Stupidly feeling guilty

dancing at weddingIn the beginning, there was an extremely unstable woman and a soulless online dating service called eHarmony. The exact words elude me, but the very first time I filled out their questionnaire, I received an immediate response of something to the effect of “Sorry, you are hopeless.” At least that’s what it seemed like to me. I think it was couched in the polite language of “We are unable to find a match for you at this time.” Yes, that’s exactly what a depressed person wants to hear. Thank you very much, Mr. eHarmony, for shoving my self-esteem even lower than I thought was possible. But many years later, on a free weekend, I thought I’d give it another whirl. Lo and behold I had a few matches. I stared at them, and stared at them some more, then laughed, then forgot about it all. But Greg saw my picture, and I’m told he said to his friend “That’s the one.”

After numerous emails, and then finally speaking to him and arranging to meet, my subconscious saboteur took over, and I wrote him an email which he now laughingly refers to as “32 reasons why I hate you.” This poor man – I attacked his accent (Southern Ohio) and his grammar (he’s a college graduate but unknowingly speaks like the people he works with), even the fact that he liked okra. I described him as (these are his words) “some kind of destitute troll living under a bridge,” but in fact he has a very good job and is just quite thrifty (at the time he had no internet, was using his friend’s computer). He had washed his phone (has happened again since then), so couldn’t call me right back (I said he couldn’t pay his phone bill). In other words, my behavior was cleverly designed to show him my absolute worst bitchiness and drive him away. He chose to think “Well, gee, I know I’m a good person, I’ll just leave her be for a bit.” He knew I was a survivor of domestic violence and that I had a mental illness, he said he just figured I was scared.

Even after all this, he saw something I didn’t know showed, and chose not to give up on me. About a month later I received an email asking if I’d like to give it another try and meet him for lunch. My first thought was “This man is crazier than I am.” But after speaking with him again, I acquiesced. So we did meet for lunch, and the rest is history. I’m not going to tell you it’s been a happily-ever-after fairy tale ending, but it’s pretty close. He’s stuck with me through times that were scary, times when he said “I want my wife back,” and times when we’ve cried together. All the time reminding me “I simply love you.” Fortunately, there are wonderful and “normal” times as well.

I’m not saying he’s perfect, nobody is, but as far as I’m concerned he’s the epitome of unconditional love. There was only one other person in my life that could have fit the bill, but I wasn’t ready (although we are now very good friends). I don’t think I was ready for my husband, either. I was not nice in the beginning, he had fair warning, and over the past seven years I have tried without success to push him away. I’m just not used to being treated so well, and it seems to me that there are so many other people out there that would be more deserving than me. Not to mention the fact that I often think he’d be better off with someone who was a tad bit less, well, crazy. About three years ago, he asked me to marry him, and all I could think of to say was “OK, but why would you want to do that?” And that was the defining moment, the one sentence which I repeat over and over to people: “Sheri, I don’t love you because of anything in particular, and I don’t love you despite anything in particular, I simply love you.” Then he went on to say, “I want to make sure you are well taken care of if anything happens to me.” I have to tell you, that’s more romantic than any box of chocolates, dozen roses, or diamond ring.

Whenever I hear of others who are having difficulty finding their bashert, that one person they’re meant to be with, I feel guilty. Isn’t that ridiculous? But really, how did I, raised to believe I’m a total fuck-up, end up with a wonderful husband. I have an unpredictable mental illness, I had to have my spine rebuilt (my warranty ran out), I’m a klutz, not particularly attractive anymore, and very low self-esteem (as if you couldn’t tell). Oh I know, I have positive traits as well, but I can tell you I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live with me if I had a choice.

So how did I get so lucky, and why do I question it? Why can’t I just accept it, and not feel guilty when others say they can’t find any decent partners out there. Surely I didn’t get the only remaining one. I was well prepared to spend the rest of my life alone, and at times I still think I’d be happier because I worry that I’m just too damn much trouble to live with.

I wish I could see in the mirror what he sees when he tells me I’m beautiful. I wish I believed in the woman he does.

I wish everyone could be unconditionally loved.


Pronunciation: \ˈsa-bə-ˌtäzh\
Function: noun (can also be a transitive verb)
Etymology: French, from saboter to clatter with sabots, botch, sabotage, from sabot
Date: 1910

1 : destruction of an employer’s property (as tools or materials) or the hindering of manufacturing by discontented workers
2 : destructive or obstructive action carried on by a civilian or enemy agent to hinder a nation’s war effort
3 a : an act or process tending to hamper or hurt b : deliberate subversion

Definition number 3. That’s my specialty.

It has taken me over a year to stop sabotaging the best relationship I’ve ever had. I think I’m not worthy of a healthy, loving relationship so I throw everything I’ve got at it to test the limits, hoping I’ll be right. But this time I wasn’t.

So I got over that one, only to turn on my physical self. Two months ago my physician said I’ve got a few extra pounds, my cholesterol was too high as was my blood pressure. If I could just try to lose a little bit of weight by eating right and exercising, I may not have to add even more medication to the ones I’m already taking. Next week is the end of that two months, and I haven’t accomplished the simple goal.

The thing is, I had lost that weight before I went into my slide of deep depression. I had been exercising every day and eating right. I had lost seventeen pounds. I’ve only gained back about half that, but it’s still too much. So every night I tell myself tomorrow will be the day I get back to exercising, and every morning I tell myself just start with 5 minutes. But it seems like I simply can’t do it. So I cry and think I’m absolutely worthless. But I like my exercise routine. I do step-aerobics on my WiiFit and listen to audiobooks at the same time, so why is it so hard?

I’ve been using money as an excuse not to eat right. I eat a lot of ramen and baked potatoes because they’re cheap, as well as all those very inexpensive frozen foods that are high in everything I shouldn’t be eating. But what about frozen vegetables like broccoli and spinach (which I like) and frozen blueberries (which I love), not to mention the chicken breasts sitting in my freezer waiting to be baked; these foods are not expensive. I like eating healthy, I enjoy vegetables, salads and chicken. I used to like cooking. But no, I just go on eating starchy comfort foods. I eat healthy when I’m at Greg’s house on the weekend because he cooks. But during the week I just sabotage everything I did on the weekend.

My other weight gain excuse could be because of my meds, but then how does that explain the fact that I was able to lose it before?

I’ve been told “you can do anything you put your mind to.” But when has that been valid in my mentally screwed up life? I’ve been told to start slow and then I’ll get back in the habit, and then there’s the “just do it” that keeps slapping me in the face. I know all these things, but I think that I want to show the doctor what a fuck-up I am. If I can validate my image of myself then I win. I prove that I’m worthless.

I struggle against the sabotage of my self-worth, but it just keeps winning. I have to find, somewhere deep within me, the strength to keep fighting, to scratch and kick my way out of this horrible hole I seem to be stuck in.

As much as I hate the thought, perhaps it’s time for yet again another psych med change. I can’t lose hope.