I must begin with an apology, because many of you will not have heard from me in quite a while, and in fact I have only rarely been logged in here. There are a number of reasons I could give, and any number of excuses, but put simply, I have been hiding in my cave, suffering with a certain amount of "caregiver syndrome" and not a little stress.
A number of you have been in touch to offer help and support, and I may not have replied. This is because I find myself caught between a rock and a hard place - part of me knowing that I need to take care of myself, and part of me still feeling that I need to be here for Christine (who is still suffering both physically and all the other -ly). Trying to sail a boat and take shore leave is impossible, so I face the equivalent of helping to crew the vessel during the storm, whilst nipping off to lie in my hammock when I grow weary. In short, i have been hiding in my figurative cave, and all not often literally pulling the bedclothes over my head and hiding from the world. It's not a great place to find oneself in.
Add to that the recurring nature of things in the past five-and-a-half years, and you'll know why this has on occasion been a Sisyphean task.
I've had days when I've hated everyone, and wished they'd go away and leave me alone. Talking to a friend a week or two ago, I told him, "I can't talk to anyone who isn't either facing something life-changing or life-threatening, or those who care for them. Then again, I tire of hearing from them, too. And I hate you, especially, and I wish you'd just fuck off." It was like the scene in The Life of Brian, when Brian tells the gathered hordes to fuck off, and they replied, "How shall we fuck off, Lord?" This great man understood perfectly. He's recovering from heart bypass surgey, his father-in-law just succumbed to brain cancer, the family pet dog died and the family were all upset. We hugged in that manly way. He knew what it was like. He's been a tower of strength to me through this past year-and-more.
Some people have chastised me, rightly in their view, for failing to keep in touch with those who care, and about whom I too care. Slowly, I'm returning to normal. I'm attending a Mankind Project men's group weekly, I'm taking my various meds, I'm exercising every day, am starting a new job soon. All these things help, but it's a slow process, and I ask for your patience and forbearance while I adjust back to normal life. Whatever that is, these days.
I've tried many things to cope with stress in a healthy manner, from the .357 Magnum Stress Management System to camping out one night a week. It helps, but nothing can take away the pain of seeing Christine struggling through all the treatments and chemos and surgeries and side-effects. Watching someone suffer hurts, and I'm still learning to cope.
I'm slowly catching up with those I've neglected, and you all have been neglected to some degree. Forgive me for the bulk-presentation of this message, I will try hard to catch up with all of you personally, over the next few days and weeks.
If you really want to read the backstory and have a little time to spare, peruse recently-written daylogs of mine. I haven't been entirely idle, even whilst under the covers.