I need to follow up on my last post and clarify on my husband’s need to dissappear. I don’t know what drives him to it and the times he has left he’s done so while I’ve been home and watched him pack a bag.
Until he didn’t. The last time he left was the weekend before Easter. We were planning on taking our son to a local Easter egg hunt. I got up and got our son and myself ready and we tried waking daddy to no avail. Finally, just as we were walking out the door he woke up and freaked out.
He realized how late he was and instantly went into a panic attack. He blamed me for not forcing him out of bed. I may try to help him but I am not his keeper and make him take responsibility for his actions. This was one of those mornings. I told him this was not going to be placed on me and I was going to hunt eggs with our son.
The next thing I know our coffee table is flying across the living room. Shattered and lying in pieces on the floor. He crumpled to the floor and started crying and I walked out before I said something I regretted and made the situation worse.
I took my son to the egg hunt and we had a blast. I followed him around with his basket while he ran all over the yard with other 4 year olds. It was unseasonably warm and a gorgeous morning.
When we got back home, the house was eerily quiet. We unloaded his goodies and he started playing in the living room. That’s when I noticed the PS3 was gone. And then the router. And walking into our bedroom I realized his side of the closet was empty. A few pictures were gone. My husband had done what he’d never done before and peaced out while I was gone.
This was a game changer for me. I called his mom to let her know and she informed me she knew, he called her to help him pack. This was now a game ender for me. I told her he was now her responsibility and to keep an eye on him because he wasn’t coming back here.
On Monday, two days later, I consulted a lawyer to start custody/visitation agreement proceedings. My lawyer got an agreement drafted and I sent it to my husband’s email. Shortly after, I got an angry phone call as he did not like the agreement. I wasn’t being vindictive or spiteful(hell, I had full custody of my older two kids in my divorce and told the judge I would like it modified to 50/50. We live two blocks from each, there’s no reason he shouldn’t be allowed to see his kids as often as possible). I truly believe that no matter if the kids are being supported financially, they should have access to both parents. But, this situation is different.
I had to think about the safety of our son versus what was fair. And being in a full blown manic episode was not safe for our son. I told my husband that on the phone and I knew it would be a trigger but it had to be said. I wasn’t doing this to be selfish, I had to put our son above our wants.
I believe those papers saved our marriage. His mom got him in on an emergency doctor appt and she finally saw how far he had backslid in recent months. Usually after he’s cut out and calmed down for a few days, he will show up and we’ll talk.
Not this time. He knew that he had went too far. His disease had pushed him too far. He called and we talked for several hours and he finally broke down and told me he needed to get better. I agreed and wished him luck. The next question was much harder to answer. In a quiet, broken voice he asked, “Can I come home?”. I didn’t have an answer and told him I didn’t. The gravity of the situation finally hit him.
His mom called me later and told me that they’d had to take turns watching him because he was distraught. Distraught that he’d thrown his family away, distraught that he was so selfish, distraught that he just wanted to be normal. It took several days and a phone call from my lawyer asking if I was ready to petition for custody before I was able to sit and talk to my husband.
I met with him and his mother with the paperwork in hand. I think he thought the meeting to work out a reconciliation and not a meeting to see if he’d willingly sign to give me temporary custody and him to have supervised visitation. The reality hit him. The gravity of what he’d done truly sunk in. New rules were put in place based on how things were affecting ME and how I felt.
The papers didn’t get signed that day and sit in a lockbox under our bed. What did happen, though, has changed the way we communicate. We don’t hold things in until things are bad enough to wing a coffee table across the room. He doesn’t threaten to leave every time something triggers a bad episode. He’s learned that he has to stop and think things through instead of just reacting. He knows that next time I’m left in the dark and he vanishes, he’s not allowed back. My heart and mind can’t take it anymore.
I will and do stand by him and pull him up before he hits bottom(or try with everything I have). I will listen and avoid triggers. I will point out when I see mania or depression overtaking him and figure out how to curb it. And in return, he respects my decisions and knows I’m not out to get him. He may not always agree with them but he had enough wherewithal to know that in some situations I’m the rational one. He now texts me (or his mom)his locations and return times when he has to get away and I just have to trust that he’s being honest.
Somehow, we are going to make this work. In sickness and in health, I don’t want to be one of the 90%.