Probably not so much. I’m still the same opinionated asshole I’ve always been, I guess.
But it’s time for me to write some truth here. A truth I’ve never written publicly but that, because of recent events (events that date back to the election of the orange nightmare), I think need to be written publicly.
Where to start.
When I found out that Lisa was cheating on me, I lost my mind. No, seriously, I totally just lost my mind. All I could think about was how was I going to make it through my life without her? I had invested everything of myself in her, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, emotionally, financially, and physically. And now, just like that, she was gone.
We had a shared dream. We were going to build a house down on that farm up on top of the hill. We would buy a “gator” (an all wheel/4 wheel drive vehicle) to get us up and down the driveway during the winter if the driveway was too snowy and icy to drive our own vehicles up. And, we had the tractor for that, too.
I worked full time, Lisa worked part-time. I supported us financially while Lisa tried her hand at handy work. She watched daytime TV until well after noon each day, then worked at a job she’d contracted for 3 or 4 hours a day. She was not bringing in much money at all and, on top of that, because she was so fully committed to this one job, she couldn’t take on any others. So, to recap, she watched TV until noon, and then could only work 3 or 4 hours a day because she’d pissed away her mornings, and also couldn’t take on any more work. She COULD have been making $150-175 a day but, instead, made less than $75 each day. She mowed the lawn, but didn’t do any trimming. The raised beds we had put in had become so overgrown with weeds that the weeds were taller than both of us. I believe she was depressed, not feeling terribly good about the decisions she had made (and I had supported) with regard to quitting her job at O’Neill’s and then taking on the handy work to make money.
During the summer, she spent 2 or 3 days a week at the farm (because she was only working part-time at Harris) but, because the asshole neighbor kept coming by to chat, she wasn’t getting things done down there, either. Lisa, apparently, is unable (read: unwilling) to continue to work as she talks. So, our crop fields were overgrown with weeds. And, I worked full-time, and spent every moment of every weekend down at the farm with her, mowing, tilling, harvesting, and sometimes weeding.
So, I worked 1½ jobs (in theory), and she worked about 3/4 of a job, and then only half-assed at that. Yes, I had a lot of resentment, but I didn’t say anything because I figured she’d find her way. She later told her mother that all she wanted to do was have that little farm, but that I said it had to make money and that ruined it for her. Not sure how she thought we were going to PAY for that farm, with her working half-days at Harris and not even a half day at the farm, most days.
So, anyway, I invested a lot in Lisa, and in our shared dream. Her infidelity shattered that dream. Everything that we had worked so hard for, and scrimped and saved for, was gone. It left an empty hole inside of me, and I was terrified that I was going to lose her. In the meantime, she made no attempt to hide her affair any longer, and that ate at my soul as well. On top of everything, she kept playing this game, making me think I’d forgotten this or that, and trying to pin the blame for her decision to betray our marriage, on me.
I stayed home from work one day – I just couldn’t pull myself together enough to go to work. I got up, got in the shower, and felt a bit light-headed. I reasoned it was because I hadn’t slept or ate hardly at all in the previous two or three weeks. As the water came out of the shower head and poured down on me, I became unaware of my surroundings, and yet very aware of them. It’s hard to put into words, but it was like I was floating outside of my body, and yet still within that body, seeing everything around me. I looked down at the drain and saw the water swirling around and around, but then noticed that the water began to take on a pinkish tint and it quickly became darker and darker until it was a dark and angry red. I stared stupidly at the redness swirling around the drain and something inside of me identified it as blood, but where was it coming from? I looked at my hands and feet and arms and then, when I looked down at my legs, I saw that they were both neatly cut wide open from the knees to the groin, and blood was running down my legs in rivers. It was right about that time that I heard the noise. It was a piercing noise, loud and high pitched, and almost sounded like a wounded animal. Then, suddenly, I realized the sound was coming from me, and the scream just continued to build and build and build until it finally escaped my mouth with such ferocity that my lungs burned. And still, I could not stop that scream.
I don’t know if I lost consciousness or not, but the next thing I remember is squat-sitting in the shower, with my chin on my chest, and realizing that I was in the shower and the water was cascading down off the top of my head and into my face and eyes. There was no blood. It had been some sort of dream or hallucination. I called my sister, Tammy, and told her that I was afraid that I wanted to hurt myself. I think that’s what that dream or vision or whatever you want to call it meant. So, she came and got me, and took me to the Psych ED at Strong Memorial Hospital. She called Lisa. Lisa came and spent the entire time of the 7 or 8 hours we waited, trying not to talk to me at all.
While at the ED, they made me take something. I don’t remember what it was, but I remember floating and feeling like my feet were nailed to the floor at the same time. The television in the waiting room played “The Brady Bunch” reruns and there came a point when that became so annoying that it enraged me. I think I complained bitterly to the ED staff about the television. Lisa later told me that I’d embarrassed her by acting like an asshole. Because, I guess, this was all about her.
I spent the next 5 weeks at home, out of work. Lisa went to work, but continued her affair, without much attempt at all to hide it. I told my sister that, for her mother’s birthday party that would come the first weekend in May, I was sure that Lisa would tell me that she didn’t want me to go with her. I was right. That weekend that Lisa was gone, was the first time I thought about just ending it all. The pain was too much to bear, and my self-esteem had never been lower – even when taking a beating and a verbal attack from my mother as a kid. I just wanted the pain to end. I wanted it over. I wanted it ALL over.
After I kicked Lisa out, it only got worse.
I learned, two days after I kicked Lisa out, that my “darling” daughter Linda had called Lisa on Mother’s Day. I did not hear from her at all. When I finally called her out on that, she lamely explained that she just wanted to get Lisa’s side. No – she TOOK Lisa’s side. Who called the cheating step-mother on Mother’s Day and NOT the mother? Yeah, Linda does that.
Every single day thoughts of ending it all crossed my mind. Some days those thoughts were fleeting. Other days, they hung on. “End it, Pat.” “You’re obviously useless, because nobody can stand you.” You get the picture. A few months later, as the holidays rolled around, I began asking my sister when we could get together for Christmas. I’d bought her a Keurig and was pretty excited about that. But she hemmed and hawed and often just didn’t return my messages or calls or texts. It became painfully obvious that she was avoiding me. She had been propping me up for months – at times that I didn’t even WANT to be held up. It was too much for her, I think.
December became January which became February which became March and then April, and still I couldn’t nail her down for that “holiday” get-together which was now months in the past. It didn’t take a mental giant to figure out that she wanted nothing to do with me. So, one day I took her Keurig and left it on her front porch (she was either still asleep or not at home when I got there), and then went to the farm to get some mowing and other chores done.
There was some bullshit after that with my sister, on that very day, but that’s not important here. All I will say about it is that she knew I was at the farm that day – she at least knew I was in the area because she got the Keurig. But, she pulled some shit behind my back after I’d left the farm, and then came up with bullshit that wasn’t even related to the issue in order to justify her behavior.
Then, on this very blog, I published some open letters to Linda, Lisa and my sister. She was furious because I’d mentioned her “betrayer” in my open letter to her, and she was afraid that her 18+ year old son would somehow, magically, stumble across my blog and read what I’d written. She threatened me that, if I didn’t take it down, well, whatever….
I stood my ground and didn’t take it down. That was 2½ years ago, and she hasn’t spoken to me since. I’ve reached out to her, using different mediums in which to do so, but she remains unresponsive, even to this day.
I had been abandoned yet again. I was drinking heavily. My depression had such a tight grip on me that every day I felt I would strangle to death from it. I lived on the edge of a huge black pit that sometimes I felt as if it would swallow me up if I got to close to the edge, but then there were days that I thought “If I just lean in a little bit, I can just free fall into it and have it all be done and over with.”
Then, in April, Josh (Michelle’s ex) committed suicide. He and I had chatted from time to time – the family cast-offs, I guess. I knew he was despondent over the breakup with Michelle, but I was too wrapped up in my own misery to truly appreciate where he was with everything. But, after his suicide, those thoughts came to me more and more and more. I actually envied Josh because he had escaped his pain, and I so longed for that sweet release myself. I sat down the night he died, and just cried and cried and cried. I wailed and sobbed and choked and sniffled and just let loose.
Sadie was very unsettled by this – she jumped up into my lap, looked me square in the eyes, reached up one paw and *booped* me on the cheek, then jumped down, sat on the floor, and just sat there looking at me, expectantly. I laughed a little, figuring she was saying “There, now you have something to cry for,” but it wasn’t until much later that I realized that she had thrown me a lifeline that night.
For weeks after Josh died, I contemplated how I would end my life. Josh used heroin, something he was familiar with, but obviously I knew nothing about heroin and hadn’t the slightest clue how to even go about procuring some. I remembered that someone I knew had a mother who had committed suicide by swallowing a bunch of pills (I forget what), and chasing them with a bottle or two of nail polish remover. Well, I had pills, but me and nail polish? Uh. No. So then one night I googled “How many Lorazepam is a lethal dose?” This was the medication I’d been put on to keep my anxiety at a manageable level. What I learned was that I’d have to take a truckload of Lorazepam to even get sick, let alone die. I have a shotgun and a .22 caliber rifle. I reasoned that I could use them, but what if I fucked that up? I didn’t want to live with the pain of a failed suicide attempt, with half my face blown off and me still alive (I have a high school classmate who did just that). Then I thought about just driving until I reached 100 miles per hour and jerking the steering wheel violently to one side or the other. But, I didn’t want to hurt someone else and it seemed to me that choosing this method was irresponsible, as it could include injury to someone else. Then there were all the household cleaners. I could make a cocktail out of those and just slug them all down. But, I didn’t think I could honestly drink bleach or Drano or anything like that – at least, not enough to kill me but, once again, just enough to hurt me and make me suffer for the rest of my life with the after effects.
So, I continued to go to therapy and DENY any suicidal ideation other than “fleeting thoughts” with “no plan.” I wasn’t lying. I still didn’t have a plan. Yet. Then one day it hit me – THE perfect plan. It was simple. Just go out and sit in my car, with the garage door closed, engine running, a bottle of wine to keep me company until the nothingness claimed me for all of eternity. It would be painless, tasteless, odorless and would certainly do the job.
So, I made preparations. I cleaned the house. I made sure all my laundry was done. I paid all my bills. I wrote out specific instructions for all of my bank accounts and bills. I left instructions on who to contact for burial at the National Cemetery in Bath so no cost would be incurred for my final rite of passage. I cleaned off all personal documents from my computer at work. I even threw away my vibrators so nobody would be embarrassed when they went through my things and found them (hahaha). I went to the liquor store and bought a $50 bottle of wine. Hey, if you’re going to go out, go out with something good, right? I pulled up Will Writer on my laptop and banged out a will, leaving everything to Joe and Michelle. After all, they were the only ones who still were loyal to me. I wrote a note to Joe, knowing how horrible it would be for him, but asking him to forgive me because I was in such pain and I was doing this because I loved him too much to be a burden to him – he was all I had left. Him, and my Sadie and Idgie and Cedar.
And that was when it hit me. Joe would go on. Joe COULD go on. But Sadie and Idgie and Cedar? What would happen to them? A selfish part of me thought briefly that they would end up at a shelter, and end up being euthanized and we’d all be together again in some afterlife. But I was only thinking of myself, I realized. And I thought back to that day that Sadie *booped* me on the cheek with her paw and wondered if, instead of giving me something to cry for, was she actually telling me “Hey, you have me (us) and we really need you to be here for us as much you need us to be there for you.”
So, in the end, it was my cats that saved me. No human creature saved me from myself, it was Sadie and, by extension, Cedar and Idgie.
For the next year after that, I still had those fleeting thoughts, and sometimes it scares me to think of just how close I came to ending it all – I mean, who would miss an old pisspot like me? I talked to my doctor about increasing my anti-depressants to a more therapeutic dose, and she increased it to the maximum daily dosage. THAT made a major difference as well. It leveled me out and, because it had a mild anti-axiety property, it kept me on a more even keel. I quit therapy about a year ago now – I got angry with my therapist and walked out in the middle of a session and never looked back.
I wish I could find the words to express how much better I have been since I stopped going to therapy. I had a huge emotional meltdown that day I walked out on my therapist, and since then, have cried only once or twice and then, only because I now realize how low I had gotten.
Josh and I weren’t a whole lot different at that time. We both didn’t see any way out. The only difference between him and me was that he had a better opportunity than I had, and he took advantage of it. Maybe, somewhere deep inside, I kept finding excuses to keep myself alive, I don’t know. All I know is that I still have days when I think “I could just end this all right now,” and sometimes I think that sounds like such a relief – to just end it all – but then Sadie climbs up into my lap and snuggles with me, or Dexter grooms my hair, or Idgie beckons me to the bedroom for lights out and snuggle time.
I still take one day at a time, but I think those fleeting thoughts are now more of a memory than a desire.