Beth – the Mama to External Children- Early Hospital days

I just looked back over the things written by personalities using this name. There are several drafts that are part 2 to something that was published. It kind of seems like we should go back and publish them, but I’m not sure if they will be connected to part 1 anymore, since they are being published so much later. Will try to look into that.

I know most of the posts lately have been focused on early hospital days, but there is a very important element that has not been written about – the impact of those hospitalizations on our family.

Going back to the first time I worked with a psychiatrist, when my dad came to help us out which was to take the place of a hospitalization. After the frightening episode of me loosing control of my body causing it to flop around the car while I groaned and wailed in response to husband’s intentionally verbally attacking me after the psychiatrist had just told him in no uncertain terms that he was to be very careful with me due to how very fragile my mental state was at that time. (I know that sentence was a whopper, but it was primarily to refer back to a resent post.), I don’t remember much more about the ride home; but I think my response to his verbal attack scared him sufficiently to cause him to be quiet and let me struggle to regain control with no further altercation. As soon as we arrived home I went immediately to bed as the doctor had instructed. Husband sent the children outside to play. There were grape vines growing along the lattices that lined the way to the back entrance to the house, and there were frequently bees buzzing around it. From our bedroom located in the back of the house, I could hear the children playing. I also heard a large fly buzzing loudly in the window. Somehow in my fragile mental state, the two sounds mixed together and I thought the children were being attacked by the bees in the vines. I leaped out of the bed and took the stairs so fast I nearly fell down them in a mad dash to rescue the children. However, when I got out the back door the children were happily playing on the pavement of the driveway. My heart felt like it was going to pound right out of my chest from the terror I felt thinking the children were in danger and the abrupt realization that they were all fine. I was confused, and very angry (not at anyone in particular – just the emotional response to the situation).  Husband came out of the house and gently lead me back upstairs as I sputtered out a mix of words in an attempt to explain to him what had upset me – they didn’t even make any sense to me, and he wasn’t even trying to understand, just leading me back to bed. It seems to me now that the doctor had given husband medication to give to me if I became overly stressed, and he gave it to me at that time. I slept for several hours until later in the evening when my father arrived.

Another medication the psychiatrist gave us for me to start on immediately was an anti-depressant. I had avoided seeing a psychiatrist because I knew he would put me on an anti-depressant and I would not be able to nurse the baby any longer, which was the case. My cousin who lived a few miles away kept the baby at her home for a week while he was being weaned, and I think the children spent a lot of time there, too, during that first week. Out of his deep concern over my condition, the psychiatrist cut down the period of time that is normally done to gradually start on a new psych med., and he also started me out on a higher dose that normal. The combination caused me to collapse several times when I was taking a walk. Just a few more days into the process of getting started on this medication, I started having seizures, or at least what looked very much like grand maul seizures. That forced the doctor to take me off that anti-depressant and start me on another one, which was closely related to the first one. He was more cautious about how quickly the dose was increased and I was able to tolerate the new med better.

I had not used bottles at all for all the previous children, so when the baby came home there was a whole new aspect of caring for him. I didn’t have to learn much right away because my father was the one caring for the children.

I wish I could say that husband was so appreciative for my father’s help that he controlled his temper during the four month stay, but it seemed he was incapable of doing that no matter what the motivation. I don’t know how many times I would hear him verbally attack my father and i would run to intervene. Husband was as unrealistic about his expectations for my father as he was with me. He would make very unrealistic demands, do everything in his power to complicate all efforts to comply to his demands, and then viciously attack when the demands were not met. It was a pattern that persisted throughout our marriage, and he even attempted to extend it to the time after the divorce; but that is a different story for a later time.

I know that I have not been very gracious towards husband in my accounts of our life together. The days of making excuses for him are over. He was not always mean and tormenting. He would sometimes go weeks without any outbursts or attacks. I thank God for the happy memories we were able to make during those times. Another point that should be made is that his attacks were directed toward me, not the children. I always feared that if I was not there to take the abuse and guard the children, that he might attack one of them instead. I would never flee unless I had all the children with me. But except for the trauma of hearing and seeing his attacks on me, the children were never targeted  (with one exception which was the one that got me to file for divorce. But that came years after the season of life we are talking about now). These are not excuses – just the truthful facts. It’s my understanding that it is common for abusive men to have these spells of calm and sometimes loving responses. Frequently they are an attempt to prevent the wife from leaving or filing for divorce, or possibly an effort to relieve the guilt or shame that they feel after an outburst. Even though the reasons may be selfish and self-serving, it does make it possible to have some happy memories. That doesn’t excuse or balance out the attacks (something many abusive people try to convince their partner it does), but they are part of the whole picture of what our life was like in those days.

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