Awful, awful weekend. This is going to be long.
We went down to stay with family this weekend. We stayed with H's family Saturday (none of them know anything) we went out with all the kids, had a BBQ in the afternoon which was all fine, really fun. In the evening we went out with H's sister and her husband to a charity event and to watch the England world cup game (we lost - shocker! ) H got very drunk. First time I've been with him while he's been drinking since his Dday.
During half time I was talking to one of my sister in law's friends (we'll call her Laura) and Laura's husband, they are expecting a baby in two weeks and we were discussing baby names. It was a funny conversation, Laura and I were laughing a lot.
H triggered. Talking to people I didn't know, getting to know them, letting them see my personality and them laughing at my jokes all made him think of AP, him getting to know me, thinking I was funny, cute etc and falling in 'love' with me.
After about five minutes I turned round and joined in with the conversation H was having with some other people. I could tell he had triggered so I took his hand and whispered that I could see he was hurting and if there was anything I could do just let me know. He insisted he was fine but he struggled for the remainder of evening. I stayed close to him, lots of physical contact (his LL is physical touch) and trying to make him feel as safe as possible.
The next day was no better. We left H's sister's house and went to visit my mum for lunch. My mum knows so at least he didn't have to 'pretend' around her, he was distant and just played with the kids in the garden.
On the drive home the kids fell asleep and we had a chance to talk.
H was saying he is sick of feeling like this. He wants to feel better. There's nothing I can do to help him (I already know I can't fix it for him and I don't try to, I just offer support) it's been six months and he feels hopeless.
He is depressed, won't go to the doctor. The funding for his counselling has come through, he won't book an appointment.
I have tried validating his feelings, reassuring him it's all normal. It just makes him more depressed because he doesn't want to feel like this anymore and the five year timeline feels like an eternity.
I've explained that recovery is not linear, he will have bad days and set backs, a lapse/relapse isn't the same as a total collapse. I've also reminded him of how far he has come in the last six months, how much healing he has already done. He rarely gets mind movies or images and has a very effective coping mechanism in place if they do occur. He has taken very positive steps on feeling better about himself, lots of exercise, going to the gym and working out. He has good friends who he can rely on if he's in a bad place.
I've also gave a bit if tough love. I created this situation, handed him the shit sandwich but I cannot help him eat it. I cannot heal him, I cannot fix it for him. He has to do that himself, I will support him absolutely, without wavering, be there for him. But I cannot do it for him, nor will I try to (like I would have done in the past) because our co-D dynamic isn't healthy so I refuse to be caught in the cycle. He's definitely angry about that, the unfairness of it all. I apologised for it but he loathes apologies so that just made it worse.
I don't think it's a LPOF, he's not numb. But he says he feels hopeless and like things will never be different. I can relate to that, I've been depressed before so I know how that feels.
I feel for him, it's a horrible place to be in.
To make it worse, I triggered too. On the way to my mum's house we drove past the place he took OW#1 on a date. First time we've been in the area since I stopped rugsweeping my feelings about his A. I'm proud of myself for how I handled it. I have a thought process, like self soothing steps I do in my head to stop me going to the 'bad place'. I thought about why it was upsetting but didn't allow the feelings to overwhelm me. I thought very logically about whether there was any reason to feel threatened or anxious at that moment and calmed myself down.
H didn't even notice. I don't blame him, he was wrapped up in his own trigger which was on going from the night before. I don't really need him to comfort me or reassure me (huge step for me) but a squeeze of my hand would have been nice. Just some sort of acknowledgement, you know?