I officially divorced Ern about 6 months ago.
Ern is the something, the ‘nameless dread’ (that is now named), that the Gazelle and I refer to when he is having a bad CFS day. Ern was the character who took the place of the Gazelle and said awful shitty things, like he didn’t love me, like he had no hope, like he couldn’t possibly make dinner… Thankfully, I’ve not only been divorced from Ern for some months, but I have also stopped receiving his calls at awkward times, he doesn’t tap creepily at the windows very often any more, and I don’t think even the Gazelle has talked to him for a while.
What I want to write about here is how we banished Ern and how, by naming the nameless dread, we managed to beat him.
It was really important for us to seperate the Gazelle as a wonderful functioning man, and the debilitating illness that threatened to swamp him. Although from the outside the Gazelle’s behaviour was sometimes quite appalling (as can often seem the behaviour of seriously depressed anyones) – I’ll write about depression later), both of us knew that it wasn’t him who was an awful person, it was something we had to fight. So we decided to seperate the Gazelle from the depressed wet blanket of a thing that he became when overcome by CFS. And we named him Ern.
There were times when I got violent with Ern. I swore at him. Hit him on the head with a pillow and told him in no uncertain terms where he should go.
More important than my rage however, was the fact that the Gazelle and I were suddenly on the same side. No longer was it his shitty behaviour against me, it was us against something and together we were a hell of a lot stronger.
Banishment of the dreaded CFS suddenly became a more realistic goal as we seperated out the inherent qualities of the Gazelle from the nameless dread threatening to overwhelm us.
It wasn’t necessarily the main thing that helped to re-pronk the Gazelle, but it certainly played a part. And now, now when he starts to get anxious, when he starts to get tense, tired, tetchy and terrible, I ignore him. I say, ‘yes, you are all of those things, but I divorced Ern and I suggest you do the same’. Tough love yes. But a survival technique that seems to work.