April 12, 2010

Well Here We Go...Part 1

I am not even going to pretend that this is going to be a quick story. I have a feeling that it will involve multiple blog posts and could quite possibly make you forget that I am a healthy living blogger. Over the past few months I have thought about this blog a lot and what I was going to say when I finally did come back to the blogging community. See, the story that I am about to tell is not an easy one and I have been very concerned about what the reaction would be. I have always been the type of person who hates to receive negative comments because I am overly sensitive and it really hurts my feelings. On top of that, I have never really felt like I fit into the blog world. I am not perfect and my life is FAR from perfect. I don't have a lot of money, a cool job, fancy cooking gadgets or really even a whole lot of knowledge about how all of this blogging stuff works. Sometimes when I read other blogs, I feel so inadequate. I can guarantee that I do not fit into the mold that seems to fit so many other blogs. However, H and I have talked about it many, many times and we have always come to the conclusion that we have nothing to hide. On top of that, I am starting to realize that a few rude comments from people I don't know are not going to kill me. I have learned how to handle stress and pain and grief over the last few months in a way that I wouldn't recommend and yet it has made me a stronger person. So, with that long introduction out of the way, let’s get on with the story telling.

This story begins with H and I meeting and falling in love back in 2002. We started off as friends and slowly realized that we had a connection that went much deeper than that. When I met H, we couldn't have been any more different. I was a good girl who spent her free time in church and considered training for a 10K to be the epitome of fun. H on the other hand was facing multiple felony charges and spent all of his time chasing after fun. No one could understand how the two of us could find any common ground but there was something that made our hearts connect.

After a fun summer of hanging out and getting to know each other, H was sent to prison for 14 months. I was absolutely devastated and embarrassed by the entire situation. No one wants to "date" someone in prison. It definitely doesn't make you cool and it doesn't fly in certain social circles. I lost a lot of friends during that time because they couldn't understand why I would stand by H and support him when he had nothing to give me but his heart. H and I spent the next 14 months writing letters and talking on the phone in what can only be deemed a ghetto fabulous courtship. Although it was not ideal, we definitely learned a lot about each other and only fell more in love. H came home in November 2003 and life became magical. We were married less than a year later and we spent the next few years creating a wonderful life for ourselves. I can honestly say that the beginning of our marriage was like a dream. H is so full of love and has such a great heart. He made me feel like a princess every single day. I never doubted that he loved me for even one second of our marriage. We spent the next couple of years creating a life for ourselves that included lots of running, working and loving. We had quite a bit of fun becoming runners and triathletes. We worked very hard training for marathons and eventually moved on to triathlons. We reached a point where we were participating in more than 25 races a year and training as hard as possible. To say that fitness consumed our lives would be an understatement but we enjoyed every moment of it.

As many of you know, racing costs a lot of money and so H and I both worked a lot of hours to pay for all of our racing. Our schedules became insane as we worked really hard to put in training hours and find ways to fund the never ending training and race fees. Over time our schedules meant that we spent less and less time together but we always had fun on the weekends when we would spend hours riding our bikes or conquering long runs. A typical day for me would be to wake up at 3:00 am and head to the gym where I would put in a good solid workout until 7:00. As soon as I finished working out, I would rush off to work and spend the next 8 - 10 hours working away at my desk job. After work, I would either jet off to my second job (a little part time gig I picked up to make some extra money) or else squeeze in another workout. The rest of the day consisted of dinner, packing a gym bag for the next day and falling into bed so I could do it all again. Although H and I would talk on the phone throughout the day, it wasn't unusual for me to see him for just a few minutes each day and we slowly became dissatisfied with what our lives had become.

I started to notice a change in my husband after a trip we took to Arizona in January of 2006. We had flown to Scottsdale with my mom and stepdad to run the Phoenix Rock N Roll Marathon and enjoy some time in the sun. We finished the marathon and had a relaxing vacation but there was something off with H's behavior. When we got back home, we quickly settled back into our old routine but as the months went by I began to notice more and more changes. My normally energetic husband would sleep all weekend long and when he was awake he would have crazy mood swings. I confronted him about these issues many times and we never reached any conclusions. H told me that he was suffering from depression and that he thought he was bi-polar. I encouraged him to get help or to see someone about the issue and he assured me that he would take care of it. The rest of 2006 flew by with ups and downs and the same old busy schedule.

As we moved into a new year, we were both excited about what the future would hold for us. We were both still working insane hours and I began to get used to H's change in behavior. I was convinced that he was overworked and just needed a break so I tried to work even harder to take some stress off of him. He was still moody and tired and stressed out all the time but he also was loving and fun and kind. The dramatic changes in his behavior were stressful but after awhile, I just began to accept that this was the way he was going to be. Then, just a few weeks into 2007, I discovered that H was addicted to various types of pain killers. Needless to say, I was shocked and felt like my feet had been knocked out from underneath me. I had absolutely no idea what to do but H told me that he was going to see a drug rehab counselor and that everything was going to be okay. Things seemed to get better after this and although H was still moody, we both had an amazing year of racing and set many PR's throughout the season. I will always look back on 2007 with mixed emotions because it was a combination of some of the best times of my life as well as some of the worst.

Time went by as it tends to do and before I knew it, we were starting 2008. The thing about 2008 is that H and I were signed up for Florida Ironman and the entire year was CONSUMED by training for this race. Every spare second that I had was taken up with training in addition to working one full time job and two part time jobs. H's business was doing okay but the economy wasn't great and money was tight so I was working as much as possible to make sure our bills were paid and we were still able to race. I remember being frustrated this entire year because it seemed like I never had any time or money and my husband was slowly sinking back into his moody and depressed state. I confronted H many, many, many times about using drugs and he always assured me that he was still seeing his counselor and was on a blocker that would keep him from getting high. Deep in my heart I knew that there was something seriously wrong with my husband but I was too busy with work and training and life to really confront the problem. H can be very convincing when he tells you something and so I chose to believe what he said and continue on with life as usual. As the year progressed and Ironman grew closer, H stopped training and spent most of his time sleeping. I remember having arguments every single weekend for almost an entire year as I begged him to get his workouts in or to explain to me what was wrong and he absolutely refused. I would head out on 8 hour bike rides and 20 mile runs, wishing that I knew how to change our situation but having absolutely no idea what to do. I remember crying on my bike many, many times and having to pull over on the side of the road because I couldn't see straight. I felt so lost and alone because I couldn't figure out what was wrong with H and I wanted so badly to help him. I was also completely exhausted from trying to keep up with my busy schedule and was on the verge of a total breakdown. As proud as I am of my accomplishments at Florida Ironman, there are many memories attached to that event that make me sad. Somehow we survived the year and we both made it across the finish line at Ironman. (Yes, H finished Ironman with virtually no training. I don't know how he did it but it makes him pretty hard core.) As the year came to an end, we struggled to move into a new year and I had my fingers crossed that things would get better.

Well, 2009 can be summed up in just a few words...all hell broke loose!!! I cannot tell you how many nights I cried myself to sleep throughout 2009. H continued to have problems with depression and pain pills so he started to see a psychiatrist. I was never really sure what was going on with H's doctor but he didn't seem to be getting any better. In fact, as the year went on things continued to grow worse and worse. It is a very weird thing for me to explain to someone because although H was around and a huge part of my life, I felt so completely alone. I was about to realize though that things hadn’t quite reached their peak yet. On November 17th, everything in my life was turned completely upside down...


  1. keep writing.

    i miss you. i think that there is no perfect blogger.. i dont have a lot of money or a fancy job.. i just write because it is fun and i think i have a knack for it.

    looks like you do too.

    my heart goes out to you, coming from someone who has struggled with the same issues both of my own and those i have been close to.

    keep writing.

  2. Ah you can't just leave us hanging like that!!!

    My goodness, you've been through a lot. I can't imagine how much dedication it takes to hold down that kind of training and work schedule, let alone mix in dealing with other issues. You are such a strong person! I'm hoping this story turns out well for you...

  3. I hope to God from the bottom of my heart and soul that things will only get better for you and H. Prayer and meditation can definitely do wonders for your life and your sanity. I am speaking from true experience over the past couple of years. Your friend, Jon

  4. Hey Jon, I don't have your phone number but I would love to get together with you sometime. Shoot me an email at stacybutler@juno.com. Maybe we can have coffee or go for a run or something. Great to hear from you!

  5. No one is the "perfect" blogger. I've always admired you for always being true to yourself Stacy.
    I'm sorry for everything you and H have gone through over the past few years. Depression is hard on everyone involved and I think it shows how much you love him that you're trying to help him. Addiction is even harder on everyone. Everyone suffers and it's a lifelong battle. I really hope things are working out for the best right now. I miss your daily updates. Thank you for sharing what is going on with you. I hope letting it out is theraputic for you. Big hugs!

  6. Oh Stacy...my heart is breaking for you. Keep your head up - you seem like a really sweet person and the dedication you've shown to your training, your job, your family and H seems to be above and beyond at all times.

    Regarding blogging - your blog is one of the reasons I started my own - I love your simple straightforward accounts of a regular life. We all struggle to work out and eat right and spend quality time at work and with family and friends, and knowing there is someone else out there on a treadmill at 5am is way better than fancy pictures of juicers and food anyday!

  7. wow, i just want to reach thru the computer to give you one great big hug! you have surely been going through a great ordeal, one that I cannot imagine. we're here to listen!

    i think one of the reasons blogging is awesome b/c you can be yourself, you don't have to be like everyone else, or post everything you eat three times a day, etc. i just kinda do what i like to do, and if people read, that makes my day :)

    the dedication you two have is inspiring, both for training and each other. i know H was always leaving a positive, awesome comment on each and every one of your posts and his battles have nothing to do with his love for you. i hope you are both doing alright! anyways this is a long comment, but let me know if i can do anything!!

  8. Oh Stacy, I want to give you a huge hug! You are an amazing person and I am so honored you chose to share your story. You have inspired me in so many ways, I signed up for the Richmond marathon because you made it sound so fun! We are here for you!

  9. I don't like reading about "perfect" bloggers...I like reading about someone I can relate to or someone who is struggling to figure it all out like me. Although we never know what is hiding behind some bloggers out there...it is easy to present a perfect front and who knows what is going on behind the curtains.
    I got a little choked up when I read this..I hope you continue telling your story because it seems like it might be the catharsis you need.
    adventures in tri-ing

  10. Stacy,

    I am very proud of you for not just keeping it in and letting it rot in you. You are an amazing person and your resiliency never fails to amaze.

  11. Amazing! I hope and pray that you and H are doing good. I have tried several times to reach H as he has been in my thoughts and now I know why. Please give yourself, and H a hug for me.


  12. I am doing fine working out and going back to the roots of fitness calastinics like when i was in the prison system.I am getting on track with God and beating my demons daily.stace is 1 in a million and i had no problem tellin the truth no one is perfect and we all have our issues.i am not a bad person but when u thro some coke and herion in tha mix i get a lil bit cr8zy.Still Fitness will always be my drug of choice