Ring. Rrrrring. Ring.
It was the phone. It was also 6AM. Why was someone calling me at that hour? Everyone who knew me knew that I was moving a couple of hours away - later that day.
It was my boyfriend. He sounded weird, but I didn’t think anything of it. After all, it was 6AM on a Saturday. I just figured he hadn’t been to bed yet. He hadn’t, but it wasn’t what I was thinking.
I wouldn’t find out what was really going on for another week or two.
My family was helping me move to a new town two-and-a-half hours away from all of my friends and family. I was moving to go to a school I cared nothing about. I was moving to that place for a boy.
That should have been a red flag right there.
I was young (not yet 22 is young) and in love. Young love is a silly thing, especially when you’ve barely known someone six months. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into; I’d never dealt with anything so serious. He’d just told me he took a lot of medications and that his doctor thought he might be bipolar of some sort.
My family helped me move all of my possessions. We went to dinner, and then they left to return home.
Something was still off; he wasn’t himself. He seemed scattered and distracted. He’d be mostly fine one moment and almost catatonic the next. Finally, he took his medications and went to bed.
I’d only been there a few hours, but already I felt as if I had made the biggest mistake of my life. I promptly suffered a panic attack, one so awful that the only thing I could do was crawl into my closet in the corner with all of my clothes, muffle the ugly sobs, wipe up the tears with my favorite blanket and Teala-bear, and attempt to stop the shaking.
I slept there in my closet in a different room than my boyfriend that night. I didn’t want to move the next morning, so I stayed there until it had been a while since I heard him wake up.
He continued on that downhill slide until it got really scary - so bad that I was having terrible panic attacks on a nearly daily basis. Finally, his boss (he worked for an MHMR facility) took him to the ER.
I got the call one morning while I was getting ready for the first day at my new job. I rushed to the hospital, which was almost an hour away, to find him almost completely incoherent. He didn’t know what was happening, but he knew me.
The next day at home he was completely catatonic for most of the day, and then talkative, which was followed by silence but with frantic gestures, drawing, and writing as communication. My skills as a preschool teacher were decidedly not helping in this situation.
With another panic attack setting in, I called my dad and my grandfather. With their help, we got my boyfriend into a treatment program, but he was hospitalized for almost two weeks.
I can hear those doors locking and closing behind me now, as if I’m back in the ward during visiting hours. Conveniently, my university was almost directly across the highway from the behavioral hospital.
Things just got harder and harder from there. The psychiatrist put him on too many medications to count and couldn’t decide on an official diagnosis - either paranoid schizophrenia, bipolar disorder of some sort, or schizoaffective disorder. The official diagnosis was either never officially relayed to me or, if it was, I’ve blocked it out of my memories.
The end of our relationship, three years ago almost to the day, took a huge weight off of me.
Many of my memories of that time are mere shadows. The vivid ones are the ones that haunt me; they lurk around in my mind, latching on when I least expect it. They usually hang out with the depression and anxiety monsters. It’s as if they want to make me suffer more and to relive all of his leeching, soul-sucking, emotional assaults, and selfishness.
When those memories return, I relive the sound of the doors clanging, the never-ending drives to pick him up from out-patient care appointments because he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) drive his truck back home, the fighting about money and cost of medication...his inability to work, the limited help from his mother, my full-time work during that semester to pay all of the necessary bills, coming up short on said bills...returning home with him in tow because he was a leech that wouldn’t stop draining me, and broken friendships.
For the most part, I’ve done well to move past all of that and find healing. I’ve refused to relive that past any longer. I’ve refused to let it hinder my present and future. Still, those nightmares creep up from time to time and bring panic attacks with them. Luckily, they have been fairly few and far between.
Aside from all of that, I’m myself again, but better and more full of love, patience, and compassion. And some of that? Is thanks to you, The Band.6 Comments