Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Chapter's 9 and 10

In December of 1989 the rent on our duplex became more than what we could pay.  Gary found a little house a couple of streets over and with his dad's help for the down payment he bought it.  Four months later our daughter Elizabeth was born.  She was 6 lbs 10 oz's, full term and healthy.  Three days after she was born we went home from the hospital.  Josiah loved his baby sister and took his role of being a big brother very seriously.

I can't say that Gary didn't love his children because he did, although his love became possessive and obsessive with them as well.  I tried to offset the extremes to which he took everything, I wanted the kids to have a healthy balance in their lives.  Only for my children would I stand up to him.

When Elizabeth was a year old Gary came home from work one night acting very strange.  The next day his actions and the things he was saying made me nervous, but I couldn't quite put my finger on what was wrong.  So I called our Pastor.  We had left the missionary work in Halifax, and our new pastor was now Pastor Benson.  He came out to the house that evening.  We were in the livingroom when a car drove by the house, Gary dove onto the floor thinking that someone in the car was going to shoot him!  I was so upset by his strange behavior that I couldn't stay in the room with them, so I went into the kitchen.

Around 10:00pm Pastor Benson came out to where I was and asked if I was comfortable with him leaving.  He wasn't sure himself what was going on but didn't think he could do anything more that night.  Gary had followed him out and I was afraid to say in front of him that I wanted the Pastor to stay so I told him that it was ok for him to leave.

He left and we went to bed.  Somehow I fell asleep, only to be awakened at midnight with Gary jumping up and down on the bed yelling that Abraham had just spoken to him!  I was terrified...what was happening!  I got out of the room as quickly as I could, but he followed me.  He then started punching his fists through the walls, throwing chairs, all the time muttering to himself.  I slowly inched my way towards the hall where the kid's room was.  All of a sudden he turned and started towards their bedroom door.  I placed myself between him and the door, but he kept coming at me.  I reached out, grabbed him and threw him back into the kitchen!  I am not a strong person, but my adrenalin was pumping and he was NOT going to harm the children!

While he was regaining his balance I ran into the livingroom and grabbed the phone.  I took my place beside the bedroom door again and called Pastor Benson.  I quickly explained what was happening and he told me to hang on he was going to call the RCMP.  I don't know why I didn't think of that!  The phone rang a couple of minutes later and it was the police.  I was told that a car was on the way but it would take approximately 1/2 hour because they were all at the scene of a bad car accident in Porter's Lake.  I was asked if there were any weapons in the house.  Gary had a pellet gun and there were big knives in the drawer in the kitchen.  I wasn't sure if these were what they would consider weapons but I wasn't going to take the chance of mentioning them with Gary right there, it might put an idea into his head!

I hung up and stood and watched Gary mumbling and stalking around the kitchen.  Forty-five minutes later the RCMP finally showed up.  Gary got very belligerent with the officers, refusing to even get dressed.  They finally just handcuffed him and took him to the car in his underwear.  I sat at the kitchen table and stared in shock at the shambles surrounding me.  One of the officers came back in and sat at the table with me to get my statement.  I started to shake and cry.  The phone rang and the officer answered it and told Pastor Benson that I would call him back.

About 1/2 hour later they left.  Before I could call the Pastor back Jessie drove into the yard.  Pastor had called and just asked her to come to my house, that I needed her.  She was stunned when she walked into the house, saw the mess and heard what had happened.  We sat at the kitchen table talking and crying together.  I called the Dartmouth General Hospital (that's where they said they were taking him) around 5:00am and found out that he had been moved across the street to the Nova Scotia Mental Hospital.  I phoned his parents at 6:00am and then left Jessie to take care of the kids.  They had slept through everything!

It was surreal walking down the quiet deserted halls of the Mental Hospital early that morning.  The only sound to be heard were my own footsteps.  I felt like I was in a bad dream and couldn't wake up...this just couldn't be real!

Gary's parents were already there with him, but they left when I arrived.  I was scared, I had no idea of what to do or say.  He kept ranting that he had missed the rapture.

A doctor finally came in and took me into another room to talk.  He wanted a very detailed statement of everything leading up to and including that night.  I disclosed everything except the abuse.

During the course of this long meeting I learned that this was not the first time that Gary had been admitted to the Mental Hospital!  No one, including Gary had thought it important to mention to me that I was marrying a man with a mental problem!

Over the next couple of days a diagnoses was made, "Severly depressed, schizophrenic suffering with hallucinations and paranoia."  He underwent shock treatment therapy and was put on strong anti-depressants and anti-psychotic drugs.

                                                                 Chapter 10

The next 5 months passed in a blur.  After just a week in the hospital they started giving Gary two hour passes to come home!  I had to pick him up and take him home.  He would lay on the bed crying, not wanting me to leave the room.  I had a 1 and 4 year old that couldn't be left on their own, and I sure didn't want them around Gary.  Most days Elizabeth would end up in her playpen crying for me with Josiah trying to entertain her.

I finally became so stressed out that I insisted on meeting with one of the doctor's; she agreed to see me.  I took Jessie with me to the meeting because when I'm really stressed I have a very hard time remembering what people are saying to me.

I explained to the doctor the way things were going at home and how very stressed out I was by everything.  She seemed very understanding and agreed with me that things could not continue on this way.  I watched her change the orders on his chart stating that no more passes would be issued until there was a marked improvement in his condition.

I arrived home to a ringing phone and a very upset husband.  He demanded to know why I was late picking him up!  I asked him to let me talk with a nurse and found out that after I had left the hospital the original orders had been reinstated!  I stopped trying to fight the system and tried to figure out ways to cope with the overwhelming stress I was living in.

One day I left the kids with Gary's mother while I ran a few errands.  When I arrived back to pick them up and was putting Elizabeth's snowsuit on her his mother looked at me and said, "My, I've never seen you look so fat!"  I looked at her in shocked disbelief!  How could you say something like that to someone?  I never said a word back, just packed up the kids and left.

I decided that I really needed a break, I had to get away even if only for a few days.  I went home, packed and left for mom's.  It was just the break that I needed.  A couple of days later I packed the kids in the car and we started back to the city.  When I had left mom's it was softly snowing, but I hadn't been on the highway long when I found myself in a full-blown snowstorm.  I couldn't see a thing in front of me.  I finally pulled off onto the shoulder of the highway not knowing what to do.  I knew it was unsafe to stay there because no one could see the car and I was afraid that a snowplow would come along and push us right off the road. Deciding to try and find the next exit I put the car back into drive then watched in disbelief as the engine died!  Now what?  I got out and tried to flag down passing cars but they just kept going.  I then decided that if they saw the hood of the car raised maybe someone would stop.  Finally a car going in the other direction (back towards Kingston) turned around and pulled up behind me.  There was just one man in the car.  He got out and came up to me and asked if he could help.  I explained what had happened and he said that he would drive us back to Kingston.

I was very apprehensive about getting into a car with a strange man, but I knew we couldn't stay where we were.  With the car not running it was getting very cold and both the kids had asthma, I knew I had to get them someplace warm.

When I got the kids and myself belted into his car the man just sat there staring straight ahead and I thought..."This is it, we're going to die!", especially after he turned to me and asked which way Kingston was!  I debated grabbing the kids and jumping out of the car but I knew I couldn't get them both out at the same time.  So I told him which direction to head and he started driving.  That was when he told me that he had just arrived from out West the day before...I started to breathe normally again!

I had him drop us off at a restaurant in Kingston and I called mom.  While we waited one of the waitresses brought the kids hot chocolate and cookies!  A couple of days later with the car fixed and sun shining we started out once more, this time with no trouble.

I often think of our "snowstorm angel" that rescued us and wish that I could properly thank him for his help to three stranded strangers that day!

When I arrived back home I found that Gary's mother had been telling everyone in the family that the reason he'd had a breakdown was because it was just to much pressure on him living with a fat wife.  I was so humiliated.  But it was then that I realized I had gained nearly 30 lbs since Gary had gotten sick.  I would eat and eat and never feel full.  I went to my doctor and he told me that in extreme stress some people can't eat while others seem to have the switch in their brain that tells them they're full turned off.  Eating becomes a compulsion, a way of trying to escape.  Some people turn to booze, some drugs and others food.

It set the stage for a life-time of eating to cope with stress.  I also began to hate Gary's mother.  She just seemed mean and spiteful.  My self-esteem was so low by this point that I found myself starting to believe that I was responsible.  I just wasn't a good enough wife.

1 comment:

  1. Re your snow storm angel, I believe in them. I believe sometimes God sends us someone exactly when we need them. Because there is never ever a time when we will be given a situation that we cannot handle. Whatever happens is usually for the best and in line with what our destinies are...