Week one of our separation

5 years ago

Last week was one hell of a week.

I have had my extreme ups and downs. I have gone through the panic of "am I making a mistake" to "oh my god I'm not making a mistake, but this sucks." Then there was the massacre in Connecticut, and my heart turned to lead.

I did my best last week to not text Bob. I usually start out my days feeling strong and on top of things. I tell myself that I won't text him or respond to his texts. But as the days go on, I get lonely, angry and I can talk myself into saying just "one" thing to him. Maybe it will be about the kids, maybe it will be about the fact that he took a large chunk of money that I was going to use for Christmas out of our bank account, (I ended up using our Amazon.com which is connected to his dad's credit card, in case of emergency for a few items. Not my most mature or smart move.) Maybe it is to tell him something "quick." None of these conversations ended well, they always caused me (and him) pain, and they were harmful to both of us.

So on Friday, I woke and promised myself that I wouldn't text him. I would be strong and leave him alone. Remember, I am still very much sixteen years old inside and I am trying VERY hard to grow up. These big life changes set me back to my old ways. Here are my character defects at their finest.

One of the things that Bob has been doing for the last six months is laying in bed, reading the news on his phone. All of the awful news of the world. And he obsesses about it. Talks about it. And dwells on it. It is not the right move for someone with anxiety disorders, but I could do nothing to stop him. So when the news of the shootings came through, I knew he would be a mess. Who wasn't? Of course, he text me did I hear about it. I tried to keep it short, but we always end up arguing. And now, we always end up arguing about money.

Then he wanted to take my kids to see The Hobbit Friday night. I agreed because I am never alone, and I could finally cry my eyes out without trying to hide if from the kids. So I wailed. And it felt great.

Until his family showed up at my door and announced that he hadn't been taking his meds and needed to go to the hospital. And they were planning on taking him tonight. He was at the movies. With my kids.

Bob ended up in the hospital that night because he had admitted to his family that he'd gone off his meds and was having some increasingly serious intrusive thoughts. Not the kind that would put anyone but himself in danger. Maybe I am naive, but I wasn't worried about the kids safety at all. When they got back, his family waited for him in the driveway, expressed their concern and he agreed to go. I stayed in the house and had nothing to do with it.

He is still there now. That's the thing about the psychiatric ward at the VA. If you go in on Friday, you wait the weekend until you see a doctor. He was pretty pissed.

I have spoke with Bob. He sounds okay. He is back on his meds. Now that I know he was off if his meds, it explains his behavior over the last week or so. I can be a freaky bitch at the drop of a hat. But he is rarely mean. And he has been really mean. That is because he was off of his meds. I, of course, was relieved it was that and that he didn't hate me as much as he sounded like he did. Because even in the midst of mental illness and separation, I still need to be liked.

Here is where it gets tricky for me. I asked him why he did it. He said it was because he wanted more energy, so maybe he could help out more and come back into our house to live. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. I'm codependent. I feel responsible. I feel like it is all my fault.

None of this is my fault. And I have to work every second to believe that. Sure, there are behaviors and reactions of mine that are 100% my fault. But I didn't give him PTSD. I didn't give him addiction, and I cannot make him well. Letting go of this situation feels horrible and wrong. I have to create normal for my family. Poor Bob. It feels awful. But I have to be strong and stay away.

The good thing about all of this is that I didn't have to decide or talk him into going into the hospital. His family was the one. I have been dealing with this problem with him on my own for five years. I have gotten nowhere. He only hears me bitching at him. Not trying to help him. So I back off and let them do it. My hope for him is that when he gets out, he finds his purpose, and lives. Because sitting in the basement, reading his iPhone is not living. He deserves a life. I know he can do it. I am not going to be able to help him though. It will have to come from him. And maybe that will lead him back to our family and we can live happily ever after. But for now, we have to live happily ever apart.

I have had an outpouring of support and love coming from you folks. People I know, and people I don't. The other day someone dropped off this at my door.

I of course posted on Facebook asking who did it. It was some women that I went to high school with. And last night they dropped off a HUGE bag of cookies. They have some plans to help my family and I will get to that later. Thank you girls. Really.

I hate to continue to write such bummer news stuff on this blog. But right now, it is helping me like I can't explain. Just knowing that people are there, and I can do this and get comments and support carries me through the darkest shit. I am so glad I do this.

Betsey DeGree


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