The man I was dating for four years, a man I loved, was in trouble.
My heart sank.
He was the kind of man I always hoped to get to know, the kind I thought would make me a better person, a better husband.
He worked as a teacher, taught my daughter, and I would take him on walks with my friends.
We spent our evenings at the local bar.
We went to the movies together.
We had a good time.
And then, suddenly, the last thing we saw was him.
His eyes were red, his face was swollen, and he was gone.
I didn’t know what to do.
I felt like a complete failure.
And I thought, what did I do wrong?
How could I have made him uncomfortable?
I thought of the times when I’d been hurt and humiliated.
I thought about the times I’d lost friends to drug addiction, and then lost my friends again to addiction.
I was hurt.
I knew I was hurting, too.
I couldn’t get over it.
I wanted him back.
I needed him back to make me feel better.
I went through the motions.
We kept our distance.
We talked about him, and we laughed and we cried and we talked about our families and our kids and our lives.
I wasn’t sure if I could get over what I was feeling.
And my husband was right there in my heart.
I had a problem.
I would call him every day and I told him that I needed to get him back, that I didn’ t know how to get over my feelings, but he would always be there.
I told my husband that he was a great man and that he made me better, that he would never abandon me, that my husband loved me.
We agreed that he should be the one to go out and find a place where he could be with someone else.
I said I would look for a job.
But when I did, he was nowhere to be found.
The next day, I called his wife and said, my husband is not at home.
I still haven’t seen him.
I kept calling, calling.
I asked my husband’s wife for help.
When she answered the phone, she said, I just didn’t have anything.
I just don’t know.
I feel like I’ve lost him.
A couple of days later, I phoned a man friend, a guy I’d known for years.
He said, there’s nothing.
I can’t even call him.
When I called him, he said, what are you talking about?
He never called me again.
Then I phished him.
It wasn’t a phishing call, it was a fake message that said I need to tell you about a job interview I’m going to have to do in six months.
I called back and said I needed a job in five days.
He told me he was just going to leave.
He didn’t want to do it.
And that was the last I heard of him.
He had a job at a nursing home and he wanted to come back to see me.
But I knew that was impossible.
I saw him at a church service.
I could tell he had just lost it.
He looked at me like I was insane, like he couldn’t believe I was telling him this.
And he said something like, no, I’m not leaving.
And you know what?
That’s what I felt, that’s why I kept saying no.
But then I started talking about it, and it was obvious that I was losing my mind.
I got depressed and then I had to have a mental health crisis.
And the crisis led me to a friend who was also struggling with the same thing.
We started talking.
I think we started talking because we both were feeling really hopeless.
I remember when I first went to my friend’s church service, he had tears in his eyes.
I don’t think I ever cried, but it was the first time I’ve ever cried.
I sat next to him and he told me what happened to my husband.
It was something that had happened in his past.
And we started to talk.
We told him about the job interview and the church service and the job he was going to get, and how he had no idea he was getting a job, no idea what he was doing, and all of a sudden, he started sobbing.
It’s the first thing I ever heard him say, but I can still remember it, because it was so painful.
He went through it like it was his last.
It made me cry.
I’m still trying to process it.
But that’s when I was diagnosed with PTSD, which is the major stress disorder that affects millions of Americans.
It can be triggered by traumatic events, such as seeing someone die, or being assaulted or even killed.
People who experience PTSD may become angry