I have been away for quite some time now, because there has been a lot going on. I was originally going to write a post about living with mental illness and mentally ill family members, but I didn’t get a chance to before the literal shit hit the fan.
Since November, Poke has been actively suicidal. It has truly taken its toll on our family. He has been hospitalized, in the ICU, and gone through several different mental health providers. Unfortunately, his attempts to get his mental health under control were too little too late, and our family and marriage were badly damaged.
There were times when I was terrified to leave him alone with the children, times when I had to banish him to the basement to “live” for a week because I could not bear to have him around them, times when I literally dropped him off at the crisis center and called his mom to deal with him afterwards. His behaviour was completely out of control, and I was afraid for myself and the kids. He is by no means abusive, however, he would have these episodes monthly, then semi monthly, then weekly until it was like living in a mine field and I didn’t know what would happen from day to day. He never laid a hand on any of us, but he became aggressive and violent and just so angry that I didn’t want to take the chance that he would someday become physical.
We have been in marriage counseling for almost two years, and it seemed to be working for our relationship, until one day it was blatantly obvious that it wasn’t working. I got to the point where I could not stand to be around him, I could not stand to look at him, talk to him, touch him, kiss him, etc. I didn’t want him anywhere near me. So, after his last outburst when he threw a tantrum at the local dog shelter and embarrassed JI and me in front of all the other customers, I decided a change had to be made. Little did I know that he was going to make it super easy for me by randomly quitting his job when he walked out of work and never went back. He had been talking about feeling burnt out and no longer enjoying his work, but I told him that he absolutely had to keep his job to support the family. I told him that if he quit before finding a new one, that would be it, and we would be done for. Apparently that didn’t matter to him at all because he went ahead and walked out. I told him to go to his mom’s house, and that was that.
We separated officially on July 27th, with an agreement on how and who would pay the bills. The separation is supposed to be a trial for three months. I am hoping that in these three months he will take the time to get himself mentally healthy and happy, however, if he chooses not to then it’s obvious what his real decision is. I believe he came into fatherhood and marriage with the best of intentions but perhaps these things really are not meant for him, and if that’s the case then I’d rather have him out than in, rather have a happy family on the weekends only rather than a miserable one 24/7.
He’s been gone a month now, and I have not been this happy in years. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted, like I no longer have to watch what I say in my own home, like I am an actual human being. JI’s behaviour has improved twenty fold. At our last counseling session, Poke says “I’m glad you’re having such a great time”, to which I replied, “We’re not having a great time. We’re doing life the way it should be done – with love and happiness.”