Brenda: Going to a Safe Place

While Don was on the 72-hour hold, Brenda moved out of the house. A friend helped her find an apartment on short notice and Brenda’s kids helped her move. She reflected, “There was a God thing in this, because I have a pretty strong faith and that’s God working.” She left the keys in the house and a note for Don saying he could call her when he was ready to talk. She did not reveal where she was staying and did not hear from him for two weeks. Meanwhile neighbors called her with reports of Don’s bizarre behavior. Then she received an email from him, which said, “The man you married is no longer with us. I am on a mission from God. I have been healed.”

More bizarre behavior followed including speeding in Iowa, resulting in jail time. He spent time with a woman, a convicted felon with a history of meth use, and went on a spree of buying machinery, trucks, and cars. Brenda reported he was “giving stuff away.” One day he spent five hours at a gas station, giving away gas until he maxed out his credit card. After several months of erratic behavior, he ended up in jail when he took grain carts from a dealer overnight and tried to sell them to another dealer the next day.

Brenda filed for an emergency conservatorship so she could manage the finances and worked on getting Don’s insurance reestablished. Don would not accept Brenda in the conservator role, but did offer to sign himself into the hospital to prove that she was the “crazy person.” Don’s erratic behavior in the hospital led to an emergency psychiatric hold. Following a psychiatric assessment, Don was told he had a bipolar disorder and needed to have medications. He agreed to hospitalization on a psychiatric unit and started on medications. Since he cooperated with the treatment plan, he received a stay of commitment and was allowed to go home “if he took his medications and didn’t get into any trouble.”

Note: A stay of commitment happens when a commitment order for treatment is not executed as long as the individual in the commitment hearing meets the conditions stated in the commitment order.

More of the Story: Moving Back Home