Thank you all so much for the suggestions and support. It is heartening to hear from so many brave, stiff-lipped women who had this shock but are determined to stick with things - "in good times and in bad." I'm really taking your advice to heart.

Last night may have been something of a breakthrough....

Tuesday I had to have emergency oral surgery (TAKE CARE OF YOUR TEETH, Y'ALL, JUST BECAUSE NOTHING HURTS DOESNT MEAN IT'S OKAY - AND THAT DOESNT JUST GO FOR CSA!!) I'm not scared of dentists, just never felt a need to go for years - and the procedure was more loud than anything else. Was pretty triggering though - he was old and grey-haired like the perp, and I was honestly very surprised when he had to grab my jaw with both hands and shove it around... yyyyyeah. I hugged myself and mentally watched one of my favorite movies I'd memorized.

During the procedure he accidentally sliced my tongue pretty bad, so between that and the new hole in my jaw I was in bracing pain. Bad enough that I couldn't sleep even on painkillers.... so by the following night, I realized I would have to go back on the sleeping pills. When it had been my biggest, proudest victory of all to re-stabilize enough and feel safe enough to no longer need them. I was devastated... too empty even to cry.

And my wife came to where I was slouched over on the bed and she held me. And said....

"I can't stand to see you hurting yourself like this; you've been hurt enough. It doesn't count as needing a sleeping pill when you're in urgent pain so bad you really can't sleep. It doesn't take away what you did [in getting off them]. I know for people with this stuff in their history, and guys especially, there's a trend to blaming themselves. Don't blame yourself. You didn't do anything to deserve this stuff - back then or with the pills now. You didn't do anything wrong and it wasn't your fault." And she just held me. I'm getting all mushy just remembering it...

In the 3 months that she's known she has NEVER used language like that, not once. She's had good days but she never seemed to "get it." Plus - "with guys especially"? She must have been reading up somewhere with something.

I am so grateful. This isn't a movie happy ending, I'm sure there will be more flare-ups someday.... but... it means so much just to get this.

Oh and as it happened I didn't even have to use the sleeping pill... because the baby had an ear infection and kept us up screaming for 3 hours and by the end NOTHING could have kept me from passing out. Hate to think of benefitting from my little girls pain, though... a pyrrhic victory?

My story

"Don't think it hasn't been a little slice of Heaven just because it hasn't!" --Bugs Bunny