Edward begins his 3rd year (of medical school) rotations and works around 60 hours the first week. Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday I manage alright (I get things done, I stay busy) but Thursday & Friday I am a mess. “What have a signed myself up for?” I think. This loneliness is worse than even I imagined it would be – which is saying something because I tend to jump to the worst-case scenario when imagining how things will go. I know I seem like the lucky one to a lot of people – the one who gets to stay home & do what she wants with her days & get a full night of rest while he’s working so hard & forever sleep-deprived – but I don’t feel lucky on Thursday or Friday.
I feel as if I have signed myself up for a lonely marriage, which is not what I wanted for my life. I feel as if I am trapped – alone, in a new city, too depressed to leave the house. I feel anger and resentment towards Edward for being gone so much – maybe because it’s easier than feeling my own grief. I feel anger towards the entire medical training process that is turning my husband into someone I feel like I don’t know anymore and have nothing in common with after just this one first week of rotations. I feel angry at the actual doctors training him for not recognizing that teaching people to be workaholics with no work/life balance is wrong and unsustainable. I feel a lot of anger.
Over the weekend, it takes me a while to get back to my “normal” self – Friday evening & the beginning of Saturday. Mid-Saturday through mid-Sunday I am myself again. Edward is around and I am grateful to feel like we are reconnecting. But then, as Monday and another week of “alone time” approaches, I start to unravel a bit again.
I begin to feel as if, by all of the nesting I have done & continue to do, I am decorating my own prison. We start reading a book I ordered online together called The Medical Marriage and it confirms my belief that this situation is abnormal. Not for a medical couple but just in general for humans in a relationship. It helps though; it gives us things to talk about together.
I dream two nights in a row of men who do not exist, but in my sleep I begin to fall in love with them anyway. Both have one thing in common – they make me feel safe, they care for me but circumstances will not allow us to live a life together. I awake from these dreams as the only human in the house, deep dark-grey loneliness with a day to fill. I can send messages to Edward but he does not have time to reply. No matter how many things I put on my to-do list the night before everything feels pointless in the morning. Why should I do those things I wrote down? As soon as I wake up I feel like crying, ideally while talking to someone who can promise me things will get better but there is no one to talk to.
My mind begins to retread its most well-worn path of escape. I know I won’t survive in the world alone again, but I also don’t know if I can survive in a marriage that is mostly composed of “alone time,” more to the point: I don’t know if I want to try. I cry because I have so much more than I used to have and suddenly I am feeling just as hopeless about the future as I did when I attempted suicide before. If there was just an end to the alone time at some point, some milestone to “survive until,” but I don’t think things will change after medical school, during residency, or once Edward is actually practicing medicine someday – not in the way I need things to change anyway. Which is to say, I will be alone, as far as I can see, for most of my life and marriage if I stay on this path I have put myself on. I cry because I feel like a selfish cunt, how could I even consider doing this to Edward, leaving him in such an irrevocable way? I cry because I feel that Edward is choosing to leave me, in a way, too. I cry because there would be no way to explain to Sam or Lena where I’d gone or what had happened, they’d just think I’d abandoned them. Lena and I are practically separate bodies/beings living one life. She goes everywhere everywhere with me these days, I don’t like being out in the world without someone by my side.
I am alone again for a short period during the weekend and I call a hotline. It helps a little. It’s awkward talking to a stranger on the phone at first but she is very kind. She suggests a bunch of things I could do to keep myself busier which is, in a way, the root of the problem but also totally missing the point. I don’t know how both readings of the same suggestion can be true at the same time, but it feels like they are.
I call my psychiatrist and tell him what’s going on, minus the intrusive suicidal thoughts because I don’t want him to have me put in the hospital. I’m not going to act on them right now, I have enough control still not to, & I miss my animals/home too much when I am away from them for that long. I tell him that circumstance is meeting biology and how it is making me feel. He tells me to give my new medication two or three more weeks to fully get kicking. I can wait, I think.