Life Lessons, Part 1
“Life Lessons, Part 1”
I am 56 years old, a single mom of three kids, ages twenty-seven, twenty-four, and twenty. I’ve suffered from depression most of my adult life. I married at twenty-seven. My ex is a good intelligent man unfortunately however he had a difficult time staying employed. He was in out of work at least twelve times during our married life. Financial issues plagued us during our entire married life. We moved into my parents’ home with our three children when my oldest was in third grade. What started out as a temporary fix to our finances turned into eighteen years. We watched my father suffer terribly from depression when his business failed. I was there when my father attempted suicide only to be angry with me when he woke up in the ER. And we were there when my father passed away on my birthday in 2000.
My husband became more and more complacent and only did what was required to pay my parent’s rent but nothing more to improve our life.
I had always worked at a home business when the children were young. I went into the work world when my youngest was in third grade. I started out as a temp in a very large corporate company and became a full time employee after three months. I stayed through October 2005 when the company had a huge re-org and eliminated 800 positions.
With no job and my marriage on the rocks, I entered a heightened state of mania. I had been treated for depression, but realize I was never properly diagnosed. I began going out at night meeting friends, sometimes staying out all night. I shopped with money we did not have. I wrote $2,500 in bad checks.
On Jan 14, 2006 I took a car out for a test drive and ran out of gas. When I failed to return the car to the dealership before closing time, the police were dispatched. Observing my distress they took me to a regional psychiatric center. I remained for three days, heavily medicated in the ER as they had no beds. On the third day I was transferred to another psychiatric hospital where I remained for five weeks.
I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder, and began a new regiment of medications. While in the hospital warrants were sent to my home regarding the bounced checks. Upon my release the warrants became summonses for my arrest. My family, thinking they were doing the best for me, sent me to a homeless shelter until I took action regarding my legal issues. I retained a pro-bono attorney. His advice to me was to plead guilty, pay the restitution and enter into five years of probation. I did not however realize that pleading guilty would result in a felony that stays intact for twenty-one years. The fact that I had just gotten out of the hospital and was heavily medicated on anti-psychotic meds was not brought up in court.
I did not work for the remainder of 2006. I began my monthly probation visits and started paying back the restitution. I had done extensive damage to my relationships with my children. They lost their trust in me. While I was in the hospital he met a woman and began an affair. Life went on; we lived together but separately under one roof. No one talked about the white elephant in the room.