In my last post, I wrote about facing the mess, embracing the mess. And I’m figuring out that to embrace the mess, I have to name the mess of the last few years of my life. Please do not misunderstand – there were some sweet, good times to be sure. But there was some extraordinary mess thrown in. In this and the following posts, I will give words to those messy moments. I will name them to take away their power and to honor their existence. I this will help in the moving on…
About three years into our marriage, my husband had his first major manic episode. He bought a car, started a business, tried to buy a building, told me that he was moving away, and that I was not invited. Neither of us knew at the time that his mind was betraying him. He had never been diagnosed, and he had never considered being sick. He just knew what he needed, and what he needed, another place had to offer. Money started flying out of our joint account, and he would not answer my calls. I figured out that he had gone to New York City. He needed space, he said. He needed me to stop being so damn controlling. He threatened. He was cruel.
I had to change the locks on our home. I had to tell his parents he had taken off. I had to close bank accounts and credit cards in an effort to protect myself and him. And yet he gave away hundred dollar bills on street corners, bought table service for strangers at clubs, entertained music in his head and ghosts on the street. He would call now and then to let me know he was alive.
In the end, he was picked up at an airport in New York trying to hop his cab. He had no money. He was flying high. He spent several weeks in a hospital up there. I was told not to come. He did not want me. He would not want me. His parents helped him lease an apartment upon his discharge. They blamed me and believed him. I felt crazy and helpless. I dug into work. I leaned into friends. I tried to eat, and I hoped he would come back to me. I clung to the vow of for better or worse.
About three months later, he stabilized, begged to come home, and drove his U-Haul back in one day. After he was back and filled our home with the furniture from his NY life, I ignored his abandonment. I ignored my need to feel safe. I leaned into helping him manage. To helping him get to the doctor. To helping him come back to me. But he was never really back. And I never felt safe. I felt foolish for hoping. I was resigned to his lack of emotion, his lack of desire for me. I accepted his illness and his limitations. And I slowly began losing myself.