Memories of My Wife Bianca

Last Tuesday, 1 month before our 4th anniversary, I had to put my wife in the mental hospital against her will for the second time. Bianca is a highly intelligent, gentle, sweet, giving, joyful person. But when her bipolar II flares up she’s angry, mean, arrogant, and mischievous. I woke up at 5 a.m. and found her cutting phone chords and cables for the internet with a scissor because “I don’t like that stuff there.” This was after I’d already tried once to get police to take her in. They refused because she looked normal to them. They don’t know her. How would they know normal for her? In any case, I worried she’d cut an electrical chord and start a fire or electrocute herself. So it was time.

This is the second time in two years I’ve had to commit her. Having to put someone you love in the hospital against their will, while they beg you not to, is the most painful experience ever. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. And I’ve done it three times, twice the first incident, once now. It took four of us to literally carry her to the car while she fought and screamed, then me to drive us 30 minutes to the hospital, again while she screamed and insulted us. It’s weird to look in the face of the woman you love and see a stranger looking back at you. A stranger who looks just like her, has the same voice, but says things which sound nothing like her.

I try very hard to block those memories. Most of the time I can. I don’t want to remember her this way. I prefer to remember her as the woman who blessed my life, the one I fell in love with. I’m pained by the memory of how much I took her for granted in the months preceding this relapse. I should have been her biggest cheerleader when she finally got to live her dream and go back to school to finish her degree. She was doing so well, making awesome grades, and she was working 30 hours and going to school 18. I was so wrapped up in my worries, I was lackluster in my enthusiasm, and I feel like such a jackass now. The times she wanted to cuddle and I was so busy with writing, I put it off and never got back to it. The times I didn’t listen when she was so excited to tell me something mid-draft. I feel like such a loser. Here’s the woman who chose me. After years of failed romances, after 37 years alone thinking I’d never find anyone, she chose me, and I was so unappreciative so much of the time.

When I went away to Rainforest Writers, my thought was that it would be good to have time away to refresh our relationship. The moment I arrived, I missed her and wished she was there. Little did I know that when I got home, I’d still be missing her, because I haven’t seen the real Bianca since before I left.

The real Bianca is such a delight to be with. She is so enthusiastic, often seeing the world through a child’s eyes. She’s fascinated by people, places, language — so many things I easily write off as ordinary. And through her observations, she helps me look at the world in new ways. It’s a real help to me as a writer. And it’s something about her I have always treasured. She’s a great cook and a good housewife. She’s thoughtful even when I’m not. Oh she has her faults, of course, but I have more. And the fact that she’s always loved me and thinks I’m cute, handsome, wonderful always blows my mind.

I so wish it could be me and not her. I wish I was the one in the hospital. I wish it was me losing my job, dropping out mid-semester of my school, etc. If I could take her place in a moment, I so would, because I suffer so much for her. It breaks my heart every time I think about it. I am crying as I type this because I feel such despair, such hopelessness, and such fear that I will lose her, that this is it, that she’ll never get through this. It’s so hard to not get much information from the hospital due to privacy laws. Biance is in no condition to sign a waiver, so the hospital has to protect itself from lawsuits, even though I’m the husband. It’s so difficult to see her struggling and not be able to protect her; to be made the bad guy in manic Bianca’s eyes, when all I did I did to protect her and get her the help she so desperately needs. I wouldn’t wish this situation on my worst enemy. And it makes me determined to do all I can to build awareness and find support for developing a cure to all mental illness.

What a horrible thing it is to see someone with such skill and potential robbed of their life by such a horrible disease. To see them so destructive when they don’t even know what they’re doing. To see them resist the help they need when it’s right there in front of them. I curse Satan and beg God to please help my wife. Give me back my lover, my best friend. I wish it was so easy. Every moment is agony as I’m forced to wait and see if things will ever be the same again. I have small hope in the fact that our marriage came back better than ever from the last time. I can only hope she’ll feel that way and be ready to try again.

It’s hard to know that this kind of thing will likely happen again–it’s cyclical, so probably every two years. On the other hand, I’ve heard stories of people who take their meds and are stable the rest of their lives, so I hope that for her. And yet I fear days to come. If I get her back I intend to treasure every moment, and I hope I don’t forget. I must never allow myself to be too busy to appreciate her. I must let her know how much she means to me, and I must remind her daily of that. Maybe the strength of my love will help her. I hope so. I know the strength of her love has helped me. And I know I feel so lost at the idea of going on without her. Sometimes you don’t realize what you have in the throes of everydaydom. How sad and pathetic a trait is that in human beings? Why does it take a crisis like this to remind us how lucky we are?

I don’t know the answer but I know I need to do better at fighting off that complacency and being appreciative. If only I get another chance. If only I get my Bianca back.

For what it’s worth…

10 Things I’ve Done That You Probably Haven’t

Since Mary Robinette Kowal, Jay Lake and John Scalzi did it, I thought, why not.  My life may not have been as interesting, but we’ll see.

1. Served as on set assistant to Kenny Rogers for a day
2. Rode an elevator with Carl Reiner and told a joke that made him laugh
3. Sat in a traditional African mud hut right out of National Geographic and had a snack
4. Written a theme song for a high school summer church camp
5. Had a national single on Christian radio. (I know of a couple of my friends who can say this, but there it is)
6. Bought the same used book three times while forgetting I already had it and never read it yet.
7. Petted a live shark.
8. Worked full time and went to graduate school full time and still pulled a B average.
9. Been engaged to women from two different continents (not at the same time I swear)
10. Walked unescorted around a maximum security prison amphitheatre full of inmates and survived. (I was not an inmate, I was a performer)

There they are.  What are yours?

Terror Warning for US-Mexico Border

Okay, those who are shaking their heads at my post about the Arizona immigration law, please read this terror warning issued in the last two days. The borders are an issue and terrorists are trying to take advantage, as I suggested.

Up and running

Sorry for the 12 day delay between postings, but I wrote the first postings while I was still designing the website and waited until it went live to start coming here regularly. Thanks to all who have so far responded to the site design. I do hope it’s helpful and easy to navigate as you have said. We will soon be adding an interview I did on another blog as well as links to another devotional and published story out next month.

In the meantime, I just finished watching Season 1 of “Legend of The Seeker,” a series I discovered mid-second season, unfortunately. Well written, well acted, and well shot. Best fantasy show I can remember seeing, and if “The Game Of Thrones” on HBO is this good, I will have to get back my HBO and set the DVR like I do for “Seeker”. As quality a show as “Battlestar Galactica,” although as a social commentary, “Seeker” is far less intense. It’s really more about entertainment. It also stars Bridget Regan, whom I think is one of the most beautiful actresses on TV today. Yvonne Strahovski from “Chuck” is the other (yes, a blonde and a brunette — I am equal opportunity).

The show also has a good sense of humor to it. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and although it’s from the people who made “Xena” and “Hercules,” it has none of the cheese that kept me from enjoying or watching either of those. If you’re a fantasy fan, I highly recommend you check it out. It is syndicated, so you’ll have to check local listings to find it. In El Paso, it’s on channel 15 and new episodes air Sundays at 8 MST.

I also bought my plane ticket to ConQuest 41 in Kansas City at the end of May. I am looking forward to my first scifi convention and the writer’s workshop especially. I sent in the first 50 pages of “The Worker Prince,” which I am marketing, and hope they can help me improve it even more. I also hope to meet George R.R. Martin, and Terri Weiskopf of Baen who will be there, maybe even some agents and others. My author friends all tell me how important it is to make contacts there, so I hope it pays off for me as well. I will only be able to afford three conferences at most this year.

For the others, I hope to attend the North American science fiction conference in August and World Fantasy at the end of October. It’s the money that’s the issue, but if things go well with an anthology and magazine interested in two of my stories, I can use the income from that to buy those memberships and use frequent flyer miles for at least one of the tickets.

In any case, that’s the latest from me. I’ll try and keep blogging three times a week or more as needed. I hope you enjoy reading and will take the time to correspond with me as we grow together.

For what it’s worth…


To the new blog for writer Bryan Thomas Schmidt, where I will share about the writing process, musings on life, helpful links and other information I find interesting and hope you will as well!