Hand on Heart.

I mentioned in my previous post briefly about the time that my ex husband spent in a psychiatric hospital following his affair.  I’ve avoided talking about that part of my life in depth for a while with anyone, and the effect that it still has on me 13 months later but I think that it would do me some good to get it off my chest.  So let’s go back to December 2015…

He came home for a week (he was away with the Army in the US for 7 months) and told me it was over.  The reason that he had come home was for his sister’s wedding and spent the entire duration of that event avoiding me.  Even his friends and family had noticed, as he was usually always touching me in some way like holding my hand or resting his hand on my lower back or leg.  This time, he couldn’t be further away from me both emotionally and physically.  We were in the hotel room after his sister’s wedding and I broke down after holding it together for so long.  I didn’t want to spoil his sister’s special day.  And then he told me it was over.  No real explanations, just excuses.

“I can’t deal with your self esteem issues anymore.”

“I never wanted the cats but you got them anyway.”

“You have no ambition.”

The next day, we went home and cancelled our upcoming honeymoon.  It was a late honeymoon because the Army always got in the way of our plans.  Then he left and went back to his parents’ house before heading back to the US for another 3 months.

I kept our separation close to my chest because I was sure that he was just having a 30 year old crisis or something.  Those that knew what had happened were sure that he must’ve found someone else for him to behave this erratically, but I just wouldn’t believe it.  I trusted in him with every fiber of my being, and I think that is why what came next totally traumatised me.

We spoke on and off for the next few months.  He told me that he needed space.  I gave him that.  On 9th December, we were talking on FaceTime.  He was starting to come round to the idea of trying to work things out and of course, I was elated.  He said that he needed to go to the bathroom and would come back in a minute, so I waited with just the screen lighting up my face in the darkness of our bedroom back home.  It was 2am my time, 8pm his time.  In the time that he was off screen, I received a message on Facebook from someone that I didn’t know.

“You should check out my profile. You might be interested to know what’s been going on for the past couple of months.”

Curiosity got the better of me and I checked her account, only to be greeted with a profile picture of this woman kissing my husband.  I felt sick.  He came back online and I confronted him.  The good thing about FaceTime is you can’t hide your facial expressions…and he went white as a sheet when I told him what I had just found out.  Suddenly, the threats of suicide from him began.  He threatened to take his own life there and then. Of course, he never would have done it.  It was all an act, but I believed him at the time.  It didn’t become clear that it was an act until much later on.  I stayed on the phone all night with him to make sure that he stayed alive, and he kept telling me how evil that other woman was and how she was a pill popping alcoholic.  I spoke to the Army Welfare Team first thing in the morning and he was put on the first flight home.  Once he was back, he was assessed by a military psychiatrist and then sent to a psychiatric hospital.

I made that journey to the hospital with him.  Little did I know, it would be my last.  I remember sitting in the back of the welfare car with my husband.  It was a dull, cold day and it was trying to snow.  Signs of Christmas were everywhere now.  He was shaking and kept saying “Don’t leave me”.  I held his hand tightly and I played with his wedding ring.  He must’ve put it back on as he wasn’t wearing it before.  It was hard to hold his hand because he had his right arm in a splint.  He told me that he had damaged his hand carrying some heavy boxes.  I later found out that he had actually damaged it by punching a wall because his girlfriend found out about me, his wife, so she left him.  Once we arrived at the hospital, we had to wait to be let inside.  The security was more than I expected although I’m not sure what I was expecting anyway!  This place was not going to let him come and go as he pleased, that was for sure.  I had to wait in the entrance area while some nursing staff took him into a back room to talk to him.  The entrance was also a communal area for other residents of the psychiatric hospital to socialise.  The people here were very unwell and it was perturbing to know that my husband was also unwell and would have to stay here for a while.  The welfare staff kept checking in on me and were trying to reassure me that it was going to be okay, and that they were sure that we would work things out.  Apparently, we just looked like one of those couples who could just get through anything.  When he emerged from the back room, I took his hand and we followed a nurse down to the military wing.  I helped him to settle into his room by unpacking his clothes and rearranging his personal belongings.  He just sat motionless on his new bed while I tried to enthuse him about his new surroundings.  Although I had noticed that every item of furniture in his room was round and soft.  No corners.  No curtains, just a blind that he had no control over.  No pull cords.  Then it dawned on me…this was a room for people who were serious about trying to kill themselves.

I kissed him goodbye and he flinched.  I touched his hand and promised to come and see him the following day after work.  His eyes were hollow and empty.  He watched me as I walked down the long white corridor.  I had seen him watch me but I didn’t need to because I could feel him watching me, to the point where it was unnerving.

The next day, I visited as promised.  I had managed to keep myself occupied all day at work, but I certainly wasn’t prepared for what came when I reached the hospital.  He was an absolute mess.  A wreck.  He had collapsed on the floor as I was sat in the waiting area to see him.  A couple of nurses rushed down the corridor to see to him and asked that I keep my distance until they managed to get him back on his feet and check for injuries.  He was fine, just a little spooked.  I went to see him in his room and he was curled up in the fetal position, staring as the floor.  He refused to look at me or respond to anything that I said.  So I just sat there with him in his room until visiting hours were over.

He was in and out of the hospital for the next 4 weeks.  They would release him and he would end up back inside again.  He went missing once when he was released, and that only ended up with him being readmitted.  He would call me late at night, threatening suicide again and again.  There was nothing in his room for him to use, not even his cables as they were taken away from him but he phoned me from the communal kitchen saying that he had turned the table upside down and that he was going to spear himself onto one of the legs.  I immediately hung up on him and called the hospital wing directly and a few nurses intervened.  Did I ever think he was really going to take his own life?  I’m not sure.  But it wasn’t something that I was willing to risk.  He would flood and bombard me with texts and pictures of us when we were happy, newly married and carefree.  He would proclaim that he was evil and that he doesn’t belong in this world.  Every time he threatened suicide, he would text “Nanight”.  One time when I visited and he had been doing better, he asked if we could go out and get some food.  Apparently other patients were allowed out with a family member.  I checked in with a nurse and she said it was fine, but I had to sign him out.  We ordered a curry which was something he had missed whilst he had been away in the States.  When I got out of my car to go and collect it, I had to lock him in my car.  Like a child.  For fear that he would escape and run away to carry out what he was in a psychiatric hospital for.  I can’t tell you how much that winded me, having to think of my own husband in that way.  When we got back to the hospital, we ate the food and enjoyed talking over our meal.  One of the nurses even brought a tealight candle out and lit it for us before putting it in the middle of the table.

“Now that’s a bit more romantic!” she laughed.

We smiled and thanked her.  What a sweet thought.  Only, she whispered in my ear before she left the room that I would need to bring the candle back to her as soon as we had finished our meal.  Suddenly it didn’t seem so romantic anymore.  Even the sharp tins that the hot, takeout food came in had to be disposed of in such a way that patients couldn’t get their hands on them.  I’m sure you can guess why.

We watched Planes, Trains and Automobiles on my iPad whilst we spooned on his single bed.  The mattress was like a bloody rock!  He would often be listening to Joshua Radin’s slow and sad accoutic tracks when I entered his room after a long day at work.  Looking back, I’m sure that this was purely for effect.  Sometimes when I visited, he would just lay in my arms while I stoked his hair and drew circles on his back with my forefinger.

And then one day shortly after he was released from hospital, he was back to himself and he dropped me quicker than a brick.  It would seem that all along, he was talking to her on the phone and planning his new life with her.  He used me.  Afterall, she was on the other side of the world so it’s not like she could come and visit.  He actually used and abused my good nature, and my desparation to be there for him and get our marriage back on track.  Seriously.  What a fucking bastard.  I was actually willing to give him a chance after everything that he had put me through.  And it seems that he was never prescribed any medication at all.  Even the military must’ve known that he was faking it.  What a massive kick in the balls that was.  He never belonged in that hospital all along.  Other people in the military wing were suffering from PTSD and were genuinely suffering from mental health issues, and there he was simply because he had made a massive fuck up.  I later decided that the reason why he took it that far was to deflect from what he had done wrong.  By falsifying suicide attempts and pretending to be mentally unwell, he made everyone forget about what he did so we all focussed on “Aaaww, poor guy” instead.  Very devious.

And still people ask me “Why did you stay?”.  Because at least I can say that I tried my damndest to be there for him and to make it work.  And even after the way I was treated by him once he left hospital and in the lead up to the start of our divorce, I can put my hand on my heart and say that I tried everything in my power to save our marriage.  And for that reason alone, all of this pain was worth it.

With love, Darling Soul x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rescued.

Sunday was a beautiful spring day here.  I opened all of the windows in my house to release some of the stagnant energy and to let the sunshine in.  My two cats were curled up on the sofa in a sunbeam that had entered through the front door.  Everyone that has cats know how they love lazing about in sunbeams!  Odin had been scrapping with a neighbourhood cat and had received a scratch to his nose, so after all of that excitement he had got himself comfy on the sofa for the rest of the afternoon.  Freya lay curled up next to him but she was on alert.  She could hear all of the birds twittering away and it held her interest for quite a while.  I sat for 10 minutes or so just watching these two,and every day I am reminded how they saved my life.

This year it will be 3 years since Pedro and Felixia (their rescue names!) came to live with my then husband and I.  My ex husband and I were due to move into our first house as opposed to a flat and he knew how much I wanted cats.  P never grew up with animals like I did, so he wasn’t really bothered.  He left the “cat hunting” to me, so I started checking out rescue centres for kitties.  P being the kind of pompous twat that he was, would have preferred pedigree cats.  He was all about showing off and status symbols, but I’ve never bought a cat in my life.  Every pet we had when I was a child was a rescued animal.  I chose to adopt my two from a Spanish rescue charity.  My reason for that is because my family have also adopted animals from foreign countries, mainly Spain due to the way that they are generally treated out there.  So I checked out my chosen charity’s website and fell in love with a grubby, skinny little half Russian Blue street cat.  The charity exclaimed that they could only rescue Pedro if someone paid a deposit to have him because they were short on space in the rehoming centre.  I got the money together, sent the payment and Pedro was safe from the cruel streets.  I then went on to another Spanish charity and asked who needed rescuing the most.  I wasn’t bothered about colour, sex, age etc.  I just wanted to home a cat that needed it the most.  So I was offered a little black and white cat called Josephine, who was struggling with life in the rehoming centre surrounded by so many other cats.  Unfortunately just 3 days before she was due to come to England, she became poorly with a virus so she wasn’t able to come over at that time.  The charity asked if I would consider taking another cat on in Josephine’s place.  Josephine not being well enough at the time meant that there was a space for a cat on the transport which the charity try so hard to fill all gaps before starting their journey to England, which meant no one was getting adopted in Josephine’s place.  I felt bad for little Jo, but they assured me that they had found another home for her once she was well enough to travel again.  So I was offered Felixia.  My ex husband said that she was “ugly”, but I didn’t care.  Of course, she wasn’t ugly at all. She just had a grouchy looking face, but that’s one of the things that I love about her!  She is the sweetest little thing I’ve ever known.

My cats arrived in the country on 15th July 2014.  I must’ve driven friends and family crazy in the lead up because I was that excited about getting them!  I remember picking them up from Portsmouth and bringing them home for the first time.  Odin was so, so timid.  Freya was an instant lap cat!  They’re both such different characters.  Another reason why I love them both so much.  Odin was straight from the streets and even the television and washing machine had him baffled.  He would sit and watch them nervously!  Slowly he came out of his shell and it’s taken a few years, but I think we’re there now.  Freya has always been full of affection but she used to hate being picked up.  She now knows that I’m not going to hurt her and she loves being held as I dance around the house with her.  Freya was rescued from a “killing shelter” with her 5 kittens.  Sadly 2 of them passed away due to a virus, but a lovely lady in Spain has kept her 3 remaining kittens and has given them their forever home.

When my marriage fell apart, I was a mess.  I felt like I wanted to die.  My ex husband had been caught having an affair and ended up in a psychiatric hospital.  I would visit him in hospital, (something that most people don’t understand, but I will perhaps explain my reasons in a future post) and it was so exhausting.  Mentally, I was shot.  But when I came home from a long day at work where I wore a false smile that hurt my face and then travelled to the hospital to watch my husband curl up in the fetal position and sob uncontrollably until visiting hours were over, Odin and Freya were there for me.  They brought me such comfort during those dark times.  I used to lay on the bed with them whilst they purred in my ear at the end of those long days, and I used to think “So this is what unconditional love feels like”.  And that’s why I generally prefer animals over people.  Odin and Freya have never intentionally hurt me, and they never will.  They are always there for me.  I know that they love me, and not just because I feed them! 🙂

On the really bad days where I wanted to take my own life, they were close to me.  They had already suffered abandonment once in their short lives, how could I do that to them again?  I know that no one would love them both like I do.  Odin has a lot of quirks that I don’t think people who had not owned cats before could handle.  Freya is very demanding of affection.  What if her next owner didn’t give her that?  And on the days where I just lay in my bed, festering in my pajamas and staring at a wall for 3 hours solid, Odin and Freya encouraged me to get up.  Someone had to feed them and clean out their litter tray.  No one else was there.  Honestly?  If I didn’t have Odin and Freya, then I really don’t think that I would still be here now.  I’m beginning to think that we rescued each other.

And now that the bad days are over, I have company.  The three of us depend on each other.

With love, Darling Soul x

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