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Financial Destruction May 10, 2013

Posted by Crazy Mermaid in Mental Illness and Bankruptcy, Mopney and Mental Ilness.
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Back in February 2008, I began my descent into total and complete madness. As my mania and delusions increased, my husband knew that I- a frugal person by nature- was out of control.  He had no idea what was going on, but with no history of drug use or mental illness, he had no reason to consider them as explanations for my increasingly bizarre and outrageous purchases.

Even if he had known that I was in the throes of a psychotic break with reality, the truth is that there wasn’t a thing he could do about it.  The bottom line was that although he was legally responsible for my debts (Washington is a community property state), he had no power to stop me from bankrupting us. Signatory on all of our accounts, I had every legal right to spend our money as I saw fit. No matter that I had lost contact with reality.

To his credit, my husband performed a small miracle. Despite the fact that there’s no 3 day grace period for car purchases, he managed to convince the dealership to allow him to return the $55,000 Lexus Convertible that I bought in the throes of my psychotic break with reality – paid for with a “hot” check- within hours of it hitting our driveway.  In the meantime, continuing my out-of-control buying spree, clothing, shoes, jewelry, and lots of plants and yard ornaments all went on the plastic.

Within months of the start of my spending orgy, having blown through tens of thousands of dollars, I was involuntarily committed to a mental hospital, giving my husband some breathing room to do damage control. During my spending spree, I brought home armful after armful of merchandise, packing the bags upstairs to my bedroom and setting them down on the floor.  Once I was involuntarily committed to the mental hospital, he enlisted the help of my mother and sister to return all of the merchandise.

Damage control underway, my husband turned his attention to the bigger picture.  My purse in his possession, he tore up all my credit cards. He flagged our credit to prevent me from opening another account without his knowledge. And, reaching beyond his legal limit, he –without my permission or knowledge- closed all of our credit and bank accounts, opening new ones that I had no access to or even knowledge of.

Coming out of my psychotic break, I was ashamed and embarrassed at my conduct, even though my husband took pains to explain that the financial train wreck was, like my tremendous medical bills, another cost of my mental illness. He refused to consider my actions an act of moral bankruptcy.

I could do nothing to atone for my sins except put in place as much protection (from myself) as possible in case I again became psychotic. In the end, I realized that it came down to eliminating my access to all of our accounts. I have no credit cards. I don’t know what our bank account numbers are or what our bank balance is. In fact, I know nothing about our finances. My husband dispenses cash to me- me, a professional woman who made $100K a year. And that’s the way it has to be.

Divorce and Mental Illness October 31, 2009

Posted by Crazy Mermaid in Uncategorized.
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As I sat at my computer checking my email right after my release from the mental hospital, I noticed a Word icon at the bottom of the screen. Curious, I clicked on the icon.  “Legal Separation Between…”. It took a second for that to sink in. Legal Separation? The first step in a divorce proceeding?  Divorce?  Did my husband want a divorce?

Then it dawned on me. Of course he did. I wrecked our finances. I blew through tens of thousands of dollars before landing in the mental hospital, and then $60,000 more on the 3 week mental hospital stay.  What’s to love in that deal?

As things stood at that moment, I was unstable and unable to work.  Due to the side effects of my new anti-psychotics and mood stabilizers, I couldn’t peel a banana, wash my hair, or make the bed. Why in the world would any sane person want to hang around? So I shouldn’t have been shocked by the document, but I was. It blindsided me.  Just to be sure that I understood the situation correctly, I called over my shoulder, asking him to join me.

Detecting the fear in my voice, he came running, stopping abruptly when he saw the screen.

“Oh”.

“What’s this?”

“It’s a legal separation document. My lawyer drew this up”.

“Your lawyer?”

“Yeah, I consulted a lawyer. Remember in the hospital?  When you kept asking me for a divorce?”

“Oh yeah”.

Back in the hospital, in the throes of my psychosis, I decided I wanted a divorce. Calling my attorney, I directed him to start the divorce proceedings and then told my husband about it when he came to visit me in the hospital. I even handed him a list of the assets I wanted in the divorce proceedings. Taking the list from my hands, he mumbled that  I could have whatever I wanted as he shuffled out of my room in shock.  I had forgotten all of this. Until then.

“When I talked to my lawyer, she told me I was screwed”.

“Why?”

“You don’t have a job, aren’t self-supporting, and just got out of a mental hospital. I’d have to support you”.

“Oh”.

I began to understand. I had to get better so that he could divorce me. I had to get my meds adjusted so I could return to work. That was what he was waiting for. It was obvious once I thought about it.

“So I need to get better so you can leave me”.

“No, that’s not it at all.  Kathy, I love you. The only reason I saw the lawyer was that you saw your attorney. I don’t want a divorce. Never have”.

I didn’t believe him. That’s exactly what someone in his position would say.

“Let’s delete this”.  He slid his hands in front of me and deleted the document. “There. All gone. Okay?” He bent down to give me a kiss.

I’ve waited on pins and needles to learn what his real intentions were. But it’s been a year and a half now since I got out of the mental hospital, and the fact remains that he hasn’t pressured me at all to find a job. Despite the fact that I’ve gained 35 lbs  and still can’t return to work,  he hasn’t left me. He hasn’t filed for divorce. He’s been there through thick and thin.  And I don’t deserve him. I really don’t.

Financial Destruction October 18, 2009

Posted by Crazy Mermaid in mental illness, Mental Illness and Bankruptcy.
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As my mania and delusions increased, my husband knew that I- a frugal person by nature- was out of control.  He had no idea what was going on, but with no history of drug use or mental illness, he had no reason to consider them as explanations for my increasingly bizarre and outrageous purchases.

Even if he had known that I was in the throes of a psychotic break with reality, the truth is that there wasn’t a thing he could legally do about it.  The bottom line was that although he was legally responsible for my debts (Washington is a community property state), he had no power to stop me from bankrupting us. Signatory on all of our accounts, I had every legal right to spend our money as I saw fit. No matter that I had lost contact with reality.

To his credit, my husband performed a small miracle. Despite the fact that there’s no 3 day grace period for car purchases, he managed to convince the dealership to allow him to return the $55,000 Lexus Convertible – paid for with a “hot” check- within hours of it hitting our driveway.  In the meantime, continuing my out-of-control buying spree, clothing, shoes, jewelry, and lots of plants and yard ornaments all went on the plastic.

Within 2 weeks of the start of my spending orgy, having blown through tens of thousands of dollars, I was involuntarily committed to a mental hospital, giving my husband had some breathing room to do damage control. Enlisting my mom and sister’s help, they piled all of the clothes and shoes in a big heap on the living room floor, spending hours painstakingly matching merchandise to receipts, then heading to the mall to return everything they could. They looked for, but couldn’t find, a $500 ring and a $300 pendant, never guessing in a million years that they were at the beach, in a hole I had dug while wading around in 2 feet of water.

Damage control underway, my husband turned his attention to the bigger picture.  My purse in his possession, he tore up all my credit cards. He flagged our credit to prevent me from opening another account without his knowledge. And, reaching beyond his legal limit, he –without my permission or knowledge- closed all of our credit and bank accounts, opening new ones that I had no access to or even knowledge of.

Coming out of the mania, I was ashamed and embarrassed at my conduct, even though my husband took pains to explain that the financial train wreck was, like my tremendous medical bills, another cost of my mental illness. He refused to consider my actions an act of moral bankruptcy.

I could do nothing to atone for my sins except put in place as much protection (from myself) as possible in case I again became manic. In the end, I realized that it came down to eliminating my access to all of our accounts. I have no credit cards. I don’t know what our bank account numbers are or what our bank balance is. In fact, I know nothing about our finances. My husband dispenses cash to me- me, a professional woman who made $100K a year. And that’s the way it has to be.