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  • ericaanne

New Chapter, Same Story

Updated: May 27, 2022

My memory of the timeline of events gets hazy after we moved to Colorado. I was so overwhelmed that I truthfully have no idea if my recollection of events is anywhere near accurate. I have a general idea and that's about it.

All I know is this: things didn't change for a while. Rather, they seemed to get worse.

After my mom left, Nick immediately plugged in the video games. Most of the time I would end up exploring the nearby mountains and parks alone or with Daisy. Nick was almost never interested. The only time I was able to convince him to come on a hike with us was on our anniversary.

Before graduation, we had secured jobs at the same clinic. We met with our employer and I agreed to start as soon as possible. Nick wanted to wait an extra week after I started. I was angry and frustrated by this. We desperately needed a paycheck and he didn't seem to understand that. Rent would be due soon, our bank account was essentially empty, and our credit cards were nearly maxed out from the move. In the end, we'd be fine with paying February rent with my paycheck, but I would end up worrying about the rest of our bills. We delayed getting "more optional" things, like health insurance, for financial reasons.

"We've gone from working nonstop in school and I just want an extra week before I start into a new job," he reasoned with me.

From the outside, this would make sense to most people. Why would anyone want to go from a difficult, time-consuming program straight into a full-time job without much of a break if they didn't need to? Unfortunately, we needed to. We were in a poor financial place, but he didn't seem to care. If Nick had told me the truth about his reasoning, the sentence would have been "I don't want to go to work and be away from video games." He wanted to stay at home, play video games, and avoid reality. So yeah, on the outside, his reasoning seems legitimate. But on the inside, he was avoiding.

At the time, it felt like the financial burden was on me. I didn't like it. My perception of marriage was that we were meant to be a team and it wasn't feeling like that. We hadn't felt like a team in a really long time. I would end up feeling the pressures of the financial burden again a few weeks after Nick finally started to work. More on that later.

So, I started the job, without Nick by my side. I was excited to finally start into a new profession and have patients to call my own. Well, I was sort of excited. It's hard to fully immerse yourself with excitement when you're worried about what's going on at home. By this time, I had turned on the location of Nick's phone without his knowledge. Every once in a while he would text me about how poorly he was doing, sometimes saying something suicidal, and I would check his location to make sure he wasn't heading to a gun store or a mountain road. If he wasn't responding promptly to my texts, I would start to get anxious and worry that he had done something to himself. I had hidden the medications and sharp objects in the house, but I was certain if he was determined he would find them. I knew I would feel better when he finally got to work and I could be near him, and monitor him more closely.

I started feeling very lonely very quickly. I didn't want to open up to anyone at work about what was going on. Nick would be working there, too, and I didn't want them to think differently of him by knowing what was going on. I was afraid they'd question his abilities to be an effective chiropractor and employee. So, I stayed silent... again. I would text friends and family members back home, but I didn't know anyone in this new place other than my co-workers. I didn't have someone I could go get a meal or a drink with just to escape the stress and have something else to focus on.

The first week was a lot of stress. I was learning the ropes of the new clinic and simultaneously stressing about the state of my husband. It was only a week, but it felt like a month - like those dreams where you're moving in slow motion but the rest of the world is moving at a normal pace, and you can never quite get to where you need to be before the dream ends.

But, I got through it. Nick finally started at work. I was hopeful that the required time away from the video games would be helpful.

He didn't even get through a whole two weeks before I was woken up at 4am to him screaming at the top of his lungs.

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