Sunday, December 15, 2013

2 Pac, Aaliyah and Ms. Sheba

Strange title for a blog about the struggles of a marriage that has dealt with mental instability. However after my encounter today I just had to post about some humor to lighten the mood and share something amusing. Not that I find mental illness funny however the people I encounter do provide a bit of humor to this.
So while yes today Chris was readmitted into the inpatient program, it was still an overall interesting day. I was sitting on the couch and suddenly just looked at Sean and said I need to go to the hospital and I will be back. I grabbed his Chris Kyle book and headed out the door praying he as not admitted yet and I could have some time with him before they sent him back. Luckily I got there and he was still waiting so I got comfy with him and kept him company while he impatiently waited.
A short time after I arrived two older ladies and a younger lady walked in. After a while they joined us in the intake area and sat off to the side. Chris and I continued to talk and I would assume about half an hour passed before the one lady looked at us and asked how long the process took. I explained the first time it took 6 hours for them to take my husband back and even with his stuff on file he has been waiting about 3 hours today. She and what I assume was her mother said they had children in the car and should probably go. I said to go home and have Rose at the front desk call as they are ready to take her back so you can be there for the process. At this point I had no idea why this young girl was there but it was not my place at all to ask.
After another half hour or so I went to check my phone and talk to Rose to see what the deal was and just to talk. She was very concerned for me and I told her it would be ok. I just needed answers. I realized at this time the young girl and Chris had struck up a conversation. I rejoined them and she told me her name was Sheba. She started talking about 2 Pac and Aaliyah and how they were these wonderful young souls taken to early from life and were legends etc. I complied with her statements and continued to try and make small talk with Chris. She went on and on and that is when I realized she held herself to their standards and ranking in life and was prepared to join them. She mentioned speaking in church and at that point I stopped listening since Chris was really getting shaky and anxious. He excused himself to use the bathroom.
All of a sudden I found myself in the most awkward of situations I don't think I ever want to be in ever again. The overworked intake lady came rushing down the hall and was concerned when Chris was not there. I told her he didn't leave but needed to use the restroom. I mean honestly would I still be sitting here if he has bailed on me?! However I could stand my own three week vacation so who knows maybe she thought we were tag teaming on this one.
She then suddenly looked at Sheba and walked rather fast towards her and asked if she wanted to kill herself! I was shocked. Sheba was caught off guard and sputtered out a "what??" The question was asked again and she replied she had wanted to. She was asked if she had a plan, and how she would want to go. I was mortified at this point and nothing in the room could keep my attention from it. Not even the warm and fuzzy ABC family Christmas movie. I was stuck like Chuck. She was asked again and she responded with a " I would make it fast and painless by just taking a gun and pointing it to my head!" Oh crap really?! This shit just got real. I had to remind myself that Queen Sheba didn't have a gun on her and was just complying with the serious question asked. At this time Thomas, one of the orderlies I assume, returned with Chris' belongings. He came to talk to me however I was so engrossed and distracted he finally turned to Chris who had at this point emerged from the bathroom and tell him that his belongings were here.
At this point the conversation was wrapping up and I was scooping my jaw up from the floor. I seriously was wanting to avoid being any part of this but suddenly I ruined that. The intake lady asked "do you have access to a gun?" Ms. Sheba replied " um I am in here so no I don't" I don't know what the hell came over me but I opened my big fat mouth and said "she meant outside of here like in the car, at home, a friends house?" WTF why did I do that?! They both stopped and stared at me. Its over now I am now apart of her intake process. I just got involved. Chris at some point had gone back to the bathroom. I was no sitting there stuck in a conversation I wanted no part of.
As the lady walked off Sheba looked at me was going off on how inappropriate she was and I was now going off on how not ok it was to be having this discussion in front of me! She then went on to say she was no suicidal. I was like well you told her you were so I think you are SOL now lady. She said no I am homicidal! Oh crap really?! This shit just got real. She said it was the world wanting to make her go crazy and kill. At this point I had joined my husband in the twitching and fidgeting. I had no words but I was now involved in a trainwreck!
Sheba went on and on about how she had just had a baby a year ago, nursed her husband back to health after a near fatal wreck and was the mother of 5! SSSSSCCCCRRREEEEAAATTTTCCCHHH! Hold the bus lady you like you are no older than maybe 19 and you are telling me you have 5 kids and are almost 40?? SAY WHAT!! She went on to talk some more about things and I just sort of half listened. I was still reeling from the conversation not minutes ago about her plan to kill herself or to kill others.
I later called Seth to yell at him for leaving me hanging in such a horribly awkward situation that was scary yet comical. I mean seriously how does one get in these situations? Oh its me that's right I always get this kind of stuff.

It has to get better

Three weeks ago my husband went away. I was sad, angry and even depressed. However when I saw how hard he was working I started to let my guard down and realize that this is not my mother we are dealing with but a man who had seen lots of things in his life that most of us could never even dream of. I started to let myself open back up to him and share in this exciting time of the progress he had made.
Wednesday he was moved to a in/out patient program where he would still reside on property, attend sessions and classes yet still have some freedom of seeing family, going off site and doing things he wasn't able to do in patient. This was an exciting yet unnerving time for us. This was the true test of how well the three intense weeks of therapy would be. We went into this with lots of guidelines and thoughts of how we wanted this to work out. I think we had good intentions in all honestly.
On Wednesday after work I set out to his new housing unit with a suite case full to the gills of all the things he could possibly need. I was nervous and scared. This would be the first time in three weeks seeing him outside of four walls and no one around. We had to make a Walmart run to drop of his prescription and I was so anxious the whole time. I was afraid something or someone would set him off and I wouldn't be able to help. I was afraid he would rather go home instead of go back. I anxiously herded him from the store and back to the housing. I spent some time in the unit and was trying to remain upbeat and positive of the whole deal.
I feel horrible for knowing that the moment I walked in this was not going to work. I try to not be so pessimistic I wanted to know that deep down that this was going to help him even more. I just could tell however he was the only one there that was not an addict of some form or another. This is a man who has suffered so much trauma that he was not sure how to process this. He didn't need help facing his addictions he needed help facing his fears of how to cope in the real world and not the military life.
Today, four days after his transition, Chris was begging and pleading to move back to the inpatient program. My heart sank and I was full of sadness. I was not disappointed or upset with this I was sad for him that he had worked so hard and hit a wall. I was right about this program it was not made for PTSD so I knew this would fail him. I really wanted to be wrong about this.
Today I sat and watched my husband feel shamed and disappointed in himself for the setback he had. I felt hurt seeing him in this state of mind he was in. I hated leaving him but I was leaving him in good hands. He had developed a good relationship with the staff there so I knew they would help him greatly through this again. I think this time however he will get his needs met and will be listened to more closely. Today I realized that it has to get better.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Why I am here

Five years ago I met my husband. It was love at first sight. He was a strong military man with an fireman background. He was the package deal. He had another child from his first marriage I had three. We both wanted a big family so we were set. Shortly after our meeting the man of my dreams had to leave for year to Korea. Talk about a relationship builder. However we made it through. Having him home for a few weeks during also helped but still I felt like quiet  champ for making it through.
Shortly after coming home I noticed things were off. I had done my research and spoke to others and all had said this was normal it just takes time. There was one night I was finally catching on to what was going on. He had gotten so mad threw a shoe and scared the kids. A short time later Chris acted as if nothing had happened. The children and I were scared and he felt bad. He had no idea he had launched Hannah's dress shoe, that she had accidently forgotten to put away, across our living room right near her bedroom door. Once they had gone to bed I replayed this for him and he had no awareness of it.
Things seemed ok after that. I pushed the issue to the back of my mind. I refused to think he was a bad man. In February of 2010 we were married. It was a long distance marriage as I was three hours away. He came home every weekend and long weekends and holidays I would go to him. In the spring we found out we were expecting our first son together. My pregnancy was complicated. To add to the matters Chris had to have major knee surgery, a surgery that would later cost him his job. Shortly after surgery is when the change was even more prevalent.
In July Chris was promoted to Technical Sergeant in the AF. I was so proud and excited to be apart of this day. I was huge but refused to miss this event. Chris and his mom had been having some issues, well ok all of us had. Chris temper seemed a bit more explosive and he seemed even more irritable. He took his mom to the airport to go back to Florida after a huge fight. I had planned to spend the weekend where he was stationed and just relax and figure out what was next. We didn't expect preterm labor at 29 weeks to happen. It was traumatic for us and I was sent via helicopter back to my home hospital. Four weeks later we greeted our son Hunter. Despite his prematurity and a short time stay in the NICU he was great.
Once home from the hospital I stayed out at the base with Chris and I think it is when I noticed just how much he was changing.
By the start of 2011 I had decided given the health of our newborn and the stress it would be best to move with him at the base he was stationed at. It was actually time to start living like a typical married couple. The kids stayed behind with their father as there was talk of Chris being out of the military by the start of summer due to his knee. However during this time I saw a different side of the man I fell in love with and married. I chalked it up to stress and the possibility of losing his career that he had been passionate about since he joined. 2011 was the year I saw the true side of things and the great struggles my husband had battled but kept hidden. By the end of the summer that year Chris was a civilian again. We were ready to pack it up and head back to my hometown but alas I got the job I had been trying to get since our son was born. We decided to give it a shot and see how well this job worked out. Chris had a job on base at the Exchange so we still had our military connections. I believe this is where we went wrong.
Suddenly the fighting and anger worsened. I could answer a question and it was taken as I was being pissy or spiteful. I could have forgotten to do something and I suddenly flighty and unfocused. Our son could be a handful and he was suddenly a pain in the butt and stressing him out. My kids would visit and they would leave a light on and get a 10 minute lecture on it. No one could make a mistake without the wrath of this man.
Things came in waves. Suddenly we are fast forwarding two years and no help and no progress. Just a VA rating stating there was no case of PTSD and thanks for playing. By the end of the summer some of these fights had become so bad I was threatening divorce and begging to go back home. He would tell me to leave but I was going to have to leave my son behind and find my own way out. Our son has various special needs and I was the main provider to him as my husband had no patience for him and just seemed at arms length with him. My oldest son came to live with us to complete jr high and was suddenly taking the brunt of this anger. My child is the typical teenager, forgetful, cocky, all over the place, and a social butterfly. He is also smart, athletic (its an emerging skill for him) and a all around good kid. Nothing however he did please Chris. There was always negativity.
Here we are at today and finally the amount of anger Chris had proved to me he was a force that was much bigger and stronger than me and my kids could handle. At 9:45am I texted our good friend and said either you take him or the cops will but I am done. Within 10 minutes he was at our door. As I emerged from the bathroom he was there telling me that he is here to help and that its going to be ok. The ended up taking a drive I got the call to pack his bags.........

Packing bags

  • In my 34 years of life I have packed many bags. I have packed them for trips, deployments, TDY, each time I gave birth, sleep overs and the ever favorite ones for my mother. Each time she left I would robotically pack the same items three days worth of clothes, electric razor, tooth brush, under garments a few books, her glasses and a picture of us. My mom would usually get checked in every 9 months or so sometimes the stretches would go longer. This was my life from the day I was brought home from the hospital. I had more knowledge of my mothers medical history than I had of my own. I knew exactly what to say to each doctor or nurse, how to get her what she needed and then what to say to my family. No child should have to do this. I was the oldest of 5 my dad was a workaholic and seemed desensitized to it. She would leave the nanny and I would tend to my younger siblings and carry on. Even into my adulthood I have done this but I have reached a point now being far from home and being through so much I have stopped doing it and let my mom do it herself.

  • Today I did the hardest thing I have had to do since being married. No not preparing my husband for a deployment. I packed up a three day bag, sent him with a friend so he could go and get the help he needed. For three years we have battled anger and PTSD and today things went to far. I called our closest friend who knows our situation and despite the bad weather was at our door. He drove around with Chris for a bit and I got a call that I needed to pack the three day bag. I went into zombie mode and it was like doing it for my mother all over again. I recall the rules and regulations packed what i knew was acceptable and had it by the door. Today was the day that is going to hopefully help our lives. I have not given up on him nor do I want to. I have explained to our children especially my oldest who has had a seemingly hard time with this and feels like he has taken the brunt of this. However with some reassurance he understands and realizes he isn't the reason for the problems that this is something far beyond the control of his step father.
    I am sharing this because I have felt so helpless and alone so desperate and scared. I knew this was the place to come to for encouragement and support. I am sharing this for those who are in my shoes and feel they can't do it. You can, don't do it for you. Do it for your kids, for your spouse. They need you just as much as you need them.