I’ve Lost My Mind- Pt 1

Although I share a lot of things, there are some stories that a very select few have heard. Those are more personal than just having bad luck with the ladies. This is one of those. Before reading this you need to know a couple things. Not all of my stories are going to be about bad things and making bad choices. Ok.. who are we kidding, there will be plenty of bad choices but without those there would not be a story for me to write. Just know that that my Journey travels a long and very bumpy road. I can’t tell you where or how it will end, but life took its toll on me and I hit my breaking point in the summer of 2008, smack dab in the middle of marriage #3. That’s when I finally snapped.
(To see how I ended up at this point go back a few post and start from the beginning Wife #1- Silent Roommates )

It was getting hotter every day. Summer was, like it or not, forcing itself upon us. I needed this to be a good summer. I was spent, physically and emotionally. In the preceding 12 months my income dropped by 75%. I was faced with more credit card debt than ever before and had just lost all 3 of my houses due to the recession. I was battling a bout with depression that I had not faced to this degree before. I felt as if I was failing in all aspects of my life. Not able to produce at work like I once did resulting in my inability to provide for my family. The unrelenting mountain of stress was upon me. There was no lapse in the aggressive siege from debt collectors. Every time the phone rang my stress level and anxiety increased tenfold. On top of that, as mentioned in Part 3, in April I had figured out #3 (3rd wife) was being unfaithful. I heard her phone beep in the middle of the night and I just leaned over to make it stop. I saw a picture of a shirtless man who obviously was proud of his ability to do sit ups and pushups. (side note: In a lot of countries a little extra weight was a sign of prosperity…I’m just saying) She blamed my withdrawing as the cause for her to stray. Horsecrap…I know, but I was in such a bad mental state that I accepted that as a plausible rationalization for her affair.

We spent the next few months trying to make it work. We were trying to live as if we had that brand new love again. It was the good old fake it until you make it kind of living. I was trying to move past the cheating. I was really trying to believe that a person could totally change and that this was going to be a story of redemption where a couple fought back against all odds and would become a pillar of an example to all. I know..i know… a bit dramatic, but that’s how bad I wanted this to have this fixed. We were doing good enough, but still, something was off. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but she has changed her latest routine, some patterns in everyday life and that threw up flags. I didn’t want to believe that she was still with or went back to him. I was hoping for the best but looking for evidence of the worst. I just needed to find out what she was hiding. I remember the anxiousness that engulfed my every thought. Where was she, who was she talking to, why is she leaving the room when she talks on the phone, why is she out of bed at 3 in the morning. Thought was overlapping and intertwining with each thought. My mind was a whirlwind folding in on itself. So yes, I had to start really investigating. I put a key logger on the computer where, unknown to her I could see every keystroke made. After a few weeks I got the evidence that I needed. It cut me to the core. She had about 12 too many drinks that night and was passed out at the top of the stairs. I stepped over her and into the office where I was able to bring up the email she had just sent. The email was filled with lust, greed, desire and betrayal. She said she loved him and wanted to have his baby but that she thinks it will mess with her kids too much. She only wants to be with him and cant wait for them to be together again… to feel his body against hers….

I was filled with rage. I wanted to drag her drunken motionless body down the steps, out the front door and on to the lawn where I could turn the hose on her to wake her up. I wanted to yell. But I didn’t, instead I printed out the evidence and hid it away. Silently I walked up the stairs, quietly stepping over her and then went back to bed. Over the next week I logged all of our “dropped calls” on the cell. I noted “Emergency trips” to the store. Once I got the next phone bill I would see that she was taking his calls. At that point there would be no screaming or fighting. Simply truth. That was a refreshing thought. Truth.

I carried on as if I was oblivious to the whole thing. She told me she needed a girls weekend and was driving to Arizona to be with her friend. I played along offering to drive with her then hang with a buddy, or to buy her a plane ticket. Of course she didn’t want me going because her plans were to meet him and spend the weekend at his house. Finally I had it. I blurt out, “I know exactly what you want to do this weekend, or should I say who.” (For the record that was the exact sentence I needed to use in order to send her to Level 9 violent.) We went back and forth, she listed all the stupid things I’ve ever done…EVER. She was a great fighter. Very aggressive whereas I am non confrontational and just want everything to be good. She screamed and screamed and just about had me ready to shut down and give up.

She finally said, “I will stay. But if you make me stay, we are getting a divorce. If I go, well, there’s a better chance than if I stay.” I believe, if I’m not mistaken, that’s when I used the word “Whore”… (Don’t get excited, I didn’t mean it like you think, I meant it in the Biblical sense. You know, it’s when all the towns people drag her out of the house and throw rocks at her until she learns her lesson.)
She slapped me across my face and said, “HOW DARE YOU?!” Wait a minute, how dare I? Has she not been here the last couple of years? That took me over the top and I became very confrontational. I have never hit a woman and never will, but she got real close that day. Instead I started screaming back louder than I had ever been around her. I repeatedly punched and kicked the washing machine. I believe I made my point clear as I concluded my passion filled tirade by pointing out the key logger and finishing by slamming the laptop down over and over on the corner of my desk. We didn’t talk the rest of that day or night and I stayed on the couch. As I began to fall asleep I wrestled with God. Begging the question, was this my lot? Am I to show unconditional love regardless of the return? My mind began to cave in on itself. Irrational thought compounded on top of irrational thought, I couldn’t pause long enough to make sense of anything. No longer able to keep my anguish bottled up. I slowly allowed myself to cry…. Everything I had done to try and fool myself into believing that there was a possibility of this thing turning around has burned up in the reality I now face. Tormented by my own mind I finally passed out around 6am or so and woke up around 9am. She was gone. My mind hit overload. Do I go after her? Do I pack me stuff and go, or do I burn the place down!? Yes… those were all thoughts I actually had. I was in this vicious tug-o-war between not wanting to be the guy with 3 divorces and not wanting to be in this sham of a marriage any more my mind spun and spun. I didn’t want to think, but I couldn’t stop. I didn’t want to hurt, but it wouldn’t stop, in fact it began to get worse. I was trying to stop crying but had lost control and was full body sobbing. I grabbed a bottle of scotch and took a nice hearty swig. If I could just get through this weekend then I will be able to figure it out. I walked upstairs and figured I would start packing some things. I opened the double doors to the master bedroom and entered the walk in closet. There was no light in there and my eyes scanned the interior while they adjusted to the darkness. I was looking for something to put my clothes in when my eyes stopped on a black box. I continued to drink while I slowly touched the box, gently placing my hand on the side of it as if to feel what might be inside. I opened it to find all of our wedding pictures, over 300. I carried the box and my bottle toward the bed. I then began to look at the pictures one by one. I would take it out and then lay it down face up on the bed. For the next half hour or so I placed the pictures all over the mattress then on the floor surrounding the bed. I made sure not to step on or disturb a single picture after it has been put in it’s spot. The river of tears had yet to cease. I couldn’t think. Truth is, I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to tell my family and friends that I failed again. I kept laying the pictures down, now spread evenly over the bed and floor.After every photo was distributed I placed my cell phone, car keys and wedding ring on top of my dresser. I walked into the bathroom which was adjacent to the closet and splashed water on my face. God knows I was tired. I needed to sleep. I couldn’t handle another moment of this cyclonic mind warp. UG! What was she doing with him right now? What was so wrong with me? How come every relationship starts out so good then fails in a big way? I’m never going to be enough for anyone… I just need to sleep. I grabbed the bottle of sleeping pills and went into the closet. I thought again of packing. I saw a backpack but next to it on the shelf I saw a silver metal box. I didn’t need to investigate this one.I knew what was in there. I got the box down. Very slowly, I opened the box. My fingers were drawn toward the object inside, lifting it out and setting the box down I held the gun in my hand and felt a calm come over me. That’s something I had not felt in awhile. It would be nice to not hurt anymore….
I stopped thinking. My mind was focused on the solution to all my problems. I put the gun in my belt loop and walked into the bathroom and collected a handful of sleeping pills. If I was going to end my life I was just going to do it. There was no “try”. I returned to the safety of the closet where I had intended to breathe my last breath. I’m tired of rationalizing everything. Trying to make sense of how I find my life this screwed up. I neatly organized the gun, scotch and pills in a straight line at my feet. I fashioned a noose out of neckties and connected myself to the rod that the shirts hung on… I lowered myself to my knees and finally dried my last tear. I had no awareness of life outside of the closet. Nothing mattered. The ambient noise was equal to a muffled static and outside of three items that lay before me I saw nothing. I lifted the scotch to my lips. I slowly and deliberately angled the bottle for maximum flow into my mouth. I felt the alcohol burn my insides as it made its way into my stomach. It will all be over soon. Why hadn’t I thought of this before? So easy. Still on my knees, I leaned forward to test my knot and the strength of the rod. Ok, here we go… I had built in redundancies. I was going to put the gun to my temple and pull the trigger. If that didnt work I had the noose to strangle me, and if the failed I had the ol’ pills-n-booze. This was it.. I grabbed the pills and prepared myself with another swig of scotch. I shut my eyes…. Took a deep breath and readied my heart, assuring myself that it was almost over. I raised the pills and heard a voice say, “run”.

My eyes opened and searched the closet scanning for the intruder. I closed my eyes again. “Joshua…Run, don’t think….run.” I saw myself preparing to kill myself and started to cry again. I dropped the bottle and the pills. I removed the noose and grabbed a backpack. I placed a pair of pants, water bottle and a notebook inside and without another thought I left. I was still ready to disappear from this life that I had made, but not completely. The further away I got from the closet the better I could recall the sound of the voices and laughter of my children and family. They were now echoing in my head. What was I thinking? That would have destroyed my sons, how selfish. What would there mom have said to them… Thank God I didn’t go through with it. I literally thank God. It wasn’t my voice that told me to run. My conscience never had the strength and security that “the voice” had. I believe that only God Himself could have intervened and saved me from myself. I walked out the front door and down the long asphalt driveway. No phone, no car, a little cash… Staring into the distance I wondered how far the walk is from San Diego to North Carolina….

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7 thoughts on “I’ve Lost My Mind- Pt 1

  1. […] It was close to 11pm on a Friday night in December. I came home after a Christmas Party and saw that there had been a moving Pod set in my driveway. There were lights on and movement in my house. I quickly remembered that #2 wife had said she was flying in to pack her stuff up. I didn’t want to talk to her. I didn’t want to see her. The pain of rejection and betrayal was far to fresh to actually face head on. I walked in to my house through the garage and into the dining room where on the table my bottle of Chivas sat next to a lonely glass. I quickly grabbed my liquid companion and drove to find refuge in the fantasy world that is a “gentleman’s club”. I drank a fair amount of scotch in the parking lot and went into the lone, dimly lit structure that sat in the shadows of the freeway that ran overhead. I sat down at a table stage left and just looked at my phone. I tipped the performers as they walked by and denied their requests for a private dance. Then there was Chanelle. (Sha-Nell like the perfume). A short brunette, which was a welcomed change from my blonde wife routine I had going. She just sat there and didn’t say anything for several minutes.. Then she put her hand on mine and said, “it’s gonna be alright you know..” Man… She was good, I had “Easy Mark” written all over my face. In the course of conversation I inquired, “is there was a record for table dances in a row?” Amused at my line of questioning she explained, “there was rumor of 55 but nothing official.” I may not have been successful at marriage, but this I could do. “Do you take American Express?” She grabbed my hand and away we went until no less than 75 songs had past. Throughout the several hours we spent together she continue to say that I was wasting my money and if I needed to talk we could go get a drink somewhere… I wasn’t going anywhere. I had the attention of a girl, that was obviously super into me, because I’m funny, not because of the money.. (Ha) Total bill including gratuity was $1750.00. Over the course of the next couple weeks we talked and then after about a month grabbed a drink and were pretty much inseparable after that. We met at the park with our kids and they got along really well. This was crazy… Everything was going great. She was doing and saying all the right things. I would come home from work and instead of standing there and giving me crap about being gone all day and everything that went wrong with her day she would jump up and throw her arms around me and tell me how glad she was that I was home. Doesn’t sound like much, but at that time it’s exactly what I needed. We now lived together with all of our kids. I had bought a house up in Alpine and was happy, or so I thought. The long summer was wearing on all of us and we needed a weekend away for sure. We went over to Catalina Island and after some good food, lotsa drink and some dancing we ended up walking in the ocean. She was saying something but I remember not really listening because I was thinking about how many times I could skip a stone across the water. I knelt down to grab a rock to skip and as I grabbed one I heard a gasp and some crying. Concerned I looked up to hear her saying, “yes, YES, YES!!!! I can’t wait to be your wife!” Uhhhhhh…….. I get it, we can all play Monday morning quarterback here folks and that won’t help anything. I knew that if I told her I wasn’t proposing that there would be no Lovin that night… So my plan was to wake up in the morning and just say how crazy last night was and that I didn’t remember anything…. Well as I woke up around 10 I heard her screeching on the phone to her mom, ” I KNOW!!! And it was soooo cute, he don’t even have a ring. Mmmhmm. Yup. Right.. We will have the reception there… Ok!” I was trapped. I figured my out was to explain that I could somehow justify dating a stripper but couldn’t in good conscience be married to one. She never danced again… Oh except at our $64,000.00 wedding. Yeah I said it…. Sixty-four-thousand-friggin-dollars! We added a her sister and her sisters 2 kids into the mix by letting them move in. Now at least 50% of the time we had 3 adults and 9 kids in the house… Over the next 8-10 months the laughter and joy quickly turned to stress and yelling. I was frustrated with my situation and took it out on the kids and withdrew from her. I had stopped taking my meds (for depression) because she had made some condescending remark about people who take them. I sank into a pit. I didn’t care that I didn’t care about not caring. As I secluded myself in my shell of solitude she tried to shake me out of it… 6-8 months she begged me to snap out of it. There was nothing she could do. Finally she concluded that I was withdrawing because I was having an affair. Well, logically the only thing that could be done at that point is to retaliate. I have never and would never be unfaithful to someone I was in a relationship. I just don’t see how people can do that. I found text messages and emails more than proving the depth of the affair. I maintained silence until I had a complete case I could present. I expected and prepared for a lot of different scenarios during our confrontation, except for one. “I can’t believe you, you made me do this!” She declared. She went on to aggressively explain that if I didn’t withdrawal from her than she wouldn’t have thought I was cheating than she wouldn’t have. I know, I know. Calm down, I fully realize there is no logic there. The truth is that I was in a real bad spot. I didn’t want to admit to others that a 3rd marriage had failed. I didn’t want to deal with the reality that I had just slid into this physiological pit that was self-destructive, but also safe at the same time. But there comes a point where even you can’t fool yourself anymore and the house of cards comes tumbling down all around you. A phase in my life where I literally Lost My Mind […]

  2. Jim King says:

    Speechless in Topanga. Thanks for the transparency, God is with us and for us, every step

  3. Anonymous says:

    Speechless Josh. I am without words. Tears, and feelings of just wanting to take a Stein of the best brewed beer around, and give it to you, while my other arm wraps itself around your head and shoulders. I love you brother.

  4. Anonymous says:

    So grateful that God told you to run in that moment. You have blessed so many lives and are an amazing dad to your boys. I don’t think you quite know the impact you have had on the people around you, glad your mind was changed in that moment.

  5. Desiree Karkosh says:

    Ok, that was a bit emotional. I can relate to the emotions you feel when you have a failed marriage due to infidelity! Im glad you “ran” 🙂

  6. Anonymous says:

    Josh, i knew you had a bad time of it, but I didn’t know the depth. Glad you relieved yourself of this burden. God is good. I love you. Aunt Celeste

  7. Cindy says:

    I’m so glad The Lord spoke to you in the closet and that you had the courage to listen! I’m loving these posts! Maybe you should write a book 🙂

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