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A Husband’s Story
In May of 1999 I received a call from my neighbor at work asking me to come home that my wife was not feeling good and that they were watching our daughter. At the time I was working in Tampa and it took a good thirty five minutes for me to get home all I knew was she was not feeling well so I did not think this would be a life threatening problem.
When I arrived home from my office my neighbors greeted me and told me what was going on that my wife was not her self when we went inside she had gone to the bathroom when she came out she had slit her wrists with a razor. Normally I am not one to panic I was taught to maintain your composure in an emergency situation (my father was a doctor and he taught all of us this) so I administered First Aid and tried to help my wife as best I could. In dealing with the incident my wife also had consumed aspirin but could not tell me how much she had taken. I knew she needed help and I knew what my responsibilities were our daughter needed to be taken care of and I needed my wife to get to the emergency room so I did the best I could by calling my best friends wife to help me as we do not have family here.
To make a long story short once at the hospital she was evaluated and sedated the next thing that happened is very hard to deal with they Baker Acted her for seventy two hours. Now I was not aware that this could happen I knew she needed help but this came as a shock. I was told that they were moving her to a psychiatric hospital on the other side of the county for further evaluation and treatment. I guess shock is not the best word to use because now I am thinking about my daughter and will my wife be ok or what am I going to do. Work was the least of my problems my family comes first the rest well take a back seat. I was upset with the entire situation but as they made arrangements to transport her I made a plan to take care of what needed to be taken care of.
The first thing was to call her parents to let them know what happened I would depend on them to let her brothers and sisters know the rest of the story. I called my family especially my father he would be most helpful with the stay calm attitude that I would need to hear. I called work my boss understood and under company policy was granted time immediately. The next thing that shook me to the core was being told you will not be able to see her for the first twenty four hours this upset me more than you can imagine I was devastated I did not know what to think other than this is not good. I had made up my mind that my wife did not intend to hurt her self she was just crying out for help I came to this conclusion because the cuts she made were not that deep however they were not scratches either.
The Hospital did not transport her till 10pm that evening on Friday so this was turning out to be my version of the longest day so I still had to keep it together especially for my little girl who had no concept of what was going on. I returned home with my daughter got her ready for bed and then sat down and cried. I cried because my family and her family are thirteen hundred miles away and I felt for the first time afraid and scared and alone to deal with what happened. I questioned my self was it my work ? or the fact she was really a new mother? was it me ?something I did or did not do, I was surprised by what ran through my mind but I guess its normal. I made all of the decisions as to what to do after beating my self with all the questions and answers I was giving my self .
On late Saturday afternoon I was aloud to see her I brought her clothes and toiletries of course this was all taken away she would not be allowed to have it they took her shoe laces and you could see she was frightened. We talked she wanted out which is natural and told me about all the wackos that were there. I tried to speak to the doctors they were of no help all they kept saying is she would be released on Monday with medication to help her deal with her depression they get funny discussing this stuff. On Sunday I returned and she seemed to be more her self and very anxious to get home she had twenty questions about our little girl all I knew at this point was depression what was this and how do you take care of it. On Monday we came home with several prescriptions and not a clue because the hospital was not forthcoming with information so home we went to combat a threat I knew nothing about.
On Wednesday her mom and sisters flew in and I got the Third Degree and some, I needed to get rid of my dogs and we need to do this and that in order to help her and then the shocker depression runs in her family. I still had to get rid of the dogs because that was what they wanted. I got her a therapist and a physicist and did all that I was supposed to what no ever tells you is depression has no cure and even with medication and mental health help it can and will return. I have learned never ever become complacent make sure she takes her medication and keep your eyes open never let down your guard.
My wife has had several episodes since then. I have tried to be as observant as possible. I have educated my self by reading and being proactive as opposed to reactive. Mental Health is not something to be taken lightly if you turn your back on it ,it can kill you do not be fooled medications need to be adjusted and evaluated yearly. I learned that even keeping the lines of communication open is not sufficient you need to be diligent and aware of the peaks and valleys that a Manic Depressive will go through. My father was a big help he made me aware the one thing I will always remember is that the Mind is still a mystery to Medical Science they haven’t a clue they cant explain how it works or what goes wrong its mostly theories and trial and error.
This is not the end of the story I struggle with this everyday it is a never ending battle just beware of the peaks and valleys be observant and caring and always be there because when depressions ugly head surfaces it can be the means of the end for a loved one. I have written this because it makes me feel better you are not alone it just seems that way until you face it down and never let it get you down you just have to stay one step ahead of it at all times. My wife means the world to me it is a shame to see her suffer she is a wonderful person she did not deserve this but we deal with it God only gives you so much to handle. I can only hope and pray that my vigilance we pay off in some small way you see I am disabled with diabetes my anxiety is brought on by my disease so I know what I am talking about when I say that Love is a healer and faith in God is my rock.