I’ve got an issue I’m really struggling with right now with my girlfriend. Actually, it’s more like I’m forcing her to struggle with it, and I’m looking for some guidance.
My girlfriend had a serious car accident some years back in which she sufferred a brain injury. She’s pretty much a perfectly normal functioning person who you could never tell has any abnormality. But she struggles with some issues because of the injury such as fatigue, needing a lot of sleep, and some emotional issues because her brain apparently stopped or greatly reduced production of a certain chemical. I don’t have a full, 100% understanding of all of the medical specifics of this. Because of this situation, she takes a birth control pill along with an anti-depressant for her brain injury.
We’re not married so for now there is no emergency issue. But this is something that we will have to deal with when we get married, which we are both hoping for. Well, the birth control pill presents an obvious problem, but she’s terrified of ever going off of it. She apparently had to go through four different pills to finally find this one which works for her, and without it she apparently gets pretty sick and emotionally messed up. She went through a very difficult time as her doctor tried to find something that worked. So at first she didn’t even want to entertain the idea of ever going off of it (save for when she has kids), which we have discussed only a few times. It’s an obvious problem for me, but I have no clue what I could do to help her avoid all the negatives associated with going off that pill save for providing a lot of support and prayer. She was pretty upset just because the thought of going off that pill terrifies her. (She recently cried at her pharmacy because her perscription ran out and she couldn’t a new one from her doctor for a few days. It really upsets her to think about not having it. So they gave her enough to get through the weekend.)
I think we’ve made some progress, though. She acknowledged that if someone were to theoretically tell her we could get married as long as she went off that pill, then it would be a no-brainer. But she said that when faced with that situation in reality, that’s when it gets tough. I totally understand that, and I haven’t by any means explicity given her an ultimatum like that. She said that it might just be a matter of time for her to become more comfortable with this scary thought and that the problem is probably in part due to the fact that we’ve been covering several very drastic, huge issues like this in a short period of time. Nonetheless, because of her brain injury, this is going to be a really tough one.
So I’m trying to be as comforting and supporting as possible but at the same time I can’t really compromise on the pill issue. Because of these Catholic rules we follow, which were all pretty much initiated by me in this relationship, and with which there can’t really be any compromise, it comes across as me being a bit controlling at times. I’ve worried about that for some time and my girlfriend confirmed this. She’s also very intelligent, though. So she also acknowledged that even though it seems that way at times she knows that’s not how it is and that I’m just trying to do the right thing.
So I’ll do whatever it takes to make all of these issues as easy as I possibly can. Unfortunately, living a Catholic life is never going to be easy. But this pill issue is a definite big one. The other thing is we talked about maybe going to see a priest to counsel us through this in the near future. But there’s a serious risk with that - we’re liable to get a typical neo Catholic who doesn’t worry about following God’s laws to the letter. (I had a priest last year try to claim that I was wrong for thinking that pre-marrital sex is a violation of Cannon Law.) I can’t have some priest undermine our adherence to the Faith. It could be far too damaging and confusing for someone like my girlfriend who is still learning about a lot of these things. I would need a priest who we could trust.
I worry about these things and I just hope I can do enough and comfort her enough to get her through these fears and at least make these kinds of sacrifices bearable. I wish there were a way for me to just be able to take on these burdens all for myself so my girlfriend wouldn’t have to struggle as much. But I can’t. Sorry for rambling.