Tag Archives: Depression

Getting Off The Meds

I was depressed . . .

I had been on this particular anti-depressant for a year, had been on others before that  (since my husband moved out).   The medicine, coupled with therapy, helped me during a very, very bad time.   With the medicine I was better than I had been during those darkest days.  But was I still depressed?  Absolutely.  Because of my general poor health, diet and limited success on the meds,  “they” (meaning my psychiatrist, but “they” sounds as impersonal as it  felt then)  switched me from one anti-depressant  to another, then another.    I had made strides, was functional to a certain extent, but still had what they called “major episodic depression”  . . . and when I was bad, I was really bad.  And with that last medicine I was on,  I felt numb,  less creative  and I suffered from fatigue —  falling asleep behind the wheel — kind of fatigue. Emotionally, it seemed as though I had reached a plateau but from time to time, I would just  fall off.

I simply wasn’t snapping out of  it.

Then, after a particularly rough descent into a depressive episode, they suggested that my condition be treated more aggressively.  In addition to stepped up therapy, there were more meds prescribed — “add-ons” they called them — additional medicines to take on top of the daily anti-depressant I was already taking.

The first “add-on” affected my eyesight.   I could barely read anything.   Also, it made me  manic,  it wasn’t unusual for me to be  doing landscaping at 2:00 am and I– could– not–stop.  (My yard looked great, though, but I digress.)

When I complained of not being able to see, and of being so agitated and let’s face it, weird,  they switched me to a different add-on.   Additionally, as part of a larger plan, since my general health and diet had improved,  I requested a change in my daily main anti-depressant and asked if I could go back to the one that didn’t make me fall asleep in odd places.   They didn’t allow me to change at first, but since my fatigue had gotten worse– almost falling asleep at the kitchen sink — and I was eating better than before, they said I could change.   (Reportedly, without adequate nutrition the other anti-depressant could cause seizures.  Wonderful.  But I had been eating better, and promised to continue doing so.)

So they instructed me, in writing, to:

Week One: 

  • Cut the dosage of my  current  main anti-depressant  in half,
  • Discontinue taking the first add-on
  • Begin new add-on medication, one I’d never taken before.

Week Two:

  • Discontinue current main anti-depressant completely,
  • Begin another anti-depressant, one I’d used before but had fewer side effects (meaning, I was awake)

In other words, my doc had told me to switch both my main anti-depressant and the add-on  during a two-week period.

Okay, whatever,” I thought.  I just wanted to be able to see, be conscious, sit still and maybe get some creativity– some of the “me” back.

I followed the instructions.

But I had problems with the new “add-on.”     That particular medication warned that if you get a rash from it, especially in your eyes,  you could die.  My eyes started itching,  I had that kind of rash.    Since they didn’t know which meds were causing it, and it was potentially fatal, I was told to stop taking everything, cold turkey.   So, I did.

No one told me there could be side effects, no one told me there was withdrawal.

First I became so, so dizzy.  I would walk into door jams, stumble around in my little house.   I had been in the midst of home improvement projects that required me to be up on a ladder.  I couldn’t even think of it.   My equilibrium was off.  Way off.

Then came the nausea and diarrhea.

Because of my history, Confessions of a Skinny Mom, I am no stranger to stomach ailments.  But this was different.  Sudden flu or food poisoning-like symptoms hit me, hard.

Damn, am I sick?

I kept having to go to the bathroom.   “Whoa,”  I thought. “This isn’t normal.  Had I eaten something bad ? ” I wondered.

Without going into the gory details, suffice it to say that I stopped keeping track of my bathroom visits after eight  trips to the toilet in an hour.  I was too sensitive to sights and smells to camp out in there.   Ewwww!  So back and forth I went.  (No pun intended.)

Next came the brain zaps.  It’s so hard to describe.  It’s like getting hit in the head with a heavy blunt object, but without the external pain.   Sudden flashes of light out of nowhere, caused by nothing, but strong enough to make me stop talking, lose my train of thought, blink, cringe, shudder,  look around

. . . at nothing.

Then light became my curse.  It hurt to open my eyes, it didn’t matter whether it was artificial or sun light —  any light hurt.   I started to wear sunglasses inside, at night.   Sound bothered me as well, but not as much as light.   Unless — it was the phone.    I couldn’t hold a phone to my ear;  I thought my ears would bleed.   I had to talk on speaker or I couldn’t talk at all.

I lived like a vampire, a  vampire with the runs.  (TMI?  I know,  it was too much for me, too.)

I shouldn’t have been driving. 

Still,  the kids had to get places and I didn’t know what was wrong with me.   I tried to work through  it.  It’s a mom thing.  I was trying to play it off.  Wrong.  So wrong.  Clearly I hadn’t learned my lesson from my previous illnesses I ignored.  “Almost F*cked to Death.”    And did I mention it was Halloween and I have five kids?   I did the best I could, and I did more than I should have, but it wasn’t much fun that year.  Not at all.   I told the kids I was sick and they’d have to be patient with me.  I usually enjoy Halloween, but that year?  — well, it was just too damn scary.

On the road it felt as though cars were coming right at me, like some sort of horror movie and awful amusement park ride combined . . . on drugs.  I missed turns in my own neighborhood.   I yelled at the kids to be quiet because I had to concentrate on what I was doing.  It took so much focused energy to go forward.  I white knuckled the steering wheel, for dear life.  It was counter-intuitive, really. I mean,  I know not to drive while under the influence.     But my impaired driving was because I  wasn’t taking anything.   It didn’t make sense.  Bottom line, though,  my judgment, reflexes, everything was impaired.   I should not have been on the road.  

And I was so weak.  So weak.   I recall going to the store and needing a cart —  to hold myself up.   I couldn’t walk without swooning, and I had to close my eyes from time to time, even with sunglasses on.   Like having a bad flu, I hurt all over.

Mentally, it took its toll as well, mainly because I didn’t know what was happening to me.  The brain zaps and the light sensitivity,  the nausea and the lack of depth perception and compromised equilibrium — it all started to affect my judgment.    I wouldn’t say I was suicidal, exactly,  but I wasn’t thinking right.  I was agitated, confused.  I thought I was going crazy.   It wasn’t pretty.  When I thought of what I went through alone, and what could have happened, I still shudder.  I wasn’t thinking  clearly at all.  I didn’t have another adult to talk to about it.  Paranoia had set in.

I was alone on that worst first night, fending off invisible blows to my head in a darkened room that seemed to keep spinning around.  But a friend happened to call me, an acquaintance, really. I answered (on speaker) out of desperation, I was close to quiet hysteria.   She casually asked how I was doing.   Now I had diarrhea again —  of the mouth.  I quickly  told her I wasn’t doing too well, confessed I had been on meds, developed  side effects and stopped taking them pursuant to doctor’s orders but was freaking out!    And I described to her how I felt.   Poor thing,  I know she wasn’t expecting so much information from me, but she listened, and was concerned.   (I probably sounded like a maniac.)   She talked me down from some of my agitation and convinced me to call the doctor.  To this day I don’t remember who called me that night.

But the next day was Sunday, and Halloween, and did I mention I have five kids?  Poor kids.  I wasn’t my normal Halloween loving  self.  We got through it.  By the time I got a message returned from my psychiatrist and told her how I was feeling,  she  said that I sounded sick and should  see a doctor.  Ya think?  Wait.  What?   Isn’t SHE  a doctor?   Yes, yes, she is, but she suggested I  see my regular primary care physician or go to the emergency room.   I  didn’t feel up to taking myself to the ER so I  waited to see my regular doctor.    He told me he thought my symptoms were from the withdrawal from the first anti-depressant, not the rash-making add-on.  He said I could keep working through it and see what life is like off the meds.

Huh, I thought.  So far, life off the meds hurt like hell and . . .  IT WAS STARTING TO PISS ME OFFEverything was starting to piss me off.   Ahh yes, another lovely discontinuation effect of which I had not been warned.

The Shining

Rages, they call them.  Sudden fits of anger.  Lovely.   I should have been chained to a pipe in a dark basement with nothing but a pissy mattress.

When I felt well enough to do research, I found that I was not alone, that this medication is almost never stopped cold turkey because of the horrific “discontinuation effects.”   Patients usually plan to ween over a period of months,  not days, and still suffer.   Some liken the symptoms to heroin withdrawal and even suggest that cold turkey discontinuation only be attempted while hospitalized.  But it’s not about a craving for the medication, anti-depressants don’t really work like that,  it’s about the physical withdrawal the body goes through when the medicine is taken away.  Because the withdrawal symptoms can be so debilitating, patients often plan the withdrawal during a time when they can take off work and all other responsibilities. Silly me, attempting cold turkey withdrawal while caring for five kids — at Halloween.   But I didn’t know.

Armed with this information,  I talked to my psychiatrist again, this time in person, and explained all of my symptoms and what my other doctor had said.  She advised that my only choice was to  start taking a low dosage of the same  anti-depressant again and ween slowly from that.

What?  Start taking it again?  What? 

Hoping that I’d already suffered through the worst of it, I decided not to start taking the drug again.  My shrink apologized for not telling me that there could be “discontinuation effects.”  How could she not tell me?  Yeah, I was pissed, sitting there in her office, with my sunglasses on, blinking after the brain zaps.   I was pissed.  And I looked like hell.

The zaps went on for months, as well as the light sensitivity, lethargy and dizziness.   It was not unusual for me to wear sunglasses in the grocery store, at night, leaning on a cart.   Pitiful.  But don’t talk to me.  I might not be nice.  Shhhh.

Imagine having a hangover while on a spinning carnival ride while seated next to someone who annoyed the hell out of you and who kept clocking you in the head.   Yeah  . . .  like that.

It’s been almost a year now.  I’m still suffering from some long-term discontinuation effects.   I  have trouble putting  a phone to my ear, I never go anywhere without sunglasses,  and I’m often suddenly irritable — but less so now.  I have other physical symptoms — but these may or may not be a result of  dealing with depression without medication.   I don’t know.

Regardless, I wish I would have known that there was a possibility that I would suffer so from simply stopping the medication.  If I had, I would have thought twice about starting this particular drug in the first place.  Had I known — what I learned too late,  I absolutely would have planned my discontinuation of the medicine so very differently, or at the very least timed it differently.

And this I know:  I will never take anything again without researching not only the possible side effects while taking the medication, but the possible effects of discontinuing it.

In the end, I am just very grateful that  I didn’t accidentally or intentionally cause any harm to myself or others while going through the withdrawal.

It was a horrible experience.

Just Me With OUT . . .  Cymbalta.

Depression hurts . . .  Cymbalta can help.   But if you stop taking it . . . beware.    Bwa ha ha ha!      www.CymbaltaWithdrawal.com

P.S.  I am not against the use of anti-depressants, or add-ons, or whatever it takes.  And I know that some people do not suffer any discontinuation effects.   My medicines got me off the floor during a unspeakably painful time.  So no judgment on people taking medicine for depression.  I do believe, however, that discussion of the type, timing, dosage, length of treatment and effects of discontinuation of treatment should be initiated by the prescribing physician and thoroughly discussed.   There was much I didn’t know, and wasn’t thinking clearly enough to ask or research on my own.  I was uninformed, and that’s never good.

How Do I Feel About My Ex-Husband Getting Married?

Julianna Margulies, in (ironically) “The Good Wife”

I heard somewhere that a good lawyer can take two inextricably  related concepts — facts that are fused together, if you will —  and think of them separately.  Yin from the Yang.  Well, I’m still a lawyer.  When I was practicing, before all the children, depression and heartbreak, I was a good lawyer.   I can do this.

So “but for” the kids, how do I feel about my ex-husband’s wedding? 

Up until now my concerns about the wedding  have been the poor way in which it was announced to me via the kids (unsuccessfully, see How I Found Out that My Ex-Husband Is Getting Married), the kids’ reluctant involvement in it, dealing with one kid’s downright hysteria about it, and the other kids’ unusual silence.  Also, I’ve had to deal with the happy couple taking the children shopping to dress them  for the event and the changes in the visitation  schedules necessitated by the  preparation for  and  the event itself.

On a personal level, I admit that since this will be the first time since they were little that  the girls have all gotten dressed up for anything — and it’s for their father’s wedding — and I am not involved –well,  that smarts a bit — but again that  has to do with the  kids.   Additionally,  I worry that if  I do become upset about the wedding, either teary or angry, how will that make the kids feel when they get home?   But that’s still about the kids.   Plus, I have thought about  how it will be to have to deal with this woman with respect to the children  going forward once she gets her “Mrs” since there have  been some issues.  But again, the issues are all related to the kids.  It’s  all stuff all related —  directly or indirectly–  to the children.

So I’ll  do the lawyerly thing and take the kids completely out of the analysis.  

Accordingly, with respect to making a determination as to how I feel regarding my ex-husband’s impending nuptials,  I hereby order that for the purposes of this post, and this post only, such determination shall be made without any consideration whatsoever of   the minor children born to me  and him during our now dissolved union.

It’s a stretch, but  . . . okay — be gone– thoughts of children!!!

Now how do I feel about my ex-husband getting married?

F*ck if I know.  

Really, sorry for the profanity . . . but I guess I’m a little  freaked out by the fact that I don’t feel much about it.

Is this going to be one of those things when I think I’m fine and then I end up in a heap on the floor calling my counseling hotline?  I really don’t think so.

I’ve had two friends volunteer to “do something”  with me that day.   Am I gonna need that?    I mean, okay,  maybe I shouldn’t do “nothing” that day, but really, I’ve done the nervous breakdown thing before and this doesn’t feel like that.  And I’d like to, need to, spend more time with friends, but not necessarily on that day simply because it is his wedding day.

It seems that people  are afraid I will fall apart because of all that I’ve been through.   But, for once, perhaps because of all that I’ve been through,  I don’t think that I will — fall apart.

Again, taking everything else away (and there’s a lot)  . . .

I really don’t think that my ex-husband getting married is a matter of my concern.

I don’t care.

Huh.  There you have it.

So ordered.  Judgment in favor of “I don’t give a f*ck.”

That said, the kids will be gone for a few hours that day.  Now that I’ve established that I don’t have  feelings about him getting married (again, taking the real crap out of the analysis), what should I do on his wedding day?   I don’t feel like planning something particularly special or completely out of the ordinary  because that seems so . .  .  well  . . .  reactive. 

So . . . what to do?  What to do?  (Or, did I just completely sidestep how I feel by finishing up by talking about what I should do?)

Just Me With . . . no feelings about and no plans for my Ex-Husband’s Wedding Day. 

Postscript:  His wedding day has come and gone.   I Was The Nanny When My Ex-Husband Got Married

Related Posts:   He’ll Be Married, I’ll Be Free

I Don’t Love Him

The Rage Inside Me

I am angry.  That is how my depression manifests itself these days.  I’m off the floor.  I don’t cry.  But  I have no patience for anyone and I’m pushing people away.  That’s my M.O.    I’m blinded by rage and can’t see anything but thankless obligation.  Suppressing myself for the common good.  That is what I do, that is what mothers must do.    Therein lies my rage.  It’s not pretty.  It’s not good.  Since I can’t let it out, it gets turned inward.  And it waits.  Customer service people and drivers beware.

No, I don’t bash my Ex in front of my kids, yes, I show support for his choices.  Because I have no choice.    blah blah blah     And, I count my blessings for having healthy kids, living parents, a roof over my head, and an Ex who pays court-ordered child support.   Yes, I know the drill.  Those will tell me to put on my big girl panties, pray, etc.   Yes, I know the drill.  I’m not an idiot.   I’m not a Stepford Ex-Wife either —   though I play one in real life during every waking hour.  I don’t drink.  I never utter a profanity in front of my kids.  I’m a good girl.

But just under the surface, is my rage, this  is where my poor choices, failed career, and misspent youth doing the right things  fester, while I watch, drive, stand in the rain,  in support of everyone else or dry the tears and say the “right” things when someone comes to me crying because of something someone else did, or accept being ignored when it is not “my day.”   I listen to crap to keep the peace and I bite my tongue while people pity me for not meeting my or their expectations.   I say thank you when my mothering gets praised when I’ve never felt so alone.  Yet I know that children are fickle creatures and will gravitate toward those who fulfill their needs and cling to those who fail them.   I’m honored to have certain people in my life, yet curse myself for having needed them so badly.  And I know that there are people suffering horribly from unspeakable disease, trauma and disaster, so how dare I be angry about anything?   Yes,  yes, I know,  I know the drill.  So again, thou shall not have feelings . . .

So I’m angry.  And the perfect empowered, pump wearing, summer house, happily c0-parenting with one child, dinner party, career-minded, alumni event and conference attending, people can shake their heads and waggle their tongues, all because I have feelings and dare to get pissed.   And, that’s why I’m pissed.  I have feelings.   I do the “right” things for my family —  my broken home, but it is not and never has been enough for me and . . .  I’m . . .  pissed.   I’m doing for my children, and I hope they do well and  I hope to assist them to gain the tools necessary to do whatever they want to do — live their life, achieve what they want . . . happiness.  But this  —-   this,  is my life now and it  . . . makes . . .  me  . . . mad.    And I do not like it.

I realize I may get negative nastiness from this.  Get in line,  and take a number — Bash Me in Aisle Two, Use Me in Aisle One.   These are, apparently, what I am here for,  my true calling.

And this, my friend, is the voice of depression.

Just Me With . .  . rage

He’ll Be Married, I’ll Be Free

The Evil Grinch Smile, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

I am the most bitter of bitter, clinically depressed and all around down in the dumps – – most of the time.     But something  strange happened, something occurred to me that made me  . . . . smile.  I think I just heard a collective gasp from my readers, it’s shocking I know, really shocking.   But I smiled  . . . I smiled . . .  regarding the impending nuptials of my ex-husband, a man I had been with since the tender age of 16,  a man with whom I share the only children I’ll ever have,  a man who, after many years of marriage,  suddenly told me, simply,  “I  have to go,”  on one snowy  night after we had put our children to bed.

Now, a mere four months after our prolonged and contentious divorce  became final,  he has announced plans to remarry (well, he left me a voice mail).  Though I do think it sets a better example for our tween and teen children,  I have many concerns,  many scowls and curses about the whole idea of it and the manner in which it has unfolded.   All fodder for another post  for another day . . . maybe,  . . .  or maybe not.

But the story today is not so vile

The story today is about my Grinch-like smile,

which started out small and then started to  grow . . .

it started, of course, when I realized and thought . . .

I thought and I realized  that them tying the knot

means  a knot will be tied and . . .  he’s all knotted up!

In other words, minus the bad Seuss inspired prose.   

He’ll be married while  I– am–  free!

My ex-everything will be  on lock down, committed, his relationship and his ownership of property will be  governed by our state’s laws, he will be  bound in matrimony.   His dating and new relationship days are over.  Even now, he’s running around getting stuff  for the wedding and  speaking in the royal “we” while I am, in a word   —   free.

The Shawshank Redemption

This is all new for me. I was married young and for many years. For most of my life, I was  someone’s girlfriend, someone’s wife; hell,  I was his girlfriend, his wife.    Now, I’m not.    Did you hear it?  Did you feel it?  There has been a small shift somewhere in the universe and everything has changed .  Next month,  he’ll be somebody’s husband and I’ll be NOBODY’S wife.  (smile)  In a strange way, this has set me free in a way that separation and divorce  and even other men did not.   This  is a statement to the world that our  epic romance, and crippling break-up —   is —  over.   And the fact that I’m okay with that part of it, even though I was royally dumped,  will be so much more obvious when he makes his vows to another woman and . . .

I . . .DON’T . .  . LAY . . . DOWN . . .  AND . . . DIE.    

Oh, I’m still pissed about a lot of things, don’t get me wrong.   Sure  there will be more announcements, more crap to deal with;  it’s another chapter in a book I didn’t want to read.   And I’m not even  addressing here my larger concerns about difficulty dealing with them both where the kids are concerned,  his lingering hostility toward, pity and disrespect of  me,  the fact that I never got a chance to be  single while younger and without children,  the opportunities I may have missed because I married young, and that he is getting a do-over in a way, as a woman and mother, I cannot.    But . . . still . . . I’m free.

Soon,  we will no longer just be  living separately.  He’ll be living married and I’ll be living single.  If you’ve read my other posts, you know I haven’t jumped into the dating waters with both feet.  I stick my toes in, maybe up to my knees, then get out where it’s warm, apply my sun (man) screen and enjoy the fresh air.   However, whenever I do get in  — whether I jump, inch in slowly,  get pushed or perhaps pulled in, it’ll be my thing.   I’ll make stories to tell, stories that for once, don’t include him.

“Oh the places [I’ll] go . . .”

Oh The Places You’ll Go, by Dr. Seuss

And you know what?  I don’t have to settle for the random landscaper dude.  I can do better.  I deserve better.

Just Me With . . . a smile.  heh heh heh

Related Posts:  How Do I Feel About My Ex-Husband Getting Married?

I Was The Nanny When My Ex-Husband Got Married.

To My Best Friend on Mother’s Day

Best Friends from “Something Borrowed”

My best friend, my saviour, in many ways.  She’s my girl.  I really only see her a few times a year though we live close by. But she has my back.  We’ve known each other since we were kids.  We went to proms together, we were in each other’s weddings.   She’s still married, happily.  Her husband is a good guy, a physician, so is she.  As an OB/GYN, she assists women bringing babies into the world every day.  Sadly, she could never get pregnant.  Over the years she’s  regretted putting her career first  and wondered whether if she’d started trying sooner maybe something could have been done.  She has  felt intense guilt about  causing her husband to miss out of being a dad (tests showed it was her, and not him, who caused the infertility).  She’s watched her brother marry and have four kids (two by birth, two by adoption), she’s watched her husband’s sisters marry and have children with the assistance of infertility treatments.  She’s watched me pop out kids two at a time.  But despite medical intervention and years of trying, she never  got pregnant, not even once.  They decided not to adopt.   After years of suffering horribly from fibroids, she finally had a hysterectomy.    But damn if this woman isn’t a mother.  I’m not talking about how she’s the cool aunt to her nieces and nephews.  That’s true, but I’m talking about her being a mother — to me.

When my marriage fell apart,

this woman came to my house at 4am to pick me up off the floor,

this woman had me and my five kids over her house so we would not have to watch my husband move out and served us cookies and pizza while we cried,

this woman recruited her brother so they could both drive to pick me up  and  bring me and my car back home when I found myself on a hotel room floor, dangerously alone,

this woman never forgets to give me a gift — like a gift card to Victoria’s Secret or Home Depot — so that I can pamper myself when no one else will,

And, to this day, this woman has picked up the tab for the co-pays for my many therapy sessions, which have kept me out of the morgue.

And this woman, knew exactly what to say when my divorce became final.

This woman, who delivers babies all day long, but has no children of her own  —  is mothering me, someone  who is few months older than her (yeah — I’ll give her that, it’s the least I can do — ha ha!).

So Happy Mother’s Day to my Best Friend, who, by the way, is gorgeous!

Just Me With . . .  The Best Friend Ever!

See also:

How  I Found Out that My Ex-Husband Was Getting Married, a Mother’s Day Thing.

Worst Mother’s Day Card Ever

I Don’t Go To Weddings, But I’ll Watch the Royals

William and Kate

Weddings.  Ahh weddings.  It’s that time of year.  Starting off with a bang this year with the Royals William and Kate, but for regular folk  some people will be getting invitations to sibling’s, cousin’s, aunt’s and uncle’s,  best friend’s and acquaintance’s.   Me? I haven’t attended a wedding since my marriage ended.   And actually, I’m kind of in between life stages for weddings, anyway.  My friends are either already married or simply not going to do that (or if they do, it’ll be somewhere in Vegas).   For the most part, second marriages are not in full swing yet.   The younger members of my family aren’t old enough or ready.   Despite my marrying young, the rest of my family and close friends don’t  generally do that.  We’re slow that way.  So, I’m probably off the hook this year.

Still,  I’ve been invited to a few weddings over the years, but I politely decline.

At first I thought it would make me too sad to watch a marriage ceremony when mine didn’t take, but really I’m afraid I’d be one of those drunken hecklers you usually find at comedy clubs.

The Graduate

Officiator:  “Do you promise to Love, Honor, and Cherish . . . .?”

Me:   Yeah, they say that NOW . . . Everybody SAYS that . . .

Officiator:   “Forsaking all others . . .”

Me:    HA!!!!     Until a juicy young piece of a** asks for a ride home after work  . . .  Forsaking all others . . .  for a while . . .

Yeah, perhaps I am right to politely decline live attendance at weddings.

Still, I struggled with my last decline.   A very good friend of mine, who had been my bridesmaid and I, hers, at her first wedding, was remarrying.   She was and is deliriously happy.  Her first husband turned out to be a complete schmuck.  I’d known him from college too, actually longer than I’d known her.  I did not expect his bad behavior.   Neither did she.   He cheated on her.   Got  some other woman pregnant —  twice.  First, abortion.  Second, well she was six months pregnant when he finally had to come clean.   He first complained of depression and suicidal thoughts (to soften her up, I think), then hit her with, oh and by the by, I have a girlfriend and she’s pregnant and  having the baby (unlike the first pregnancy) — WHAAAAT?!!!!!!!!.   Despite this, my friend tried to save her marriage, something I couldn’t fully comprehend at the time, but I understand now.   She got him into counseling, on antidepressants, and did not kick him out.  They tried to work out a plan for this child, who was coming, no matter what.

It didn’t work;  he left their marital bed to go to this woman’s hospital bedside and watch their child’s birth, giving the baby the same name he and my friend had discussed if they ever had a child.   Cruel.   You see, the schmuck  didn’t want children at all when he and my friend first married but then softened and consented to one, just one.   Sadly, my friend could not get pregnant.   So his impregnating another woman and giving that baby the name they had decided on . . . well that’s whip worthy.

I remember talking to her  over the phone  — while her husband was at the hospital shortly after the baby was born.  It was unspeakable.   That is a pain no one should have to endure.   There’s a special place . . . for that man.   After the baby was born, he never really came back home, except to change clothes.   A couple of days later as she worked from home and  thought he was at work —  and he thought she was out — he came by and left a note, saying his place was with the baby and the baby’s mother.  After 12 years of marriage,  she got a break up note.  (She found out later it was all preplanned as he had already applied for and was given “parental” leave from work. Ugh.)

The Post It

From “Sex and The City” Carrie’s boyfriend broke up with her via a Post-It note.

My friend talked her way through this with her girlfriends;  all we could do was listen.  (A favor she returned to me later).

But, my friend met another man, by chance, at an event.  He, too, was suffering from the effects of a cheating and also spiteful spouse.  They clicked immediately.  They fell in love.   Some of us girlfriends (original bridesmaids) were worried that it was too soon, that it was a rebound situation, that this guy was also hurting too much – that it was like meeting someone in rehab — you have a lot in common, but is it really a basis for a positive new start?   My friend explained, “You know, bad things happen all the time, suddenly — car wrecks, cancer, hurricanes, and we accept that and adjust.  Why can’t we accept it when good things happen, suddenly, seemingly ill-timed?”  Okay, she’s a genius.  And she is a brilliant, talented, quite no-nonsense, kind of  woman with a dry sense of humor.   She’s not even religious, so it’s not a “God sent him to me” type of thing.   They just found each other.    After dating for a couple of  years,  last year, they  married at the beach.     You see, except for the horrible ordeal with the schmuck,  good things tend to  happen to this woman.  She even sold her old house in this horrible market in a matter of weeks.

She’d found her true love.   She won’t have children, and his are almost grown, but they have each other and have been happy, really happy.

I did not attend her wedding.   It was a semi-destination wedding small affair and although she would have been thrilled if I’d come, she kind of expected I wouldn’t make it, and was really cool about it.  I was in a bad way and couldn’t handle long drives, plus I wasn’t sure what I would do with my kids.   Plus, it’s not really good for me to be around for these things.   I might have cried — too much.    I was in her first wedding, and she in mine and neither one ended well —  I dunno – –  was I being superstitious?  It certainly wasn’t jealousy.   I have never been happier for anyone getting married.  She deserves happiness, just because she’s cool, let alone all the crap that schmuck put her through.   I definitely would not have heckled her.

Sometimes, it’s okay to stay away.  I have her back, though, and she mine.  We both know that.   I may attend William and Kate’s special day, though.  And I’ll call/text/email my friend to see what she thinks of it .   She loves royal weddings.   After all it is thousands of miles away and on television and on delay (I’m not getting up at 4:00am) and I don’t actually know William and Kate.   So I think it’s pretty safe for me to be in TV attendance.

I haven’t lost all capacity for romance, damn it.

The one with all the wedding dresses

Just Me With . . .  a remote control and well wishes to all the brides . . . from afar.  

I did go to a wedding, eventually.  See  “I Went To A Wedding Alone”