If things don’t go your way, you run. Always half in and half out. You humiliate me in front of my family. Storm out and throw gravel while in the middle of a cookout. Come home and sleep for 7 more hours, after sleeping until noon anyway. Then run for the door when you wake up. When is it my turn to run? When do I get to be the selfish prick and leave you to deal with fucking mess left behind?
I’ve heard many things over the past few days that deeply saddened and angered me. I’ve read a lot of mistruths and many people who think they are saying the right things with empathy.
Take for example: Things will get better.
I understand the sentiment, but no, no they don’t get better. When you have a severe mental illness, it doesn’t just one day disappear or slowly get better. It’s a fight everyday.
Or this gem: That’s the cowards way out.
No, no it’s not. Mr. Williams fought this demon for decades. Decades. He fought and he hid it from the rest of the world. He put up a front every single day. Putting up those fronts are exhausting. In too many cases, life ending exhausting.
This assessment: But he had everything anyone could ever want.
Great, he was rich and famous. Unfortunately, like any disease, mental illness spares no one. The stigma attached to these diseases often demands that you hide and suffer in silence. And unfortunately, suicide thrives on silence.
I am deeply saddened that Mr. Williams had reached a dark so dark that he couldn’t find his way back. The world lost a brilliant man that brought so much happiness to everyone around him when he couldn’t find it for himself.
I’ve seen how hard it is to fight those demons and it scares me knowing there are so many who fight alone. Rest in peace Mr. Williams.
My one hope is my husband knows he isn’t alone and keeps finding his way back.
During a highly manic phase and one hellacious winter, my husband booked a trip to an all inclusive resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica. To say I was pissed would be an understatement. I’m in college and we make it work, but there isn’t an overabundance of money.
But after spending a week on Irie Island, it was a reset that has helped more than any pharmaceutical that has been shoved down his gullet. A week completely disconnected(phone was on only for emergencies and WiFi was damn near nil at the resort) was complete paradise.
The man I fell in love with was there every single morning. Some mornings up and ready to start the day even before I was, despite the steady supply of rum that was drank.
I saw genuine smiles and laughter that I haven’t heard in ages. I had my best friend back.
I saw some of his symptoms come through and for the first time in a long time, I wasn’t afraid to call him out on them. We met many people and made many new friends on the resort and many stories were told. My husband had previously been to Jamaica off a cruise ship, an 8 hour day trip. I had heard all about his trip before, but I noticed that as he talked to new people on the resort and the locals on the island his stories began to take on fragments of other people’s trip to the island. I was extremely annoyed at first and would just walk away as his 8 hour excursion began taking on a new life. Until I couldn’t walk away anymore. I called him out on his lying and need to impress complete strangers. He balked at first but the stories stopped being over inflated and with no blow up on his part.
Since we’ve been home things have been surprisingly well. He’s not sleeping all day, he’s active and not shut down, he’s participating in life with my kids and our family.
He realizes how lucky we are to be able to travel to places like this and we’ve decided that we will scratch and claw to save for a vacation every year. It’s not about the material things in life, it’s about the memories. And Jamaica is a memory I will never forget. It’s the country where I found my husband again and remember why I am here and just how lucky I am.
There’s not much I can do or say when he tells me he’s not happy. There’s nothing left but tears when he tells me I’m the reason he’s manic. There’s nothing more I can say except I love you and goodbye as he walks out the door.
My husband and I had to take our son to a pediatric dentist yesterday. I hadn’t planned on him going as Sunday he shut me out and I wanted to limit the amount of time he was forced to spend with me. It ended up working out well. Being forced to sit in a car with me for an hour there we were able to begin to hash out where the day went wrong and mend that part of our lives.
Along the trip down, I saw an older man dressed in a sock hat, jeans, and a long sleeve button shirt sitting along the highway under an enormous shade tree. We made eye contact and I felt the pull at my heart strings. The temperature was in the 90s with high humidity and I knew he had to be miserable.
We ran a few errands after the dentist and started the hour trip back home. I passed the shade tree the old man was under before and he was not there. Just a mile or two up the road and there he was with all his worldly possessions, hitchhiking. I looked at my husband and he looked at me and we knew we had to turn back.
We loaded his things into the trunk and I moved to the backseat with the kids and my husband drove. We found out he was going to a town that just a few miles out of our way so rather than drop him off and try to hitch to the next town we just agreed to take him all the way to his destination.
Sitting in the back, I just listened to the interaction between him and my husband and it became clear right away that he had an unmedicated mental disease. He was 71 and backpacking all over the country for a grassroots organization that he believed held police and political figures accountable to their constituents. Listening to his stories was fascinating and also broke my heart. Listening to many of his conspiracy theories, I saw so much of my husband in him.
After we dropped him off and started back home, my older son asked why we picked him up. I told him that sometimes it’s just the right thing to do and that it probably took more for that man to trust us than for us to trust him.
It breaks my heart to know that there are so many like this man; sweet, very intelligent, thankful for what they do have, but only lacking in a support system or medication. I don’t know his back story or why he ended up on the streets. I just know I saw what could be my husband in 35 years if it weren’t for the wonderful family he was blessed to be born into.
I knew it wouldn’t last. Superficially, I smiled, hoped, and pretended that it would. Yet, deep down, I knew it wouldn’t. This time is different, however.
There was no argument between us. There was no hostility. Nothing was said in anger or with resentment.
I worked this morning and picked up baby back ribs, corn on the cob, and potatoes and made a damn fine meal for father’s day. The tone since I had been off work was light and carefree. My older boys were with their father and it was just my husband and our son.
There was actual conversation through dinner and laughs and playtime with our son. Talks about a camp trip with the boys when we get back from Jamaica. And in the blink of an eye his happiness disappeared. He looked at me and said he was going to bed before he says something he will regret.
It’s now 7:00 in the evening and I keep replaying it over in my head. There was no trigger, there was no tone, just a complete shut down and anger at me. Irritatation just sitting on the couch next to me. Maybe the trigger is just me. I’ve sat in silence trying to figure out what I did wrong, what I said that was wrong. I can’t shut off the tears while knowing the only cause was simply me being me. A simple, light hearted conversation with me is now enough to completely wipe out a good day and send him spiraling down so quickly that he shuts himself off in our bedroom.
Simply being me now means being curled up on the couch and crying alone. Being me just isn’t good enough.
Happy Birthday to me. Friday the 13th, full moon, and a day off with my husband. I’m buying some lotto tickets.