You know how at the end of a criminal trial the victim often gets to read a statement to the defendant telling them how their crime has impacted their life? Well this post is kind of going to be like that.
No, no crime was committed. Not technically. But an injustice, if you will, has been committed against my husband and myself. By his employer.
No one there has ever asked how any of this affects me and my life. Mostly because they don't care. Hell, they don't care about how this has affected Keith, and he works there.
I don't often talk about what happened to us last July. Last July when a "friend" at my husband's workplace reported him for having suicidal ideations after he answered "Did you ever have one of those mornings you wish you hadn't woken up?" to a "How are you today?" What progressed was that the work police (yes he works somewhere that has it's own police force) ended up calling him down to their area because this report had been filed and he had to give his side of the story. The police seemed to think it was no big deal, just paperwork, apparently a misunderstanding.
Well, my husband being wired the way he is, ruminated about it all night, to the point of making himself sick. So he called, OK technically emailed, off sick the following day. The email was acknowledged and we didn't think much of it. I say we, because it happened to fall on my regular day off for the week. I had a dentist appointment scheduled for early that afternoon, and we were spending the morning just surfing the internet on our laptops, sharing interesting things we might see online. Nothing special.
Eventually I needed to take a shower so I could get ready for my appointment. Near the end of my shower I hear Keith on the phone with someone. I don't think too much of it, I figure it's someone from work checking in to see how he is or something like that. I was wrong. Oh, so very wrong.
He was on the phone with a hostage negotiator from the SWAT team. Apparently they "were outside and would like him to come out and talk to them." I peeked out the glass in the door and don't see a police car out front, but three officers with shields and assault rifles, wearing body armor walking towards my house.
Mind you I am in my bathrobe, I have just gotten out of the shower and I am FREAKING OUT. Even now, over a year later, I am shaking as I type this story. Keith explained to them that I had just gotten out of the shower but he will come out and talk to them. He proceeds to walk out, hands in the air while they have rifles pointed at him. I fly to the bedroom, trying to get some clothes on as fast as I can before the police are in my house. I hear them at the door, telling me they are there. I come out to my living room to be confronted by two officers with assault rifles and body armor, a detective of some sort standing inside my door. I lost it at that point. I started to cry uncontrollably, which was only made worse when I turned around and saw a uniformed officer at my sliding glass door to my backyard.
No my husband wasn't holding me hostage. No he isn't a danger to himself or to others. No he's never harmed me. The officers were pretty concerned that I was going to collapse on them and kept encouraging me to please sit down, trying to tell me that everything was OK. Eventually they let me outside to be with my husband as they realized that what should have been a basic health and welfare check somehow went very very wrong and they were basically on a call that was a huge waste of time and manpower. One of the officers continued to pat my shoulder, trying to reassure me that it was all over and everything was fine.
Except it wasn't over and it wasn't fine. My husband insists that I haven't been the same since that happened and he may be right. Trying to convince myself everything was "normal" I still went to my dentist appointment that day, which is when I ended up seeing my street and our "situation" on the noon news. Luckily, at least for me, they had the wrong house on the news, apologies to the neighbor that actually lives there (thank God he's been pretty cool about everything and actually vouched for us being good people to the police when they were here. Oh and yeah, they had three sharpshooters hiding on his deck which faces our house).
But that doesn't really tell you how it has affected me though. I guess the immediate reaction was it made me physically ill. To the point that I had to get an emergency appointment at my doctor and left there with an additional medication for high blood pressure, they were seriously concerned about me having a stroke, and an anti-anxiety medication.
To this day I can't stand it if Keith is on the phone without me knowing who he's talking to. I was never like that before. And maybe we shouldn't talk about how I reacted on the Fourth of July this past year when our neighbor called to ask if we wanted some potato salad. Unfortunately I was in the shower when she called, and I had no idea who Keith was talking to. I panicked. All I could do was stand there and yell "Who are you talking to? Is everything OK? What's wrong? Who's on the phone?" because obviously no good phone calls come while I'm in the shower.
It took me a LONG time before I could see a police car from one of the police cars from the MULTIPLE jurisdictions that were involved that day without thinking, "I wonder if they were at our house? I wonder if they know what happened?" Sometimes I still think that though when I see police cars around the neighborhood.
A lot of mornings I still pause before I open the garage door to leave for work. It took me a while to figure out why I did that. I didn't leave the house via the garage when that happened. But it is how I left the next morning to go to work, when I was waiting to see if there would be a news crew in the driveway waiting for me. I have to remind myself that I don't have to worry about being ambushed about that at this point.
I ended up finding a new dentist. That wasn't the sole reason, but it was part of it. After that appointment I never went back. I tried. I went with Keith once when he had an appointment. But all I could think of was sitting in that waiting room, watching the noon news and seeing this nightmare on the news.
My doctor thinks that all of this has given me PTSD. Ironic that the actions of an organization that is supposed to TREAT people with PTSD managed to give it to me.
Of course, just when I thought things were getting back to normal, more shit hit the proverbial fan. Three days before CHRISTMAS the work police force once again showed up to visit my husband. Except this time they were suspending him because he QUOTED A MOVIE during a conversation with someone he thought was a work friend. Apparently this was taken as an actual threat against people that no longer work there, and don't even live in this state anymore.
Yep, three days before Christmas. Suspended, with pay at least, but not knowing for how long or what will happen. This was then followed by a petition that was full of vague comments and innuendo that was signed by many of his co-workers. At least one of these co-workers is someone that has been in my house, called my husband "his brother from another mother." Of course this was three years ago, and even though Keith is the one who advised him when HIS job was on the line for running a personal business on work time, I guess things change.
I'm still embarrassed to go to the prepared foods counter at the local grocery store. All of this caused a massive meltdown, we're talking ugly crying and sobbing because they messed up the dinner I had ordered for Christmas. I literally could not handle even that going wrong at that point. It was much more than I could take. I think Keith will agree with me that with all of this hanging over us, it may not have been the best Christmas we ever had.
Eventually things went back to "normal" and Keith was called back to work. He had a new supervisor, it seemed like people were going to be willing to let things go, his relationships with his co-workers seemed to be on an upswing.
And then the inquisitions started. Not one, not two, but THREE different ones. What should have been innocent remarks or an innocent venting session were suddenly turned into an investigation. I used to be able to count on the fact that a text or message from my husband before I went to work was something simple. A note about traffic, the weather, a reminder about something we needed to get from the store .... not so much anymore. Not when you find out that AGAIN, just when you think all of this is behind you, they are calling your husband into human resources for an interview. About the movie quote, about an innocent remark about something stupid done when he was FOUR, about venting about something to people he thought were work friends.
That leads to a drive to work when you sob the entire way. When you spend your time literally SCREAMING and YELLING at God, for letting all of this continue to happen. When you're thankful for once in your life that you have allergies, because if anyone at work says anything about your face being all puffy, you can blame the allergies.
Thanks to everything that his employer has put us through since July 2015, I guess I'm not the person I used to be. I used to be more optimistic than I am now, they have robbed me of that. I used to not need anti-anxiety medication to handle simple things like phone calls that happen when I'm showering. I used to not have major meltdowns in the middle of grocery stores, not caring about making a spectacle of myself. I used to not worry when I saw an early morning call or message from my husband.
Hopefully an upcoming meeting with the director at his work will allow us to but this behind us. For now. The new me waits for this or something else to rear up again and bite like a snake. The old me would have thought that over meant over.