Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Walking On Eggshells, Part Five

Welcome back to read as Mrs. S continues with the ups and downs of her husbands PTSD. I know we said to expect this posting on every Monday, but I am sure that you can all understand why we did not post yesterday. With is being Memorial Day, there were a lot of moments of sorrow, heartache, emptiness, and hard times as those lost service members were remembered; as well as tears of happiness as we reminisced all the amazing moments, days, and years that we were blessed to have with these brave men and women.  We all hope you had a safe Memorial Day weekend and remembered those that we have lost. Never will they be forgotten.

We texted often…he seemed lonely and unable to relate to most other patients at first.  He eventually identified with a couple and quickly made friends with them but also found a few others to be intolerable.  He felt that he had been through just as much or more in combat than the others there but didn't have the recognition (tabs) for it.  I struggled to find a way to comfort him at this time.  I knew he’d been through a lot in Iraq but also knew that there was no way I could ever truly relate.  I worried about him but felt that he was in a good place to sort through combat issues. 

We didn't realize he could come home on the weekends yet, so his first weekend was spent there. He seemed a bit lost and resistant to treatment.  The next weekend we felt it would be good to have him home.  The baby and I had been sick since he left so he was determined to find an easier way to get home instead of me having to drive to pick him up.  I wanted to pick him up but had a hard time finding help getting the kids from school, etc.  My uncle had to head to that area anyway…not necessarily that weekend but soon…so I asked him if he could pick my husband up on the way home.  With the time-frame of what my Uncle needed to do, I assumed he would be there to pick up my husband by 4p.

At 3:58p I received a text asking where the hell my uncle was.  I figured he’d be there soon and let my husband that there was nothing to worry about.  He lost it…stating that no one even gave a shit about him and told me to tell my uncle to f*#k off and go kill himself.  He no longer wanted a ride home.

He walked to the interstate and debated jumping in front of a vehicle.  I texted all of his closest friends to let them know that he was having yet another ‘bad day’. Fortunately after a few hours we convinced him to walk back to the program.  The next morning another patient from there was traveling home to a nearby town.  My husband rode with him and the kids and I were able to meet with his friend to pick him up so he could come home for a visit.  He seemed easily irritated but we were used to that.

The following weekend, we decided to visit him there instead, even though I was still sick. There was a room assigned to families who visit with fold out couches and television that we were able to stay in. We were also able to schedule an appointment with the site family counselor there.  We arrived and were met briefly by the on-site family therapist who came to the conclusion that he and I just needed to spend more ‘alone’ time together.  To my surprise…staff arranged to babysit the kids while he and I go to dinner that night.  Having my children stay with complete strangers was extremely difficult but I realized how important it was for him and me to spend a moment alone…uninterrupted.  We had an absolutely wonderful dinner but cut our evening short since we were worried about our kids.  We came back to the center and thanked everyone for watching our children and allowing us to have nice evening. 

The next morning was confusing; to say the least…we didn't quite know what we could or should do.  There were only community showers available which made us all a bit uncomfortable.  All I knew is that I was still sick and exhausted and didn't feel that I could spend another night on that pull-out couch so I suggested we shower at my moms…an hour away and possibly head home for the rest of the weekend instead, so we did.

I took him back that Sunday and things seemed fine…until the next day when he was concerned that I took his time home for granite and assumed that I took his time at the center as ‘vacation’.  I did the best I could to convince him how proud I was of all the hard work he was putting in there, but it didn't seem to help much.  He had an appointment with the psychiatrist in that area the following week and I assumed he would feel more secure after his appointment and have more understanding of what he was going through.  I was so sadly mistaken.

The next day after his appointment he called and sounded strange…he was slurring his words quite a bit.  I asked him what the psychiatrist said the day before and asked what type of medication he was put on.  He said the psychiatrist told him he had one of the worst cases of anxiety she’d ever seen and put him on a maximum dose of a medication he couldn't remember the name of.  The next day he seemed even more strange…not only was he slurring but now using words he’s never used before.  I knew this medication had to be the cause but he insisted it was because he was going through a lot in group therapy and was just tired.  The next day he started asking me to text him explicit pictures of myself…something neither one of us ever felt very comfortable doing.  I knew he wasn't himself, I was still sick and our youngest son, who still sleeps in the same bed as me, was so congested that he could barely breathe…so not only did I feel uncomfortable, I felt physically unable to fill his request. 

The next day’s phone calls and text messages were just as confusing.  I just played it off as if everything was normal.  We finally had couples therapy session scheduled there for the following day…so I just tried to put on a brave face until then…much easier said than done though because that night he began texting random crazy things.  I asked him to call instead.  He did and in the conversation had mentioned the intense amount of group therapy he’d went through that day…hearing about other patients there had been molested as children.  He then came to the realization that he was molested as well. 

I felt awful for him but didn't even have a chance to empathize because he started rambling on saying that he sought revenge of his molestation by raping and murdering sex-offenders during his stay in juvenile detention which he insisted was a federal prison.  These crazy lies about raping and killing juvenile sex offenders I could not believe.  I knew he couldn't have ever done such things nor had he ever been in a federal prison.  I knew he had completely lost his mind now.  I just kept listening, not arguing or accusing him of lying…just listening.  He kept talking about it all as if it was real until the early hours of the morning.  It was wearing me out.  I had to leave at the crack of dawn to meet him for our couple’s therapy there so I had to tell him that I needed to get off the phone to get some sleep.

When the morning came I pressed on as I normally do.  I had our close neighbor help get our older kids to school and dropped off our baby to my dads.  When I arrived and he met me in the parking lot I could easily tell that his out of character behavior was matched with his body language.  He couldn't even stand up straight or walk straight…not only that, he started smoking cigarettes…something he despised.  I didn't even know what to think or say so I just proceeded to the therapy appointment with him. 

It seemed like everyone there at the center wasn't too concerned with his behavior.  He was so different and weird to me.  How could they not notice?  Maybe they thought this was normal behavior for him.  During therapy he kept expressing his frustration with me and how I don’t understand or support him.  He even mentioned his ‘so-called’ criminal past to the therapist.  She seemed somewhat surprised, but not alarmed.  He had also mentioned to her that he had been molested as a child.  It was so much at once.  I started sobbing uncontrollably…so she asked him to leave the room for a few minutes. 

While he was gone, she asked me if there was any possible truth to this ‘so-called’ criminal past.  I told her that I would never ever doubt that he was molested but as far as the other bull, there was no way!…Even though he kept me awake too long telling me these crazy delusions, I still researched them when we got off the phone.  If there were any way he did these horrible things…there would have been some sort of articles or evidence logged somewhere.  I checked every possible link and there was nothing that suggested any such thing…and I told the therapist so.  She said that she also felt that he may possibly be having delusions and needed to dig in deeper before getting down to the bottom of what was going on with him. 

The plan was for that day was for him to come home that weekend with me anyway.  I wasn't too comfortable with this…even though I desperately missed having my husband at home, I didn't know who he was at this point.  The therapist cleared him to leave with me to get his own vehicle and return.  She instructed us not to talk about anything too deep during our drive though.

We stopped to get a bite to eat…I thought that he might feel better and be more himself after eating. He seemed to and volunteered to drive the rest of the way.  To my complete surprise, his driving worse than his walking.  He almost took out a car and a curb before even leaving the parking lot…again insisting he was just tired.  He proceeded to get on the highway almost taking out three vehicles and the median.  I was scared for my life.  I had never felt uncomfortable about his driving before until this day.  I insisted he pull over and let me drive.  He resisted, but eventually did. 

Of course he tried talking about the therapy session but I kept trying to brush it off.  We finally got to my dads to pick up the baby.  He and my dad have always been close so I felt he might get back to reality after hanging out with my dad but that was not the case.  As soon as we walked in the door my dad could tell something was wrong with him. My dad and step-mom asked what he was on, followed by my younger sisters, and younger brother asking why he was acting so weird.  I just put on a happy face and insisted that the medication had to be getting to him. 

He ended up stumbling and falling on my dad, who is permanently disabled.  I was so embarrassed!  I felt like he was over exaggerating everything too much.  He did say he had fallen on his head a couple days prior and had felt a little off since but I knew this medication was to blame.  I drove us home and insisted he get some rest during the ride. I thought that maybe he could sleep some of this craziness off.  He did fall asleep and was sleeping like the dead for a change.  I could barely even get him in the house when we got home to go to bed.  He didn't even wake up when the baby starting screaming his head off as he usually does in the middle of the night.  In the morning I let him sleep in. 

When he awoke he was still acting bizarre.  He found a cane in the garage and insisted he had to use it from now on.  He stumbled throughout the house collecting odd mementos to take back with him.  I’d catch him from time to time walking just fine, which irritated me even more.  I couldn't even understand why he wanted to take these strange things with him but I tried to appear as normal as possible to the kids because I could tell they were starting to worry.  He wasn't raising his voice at all like he usually does.  He was eerily calm. He was being very loving to the kids and kept telling them how much he loves them.  We were not used to this behavior at all.  As much as I tried to enjoy his ‘newfound’ patience with the kids I knew something was seriously wrong. 

When he finally decided to leave I insisted on following him to be sure that he was able to drive safely.  He was all over the road…swerving and braking way later than he should of…ending up in the middle of intersections at times.  He even ran over a parking curb at the grocery store.  I told him that I absolutely did not want him to drive.  He said he was fine and was going to do what he wanted irregardless.  He promised he would stop if he felt tired or woozy so I trusted him watched him leave around 7pm.  He said he was going to stop by his mom’s on the way out so I called to let her know that he was.  She only lives 8 minutes away so when she called me 20 minutes later to say he hadn't stopped by I got worried.  I called him around 7:45p and he said he had decided to not stop by his moms after all.  He was getting gas with the $40 his mom gave him the day before to fill up.  He said he’d keep his phone on and drive as safe as possible so I trusted him yet again. 

At 10:05pm I received a call from my sister who lived in town.  As soon as I answered the phone she asked what was wrong with him.  I was a little perplexed because I didn't think she was aware of what had been going on.  She explained that he had stopped by her house to borrow money.  He was shaky, wobbly, using a cane and acting very strange, she said.  As soon as I got off the phone with her I received a text from him telling me that he did, indeed, stop by my sisters to borrow money for gas.  I asked why he needed more money and he said it was because he just wanted to make sure he had enough because he just needed some time to drive and clear his head.  He said would keep me updated and let me know when he arrived back at the center.  I respected that and didn't text or call him anymore that night.  I was exhausted from the two previous nights and fell sound asleep and even slept in the next morning.

As soon as I awoke, though, I checked the phone to see if he had called or text to tell me he made it.  There was nothing so I texted him right away with no response…then I called a couple of times only reaching his voice mail.  Serious panic started to set in at this point.  I thought he had probably driven off the highway crashing or even worse.  I texted everyone in my phone, that had close ties with him, to see if they had heard from him at all.  No one had heard anything.  I got hysterical and began to expect the worst.  I finally pulled myself together enough to call the highway patrol to see if there had been an accident.  As I began to dial the highway patrol phone number I finally received a text from him saying that he was fine. 

Everything was not fine!  I asked him where he was and first he told me he was in a far away town…then a few minutes later he told me that he had stayed in our town, hiding out, for the night.  He said he didn't want to talk about what he did but he did tell me he shaved off all of his head and facial hair.  I asked him why he would do such a thing and he said it was because he was on the run from the FBI and he was going to find and kill the man who had molested him as a child before the FBI took him down.  I knew his mental status was getting worse by the minute.  I just tried to stay calm on the phone with him and convince him to go back to the center.

Friends, family, and staff from the center were all texting and calling him begging him to go back to the center.  He said he was feeling babied and set-up, but after about 9 hours of negotiating with him on the phone he finally made it back there.  They took him to the hospital for an MRI since he had fallen on his head a few days prior.  The doctors didn't find anything wrong with him.  I was shocked.  Physically he may have appeared okay but how could they not notice that he was loosing his mind?  I kept texting and talking with him to find out what was going on.  He said he was fine…just feeling sorry for himself.  He said he can no longer control himself and will never be able to live at home again.  I knew this was the medication talking again but I was just happy he was alive and back at the center to be monitored again.  I told the staff that the medication was causing serious delusions and erratic behavior but they said that he couldn't get in to see the psychiatrist for at least five days so there was nothing they could do about it! 

At least he was safe there.  He was still pretty delusional the next day.  I tried to call staff to check on him periodically but they didn't have much to say so I decided I would drive down there to check on him myself.  When I arrived he appeared much better physically.  He wasn't using a cane or stumbling all over the place.  He started talking about how much he loved his ex-girlfriends and I instantly assumed he had spent that night ‘hiding out’ with one of them.  I didn't make any accusations or have any harsh reaction towards him though.  I couldn't bear to hear much more but I just listened as I got ready to leave.  He told me that he doesn't think he was meant to be a husband or a father.  I just put on that brave face even though my heart felt like it was shattering into a million pieces.  I left and cried hysterically the entire way home.

He texted me that night thanking me for all I've done for him and apologizing for ruining the kids and my lives.  Then he texted to tell me that I stressed him out by coming there and that I was just playing mind games with him and he knows that because he used to be an interrogator (another lie).  Then he got suicidal…then homicidal saying he was going to go through with finding and killing the guy who molested him.  I knew he was still under the influence of all this medication but I just couldn't take all this crazy talk anymore.  I told him if he did anything stupid that I’d blame the center and get it shut down.  This seemed to shut him up for the meantime.

Over the next few days I really tried to dig into his past with his parents and close friends to see if he had any previous mental health issues that could be contributing to this erratic behavior.  I compiled all the information I could and sent it to the staff.  I called to check on him through staff often but they never told me much of anything.  I felt that my husband was totally going off the deep end and no one was doing anything about it.  I was loosing it myself.  I didn't know what I could do for him or how to help.  I was left in the dark.  His texts and phone conversations with me were just full of anger so I decided I wouldn't respond to any more of the negativity.  This ended up aggravating him more.  He asked to be separated and started sending me death threats.  I told the staff about the negativity and threats and they said I have a right to call the police and get a restraining order.  But I thought, “How would him getting arrested help his PTSD or the kids and I?”

He needed help and I couldn't understand why they couldn’t see that.  He had to have been telling staff lies about me too or something.

I kept telling him how much I love him and how much I wanted to help him but he was so angry at me.  He felt betrayed that I told staff about the threats so he asked for a divorce.  I was beside myself.  How can all of this be happening?  What in the world was I supposed to do?  I devoted my entire life to him and he’s just going to throw the kids and me away?  I was so angry but I had to get it together and figure out what to do.  He closed our mutual bank account.  I didn't have an income, but most all of out bills were in my name.  I couldn't work and have three kids to take care of.  I could not believe, in his mental state, he was just allowed to trot down to the bank to close out our account?!!  I got angry.  I planned to sell my car and beg my landlords to let me stay until I could figure something else out.  I tried to figure out away to get my name off of the bills and while doing so I discovered more chaos.......


Stay tuned next week for part six of Walking On Eggshells! Thanks for reading!


  1. I am going through a lot of the same things as Mrs. S, but my husband refuses to take medication because "he doesn't need it". He is sure to let me know that most of our troubles are "my fault". It is hard dealing with this, his bizarre actions. He has talked to doctors, they say he is okay......I wish they could walk ONE DAY in my shoes.

    1. I'm going through the same thing with my 100% disabled VN Vet/ PTSD husband of 22 years, who is trying every way he can to get me to leave. He is majorly emotionally abusive, calling me a worthless bitch and every name you can think of. He tells me the last time he was happy is the day before he met me and that the only reason he lets me stay here is because he feels sorry for me. He goes into major rages at the drop of a hat and you never know what is going to set him off. Of course, it's all my fault because I can't keep my mouth shut. Not keeping my mouth shut could mean anything, asking a question, making a comment, if he doesn't like it, doesn't like your tone of voice, takes it completely out of context, the rage is on. And then when he tells to keep my mouth shut, well that means not speaking to him (not speaking one word) for WEEKS, until he decides to talk again. BUT I'm still supposed to cook, clean, do his laundry, including his crappy underwear because he likes to make a display of farting and it comes out as crap instead. And no, we don't sleep in the same bed because he thinks taking a shower means two, maybe three times a week. He's on medication, which did help for a few years, but now he is worse than he's ever been even with it. The VA are no help whatsoever. They say that since I don't have medical power of attorney they can't talk to me about him. So what do I do? I'm 60 years old, I'm not letting him run me out of my home that I've helped pay for and start all over at my age. He says he is a Vet and he has the power because he has the money coming in and I can't touch him. How much is PTSD and how much is just his pure meanness is my question?