I Used To Be OK

By Paul,

So, maybe telling people what happened, how I went from “normal” to what I have become now may help someone. Maybe someone will identify, and wont feel as alone as I do now.

I guess I best condense it, as I’d need pages to get it all down. I’m 39 in three weeks. I was a happy go lucky couldn’t give a damn geordie bloke. Nothing bothered me. To the point where I was known for being always happy and never stresssed. I think I was just good at hiding it on the rare occasions when I was.

So three year ago, I’m in the middle of an affair, I have a wife and three kids, I’m ashamed when I look back but then I didn’t care. My wife found out and after weeks of talking, we agreed to give it another go.

I had cut all links with the ‘other woman’, it made me realise my family mean everything to me. The guilt still haunts me now. My wife changed. She became loving and caring and I was the same.

We had started caring for her mum, who was back then a bit forgetful, but fine. Her mum sold her house and moved close to us after my father-in-law died, she said to my wife when her house was sold she could have half of the money. As its her in the will anyway.

It took a year but when it sold we had no worries about money for a while. We went on holiday to the seaside, treated the kids, it was almost idyllic. Then my mother-in-laws dementia started. It was a steady decline to the point now where she’s incontinent and doesn’t remember ten mins ago.

We still care for her in her house, she lives alone but we are there five times a day and carers come in twice. The stress is unreal. Because social services have accused us of fraud. They are saying she couldn’t consent to give us any money.

So we are facing a prison sentence. Our children will be taken into care. My daughters are 8 and 14. We will lose our house, our jobs. Everything.

When social services began investigating, that’s when the anxiety started. Waking up at four. Overwhelming thoughts, crying when I looked at the girls, knowing what’s coming, I ended up breaking down at work and being sent to the doc who prescribed buspirone.

It takes the edge off. But its like a monster. When I try to smile or laugh, it reminds me, when I wake up I’m scared, when I go to sleep its the voice whispering its coming, soon you lose your life.

My wife has buried her head in the sand, and my kids know somethings up. But you know what. I get up every day terrified. Every day, and I get through it. I work, do all the normal dad things, care for my mother-in-law, and function.

It will get worse I know. But I suppose my point is, if it can happen to me, someone who was so selfish, so unconcerned. It can happen to anyone. I was like you once, normal life, house kids, car and job. And soon its all gone.

I will probably do 3-4 years, and my wife. So we will start again. Deep down, despite the voice, the terror, the knowing what we have to do. I know it wont beat me. When it whispers “you will never get through the storm” I whisper back “fuck you, I AM the storm.

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