“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” – Ephesians 5:25
At first it seemed like being back in Iowa would be very good for me. Starting out we lived in an upstairs room at my grandparents house. It was relaxing and good to be back with family but the nightmares and the anxiety attacks didn’t go away. I would awake numerous times in the middle of the night, cold with sweat, and my heart beating rapidly. During the day I would have someone walk up behind me, or hear a loud noise, and my heart would nearly stop. I had to find some way to deal with the anxiety that I was experiencing and so I went to the doctor.
About six months prior to this I had been on Zoloft due to stress at work, and it had seemed to work perfectly. However at the time it wasn’t cheap and there was no generic brand to help with the cost. When I quit my job at the prison, I lost my insurance, and so I no longer had a means of paying for the drug. So I had to quit cold turkey, which made the anxiety come back in force.
The doctor prescribed me amitriptyline, which he said was exactly like Zoloft. Not only that but because I was on a high dosage of zoloft he started me out on the high dosage of the new drug. I would learn later that this was a big mistake. The drug worked really well, if by really well I meant it made me sleep nearly 20 hours per day. I would take a pill, fall asleep shortly after, wake up, eat something, take another pill, and be out again. This cycle went on for about a week before I had to stop taking the drug as it would make getting a job, as well as getting out of my grandmother’s house, impossible.
So I stopped taking the drug. The effect was almost instantaneous as the anxiety returned and I fell into a deep depression, one that would take years to pull myself out of. I did get a job and we found a small apartment to live in, but my work ethic was awful and so I bounced from job to job over the next several months. The anxiety and depression continued to build during this time.
If there is something that I regret more than anything else in my life is that I didn’t share with my wife how I was doing. instead I became distant and would escape from the anxiety in video games for more hours per day than i would like to admit. This led to my wife feeling as if I didn’t want or need her around, while at the same time her mother was telling her that I would never change and that I was never going to be the kind of man who her daughter deserved.
See, in reality, her mother had always hated me. She would refer to me as that dumb corn-fed Iowa boy, or more sweetly as Gomer Pyle. She saw me as the exact opposite of what a man should be, and this led to much strife between the two of us while Jennifer and I had lived in Texas. Outside of Texas she continued her campaign to rid me from her daughter’s life, through long telephone calls. Now, after many years, I can somewhat see that she was right in some ways, but at the same time she never gave me enough of a chance to prove myself either.
It was much the same with my own mother and Jennifer. Things were more cordial but my mother was very clear that she didn’t believe we were right for each other. No one could be good enough for my mother and add to this the fact that Jennifer was a practicing pagan at the time and fireworks occurred several times during this period of our lives together. Jennifer was a take no shit type person, and my mother would take the passive-aggressive route. I on the other hand tried to stay out of the whole situation which led to my wife’s feelings being hurt, knowing I wouldn’t stick up for her.
Anyway, after several months of living in the apartment, with a husband who was more interested in his video games than her, my wife decided that she had been through enough. Add to this, the promise of signing up for college classes had been broken because at the time I was so insecure that I believed if she did go to school, she would find someone smarter and better than me, whom she would leave me for. The fact that I couldn’t seem to keep a job didn’t help matters either.
Shortly before this, I had begun working for a construction company that built prefab homes throughout the Midwest. If there was any job that I hated more than working at the prison it was construction. For one, I was absolutely awful at it, and two, I couldn’t stand any of the neanderthals that I was forced to work with. These men were disgusting, sleeping with anything that could move and pretending to be good family men with a wife and kids at home. It wasn’t long before word got back to my wife that I was soon to be unemployed again. She was done.
I came home from work one week and found my wife waiting for me. She took me out to a little gazebo outside of the apartment and let me know that she was leaving me. I begged her to reconsider, bawled my eyes out and assured her that I would change, but she had made up her mind. Our marriage was over. I have never felt pain to that degree before, it was as if my heart was trying to force itself out of my body and leave me for the empty shell that I was. I don’t think I have ever cried so hard or shook with grief.
A few days later, my wife was on her way back to Texas on the bus. A family member had purchased her a ticket and taken her to the bus stop. I was called and told that she was on her way. I jumped into my car and drove as fast as I could in an effort to catch the bus. Nearly 50 miles later I realized that my effort was a futile one, I pulled over and bawled my eyes out. Then something clicked in my mind and when I say click I mean in an instant my mind went from complete grief to rage.
I drove home cussing everything that I could think of. I screamed at the top of my lungs and tore at my clothes all while driving much faster than the speed limit, it is a wonder I didn’t get pulled over. Upon reaching my house, I tore the place to pieces. Breaking anything and everything that I could get my hands on. I decided I was glad my wife was gone, I hated my wife, I couldn’t stand the thought of her. I went out of my way to promote the idea that I was happy that she was gone and over time I even convinced myself. This anger would stay with me for much of the next decade.
For part 9 click here.