So we started living together and things were really good. I mean really good. We would spend nights watching the moon rise and move across the sky. The sex was fantastic and we were truly and deeply in love. I found a job at a local grocery store and she worked at another store across town. We didn’t make much money but we were happy and things were good, but push came to shove and I needed to find a better job.
The area where we lived, the job market was basically live on minimum wage or go to work at a local prison facility. I didn’t want to work at a prison, I have severe anxiety and at that point in life I had not yet found out about asperger’s, but I still knew I wasn’t of the mentality that I could do that type of job well. I looked for another job, put in at a BBQ restaurant and would have been hired but couldn’t take the job because the smell was too overwhelming and I was sick about 5 minutes into the interview. So after about a month of searching I finally put in an application at the prison, which at the time was hiring absolutely anyone that applied.
The training academy, really wasn’t all that bad outside of being treated like shit by several people who obviously saw my difference as a means of entertainment. Where we lived was not the most socially liberal and enlightened place so there were lots of assholes… but whatever, I liked the complete structure of the academy. Everything had a specific time period. Food at 5am, exercise at 6, training from 9-5, exercise again, then to the barracks and in bed at 9. That was easy and I strangely found myself really enjoying it. I lost a ton of weight and felt pretty damn healthy. Then training ended and my real nightmare began.
Every night I went to work, I knew that I was going to die that night. I spent my entire shift with my anxiety turned all the way up to 11. A typical night for me went like this…
1.) Drive to work listening to the most angry music that I could in order to put myself in the mindset I needed. (This was usually Slipknot or Korn, sometimes Slayer)
2.) Get to work, find out what wing I was working and have an anxiety attack when I heard the door clank behind me.
3.) Spend the entire night between panicking and complete emotional shutdown. I could go from extreme fear, to cussing out a man much larger than me and wishing they would do anything that would allow me to hit them.
4.) Go home and sleep.
I did that job for over a year and each night it was exactly the same. Another issue is that my mind reads a rule book and I expect that rules are to be followed, regardless of rank and status. I witnessed a superior hit an inmate and so I did what the rulebook said. I turned him is to his superior. I was then taken into a room and explained how the real world works. I could press the issue, and probably get my ass kicked, an arm or a leg broken, or I could shut the fuck up and know my role. I didn’t really like the idea of a broken arm or leg and so I shut up but decided that night that I was done.
It took some convincing to get my girlfriend, who was now my wife, convinced to move to my home state. Looking back it was unfair for me to do this, she was getting ready to start college and was really excited about doing so. At that time however all I wanted was an existence where I wasn’t fearing for my life every single day. Eventually, she relented and we moved to my home state. She had always been close to her mother and while that relationship wasn’t the healthiest, for several reasons, moving was very hard on my wife.
We moved and yet my fear stuck with me. It wasn’t something that I could shake. I would compare it to soldiers who come back home from war but I know that they see much worse than me so it seems almost shallow to make the comparison. The fact that I couldn’t shake my fear, made everyday life miserable. I couldn’t enjoy anything and the only thing that brought me any joy were video games. I could and did play video games for days on end. I would wake up, start gaming and play until the middle of the night. Needless to say, ideas of romance at the time were out of the picture. I was so caught up in my own mental battle that I didn’t realize at the same time my wife was feeling neglected and unloved.
Truth is that I did love my wife just as much as when we had first gotten together. However, due to the issues that I was experiencing, along with being incapable of holding a job for longer than a couple of months, I failed to see the gulf that was widening between my wife and myself. I did end up getting a job in construction, which in a strange way I hated more than being a prison guard, but on my weekends I was still playing video games much more than the time i spent loving my wife. Whenever she would bring up any concern I met it with anger and in all honesty treated her very badly.
One weekend, I came home after a long week at work and my wife was waiting for me at the door. She took me outside to a gazebo, which was at the apartment complex we were living in. I tried kissing her and she pushed me away. I asked her what was wrong and she told said three words that completely crumbled my world. “I’m leaving you.”
My mind raced, my heart broke. I begged, I pleaded, I promised and I groveled but her mind was made up. She didn’t think I loved her anymore and so she was out. I had destroyed the only thing i had ever truly held dear and I knew that I would never have anything like what we had ever again. I was dead inside and I wouldn’t wake back up for nearly a decade.
Stay tuned for part 3…