Christmas as a restructured family, the last big "first" that weighed in my mind and heart, is over.
And we aced it.
I don't want to be too cocky, but we sailed through our first Christmas as a separated couple with flying colors. Not only was it peaceful, but we all had fun.
Five months ago - shoot, one month ago - I wouldn't have thought it would be possible.
I'm going to open the door just a bit here.
Just a tiny bit. Don't worry. Chad knows I'm writing about this.
For the past five years, Chad's been struggling with what he thought was depression. He saw a doctor. he saw a therapist. He went on medication. But no matter what he tried, he couldn't stave the feelings of being out of control.
Unless he self-medicated with alcohol.
Which was not good.
I have pages and pages of posts to write about that. Someday. But for right now, I'm happy that he's been sober for four months and twenty days.
But without the addition of his own brand of "medicine", the prescription pills he was taking for the depression wasn't helping.
Things were tough.
And with that one sentence, I became the Queen of Understatement and have books and books to write.
Then, a little over a month ago, he called his doctor in one of his manic states. For the first time it was his doctor, not me, who talked him down. It was his doctor, not me, who saw the paths his mind spun. And it was his doctor who finally diagnosed him with hypo mania bipolar disorder.
Finally, after years of struggling, he was put on the proper medication.
The difference has been unreal.
He's less agitated. His moods aren't as...severe. He's able to engage, to connect, to laugh, to enjoy.
I've changed too.
When we've spent time together this month, I notice my shoulders aren't next to my ears. I notice I'm not trying to create a protective barrier around him, keeping all unpleasant things at bay. I'm letting him learn to deal with his life and, in the process, am able to enjoy my own life.
All of this has had some fantastic consequences.
For the first time since we decided to divorce, I can see a glimmer of hope that the Pollyanna version of "peaceful restructuring" is within my grasp.
But I wasn't the wife of an alcoholic without consequences.
I'm tentative. Cautious with this new leaf. I'm hopeful - I'm always hopeful - but I'm also waiting.
Waiting because I don't quite trust this new found person. I've been here before. Almost.
And I've been hurt before.
So, I keep that glimmer of hope in the distance a bit. I watch. I listen. I talk. I keep my fingers crossed.
Because the thing is, no matter what has happened and what will happen, I do still have love in my heart for him.
I'm not able to be his wife. For many reasons, not the least of which I've mentioned.
But I think, I hope, I pray...I will be able to be his friend.
And that knowledge made for a very merry Christmas indeed.
23 hours ago