What I Want

“What do you want?” my husband asked in frustration.

Beyond the answers of ‘sleep’ and ‘a clean, non-cluttered environment’ that I’d already given, I had no idea what to tell him. It felt like a waste of time and energy to want anything until I had achieved those two goals. I think at the time that it was our relationship that he had in mind, and I didn’t even have an answer for what I wanted there. That is how much sleep deprivation and a filthy, trash-pandas-live-here environment had taken over my existence.

Days later, as we were leaving our second therapist visit of the day, where he’d met and spoken with my therapist, I was finally able to articulate to myself exactly what I wanted: to be a functional adult human being again. (I will still need to articulate this to him.)

Before marriage and parenthood, in spite of my upbringing and the homeschooling, I’d managed to more or less become a functioning adult. I was employed, paying bills, had a social life and friends, I was enrolled in college courses and getting A’s for my work. For a six month time period I’d had the chance to live entirely by myself. My second-oldest sister and I had arranged our own trip to Ireland and spent a month backpacking around the island.

I still had issues with feeling anxious, and small bouts of depression here and there. After initially failing my attempt at obtaining my driver’s license at age 18 I’d avoided driving and relied on the kindness of friends that didn’t mind letting me carpool. I wasn’t the most amazing example of an adult that could be found, but I was managing and I was hopeful for my future.

When I’d worked at a call center, and later spent time monitoring a kiosk for a bookstore in the mall, I’d sketched during my free time, doodles of monsters, fae creatures, aliens and costume design. While at the kiosk I also kept a journal in which I recorded my thoughts about working retail and my interactions with customers. I had dreams of writing, fashion design and perhaps even costume design, all of which seemed like they might actually be obtainable future goals to the me between age 18 and age 22.

I might have been fueled by naive optimism, but my momentum was in a forward direction. I could push myself through difficult things, like applying for jobs and interviewing, without feeling utterly paralyzed and sick just over the thought of it. I had confidence in myself and my abilities.

I want to be able to believe in myself again. I want to be able to succeed at normal adult things without being reduced to nausea, physically shaking and having a noticeable tremor in my voice. I want to be functional. Maybe if I can succeed at becoming functional, I’ll have a better idea of what my dreams and goals are, and what I want my relationship to look like.

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