As I posted earlier, we did really quite well, under the circumstances, for the first six months. Loads of screaming, crying, lying in the foetal position, but loads and loads of empathy, kindness, love and quite a good smattering of understanding, from and of both of us. He was shattered at what he had done, and I was a mess, but a beautiful one?
Just before the six month mark hit, on a miserable, rainy day, in the middle of winter, I just couldn’t cope anymore. My resilience ran out. I tried to hang myself in the woolshed. There. How truly pathetic, sad and just plain embarrassing. I was willing to end my life to end the agony. I was willing to sentence my three beautiful children to a lifetime of “why, what did I do wrong that Mum couldn’t stay?” I thought about all of this, planning and trying to talk myself into “staying” for days leading up to “that day” but just felt that I shouldn’t be asked to live in such agony and misery, I felt like an animal suffering, and I would immediately end that suffering by putting them down if we’d tried to heal them and they couldn’t be healed. He found me, and literally cut me down. He had several farm jobs that couldn’t wait, so he bundled me into the front of his ute, wrapped me in a blanket and drove around the farm with me. He was stunned, but gentle. He wouldn’t leave me, his hand was on my thigh or arm the whole time, when he got out to shift cattle, etc, he parked the ute as near as he could and said, “please don’t get out, please don’t leave me today.” I can’t recall now if we had already separated for a while before that attempt, I think we had for several weeks, but reconciled, as we were both worse apart than we were together.
When we got home, he carried me out of the ute, and put me in front of the fire as he furiously flicked through the Yellow Pages. He rang one psychologist who was booked up for months, then he tried another. He briefly outlined the urgency, and what he’d done. She asked if I was in any immediate danger, and gave him crisis line information, and asked him to bring me into her the next day, she would clear a space for us.
We travelled over to see her the following night. She asked him a few questions after ascertaining that I was okay for a moment. She asked him the details of his affair, and how we had coped since. He said, “it was over eight months ago, and it’s been really, truly shitty, but Paula has been just amazing, such a huge amount of love and understanding, not forgiveness, I don’t expect that yet, if ever, and I love her so much, and can’t believe I did this. I thought we were doing alright, considering how awful what I did was. I mean, she’s known for six months, Why now?” The psychologist, Chrissy, just quietly answered him with, “I am working with a distraught man who cheated on his wife more than ten years ago, she still doesn’t know, they’ve been married thirty years. Recently he has decided he needs help, he is ‘not over it’ and he doesn’t know how to process his guilt, whether he will ever tell her. This stuff affects people forever. You don’t ‘heal’ – meaning, you don’t ever not have this as part of your life story. You can heal in other ways, you get better, you accept, you might forgive, but it never leaves. No one ever forgets this stuff. Time may help, but it doesn’t erase pain.”
At the end of the session, she again checked on my safety, and made a follow up appointment, telling us to contact her if we needed to before the appointment if things got worse/out of control again. She asked it she could just see me the next few times. I worked with her for about six more months, Roger was never invited back, and I seemed to be doing well. It was traditional CBT method, talking, diaries, relaxation CDs and techniques, identifying triggers, times, sights, smells, etc. I thought I was healing fairly nicely and eventually the appointments were more spaced out, and I was coping better. We felt we had done all we could do, and I ended the therapy with her very amicably, and very thankful to her.