My wife has epilepsy. She has not been able to control her seizures with any medications. Either the meds don’t work or more often than not the side effects are so severe that they don’t justify the benefits. Some side effects of various meds: hepatitis, loss of appetite (lost 10 pounds in a month from practically starving), diarrhea, severe non-stop headaches, depression, insomnia, and the list goes on.
Twice she has considered surgery for her condition. Once brain surgery, which she did not go through with after months of testing. The thought of losing part of her brain was too much. And the second time a vagus nerve stimulator which she did not go through with because… Actually I’m not sure why she didn’t go through with it. I think she’s fed up with western medicine and she gave up on it.
For each of the two surgery options she has had to spend a week in the hospital for monitoring which basically consists of sleep deprivation and numerous other torture-like techniques meant to induce seizures. She was hooked up to 23 brain monitoring electrodes literally cemented to her head. She couldn’t leave the hospital room for the duration of the monitoring. They also removed her from her meds which caused withdrawal symptoms. The idea is for her to have a seizure so they can monitor her brain and see precisely where the seizures are happening.
Didn’t happen. On no occasion did she have a seizure during monitoring. “She doesn’t like to perform,” is the family joke.
And here I am, eleven years into our relationship. 3 kids, stable life, and I’m at the end. I can’t take this relationship anymore that doesn’t allow me to grow, doesn’t allow me to explore the world with the person I love. I feel like I’m just here to hold her hand while she does what she needs to do, or feels like doing. There is no passion here, there is no playfulness, there is no fun, there is no growing or exploring. Yeah a big part of it is our nonexistent sex life, but it’s more than that. That is just a symptom of a bigger issue. Though honestly I’m not sure what that bigger issue is. Maybe just me not being willing to sacrifice anymore. Maybe I’ve given all I can to her and I’m done. I can’t keep this boat afloat anymore.
Drawing I made while thinking of our relationship. Her head didn’t fit on the page. What does that mean?
And yet, the thought of leaving her is unbearable. I am still enamored by family life. I enjoy being with my children. My wife is an incredible mother, absolutely the best she can be, she puts her whole self into motherhood, and I love that. I love who she is when she’s not devastated, depressed, sick, etc. unfortunately those times are fewer and farther between. She’s just not much of a wife.
She tries, in spurts of energy or imagination maybe once a year. She tries to add some excitement into our shitty relationship, but her attempts are short lived and lack enthusiasm. The last time she tried it started with, “Hey I just read that having sex three times a week reduces your risk of heart attack!”
So one thing leads to another and we are all of a sudden having great sex three times a week.
For a week.
Then she had numerous seizures, got tired, got depressed, got her period. Done. Well it was fun for a week.
It’s wearing me down. There is very little I can rely on in our relationship.
The kids keep me with her. It would break their little hearts if we separated. They are what binds us for now. I suppose that’s what makes us family, the way we bind each other.
Also hope. Hope binds us. I keep thinking that the next month or the next year will be better. She keeps saying when the kids get a bit older it will be better, we’ll be able to focus on us, they’ll all be in school. The more time goes by the less I believe it. With each month and year that passes and nothing improves I lose hope, lose faith in her, lose faith in us.
I’ve started reading the personals on Craig’s list. Not because I’m looking for someone, but to see who else is out there. I read women’s pleas for kind men, I read yearnings for quick sex or no strings attached relationships, I read about desperation and desire, I read about one night stands and meaningful long term relationships, I read women and men pouring their hearts out, describing their bodies, their personalities, measurements, books and movies they love. All in an attempt to be with someone, touch someone, talk to someone, be seen and heard, to break the sense of isolation in their lives. Because here I am. I live with a beautiful sometimes incredible woman and I feel isolated. It’s comforting in a miserable sort of way to know that their are other men and women who share my experience.