It was the night of October 18, 1987. My husband, Larry, had been devolving into a state of paranoid rage for several weeks. He couldn’t enter the house at this point without punching something, like a wall. Or breaking something.
That night was the worst. He was screaming at me. He knocked me down and put his hands around my neck. He stopped himself, in horror. He said he had to leave the house so he wouldn’t hurt me. He didn’t want to hurt me. So he left me alone with my two-year old and seven-year old, both sleeping peacefully through the whole scene.
I was panicked and confused. I didn’t understand what was happening to my husband. I didn’t know what would happen to my family. Was he gone for good? Could he be reached and helped?
First thing the next morning, October 19, 1987, I called my mother. I started to cry to her about my critical situation. She couldn’t talk. She was hysterical herself. The stock market had just crashed epically. She had lost 40% of her net worth.
I was stunned. I quickly called my broker and was told about the crash. It was being called “Black Monday”. I too had lost about 40% of my net worth. We relied on my investment income to pay our bills, which were more than my husband’s income alone could cover. So now I had no husband and not enough money to live on.
I remember sitting on the floor in the bedroom in shock. What was going to happen to me and my family now? My whole world was coming apart at the seams, literally, all in one day.
I asked the au pair to take my two-year old out for a while so I could have a meltdown in private. I cried hysterically. I paced. I couldn’t see light at the end of this double-barreled tunnel.
Larry finally called. He was staying at a nearby hotel. He was seeing his psychiatrist and was going on medication. We had no idea if the meds would work. The initial meds just sedated him and he could barely function and work. Eventually they decided to try Lithium, the medication for bipolar disorder. The psychiatrist didn’t think it would work but it was worth a try.
The Lithium took six weeks to kick in. Six weeks to the day, Larry became a totally different person. Calm, together, reasonable. He was clearly bipolar. He moved back home and had a very good year or two – until he decided to stop taking his Lithium. Going on and off of Lithium would be the roller coaster we lived on for the rest of our marriage. Years of normalcy followed by years of increasingly worse mania. Larry, like many bipolar people, refused to stay on his meds for any length of time. Even though they helped dramatically (which he didn’t see) and had no side effects.
The financial crisis also took time to rectify itself. My brokers panicked and sold me out of many assets at their low. So I actually lost a lot of money. The investments I kept came back eventually. We muddled through financially.
So I survived the day from Hell. I’ve never had another day with so much earth-shattering, life-changing events hitting at the same time.
Thank God! Once in a lifetime is enough!