As I gasp for air, I’m thinking, how did this happen?
At night when the episodes are more intense, I’m secretly concerned that I will end up in the hospital or maybe ICU.
My mind is racing. I practice regular self-care this shouldn’t be happening.
Then it hit me.
I haven’t been practicing self-care at all.
For the last 2 months, I’ve been ignoring a cough while taking care of my family, signing new clients, coaching, and the list goes on.
My cough started on and off as a nuisance-type thing.
No harm. No foul.
Put your big girl panties on and keep it moving.
Then about 2 weeks ago, I started losing my voice, and the cough became much more than a nuisance.
However, I kept pushing myself.
I had all of the excuses my husband is traveling, I have clients to coach and things to do.
To make matters worse, I’m in the middle of a self-care challenge (how ironic).
My list went on and on of non-negotiable items that were more important.
For the last week, there were many times where I struggled to breathe. I won’t get graphic but my body had violent reactions to being deprived of oxygen.
With each cough and gasp, I felt as if I was being strangled.
During these coughing events, there was little I could do but just try to get through it.
I felt helpless and scared.
I tried all the things humidifier, cough medicine, allergy meds, sleeping with cough drops (I know it’s not safe), sitting up while sleeping, etc. Nothing helped me feel better I was getting worse.
I decided I had to get help, so I went to the ER. They ran a series of tests, took XRAYS, then prescribed steroids, an inhaler, cough meds, and antibiotics. I’m grateful for the doctor, my husband, and my adjustable bed (many nights I slept at a 90-degree angle).
For the past 8 days, I have been honestly questioning how this could have happened to an active person. I know the answer not practicing self-care and putting other things above my needs.
I realized what I’ve been enduring the last couple of months was identical to my marriage over 12 years ago.
Initially, there were a few problems here or there but nothing major, so I ignored the signs.
These things started as a nuisance…
He could remember who scored the winning touchdown in the 1976 Superbowl (BTW he was 3 years old) but couldn’t remember to change the lightbulb in the garage for 3 months.
He had a hard time finding time for me but could find time to golf.
I wanted him to initiate and plan romantic dates but he didn’t.
He would bring home parsley instead of cilantro even after I reminded him and texted pictures. How could he be the man on his job but dropped the ball so many times at home?
But over time, these small things grew…
We would struggle to communicate.
I wanted to be heard and seen, but I felt alone and ignored.
I started to focus on how he was failing every day.
I felt as if I was slowly losing myself and nothing I did helped the situation.
I tried changing my husband to become a “better” version.
I tried ignoring all the things he was doing.
I tried to feel more loving towards him.
I wanted to feel good about our marriage but I couldn’t.
Our communication and connection became non-existent.
Everything looked amazing from the outside but it was far from amazing.
My marriage was suffocating, headed towards divorce with no hope of a future.
Then I made a decision.
I decided I no longer wanted to be exhausted and unfulfilled.
I made a decision for me. For MY peace of mind.
I got the help and it changed everything.
My marriage will never be perfect but it’s really good.
I no longer feel helpless and alone.
I no longer feel stressed and overwhelmed at the things I can’t change.
It was the ultimate form of self-care.
I can breathe again.
I have peace when he forgets to change the lightbulb (even though I’ve asked 3 times).
I have an inner calmness even when he does something I dislike.
I don’t think twice when I make up his side of the bed (this used to bring so much mind drama!).
I’m aware when communication is starting to falter and we figure it out.
I’m aware when I’m trying to change him and I take a few steps back.
It’s now us against the problem instead of us against each other
I feel alive again in my marriage
I’ve fallen back in love with an amazing man
If you feel as if you’re suffocating or drowning in your marriage, know there is hope.
Don’t keep ignoring the signs.
Things can be different in your marriage.
You can become unbothered by things that used to drive you crazy.
You can learn to focus on the things that bring you more peace and joy
You can fall in love again.