Green Belief

Being without fear ~ Belief modification for dissolving fears

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Sample chapter:

Chapter One

For Verne, it was like living with a person who had one and a half mental illnesses. Schizophrenia is one serious illness. Add a nasty mood component to this group of symptoms and you have more than one serious illness.

His wife, Anne, believed she was without direction in life because she, as a little girl, swallowed a compass. She saw things as either black or white; there was little gray area. While ill, she was not able to weigh degrees of possibilities or put circumstances into perspective. She often took expressions of speech literally that were not to be taken literally.

Anne thinks Verne will steal her invention for a watercraft based on her observation of a water beetle’s manner of walking on water. She is grandiose and unrealistic in believing she is the first to have arrived at the idea. Sharing the concept with Verne, she becomes paranoid about Verne claiming the idea behind her back. After much explaining on Verve’s part that the idea has already been considered many years ago, she refuses to listen to reason and insists Verne is going to leak the idea to other people for his own gain. Anne adds that Verne is such a discourager of her ideas and his aim is to keep her self-esteem low. Verne is growing tired of being subjected to suspicion.

Verne can’t argue with Anne anymore. If Anne is serious, she must search for existing plans of the “watercraft” idea, design and test a prototype, and consider for herself how feasible it is. But she does none of this. If at all, Anne will have to learn to accept reality at her own pace. As much as Verne would like Anne to be more realistic, he must try to accept that, for now, she is not. He thinks, too, that her grandiose thoughts are her way of compensating for a low sense of self-worth. She wants to feel she is useful, purposeful. She wants to contribute something worthwhile. Anne would like Verne to admire her for her ingenuity. On the one hand, Verne doesn’t want to challenge her idea. On the other hand, Verne doesn’t want to encourage her unrealistic preoccupation though he can admire the virtue behind it. Verne tries to find a neutral ground.

Anne is pregnant with their first baby. For the baby’s sake, Anne must be taken off her psychotropic medication. These are anti-psychotic drugs. Verne is aware that there is a high risk that Anne’s mental illness may surface.

One year later. January 3

Anne’s new injectable medication is making her feel sick.

January 4

Anne is taking on like she did before when she went off her medication. She tells Verne, “I’m not ill. I don’t have a mental illness.”
Her worries about family and relatives being kidnapped are surfacing again. More and more Verne notices Anne is misunderstanding circumstances and people’s motives. She is becoming paranoid again, pacing a lot and chain-smoking.

While Anne is off her medication for the duration of her pregnancy, symptoms of her mental illness are intensifying.

February 2

While watching TV, Verne looks to see Anne standing in the kitchen with a steak knife gripped in her hand. In all seriousness, she threatens him, “If anybody touches my kid or me or those kids downstairs, they’ll wish they’d never have been born.” Looking at her in amazement, Verne asks her to repeat what she said. She does. Verne feels he’s in danger.

Anne thinks Verne is after her teenage child from her previous marriage. Verne had not met him nor would he until years later. Having kept hidden photographs of her child, Anne can’t find them. She now suspects Verne has taken them so that he can recognize her son in order to kidnap him.
Slowly, Verne got his boots and coat on while looking at Anne clutching the knife firmly in hand. Verne thinks to himself, “She’s serious!” He leaves the apartment cautiously.

Arriving at a doughnut store down the street, Verne calls the police on a public telephone. He explains to an officer what’s happened. Three officers respond. Verne goes with them back to his apartment. The officers talk with Anne while Verne waits behind them at the stairwell. Anne tells the officers she felt Verne was going to do something to her son because Verne wanted to see his pictures.

Earlier in the evening, Verne’s heart had gone out to Anne as she is not, by court decision, allowed to know where her son is from her previous marriage. Anne’s lawyer had told Verne some time ago that there is no way Anne is allowed any contact whatsoever with her son as it is in his best decision not to be contacted by her. Verne guesses that Anne felt threatened by his wanting to see the few photographs she had of her son.

After the police left, Verne stays at the doughnut store drinking beverages and reading newspapers until early the next morning. Verne returns to the apartment. Anne tells Verne she wouldn’t hurt him. Verne didn’t say much to her except for light conversation. Verne wants to keep a gauge on Anne’s whereabouts and her state of mind. One half of Verne hopes this is not happening and the other half copes with the reality that it is. Verne finishes a job order he had been working on and leaves an hour later. But before he leaves and while Anne is not looking, he packs a suitcase and sneaks it outside the door.

After delivering his work order, Verne goes to his hometown to think things over. There, Verne calls the Suicide Prevention Centre because days ago Anne told Verne she had no reason to live. Anne’s family and friends did not want her to burden them anymore. Concerned about Anne, Verne telephones her to see if she is there; no answer. Needing impartial intervention, Verne calls his general practitioner long distance to get his advice. He instructs Verne on filling out a form at the office of the Justice of the Peace.

February 3

After returning, Verne went directly to talk to the Justice of the Peace who took notes on the situation. Verne walks back to his apartment. Anne is not there. Ten minutes later, Anne comes to the door. “Can I come in? I have no place to go” she asks. Verne lets her in. She says she’s going to have a bath. Verne tells her he is going to eat at the restaurant and asks her not to lock the door on him. He wants to be able to get back in.

When Verne comes back, he finds the door locked and asks Anne to let him in. Verne hears what sounds like a knife scrape against another. Anne announces she has a knife. Verne goes to the building owner who lives down the hall, tells him of the situation. The owner tells Verne he has noticed Anne’s illogical speech and unwarranted fears of kids being abused. The building owner says he will swear on an affidavit with Verne at tomorrow morning’s court meeting at the Justice of the Peace. Verne spends the night at a friend’s place.

February 4

The building owner and Verne make a sworn statement under the Mental Health Act. Verne takes a copy to the police station. Verne accompanies the police to his apartment. Two officers with Verne arrive in a police van in front of his apartment building. Standing back, Verne lets the officers talk to Anne. Anne understands she must be taken away and wants her bible. Verne gets it. She is not pleased with Verne but Verne is doing what he must do.

As the officers escort Anne into the back of the police van, Verne feels so sorry for her. The heartfelt feelings Verne has for Anne are unlike what he has ever felt before. “I’m doing this to my wife!” he thinks to himself. Though Verne does not second-guess arranging for Anne to be taken away like this, he assures himself, “This is what I have to do. This is what must be done. This seems so contrary to doing something out of love.” Stunned, Verne is finding it difficult to believe that he is having to do this with his precious wife. But there is no other way for Verne to get Anne what she needs — medication and hospital attention.

During the drive to the hospital, Verne considers how demoralized Anne must feel. Anne is taken to a hospital which arranges an involuntary admission into the Psychiatric Hospital elsewhere.

From the General Hospital, Anne is transferred to the city Psychiatric Hospital where Verne stays two hours describing Anne’s symptoms to a psychiatrist. For the first time, and with the assistance of the Justice of the Peace, Verne has Anne admitted to the Psychiatric Hospital. Later in the day, Verne takes some things to Anne for her stay.

February 6

Verne calls the hospital to see if Anne’s psychiatrist would like to talk with him further. Shortly after, the psychiatrist calls back asking Verne to come in. Verne leaves immediately. There, Verne is asked about the degree he determines Anne to be a danger to himself. In answering if he thinks Anne might be a danger to him, Verne says “No.” Describing the incident, Verne says, “I did not want the situation to get to the point where she might use the knife on me and I’d have to restrain her. So I let her be.”

The psychiatrist okayed Anne’s release from the hospital. Verne couldn’t believe the doctor did not admit Anne for further observation. Verne went to all this effort to get Anne to a hospital and now he finds himself having to help her with her luggage to leave. Verne learns from staff that as long as Anne is not a danger to herself or anyone else, she cannot be admitted. Now Verne is thinking he should have lied on the “danger” question. Well, not lied but softened the truth of what happened. Verne struggled with admitting — even to himself — that Anne was “dangerous”. Aside from the mental illness, Anne is a completely harmless, caring and compassionate person. That’s how she is when she’s on her medication.

Verne guesses that there are “yes” and a “no” check boxes on the interview form. Verne did not want to say Anne was dangerous because he felt if she did approach him with the knife, he’s sure he could have protected himself and retrieved the knife. If that had happened, then he would have answered the danger question in the affirmative.

Feeling disappointed, Verne wonders if the hospital staff thinks he went to all this trouble to get Anne admitted because he thinks Anne is more ill than she really is. Verne is at a loss for an answer as to why the hospital won’t admit Anne. He guesses he did not convince staff enough as to how ill she is. But how can that be when apparently the Justice of the Peace, the police, and the staff at the General Hospital were compelled enough to get her this far?

Anne and Verne leave the hospital together. Verne doesn’t want her back at their apartment. At the doughnut store, Verne decides to take Anne to a schizophrenia resource centre and leave her in the care of one of the staff. Someone has got to help Verne with this dilemma! Verne senses that staff there see his unenviable life situation. Using the phone there, Verne calls some residence to see if they will accept Anne. Verne ventures to take Anne with him to one shelter after another. After each one Verne takes her to, he goes home only to receive a call from the shelter staff telling him she can’t stay there. Asking why, Verne is told by the staff person that Anne is too disruptive. Verne finally gets Anne into a shelter and, again, goes home. This has been a long day for Verne.

February 7

Verne answers the phone. It’s Anne. She’s at the University Hospital. Verne goes to the shelter where Anne stayed overnight and learns from staff there that they had to relocate her to another shelter. The staff manager gives Verne some things Anne left behind and tells Verne they had quite a night trying to control Anne. Verne goes to the shelter where Anne was sent and discovers that they, too, has a difficult night with Anne. Staff there tell Verne where Anne has been relocated and gives Verne some things that Anne left behind. Verne goes there.

Verne is told Anne had to be transported to another shelter for “the more difficult people.” The Director of this shelter gives Verne some things Anne left behind. Stressed out from having to find all these different places and carrying all these bags of things, Verne returns home to sort out Anne’s stuff and takes Anne’s suitcase to the University Hospital.

On Anne’s behalf, a social worker from the hospital calls the shelters to see if Anne could stay there. She has no luck. The social worker learns for herself that the shelters do not want her and asks Verne if it is impossible for Anne to stay with him until she gets her a place. Anne and Verne make a pact that she will behave herself and not threaten him. This is the only option. Verne makes himself very clear to Anne and the social worker that he still does not want her in their apartment as her coming there is against his best wishes. With both Verne and Anne back at the apartment, the rest of the day goes all right.

February 8

In the morning, Verne finds a suicide note written by Anne saying she has left and is going to the river. Verne found similar notes two and three months ago written by Anne about going to the bay bridge only to return and burn the notes. Verne calls one of Anne’s lifelong friends to explain the situation and asks if she would find a place for Anne to stay. She says “No.”

A short while later Anne returns. Anne’s friend calls back and talks with her, trying to calm her down. Anne is upset because she feels nobody wants to help her. The friend hangs up in desperation.

Anne calls up one of the shelter places complaining to the supervisor saying sarcastically, “Thanks a lot for not letting me stay when I needed a place! I thought you were a Christian organization!” Two minutes later Anne calls the shelter back apologizing for what she had said.

Still upset, Anne leaves the apartment slamming the door on the way out. Verne doesn’t know where she went. Anne’s friend calls back saying she has a place for Anne to stay for sure. Verne tells her that Anne left and that he is on his way out to look for her.

Verne looks here and there at the places where he might find her but can’t find her. An hour and a half later, Verne returns home to call the police. Verne explains the suicide note and expresses his feeling that Anne might do something foolish. An officer responds and tells Verne not to worry. Verne gives a description of Anne. The officer leaves and Verne stays by the phone waiting for Anne to call.

After a time, Anne calls from a restaurant. Verne tells her that her friend has a place for her to stay for sure and that she’ll be here within an hour to pick her up. Anne comes to the apartment and they wait. Anne’s friend arrives but Anne decides not to go. Anne doesn’t trust her friend. Her friend is offended and angry as well for having gone out of her way to help Anne.

Two police officers arrive. Anne’s friend had called them prior to arriving just in case. An officer questions Anne and Verne separately. The officers make arrangements to take Anne to a shelter.

February 9

Early the next morning, Anne returns to the apartment. Verne does not let her in. She is distraught and tells Verne she had fallen. Verne calls the police. Two officers come and take Anne to the General Hospital.

Later, Verne receives a call from the superintendent from the shelter where Anne stayed the night. She wants to know where Anne is. Verne tells her and goes to pick up Anne’s belongings there. At the shelter, Verne is given Anne’s things. The superintendent and a counsellor tell Verne that Anne had smeared soap all over the floor so that the counsellor would slip and kill herself. They further tell Verne that they will not take Anne back unless she is on medication.

An hour later, Verne arrives at the General Hospital with Anne’s bags. Verne talks with the nurse about Anne’s thought disorder. Verne adds that this is the last time he’s taking care of Anne’s belongings and that she cannot return home.

Back at the apartment, Verne is invited to a friend’s place. Around suppertime, Verne is walking to his friend’s place which is near the General Hospital where Anne has been admitted. To Verne’s surprise, he sees Anne come out of a variety store. She’s bought a magazine. Verne speaks to her from twelve feet away. She is on a higher level walkway where a metal railing separates them. Verne asks her where she is going. She tells Verne she is going to get her boots at a shelter where she had visited a couple of days ago. “Then where?” Verne asks. “I don’t know” she answers. They part.

Getting to a phone, Verne calls the shelter where Anne stayed last night and speaks to the counsellor whom Anne had threatened last night. Verne asks the counsellor if the General Hospital called there regarding Anne’s condition. She says “Yes.” Verne tells her that Anne has apparently been released from the hospital.

Concerned about Anne’s whereabouts, Verne calls the other shelter where Anne said she is going. The director there tells Verne she hadn’t seen her but that staff is instructed to detain her for the police if she shows up.

February 10

Early in the morning, Anne phones Verne. She tells Verne she has been at the Psychiatric Hospital overnight. She had called the police because she had no place to stay. Later in the morning, Verne calls the Psychiatric Hospital to see what wing she has been admitted to. At mid afternoon, Verne takes Anne the things she had requested. Verne speaks with the social worker assigned to Anne. Verne is told Anne is secured in a locked end of the ward until trial medication improves her mental state.

April

Anne is transferred to the University Hospital for the delivery of her and Verne’s first born child. Verne had prepared for, and looked forward to, having their planned child. But, much of his expectation for welcoming the baby has been clouded by concern for his wife’s mental health.

A year later. September 19
Verne and Anne go to the theatre to see the play Oklahoma. During the play, Anne becomes extremely paranoid. Anne tells Verne that the singers are not singing their lines correctly. Nervous as all get out, Anne tells Verne that the occasional loud banging noises during the play are real gun shots being fired, adding, “I don’t know what’s going on but I don’t like it. I’m going!”

Vern’s trying to explain to Anne that it’s just part of the play is not convincing enough. Before the play is half over, Verne is face with having to leave with her. Following her out, Verne is dismayed with having to realize what he doesn’t want to realize — Anne is seriously ill again.

Three years later. May 28

Anne tells Verne he’s lied to her about the colour of his sister’s van. Verne’s not sure what she’s talking about except that she’s mentioned this before. She says there’s something that happened many years ago — something about a clown, a clown’s outfit with blood on it, and a murder. Verne is lost and wonders why Anne brings this up every once in a while. Off her medication, Anne is not holding up well. Verne is thinking she needs to cope better.

Verne asks Anne why she feels she’s being lied to. She insists that she knows the truth about the van being involved in a suspicious activity. She further insists that people are playing psychological games with her. Verne finds he can’t say anything to Anne without her using it against him.

It seems she has clearly decided that Verne is opposed to her as an enemy.

Verne second guesses what he wants to say, asking himself if Anne will take it the wrong way. He can’t say, “You’re lovely,” as he used to say. His sincere flattery is taken as lies. Verne wonders, “Will she think I’m lying? Will she misconstrue, misinterpret, misunderstand, or mistake what I’ve said? Or will she take me literally when I’m not meaning to be literal?” He can’t tell.

Criticised for the words he chooses to use or the words he doesn’t say, Verne is also criticised for how he talks. While Verne entertains four year old Lisa talking in the voice of Grover, a Sesame Street puppet character, Anne insinuates that his doing this is proof that he is the one who is mentally ill. Grover, who speaks clearly in a throaty voice, is Lisa’s favourite puppet character. It is unpleasant living with Anne who, at any time, and in front of Lisa, tries to make Verne out to seem mentally disturbed. Verne realizes Anne needs to make him the focus of criticism in order to deflect attention away from her current issues with illness and an unstable life.

Anne shows Verne an item their daughter Lisa received from a parcel. Verne says, “That’s nice!” Anne asks him why he didn’t comment to her about it saying, “That’s nice, eh Anne?” This is one of the numerous daily conversation pieces in which Anne criticises Verne’s sentence structure, word usage, and tone of voice. Anne’s hyper-vigilance of Verne has her nit- picking his use of the English language to the point where she is missing the meaning of what he is truly saying.

It is evident to Verne that reality is absent from Anne’s worldview.

Anne asks Verne to say “Bless you” to her. He doesn’t know what she means. She tells him he ought to say this to her because earlier in the day she sneezed after coming out of the shower. Hours later, she seriously wants Verne to say “Bless you” so that she can be properly blessed.

While Verne is working away on re-caulking the bathroom wall tiles, Anne comes to tell Verne she didn’t marry him out of love. “I didn’t love you from the start. I only liked you” she says. Verne is learning he can’t be confused by Anne because he knows by now she changes her mind. There isn’t much she says that can be carved in stone. Weighing her expressions of love for him over the years, Verne ignores her comment about only liking him. But Verne would learn again and again that when Anne becomes ill and paranoid of him, her love for him disappears and is replaced by fear.

May 31

Finding a room in a semi-downtown area, Verne moves out for a month. He doesn’t want to live with Anne anymore. After a time, Anne promises to take her meds if it would make him happy. Verne eventually gives Anne his phone number only because he learns she is calling all the neighbours asking if they know where he is and if they know his phone number. Over the phone, Verne winces at Anne’s suggestion that she will take her medication only to get him back. Verne silently pleads in frustration to God, “Why can’t she take her meds because she knows she needs to for her own sake?”

Anne criticises Verne for not being with her at home to protect her. But when Verne is there, she’s wanting to be protected from him! Verne is stressed out with going around in circles with her.

Verne talks to his doctor about what is happening with Anne and him. With the flood of Anne’s delusions and insecurity, Verne is tending to believe Anne for she is so overwhelming. Verne recognized Anne’s delusions and he doesn’t believe in them. But at this point he doesn’t disbelieve them enough. Verne wonders if he should be back home to protect Anne if only to have his presence there quieten her fears of burglars. The doctor affirms Verne’s original thought — she is as safe as any other with the doors locked. And about Anne accusing Verne of abandoning her and Lisa, the doctor assures Verne that this is not so.

July

Having moved back home, Verne’s not sure how things will go. Someone has got to the fact that Anne is ill. Verne alone is not believed by the medical professionals.

July 22

Anne tells Verne she is too tired to go to her women’s church get-together. Verne suggests she rest for an hour before going. This is take by Anne as his “forcing” her to go. Because Anne does not want to go out much, Verne encourages her to attend social activities. For his well-intentioned suggestion, Verne gets dumped on and griped at. Verne’s not sure how but Anne see him as guilty for having said such a thing. She switches the focus from herself to his reactions to her. Verne’s not trying to create an argument or win an argument, but an argument results just the same. Verne is almost always have to think about what he wants to say before he says it. Questioning himself, Verne asks how Anne might interpret a different meaning from the meaning he wants to be taken from what he expresses.

July 23

Anne is still angry with Verne from yesterday’s argument, last week’s arguments, last month’s arguments, and last year’s arguments. She wants Verne to move out if he can’t deal with the frustrations of communicating with her. It seems Anne is making Verne take his tolerance test in order to prove his love for, and acceptance of, her. He’s failing and doesn’t think he can care anymore. Caring about this much of a problem requires a lot of energy — an amount of energy that Verne doesn’t have any more. He’s burning out and doesn’t, himself, have emotional support from anyone.

This is very difficult for Verne and he would like to see how any other man on earth would endure what he’s going through with Anne. Verne is sure that any other man would have left her long ago for peaceful pastures. Why does Verne stay? Love and commitment.

July 24

Anne sends a letter to the Psychiatric Hospital administrator stating her dissatisfaction with the hospital not treating her illness as a spiritual illness. Verne learns that the letter was written on the back of a business correspondence letter addressed to him. Verne has to wonder how Anne’s views expressed to the hospital will be connected to him.

August 12

The Gulf War in the Middle East has apparently worried Anne. Making a telephone call to the President of the United States, Anne leaves a message telegram to the Washington operator. She offers advice to help the President with his correspondence with King Hussein of Iraq. Before Verne can ask what she is doing, Anne continues on the phone, “Tell Hussein there is no such thing as a Holy war . . . !”

Throughout the rest of the day, Anne often thinks radio and TV broadcasters are talking about her because of her having written to the Prime Minister of Canada, calling in a 911 report, or having called the U.S. President. She asks Verne if the news person on the radio or the evangelist on TV mentioned her name. When Verne says “No,” she thinks he’s preventing her from learning the truth. For Verne, it sets in — he can’t win. Nothing he says can console her. Verne is losing all the way.

August 13

A conversation with Anne is a difficult task for Verne. She asks Verne what he’s said many minutes after he’s said something. The gap in time is so long until she asks him what he’s said, he’s sometimes forgotten what he said. Verne realizes she’s not listening. Instead she is listening intently to the radio broadcaster or people talking out on the street as she is fixed on the notion that they are talking about her. Anne has lost all her friends because of this. They don’t have the strength to continue a friendship with her plus cope with her fears. They must wonder what it’s like for Verne being so much more subjected to her behaviour. Verne is realizing that Anne regards his talking to her as his way of trying to prevent her from hearing what she is paying attention to.

Nervous, Anne is interpreting distant sounds and barely heard conversations as referring to her personally. Every sound outside the house and inside the house sends a signal of fear to Anne. Daughter Lisa can’t drop a toy without Anne leaping to see what kind of devastation happened. Lisa and Verne both cringe when they make a sound that may cause Anne to come running to its source.

Anne is forever thinking there is some stranger in the house. Verne hears her dash down the stairs. She asks if Verne heard a noise and was it he that made it. He says he did not hear a noise. They go through this episode every single day. Verne doesn’t know if she is hallucinating or has hypersensitive listening ability. Time and time again, Anne asks Verne if he said something to her. Verne didn’t say or hear anything. When she asks Verne if he said what she heard, he wonders if she is not discriminating between her thoughts and external sounds.

Feeling threatened about Verne having read books on the subject of psychology, Anne believes Verne is using the knowledge of psychology against her. Of Verne’s text books from his college years, some were from a compulsory course on Introduction to Psychology. Verne had other books that he purchased from mental health resource agencies. These are on the topics of recognizing symptoms of mental illness and coping with mental illness in the family. Anne takes offence to the idea that Verne has to “cope” with her.

Anne says, “I hope you’re not trying to play games with my thinking.” In her anger, she expresses her distrust in psychiatry. In her opinion, psychiatry has not helped her but on the contrary it has created her problems. She believes that her psychiatrist has made her ill. Anne is blaming other people for her illness. Understandably it is very difficult for Anne to accept and take ownership of her illness.

August 14

Anne believes Verne is planning to poison her. This is certainly odd since she was the one who prepared to bake a frozen food dish. So serious is Anne in believing that Verne poisoned her food, she sits down at the telephone and tells Verne she’s calling the police. Verne says, “Go ahead.” She puts down the phone. Verne guesses she was calling his bluff.

Anne is evidently psychotic. Paranoid to such an extent throughout the day and night, she feels that she has to keep Lisa indoors. Oftentimes, Anne calls out to Lisa asking where she is when Lisa is only meters or less away and insisting that Lisa not leave her sight. Anne explains to Lisa that she does not want her to be taken away by strangers. Verne feels that Lisa should not be exposed to her mom’s frantic and unrealistic fears. But when Verne disagrees with Anne on this matter, Anne becomes angry to the point of snatching Lisa to her side and threatens Verne.

Incensed, Anne declares to Verne, “You’re not touching her; do you understand?! She is so mad. You can hear the sound of her breath passing quickly between her teeth. Lisa doesn’t know what to think.

Watching out for the neighbour’s kids, Anne is making sure they are not abducted. Every time Anne hears a kid scream, she thinks it’s Lisa and that the worst has happened.

Still, four years after it was first brought up, Anne believes Verne is planning to kidnap and harm her son from her previous marriage. She had taken the photographs of her son out of their picture frames to hide then from Verne. Verne’s been through this scenario before. This one time, to gauge how paranoid Anne is, Verne asks her, “Where did you put them?” She doesn’t want Verne to have the photos fearing that Verne will use them in order to find her son. Verne is right; he has ascertained that she is paranoid. Her delusions do not weaken over time. Here they are four years later — same situation, except this time, if he can prevent it, he is not going to let it get to the point where she might threaten him with a knife again. He’s seen that scene before and he could see that it was getting to the point.

Anne’s mental illness has again precipitated to such a degree that Verne feels she is a danger to him physically and is emotionally unstable to care for their four-year-old daughter. Verne goes to the Justice of the Peace and successfully arranges to have the police come to take Anne to the hospital for a psychiatric assessment. Their family physician knows full well that Anne needs her medication but he is on holiday leave.

Verne returns home to make sure Anne doesn’t go anywhere. The police arrive. Verne stands at the door feeling empty in having to do this. Verne knew she would want her bible so he had it ready to give to her as she cooperatively left with the officers. Four years ago when Verne had her taken away in the same manner, she wanted her bible. Oh, how sad Verne felt for her! After they left, Verne closed the door and cried. Anne is hospitalized again.

August 24

Anne has a visit home from the hospital. She is worried that Lisa will drown in the bathtub, telling Verne that children can drown in two inches of water. This may be true, but she is over-reacting in her displaying her knowledge of a child care book she has read. Lisa is four years old.

Anne wants more than anything to be a good mother. Verne appreciates that, but her worrying to excess is not appropriate. Verne doesn’t appreciate her scaring Lisa with her sense of what dangers surround her. Anne doesn’t like Verne disagreeing with her on this, thinking that Verne is oblivious to all sense of danger and implies that Verne wants Lisa to be in a dangerous situation.

Going to call her lawyer, Anne intends to him she doesn’t like the way Verne deals with anger. She yells at Verne saying it’s normal. But when Verne yells, he’s the one with the anger problem. She won’t look at Verne when he states disagreement. He yells to be heard through her preoccupation with other sounds she fixes on. She won’t look at Verne because she’s afraid of him. Verne can’t talk, Verne can’t yell — what does he do to be heard? Verne has to run it through his head that Anne doesn’t think he loves her. She thinks he’s a mean, cruel, dangerous, lying, scheming, unloving person. Why does Verne keep trying with her? Why does he keep hoping she will change for the better? Will she recover and stay recovered?

Three years later. August 27

After knowing Anne for ten years, Verne’s gotten familiar with how terrible things can get. In hoping each one of Anne’s psychotic episodes is her last, Verne must think in terms of protecting himself from legal action she may take against him.

Verne reminds himself of Anne’s long interest in law. She worries about breaking the law in the slightest of things. It is absurd seeing her worry endlessly about something she didn’t do. For years she wondered and worried that she had committed treason against the country. And then there were her letters to the Prime Minister of Canada. Anne feared the government would take action against her.

The last time Anne had to be admitted into the psychiatric ward, Verne got so angry about her and her law book, he trashed the book. Verne shouldn’t have done that because Anne would later denounce Verne of not wanting her to be lawful. This led her to believe she was being sought after by the police. It seemed there was no circumstance, no situation, or no person that would escape Anne’s suspicion.

Service call charges for dialling “9-1-1” show up on their telephone bill. Anne tells Verne she had called 911 reporting that she way people in a nearby parking lot who were “up to something.” Verne wants to suggest to Anne that she us the non-emergency phone number to call police. But what Verne considers to be a nothing incident, she considers and emergency. If Verne says it’s not necessary to call the police, she thinks Verne is in collusion with the “criminals” out front. Because of this, Anne is more prompted to telephone the police. Verne can’t do anything but stand back and listen to her talk to the police.

Not a day goes by that Anne doesn’t tell Verne of her suspicions of a person, car, or van in the neighbourhood. If she doesn’t call the police, she calls neighbours suggesting how they can protect themselves from burglars. Verne often offers Anne alternative explanation or interpretations as to what she thinks is happening. If there is a person sitting in a van that Anne is suspicious about, Verne suggests that the person might be looking for an address.

August 28

The next morning, Verne finds Anne on the phone to the police. She reports her belief that men in a nearby parking lot are staking out their house because they keep looking in her direction. Verne looks out the window. Verne sees two men in work clothes beside two construction trucks surrounded by orange pylons. Verne learns that Anne has been scrutinizing the two men from the front porch. Verne can’t convince Anne with another explanation so he doesn’t bother. Verne reasons to himself that the construction workers are probably wondering why Anne is continually looking at them.

Anne believes it is her duty to be Mrs. Neighbourhood Watch. Verne has seen her many a time up and leave the house in a flash to see where the “call for held” came from. She hears kids calling for help. When she finds out nothing is the matter, she thinks the neighbourhood kids are yelling on purpose to upset her and get her riled up. There is one delusion of reference after another.

It’s like Anne is “crying wolf” — Verne doesn’t respond to her anymore, not even to hearing her cry in a depressive bout. Then she says Verne doesn’t care about her. Verne is with her, and taking care of her, too much. Verne wishes more than anything that she would take care of herself. In asking her to take care of herself, Verne is thought to be the one asking too much. This becomes an argument that Verne quickly leaves alone; it goes nowhere. Verne is argued out. He is losing empathy with Anne. He is becoming numb.

Having loved Anne dearly, Verne doesn’t know how many times he has counselled her on the wrongs of worrying and given her reasons not to worry with another way of looking at things. Her worrying is beyond what is normally acceptable; it has successfully invaded and exterminated any peace of mind that anyone should have in his household.

More than a husband, Verne is a care-giver. Anne is demanding too much of Verne but she believes Verne demands too much of her. It seems every aspect of their relationship is ironic, opposite, or in disagreement. Is Verne turning into the person she fears?

Finding a quiet time, and though he loathes writing about what he is going through, Verne sits down to write. It is his way of externalizing his thoughts. Verne has no one to talk with. Organizing his thoughts on paper to get a clearer understanding, Verne is better able to assess what is going on with Anne and what he needs to do.

December 21

Anne believes that Verne, his family, and sometimes her sisters are “playing gaslight” with her. She had told Verne before that her previous husband played “gaslight” with her. For years Verne didn’t know what this meant until he finally asks her. Playing “gaslight” means playing a cruel psychological warfare game to make someone believe they did things they really didn’t do. This is intended to make the victim believe that she is going crazy.

Getting very angry, Anne tells Verne that she should have never told him about the “gaslight” mind game. She now believes that Verne and his family have started to toy with her in this way to make her think she is going crazy. She states that she will not tolerate it when someone says something is white when she knows it to be black. She believes Verne and his family are covering up a terrible crime, lying to her, and trying to deceive her by withholding the truth.

Increasingly, Anne is becoming tremendously suspicious of Verne’s sister’s van that she saw while visiting Verne’s family up north. Anne believes the van is black in colour. She doesn’t believe Verne when he tells her it is dark green. This van controversy is brought up time and time again by Anne. In an attempt to calm her and verify the colour of the van, Verne decides he must phone and ask his family member the unusual question. Telephoning a couple of family members who would know the answer, Verne asks them what colour the van is. They say it is dark green. Anne wants to hear their answers for herself. When Anne asks them, they are put off by her mistrustful tone. Anne believes Verne and his family are covering up a terrible murderous crime and are trying to prevent her from knowing the truth about it.

Anne’s long time concern here is that she believes Verne’s sister’s van was involved in a crime many years ago and that the murderer was dressed as a clown. Verne has heard this recounted years earlier when Anne believed a van had been involved in a bloody murder and believed her previous husband was disguised as a clown selling meat out of the back of the van.

Years before Anne and Verne married, Verne used to have a part-time job as an advertising clown. Anne has seen the few photographs of Verne dressed as a clown. For some strange reason, Anne has thought Verne might have been the murdering clown. Clown costume, dark-coloured van — in Anne’s mind the evidence is all there. But it has taken Verne years to figure out what she sees in all this and Verne doesn’t know the half of it! Verne doesn’t even know who was murdered. All Verne knows is that Anne has filled her head with what is a carry- over delusion from Anne’s previous marriage. Anne has shown a lot of anger toward Verne — and for what? Her anger and suspicion are unnecessary. What a waste of mental energy. Most people are trying to deal with real-life problems but Anne’s are all made up in her head. This has become Verne’s real-life problem.

In trying to reason with Anne, Verne asks her how his relatives knew to lie about the colour of the van when they don’t know that she is suspicious about this discrepancy. In his attempt to help Anne think this out, Anne thinks Verne is trying to make her distrust her own thinking. She tells Verne to be a man in admitting that he lied about the colour of the van. “Why would I play mind games with you? I love you.” Verne responds. Verne goes into the basement to let her be.

Verne reminds himself of the last time they argued about this van thing. As long as Anne remains delusional, logical thinking is absent. Verne cannot reason with Anne. Verne learns the hard way that he should not argue with Anne; her delusions are fixed. The more Verne argues against her delusions, the more he becomes included in them. Verne’s first reaction is to defend himself. In Anne’s mind, Verne is a guilty, bad, monster of a person! Verne can no longer respond defensively to her suspicious accusations. Verne has to give up altogether trying to talk her out of her delusional beliefs.

Verne has watched his lovely, precious, adorable, and wholesome wife turn into a raving full-blown paranoid person. Verne know full well the meaning of the saying, “It happens to the best of us.” With zero insight into her illness, Anne is losing fast her perception of reality while not taking her medication. She says, “I’m not ill; you’re ill.”

When she’s ill, Verne is perceived as the ill one.

December 24

Verne is more and more having to take a role as Anne’s “caregiver” though he doesn’t like the sound of that and nor would she. Verne has taken measure to keep Anne out of the hospital, but it looks like she is heading that way again. She’s not on her meds at all lately, worrying continuously to the point of paranoia. Anne’s illness is peaking and it’s ruining their Christmas-time.

Anne is frequently asking Lisa and Verne to check her ashtray because she doesn’t remember putting out her cigarette after leaving it.

When Verne asks Anne if she’s been taking her medication, she becomes irate. Pacing and moving things about, Anne exclaims, “You’re not a psychiatrist. You think you know it all!” Anne stops her pacing and tells Verne she is afraid of him and does not want to be near him. She wants Verne to leave, telling Verne it would be best if they separated. “You can get a place” she states. At this point, Vern is blown away by the incredible level of her anxiety and the degree to which she feels threatened.

For a second, Verne wonders if he should fear what she might do to him. Verne stands there wondering what next to say if anything. “What now? What next?” Verne thinks to himself. “Is this getting more out of hand or not? Should I go for a walk?” Verne goes for a long walk. Looking up occasionally from watching his boots crunch the snow, Verne glances at Christmas decorations on people’s houses. All is calm except at his house.

After returning home, Verne wonders if his conflict is resolvable or not. For an hour, he thinks of where he would move to, exploring all his options.

Verne tells Anne their marriage hinges on her taking her medication. She talks of starting her own business and other endeavours that are not realistic right now. In a stern voice, Anne says, “Okay, I’ll get a job tomorrow; then you don’t have to worry!” She sees this as the solution to their problems. She’s not reading Verne correctly. Skirting wide around the issue, her comment has nothing to do with what Verne is addressing. She does not realize she is on the verge of losing her ability to reside outside the hospital and not seeing her daughter due to being re-hospitalized and a possible marital separation.

Having to sidetrack from the point he was making and respond to Anne, Verne reassures her that she doesn’t have to work. She asks, “What do you expect from me?” Verne is tired of answering this question and has leaned this is her way of making him appear blameworthy. Verne tells her he wants her to love Lisa and him and be responsible in taking her meds. His expressed concern for Anne to take her medication goes unheard. Instead Verne finds they are having an unnecessary disagreement about assurances he’s already made. Verne wonders if Anne has a memory problem. Or is it a broad confusion?

Verne thinks to himself that all his prayers over the years to keep his marriage stable, he is beginning to wonder if God wants this relationship to fail. This can’t be right. Verne is afraid that Anne and he are going through a chapter they have been through before.

It is Christmas eve and Verne is hoping Anne doesn’t fall asleep standing up again tonight. She has almost fallen down the stairs because of this. Verne almost wishes Anne would fall down the stairs and break something. This would get her into a hospital where staff may recognize a need to attend to more than a physical problem. And Verne’s certain Anne would blame him for her fall.
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