Suicidal thoughts and depression in those you love

Note: I have been asked where I’ve been over the past year. The truth is, I have started and stopped writing blog posts several times throughout the year. I had made a promise to myself and publicly on this blog that I would never be silenced again. But sometimes, life keeps you quiet. I wrote the following blog entry over a year ago and kept it in draft status. I read it to my husband a few nights ago and he agreed that I should post it.

From March 2017

When your husband of less than 6 months tells you that he has been having suicidal thoughts, you know what goes through your mind? That it’s your fault. He had a life before you that didn’t cause him to think about ending it all. He didn’t have the stress of multiple homes, moves, in-laws, step kids, a nagging snoring wife keeping him up.

When he tells you it’s not you, it’s part of the depression and it’s all the things that he can’t control like his new job where he feels useless, his lack of sleep, his lack of a hobby, his feeling that he doesn’t have anything extra to do. You know what you think? It’s your fault and what do you do now?

I have known all along that my husband suffers through depression. He’s been on a medication for at least 10 years. I have watched him try to wean himself off and on of it throughout the years we’ve been together. I wonder if his current thoughts are related to the fact that he takes himself on and off of the meds so we can have successful relations.

I have seen the sadness and the flares of anger. I have seen the way he took care of his place and the way he takes care of his car. I have seen this man with a big heart and a gigantic sense of humor do nothing as his teeth fall out and his smile gets hidden because of the shame. I have seen his spirit suffer without teaching the classes that give him so much joy.

I was starting to get suspicious based on some things he was saying.

Sometimes people commit suicide because they’re in so much pain and they don’t see any other way.

My friend’s husband literally jumped off a bridge to end his depression. I’ve watched her live with the consequences of his actions. He ended his pain. He caused her continued pain.

Recognizing these thoughts my husband immediately contacted a psychologist and a psychiatrist. He was told he needs to be seen twice a week. The counselor gave him some strategies to start working on to help him find his way out of the depression and away from the thoughts. The counselor doesn’t think he’s truly at risk.

My husband doesn’t think he’s at risk because he didn’t actually picture doing the act.

I don’t know what to think. I don’t know what to do. It shouldn’t be about me. It should be about him. Making him better. Letting him figure out ways to make himself better.

Suddenly, everything that seemed possible, seems unhinged and scary.

Update: My husband still goes to therapy once a week. He sees a psychiatrist monthly to discuss his depression medication. There is definitely help out there if you are willing to seek it out. Please remember that.

 

 

 

 

 

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The phone call

It was 11:54 p.m. five days after starter husband showed up at the house and my phone started vibrating, I turned it over and it said ex-husband because that’s how he’s saved in my phone, and I said to my husband, what does he want now? And as I started to pick up the phone it flashed through my mind, crap, someone must be dead.

It was slutty scouter…she was crying…he had a heart attack…they had to paddle him multiple times…she thought she should call my oldest son, but then realized that might not be a good idea…so she called me.

I thanked her for doing that. Told her we’d all be praying for them and she said she’d keep me posted.

I hung up and looked at my husband. I told him that I thought for sure I was going to get a call back telling me he’d died and what was that going to do to our sons. The oldest was struggling with depression and had been debating transferring. The youngest had stopped speaking to him that week.

I didn’t cry about the possibility of him dying. Maybe that sounds mean, but tears don’t exist for him anymore.

At 1:05 a.m. I received a text from her that he had three major blockages and was going to be having bypass surgery as soon as was possible.

I waited for the call…

I woke up our youngest at 6:30 a.m. and I knew I had to tell him something. I still hadn’t heard anything from her and had no idea what was going on.

“Your father had a heart attack last night. He is going to have surgery at some point today.”

“Is he dead?”

“No.”

“Did I cause this?”

How heartbreaking that our son thought that his father’s heart attack was his fault.

“No, you absolutely did not cause it. Your father has been a smoker for almost 40 years. He has terrible life habits. This is on him, not you.”

At 6:46 a.m. she texted me that he had an emergency triple bypass and he was in ICU. They were waiting for him to wake up.

My next call was to our oldest son. I texted him to call me when he got up for class. I didn’t want a family member to reach out to him with this news and blind side him. I was in my car on the way to counseling, because lord knows that scheduled appointment was well-timed, when he called me.

I pulled over to tell him, over video chat.

“He’s recovering now, but your father had a heart attack last night. He already had surgery and he’s in the hospital.”

He burst into tears. I told him that I would drive to his college and pick him up so he could see his father. I didn’t want him driving.

 

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Where do I start?

We were at the house that I was never able to buy. Packing more stuff. Getting it ready for the realtor to come and take photos. I left my phone on the coat rack at the entrance. My youngest son was sleeping at our new home. My oldest son was back at college. It was supposed to be a Saturday where we got stuff done and had a long-awaited date night.

I walked downstairs to get my phone so I could call my father and ask him what other things he absolutely needed me to do at the house, when I saw something I hadn’t seen in a very long time. Three missed calls from the starter husband and a voice mail.

I walked up the stairs to play the voice mail on speaker so my husband could also hear it.

“I’m at your house knocking at the door. I don’t know why you won’t answer. I even have a check for the medical bills. But I guess you won’t let me in so there’s that. Call me back.”

I should back up…

Our youngest son, aged 18, tried to do something super nice for his father for Christmas. He bought tickets to a hockey game for him, his brother, and his father. A father son bonding experience…or so he hoped. Instead he got a lecture from his father and slutty scouter about how insensitive he was not to include her in on the tickets. That if he was doing something for his father she absolutely had to be included. That she was family too.  They lectured him…instead of saying, thanks son, this is a great gift, can’t wait to see the game with you…they told him how selfish he was…it was at that moment that our son decided he was done…again, but he couldn’t leave. He was stuck there because only his brother had the car with him.

A few weeks later, he went back to their house and decided he’d had enough. He was going to confront his father again, but this time, under no circumstances would she be allowed to be part of the conversation. He drove to their house, walked in, and told his father that they needed to talk. That he knew that she was the reason that he had left his family and that no matter what he wanted, she was not his family. He told him that she had to be part of the conversation…and our son said no, I’m leaving. He said, you can’t leave, and our son said, you can’t stop me…and he left their house, and blocked his father.

A week or so later, they showed up at the mall by our house. He had texted our son that he would be there, but what he didn’t know was our son had blocked him. By some kind of divine intervention, our son went to the mall that day, and ran into them. He was completely taken off guard. She went off on her own and he had a conversation with his father, where his father thought they had come to an understanding.

When our son came home, and told me what had happened, I asked him how he was feeling about the situation, and he told me that nothing had changed for him.

He was supposed to go to their house for the weekend, this particular weekend, but he didn’t want to go and he was sick and tired of feeling forced into going. She called him, and left him a voice mail asking if he’d be on time for dinner. He blocked her, he blocked his father, and he said to me, I’m done, and if he shows up here, I’ll call the cops.

Ok, you’re caught up. He showed up. I didn’t expect that but he did, and our son was upstairs in his room sleeping through all the knocking and dogs barking. Yes, he really can sleep through everything.

So, I call starter husband back and put him on speaker phone so my husband can listen to the entire conversation…and I was so calm.

“If our son doesn’t want to speak to me anymore then I shouldn’t have to pay to support him.”

I calmly informed him that whether or not they were speaking he is still his father and he is legally responsible for supporting his son through college. I also told him about how the Christmas gift had affected our son. How that day at the mall, our son really was surprised to see him there because he had been blocked, and then I suggested that he go hang out down the street at the coffee shop and I would go home and see if I could get our son to speak to him.

I left my other house, got home, and woke up my son, who was upset that I even spoke to his father at all…and as predicted, refused to talk to him.

My husband and I got in the car, drove to the coffee shop, and I went to the window of starter husband’s car and informed him that our son did not want to see him. I asked him to remember that he’s still your son, and someday he’ll probably want to see him again, and to please keep yourself open for that. I reminded him that the two of them had a lot of the same personality traits, to keep that in mind.

He drove off.

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The antiversary update

This year I remembered the antiversary. It weighed heavily on me. Why? Because of outstanding issues that the boys are having with their father. I was conflicted this year because of the feeling of complete contempt and disgust for the person that fathered my children. The desire to go back 22 years ago and shake that young bride and say…listen..get out once you have both of your children…as soon as your youngest is born, send that horrible person packing. He will bring you nothing but financial ruin and a shattering to whatever self-image you have…he will walk all over you…cheat on you…treat you with utter disregard and disrespect…and he will do the same to his children. The one who carries on his name and the one who will spend his entire childhood hoping for his approval, to only be disappointed by the outcome.

You can’t go back in time.

I finally got rid of the gigantic wedding picture I’ve been dragging around the past six years. My father took a skill saw to it…sawed it right down the middle so now on the mantle is a picture of me from that fateful day all those years ago…but he and the frame are where they belong…in the town dump.

Our youngest son turned 18 this summer and right before his birthday he got to the breaking point with his father. He got tired of the bullying and being pushed around by his father’s wants and needs. He stood up for himself, which was incredibly scary for him, told his father that he wasn’t going to see him, even though his father tried to force the issue…and now he hasn’t spoken to him for two months.

What’s interesting is that today I received an email from the father of my children. Per our agreement, I sent him our son’s activities for the coming week. You see this got added on after the court case. That I need to give him 7 days notice of an activity for our son, you know, so he can officially disagree with it. I gave him all of the activities for the year with the costs knowing full well he’d never pay his half for any of them. After all, now wouldn’t be any different from before…but this is how he responded…

“Regarding any and all extracurricular activities, I will not consider agreeing to nor paying for anything until our custody agreement starts to be enforced. I haven’t seen <name> since the 1st weekend in June. Once we get back to a regular weekend schedule, I will then look at each extracurricular activity on a case by case basis.”

I’d fight it, but the fact is he doesn’t actually need a reason to not agree to contribute to the extracurricular expenses. He can simply state he doesn’t agree and not have to pay. That’s why my attorney ended up not having me go after him for the money he refused to contribute for both of our sons’ activities. There was no point.

Here’s the thing…once a child hits a certain age, usually by 13, the court does not force that child to go with a parent. Sure, if they’re little, you can put them into a car, whether they want to go or not, but there comes a certain point where you have to realize that you can’t make them do that anymore. I won’t and physically can’t force my now 18-year-old adult son to get into the car and drive to his father. I couldn’t do that back in June when he was 17, and I certainly can’t do it now. When my son decided to stand up for himself, I consulted with my attorney, to make sure that from a legal perspective, I was protected. I did expect to get served with contempt charges, since the father was reeling from the fact that I had taken him to court, and he had to agree to pay his portion of college for his son, and a small amount for summer camp, and the medical bills he had let go for an entire year without reimbursing me. I figured the timing was horrible for him, but as my attorney told me, if his attorney was worth anything he would have told him he didn’t have a leg to stand on since our son was 17 at the time.

I’m not standing in the way of our custody agreement. If anything, I’ve been the one to make sure that he’s had time with his kids. I agreed to half way when I moved, something I didn’t legally have to do. I made sure there was a car, when our oldest son started driving, so that they could make their way to him without any issue. I pay to insure both of them, even though we had a verbal agreement that we’d each pay for one, but of course, his words mean nothing. Not once has he offered either one of them gas money…and the last time I checked, a 51-year-old man is more than capable of getting in his own car and making some effort to see his kids.

I had to file a contempt charge to get him to pay for his portion of college, and when it came down to it, he actually got away with having to contribute so much less than we both thought. You see, the great state we live in doesn’t care about the fact that my son goes to a private university which costs more than a state school. They only care about the state costs, but they subtract the grants and scholarships that his private school gives him, so in actuality, we’re both only responsible for about $5000 a year. I think that’s total crap…and I’m helping our son because that’s what a parent is supposed to do…and I will help our younger son in the same way when he goes to college next year.

My parents paid for my college and his parents paid for his college. That was how we were both brought up…but he doesn’t feel he should pay for any college. The contempt charge forced that issue on him so he has to pay at least his portion…but lord forbid he do any more than he’s forced to do…for his children.

And that’s why this year I felt the antiversary…because the issues with him loom…the way our sons’ feel…the conversations they both need to have with him…and if I say what I’m thinking and feeling…about what I would change if I could go back in time…it would come out wrong…because I love my sons…I wouldn’t give them up for anything…and I know the mistake of being with and marrying their father gave them to me…but no matter how much time goes by…and how my life and my boys’ lives have improved tremendously…there is still the unwanted connection with him…that disgusted feeling at the pit of my stomach when I know I have to deal with an issue…and we’re almost done…child support ends in June…college and medical expenses are the only things that are left…here’s hoping next year it’s less eventful and not in my mind at all.

 

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Is it possible that Karma finally strikes?

I haven’t written in a long time. I’ve had things to talk about, but I’ve been concentrating on other aspects of my life, and my blog entries have fallen to the side. I often find myself composing possible entries while I’m driving to work, or as I am drifting to sleep. My husband often says, write it down, get it out, but by that point I’m half sleeping or I think, I’ll remember tomorrow to write it down. I never remember tomorrow to write it down, why I ever think there’s an exception to that I will never know.

Today I write about the reason I initially started this blog in the first place, the starter husband. That’s what I refer to him as now. It’s nicer, and funnier, since I use that term in a few of my stand up comedy bits. I’m a stand up comic now. It amazing how much material I have from the past and the present.

Starter husband decided that he is above the court order we have in place with regard to college. You see, our divorce decree, so ordered by the court, that we both signed and agreed to on that fateful 13th day of the month, stipulates that we each pay half of our sons’ college tuition up to the cost of in state tuition, room, and board. The total number for the 2016-2017 year was $31,280. The total for the upcoming 2017-2018 year is $32,132. He refused to pay his half last year. Kept responding to emails claiming he didn’t understand what I was asking, then trying to say our son is responsible for all of his own loans, and then completely blowing me off when I quoted section and number from our decree, and copied the text into an email back in December.

When I sent him the dollar amount for our youngest son’s last summer camp expense, his immediate response through email was “I can’t afford that.” No comment about, but I can contribute this amount toward it. Nope, he can’t afford it, so therefore there’s no more conversation about it.

This has been the issue with him. If he can’t afford something, then he doesn’t care what I do, but he’s not going to contribute his half, or any amount. And that’s  part of my frustration, ok, you can’t afford your entire half, then make an offer to contribute something. But he never makes that offer. He pays child support. That’s enough in his opinion. Besides, he has his fiancée to take care of…he doesn’t need to take responsibility for his own children.

Well, if he hadn’t pulled the I’m not paying for college issue, I would have done what I’ve done the past 5 years, paid it myself because my boys benefit from the programs that they participate in. But not this time.

He’s in contempt, and I can’t afford to cover his portion of college for our older son now, and our younger son a year from now.

I hired an attorney.

He filed an appearance with the court last week. He’s been waiting for the court to get back to him with a date so he can have starter husband served.

A strange thing happened. Yesterday, starter husband made many attempts to find me. He called, he texted, he called our oldest son, he texted. So, I thought, well, maybe my attorney notified him of his appearance. I waited until I heard back from my attorney. He didn’t notify him yet. It’s stipulated that he can be notified at the time he’s served. The question, why did he suddenly want to talk to me.

The answer…he needs a favor.

In order for him and his fiancée to buy a house, he wants to know if I will sign a document saying that his child support obligation will end on May 1st of next year, instead of mid-June. He’ll of course, continue to pay me up and through June. My response, knowing what is about to come his way, was you can pay me up front for those payments and I’d consider it. Consider, being the key word here.

He does the math and tells me he’ll need to discuss with his fiancée and get back to me. He called my cell, my house, texted me, and sent an email with an amendment to our decree, thanking me for doing this…funny thing, I never said I would…I said I’d consider it.

Of course, I sent all of this to my attorney who, as I expected, told me to sign nothing. You see, he’s being served tomorrow, we have a court date, the 13th of next month.

Looks like someone else might need a favor.

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A curvy girl and a wedding dress

Should a woman who is getting married for a second time wear an actual wedding dress?

I didn’t plan on buying an actual wedding gown for my wedding. I figured I’d go to one of the curvy girl stores and buy something off the rack, most likely in blue.

Then I started looking for curvy girl wedding gowns, and found myself drawn to a number of sites, which I think were all the same distributor, branded differently, with dresses that if you measured yourself they would make you a custom-made dress, for cheap. Why cheap?  Because they were being made in China.

I thought about it.

I’ve always thought buying an expensive dress to wear one time is a waste. I’ve marveled at the shows where women walk into a bridal shop and say they have a budget in the thousands…more incredible to me is the ones who go in and say they can spend a certain amount of money and then go even higher than they had anticipated.

So I thought about it, and decided that maybe it would be ok if I could have a dress that was made in China and no more than $300. But, I’d need to find the right style which would mean wedding dress shopping.

The issue with shopping for a wedding gown, at least in my prior experience back in the 90’s, was not ever having dresses in the curvy girl size. I also experienced a lot of body shaming by many of those sales ladies back then. The dress I purchased for the starter marriage didn’t actually fit me when I tried it on, it was basically me standing in the dress, holding it up, and making a decision. In other words it was horrifying. It was after seeing it in many different stores, barely getting it on my body, that I finally decided to buy it from a bridal salon where they were incredibly nice to me. It wasn’t that moment that every bride dreams about, the ones they make shows about, there were no tears, it was more like, this was in my price range, I kept seeing it, I liked it, they said it would look good on me once I bought it in my size, and I went with it…probably symbolic of that starter marriage, upon reflection.

This time was different. I checked with the salons in the area. Put out emails to them to find out who actually carried curvy girl sizes. I was pleasantly surprised that more of them are carrying sizes that are significantly higher than 6.

With my sister at my side, I went to my first appointment and tried on my first wedding gown. It was amazing actually being zipped up in a dress that fit. I was a bride. Such an overwhelming feeling for so many reasons. It was such a positive experience to have a sales girl be lovely and find so many dresses in my size to try on. I left there without buying anything. I thought I had found one. My sister took pictures. I didn’t have that “this is my dress” feeling. I had one that met many of my expectations but as I reviewed the photos of me in that dress I knew it wasn’t what I wanted.

Still feeling that I would end up having the dress made I went to another bridal store. She brought dress after dress out. Again, fabulous to have them all fit. To actually stand in front of a mirror in a beautiful gown in my size was as incredible during that second go around.

I still wasn’t finding it. The sales lady tried to push a few different styles on me, but my sister could tell by the look on my face that it wasn’t happening for me. Thinking I was again going home without an actual idea of what type of dress would be me, and knowing I had a limited time left in the store, I said that my issue is I’m curvy in some of the wrong places so feel like I don’t have a waste, and the dresses weren’t making me feel that way.

The sales lady said I know what you need, and brought in an ivory gold lace dress with a corset back…and it happened. Everything in that instant that I had seen on the shows and heard others say that overwhelming feeling of, it’s my dress. I felt beautiful and sexy all at once…and there were tears…how could I walk out of that store without buying that dress…and then she said the magic words…I can sell you the sample.

Right there and then I made the decision, yes, a woman getting married for a second time should feel beautiful and sexy and wonderful to walk down the aisle. There was no blue off the rack dress in my future. I was going to marry the love of my life in this dress…and every time I went back to the salon to have a fitting I fell for my dress again…and the day of my wedding…when I walked down the stairs to meet my fiancée for his first look and he started crying and said, “I wasn’t expecting all of this”, I knew I made the right choice.

 

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To be ignored and threatened

He’s at it again.

On August 14th I sent the father of my children an email regarding the agreement we had made about auto insurance. Since I have been insuring our oldest child, he is supposed to insure our youngest child. This was a discussion and an agreement made back when our oldest was getting his license. It was also a suggestion from his father. I insure one, he insures the other.

In that same email I brought up college tuition. We have an agreement in place that says we are both responsible for half the cost of room tuition and board equal to the cost of a specific state school. I took out a loan to cover my portion of this amount and asked in that email if he has done the same.

He didn’t respond to that email until Sept. 1st, which happened to be the day I moved our son to college. Where in that email he told me that based on what he has learned, based on his future step-son, that he can’t cover our son on his policy.

He also stated “I have no idea what you mean about me getting a loan” for our son.

Right…he’s not familiar with our divorce decree and custody arrangement.

I waited until Sept. 6th to respond. I told him that I would add our son to my policy, since he is unable to do so, and will let him know how much he owes me for it.

I also said the following:

“I realize you didn’t have to fill out the Fafsa, but you can create a FSA ID and then apply for a parent plus loan to cover your portion of <our son’s> tuition. It’s a better finance rate then the traditional loans available and a longer pay back period. Based on <state school> tuition, room, and board, we are both responsible for <dollar amount> of the tuition this year according to our divorce decree/custody agreement.”

It is now November 7th. There has been no response of any kind to this email.

We’ve seen each other several times since I sent him that email. I haven’t wanted to have the conversation in person. I don’t want to call him on the phone. We discuss things through email. I know he received the email.

Thanksgiving is coming up. It’s my holiday, however, the boys were invited to their cousin’s house. I always agree to that. I would never get in the way of them getting to hang out with all their cousins.

The older one is at school. He doesn’t want to come home for a night and then hit the road. He asked his father to either pick him up from school on the day school is out or he’d take the train to his relatives.

His father got angry at this request. Told him he had to come home and he’d be picked up that next day with his brother.

When our son pushed back, reminding his father that he is 18, and he can just take the train, this man, the father, threatened to call someone he allegedly knows at homeland security, and have our son added to the terrorist watch list.

My son told me the story. I was beyond angry at this type of bullying comment. He would risk our son’s future because he’s not getting his way.

Now, you might think, this must be a joke. My son didn’t think he was kidding based on the tone of the conversation they were having…and based on my experience, I can totally hear him threatening our son in this manner.

There are no words…I’m so done with this man…and yet…he still can threaten our son who is of the age not to deal with it…what’s he going to do when our son says he’s going to Israel…he’s threatening him now and he only wants to take the train a few hours.

How about the fact that he’s blatantly ignoring a legal document which he totally knows what his responsibility is supposed to be…what of our second son who will be going to college in 2 years?

And what of that legal document which states we’re supposed to go to mediation before going back to the court system? Like I want to deal with this man in mediation? Like I want to deal with any of this?

 

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