I was in the bed reclining on the pillows in an upright position waiting for my ex-husband to come in to see me. The past few weeks had been a whirlwind of emotions. I was caring for our three children (all under the age of five) and managing my business at the same time. All of this while doing the bills that seemed insurmountable, and seeing a Department of Social Services Counselor on a weekly basis in our home.
The attack to my psyche came about a month prior when my young son had a puffy blue and purple bruise on his eye, and the department of social services knocked on my door. The immediate panic that I had to hide was terrifying. And ultimately it amazed me that my ex-husband never had to even talk to the state services, despite the fact that he was the aggressor in the house. Before this episode had ever happened, I never had any form of delusional or paranoid behavior. And a month or so later my symptoms began to appear. It was obvious that the trigger for my illness was the stress of my living conditions at that time.
I think that my mind went to the fear of my ex-husband possibly molesting the children because that possibly was an insult that I could resolve, and that I could make him accountable for. That was inexcusable and he would absolutely need to be out of our lives. It was apparent that my ex-husband being held accountable for being an angry, emotionally and physically abusive person and father did not warrant a look into from the state services. He was never even met by or talked to from the state services. I was the one being held accountable and being watched. Whatever the reason for my mind twisting into the delusional thought of molestation, it was thankfully untrue. However for him to respond in such a way while we were alone in that bedroom stayed with me in my thoughts for all of those years.
Yes, his pride had been attacked. He was being questioned as if he may be a predator of our children. My mind truly believed that this was happening. The charges of molestation were obviously discarded when the children were questioned. And the behind closed doors emotional trauma or physical abuse was not a topic of discussion – that part of our lives was still hushed. Yet for him to then (while I was in a decompensated state and unable to speak and barely move) take both of his hands and purposefully put them around my neck, with a sinister look of hate and disgust on his face, was the most evil thing that I had ever encountered. I was in a state that I was unable to even respond. I only had the capacity to just watch and observe what was being done. After a brief period, he took his hands away from around my neck and walked out of the room.
The many years of living in the same household while fighting for myself and for the children to have a happy and less threatening environment was always there. Those moments of intimidation and terrifying fear were never spoken of. However the extremely loud and stressful behaviors of abuse continued. Thankfully, I had my parents to help me to keep a stable atmosphere and outlook in my and the children’s minds. My mom and dad both knew about the anger, but never knew the extremes of the situation. The threat of that day was always in the back of my mind.
I had seen my ex-husband and his father choking each other while they were fighting during a heated argument when I was dating him. I was about thirteen years old. This type of behavior had never even been on my radar before. I was a secluded child that had been kept away from the harsh realities of the hard side of the world. But this type of behavior was apparently stuck within him from a young age. And breaking free from such thoughts and behaviors is a process.
The emotional trauma and fear continued throughout my time with him, until I was thirty-seven and I left him and everything behind. Although there was love and humor and fun at times, the underlying rage was always there. And when I was able to secure the children out of the home into their colleges or other living situations, the time to be able to leave was made evident. It was not a planned departure, but it was an essential one – especially when the thought of suicide for its first time became a possibility. My will to fight was dimming with the children leaving the situation.
Moving on from that part of my life into a new beginning was indeed a scary and lonely adventure, but I was granted people into my life that were a part of the plan. And eventually I met my new husband that was able to help me make it through the extremely turbulent times of readjustment. So now here I am in the downhill slope after a traumatic climb toward independence and healthy living, and managing through caring for and the loss of both of my parents. And now is the time to enjoy and manage the twists and curves along the way with my best friend and spouse beside me since maintaining health and happiness with mental illness can be challenging.
The past fear of emotional trauma will always be a part of my past, but I have to remember that it does not have to dictate the present. The present is now learning to and living in a healthy state of mind. I have many parts of me as a person; such as a mother, wife, PTSD survivor, anxiety sufferer, friend, bipolar fighter, grandmother, writer, blogger, traveler, decorator, etc… But to remember that these are just parts of me is the most important thing. They, in themselves, are not who I am. I am a beautiful combination of many good, bad, important, fun, loving things. I am me – not a diagnosis or someone fitting into a category. I am unique and I will survive.