and relishing those emotions when they come.

Happiness aside, my mood is generally one of being fairly neutral-contented. I’d say this is what I experience around 80% of the time. The rest of the time is divided between happy and sad. Who knows, this might be the case for a large portion of the population.

I think the thing that concerns me most at the moment, is my fragile resilience. I crack easily.

Honestly, it doesn’t take much to make me crack. A couple of weeks ago, I’d gone for three weeks without doing any pleasurable activities – fishing and the like. I had to help my father with an emergency on the farm so I flew over there to do that. I’d been cutting wood for winter, and I don’t really have a babysitter that’s easily organised like I did last year (a high schooler living around the corner from us has now gone to live with her boyfriend).

It was doing my head in and I’d started to crack the sads. I was getting irritable and frayed. My head space was narrowing. I finally got sick of it all, threw the kayak on top and left the next morning having asked my wife to come home early to meet the kids off the bus. I put in a big day on the water for only one fish, but still enjoyed it. On arriving home late around 8pm, I came home to chaos. The dishes were lying around, pots and pans and food were left out, and my wife was watching  TV. I was dismayed – I could feel my heart sinking into my socks. And that’s where I lost it.

I accused my wife of taking advantage of me. She knew I had the next day off so basically she’d done the bare minimum – feeding the kids and putting them to bed – and now I was left with the mess. It felt like going fishing for the day was a pointless waste of time, because it meant I’d be paying for it by having to deal with what appeared to me at the time to be an overwhelming mess. Of course it wasn’t, but to me it looked like it. On top of that I felt she wasn’t really pulling her weight.

If my resilience had been better, maybe I would have looked at it differently. I could have thanked her for coming home early and for at least feeding the kids and putting them to bed. I could have rolled up my sleeves and probably got it done in an hour. But I ended up blowing my fuse, giving her both barrels and storming off to bed, thinking how pointless it was to make the effort to do something to improve my wellbeing.

Three nights ago my wife, under the guise of “open communication which is good for our marriage” expressed that she still feels hurt that she’s not a Facebook friend of mine. She went on to say that I should friend her and that it would be a public display of our love which is so important to her. She wonders what other women think when they see that I haven’t friended her. She told me that if I consulted a marriage counselor about friending my wife on Facebook they would be amazed to find I hadn’t. I told her I didn’t give a toss what marriage counselors had to say about Facebook.

I read between the lines (right or wrong) and heard the same old tapes that always play along the lines of “if you really loved me, you would __________” which I’ve been hearing for the last 18 years. I told her to build a bridge and get over it. I told her to deal with her insecurities and to forget what anyone else thought. The language was brightly colored. I explained that I’m sick of her trying to change me, and that she can either accept me for who and what I am today, or not, the choice was hers. Just don’t try and change me.

If I had been more resilient, perhaps I could have acknowledged that she was feeling hurt and been understooding, and let it be. Or maybe that would have been just too professional and clinical. Maybe she should be telling someone else how hurt she is….

Needless to say, we haven’t been talking the last few days. Like my friend said “isn’t it worth going the extra mile to get the silent treatment?”

It’s frustrating that my resilience is so low, that if anything emotionally challenging arises, I just seem to crack so easily. My mood plummets again and stays low, until like a tug of war, I manage to pull it up again, and recover. I hope I get stronger. Self care is challenging.

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4 Responses

  1. Hang in there. Facebook what a can of worms it has opened, humans now have a whole new social construct to think about…

    • Thanks Scott… the whole Facebook thing is a weird one. It’s a great tool, but I can’t figure out why my wife wants to be able to use it to communicate with me though, since we live together and all!

    • Hey Scott. Thanks for your thoughts. My wife feels that unless she keeps an eye on me, I might say something inappropriate or flirt or be flirted with. Actually I’ve friended her twice and it caused issues so I unfriended her. Ouch. It’s complicated but probably worth a blog post!

  2. Jack, I’ve been following your blog for a while now and really appreciate the honesty with which you’ve expressed your journey. I really hope you won’t find the following rude or patronising, but I wanted to give you my thoughts on this blog post.

    I would say as one who has close family members with depression (would rather not say who), fragility/lack of resilience etc is a symptom I have seen quite a lot. Things happen which might make me (I don’t suffer from depression) slightly irritated, but those same things can cause the depression sufferer to fly off the handle. I don’t think there’s a way of explaining the lack of resilience in the depression sufferer: it’s simply a symptom of the disease. I’m not sure there is a way to address the lack of resilience/fragility either that doesn’t involve looking at the depression as a whole. As I say, I see it as a symptom.

    This whole facebook malarkey is obviously an ongoing thing, although I don’t recall any previous blog posts of yours about this. (Perhaps I missed one). I think what I would say is do you have a good reason for NOT adding your wife as a friend on facebook?!

    Does your wife actually cite being able to communicate with you on facebook as a reason for friending her? I would imagine her reason would be more to do with what you were doing on facebook that you didn’t want here to know about, and what other people think about your not being facebook friends. I know I would be surprised (to say the least!) if my wife did not want to be my facebook friend, and would want to know WHY.

    Stick in there.

    Yours,

    Alastair

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