Brenda: We make the best of today and we go foward

“It was like moving into the twilight zone.”

When Brenda met her second husband Don eleven years ago, he revealed he had been treated for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression, but his symptoms were under control. While they were dating, she did not notice symptoms; however, that changed when they married and Brenda moved in with Don and his mother.

It was like moving into the twilight zone. He still had had quite a few OCD issues that I just learned to live with. Okay, we can learn to adjust. When you come in from outside in the garden, you always take a shower and you always put the clothes in the wash. There’s no coming in from outside without doing that. Okay, fine.

Don’s mother, in her late 80s, began to show symptoms of dementia. Brenda and Don took care of his mother, but she went into long-term care when it wasn’t safe for her to be at home. Then Don’s depression became worse and when he told Brenda he felt suicidal, he was hospitalized for seven days. Following his hospital stay, Don tried a variety of different medications, hoping to find one that worked for him. In looking back at Don’s life, Brenda reflected on possible triggers for his symptoms.

I know he said after his mom went into the nursing home, she had always been his life. Those two had been real close. When she went into the nursing home, he said, “Well, I have nothing to live for.” That was when he was suicidal and went into the hospital the first time. When she died 16 months later, he said, “Well, you know it’s nothing against you, but I really have no reason to live anymore.”

Brenda surmised that Don had gone on buying sprees in the past, resulting in financial problems that his mother apparently covered up. A neighbor told Brenda that when Don was younger, “His mom kept him medicated.” Some of Don’s relatives on both sides of the family had lived with mental illness, but no one talked about it until Don experienced major symptoms.

More of the Story: A Wild Ride