Brenda: A Wild Ride

Don did well for a while. He left his job of 17 years to go to school for an accounting degree and graduated from the two-year program with honors. However, in early 2014, his behavior began to change.

He went from the guy who was depressed and sleeping a lot to wasn’t sleeping as much, and was a little more boisterous than usual, for him. He was buying stuff that didn’t make a lot of sense. . . Who stole my husband? He would stay in bed until 11 or 12 o’clock during the day. Then he started on this buying spree, buying and trading vehicles, staying up all night, just really bizarre behavior for him. Something’s not right here—he was being more outgoing, more boisterous. The neighbors were wondering what’s going on. Plus, he was always one that drank very little. All of a sudden, he’s drinking beer every day. This is not normal.

When Brenda questioned Don, he would say that he was feeling good and had finally turned a corner. After she shared her concerns with his psychiatrist, Don became angry.

He said, “You called my doctor. What did you do that for?” I said, “I’m really concerned about your behavior. You’re not sleeping. You’re not eating. You’re not doing a lot of things you used to do. You’re busy all day but there’s nothing getting done.” He said, “I’ll do as I darn well please.” I never heard that out of him before. Then he said, “You can stay here and mind your own business and let me do my own thing or if you don’t like it, I can get rid of you like I did the first wife. Just name your price. I’ll write you a check and you can move out and get a divorce. . .You are not going to call and talk to my doctors any more either.” He went in to the psychiatrist’s office the next day and signed forms so that they could not release any information to me.

Then Don rode his four-wheeler at midnight and crashed in the creek on their property. He came into the house with blood all over his face. In the emergency room, staff told on him not to ride the four-wheeler at night and watch the beer, since he reported he had increased his intake of one beer once a week to three or four a day.

Don’s behavior became more troubling, including reports of stalking a woman who was 20 years younger, his cousin’s widow. Brenda also found out that he had bought $300 worth of women’s lingerie in different sizes, colors, and styles. He told Brenda that he had bought her a little present but they were not all in her size. When Brenda and Don went to the state fair, Don verbally assaulted two officers and drove through a barricade. This behavior resulted in a trip to a local city hospital and a 72-hour hold. He became very angry at Brenda and yelled obscenities at her. The hospital social worker told Brenda that if she was scared of living with him, she should move out.

Note: A 72-hour hold, authorized by state law, refers to the legal decision to hold an individual who is mentally ill, developmentally disabled, or chemically dependent, and is in danger of causing injury to self or others in a treatment facility for 72 hours (excluding holidays and weekends) for evaluation. The facility must release the individual within 72 hours unless a court order is obtained to hold the individual for a longer time period.

More of the Story: Going to a Safe Place