Higher Than Anyone


Higher Than Anyone

I’m not going to talk about depression or metal illness very much in this story. You’re going to see it. You’re going to think to yourself, “bi-polar,” but don’t let that label put a stereotype on my character. My psychiatrist at the time explained, “I’m not convinced bi-polar is the proper diagnosis. There’s more of a PTSD thing going on with you. Normal bi-poloar people don’t drop out of the sky quite so dramatically.”

“Normal bi-polar people?”

“I’m very curious about you. Let’s be curious together,” he said.

I liked the idea that I was not just “bi-polar.” I was special. Let’s just say, my actions speak louder than any diagnosis. And from this moment in time and space, this day of SXSW numero dos, for me, I was on fire.

Everything was going my way. And before my therapy blowout, I could not have identified anything in my life I was unhappy with. Job? Check. Creative drive? Check. Wife, kids, and nice house? Check. Sex? Well, um. Quality of life? 110%*

*before the bombshell

I rushed home after a few tequila shots and a few chord and harmony warm-ups with Robert. Susan and the kids were at a rich neighbor’s house for a playdate at their pool. We had the neighborhood, but not the pool. Yet.

I grabbed a quick shower and pulled together my black-on-black outfit for the show. My gear was already in my car. I paused for a few minutes. Everything had changed. The bedroom no longer felt right. As if, the entire place was a dream, and I was falling upward and away from everything I’d ever wanted. It might have been the tequila and the excitement, but I was floating over the bed looking down at my near-perfect life, the life I thought I was living several hours ago.

It was as if the shower glass was steaming up between me and the life I thought I had. We would never make love in this bed again. My kids were going to lose me as a positive force and compass in their lives. I was heading toward fractional parenthood. Every other weekend was not what I had in mind. Aside from all the other stuff, my life revolved around the family routine. I was the breakfast king with *award-winning* French toast. I was the wake-up and get-to-school parent. I was the emotional heart of our tiny tribe. And I was about to be marginalized by something I’d not yet heard of, the Standard Possession Order. Maintaining my status as “he who makes the pool fun” was in doubt. I was going to be missing a lot of pool dates with my two kids.

My phone buzzed, pulling me off the ceiling.

It was Susan calling. “Have you left the house yet? Claire forgot her swim goggles and the ones here are leaking.”

“I’m sorry, I’m in the parking lot of the club.”

“Shit. Okay. Good luck tonight.”

“Yeah, thanks.”

There was a tone. She didn’t give a shit what I did. Like I was talking to someone I didn’t know. How do you go see a lawyer while you’re in couples therapy? Don’t you think the therapy holds the possibility for us to avoid lawyers, avoid divorce? Maybe she agreed to therapy so she would have the time to get the accounts in order, the strategy and excel spreadsheet model in place for her departure. Or, more accurately, my departure.

That afternoon, in therapy, she said, “Why don’t you get another place for a while? Give us a break. We can tell the kids you’re on a business trip?”

“What? No way.”

Rich tried to join in, “Maybe it would be good to take a break?”

Was he in on the plan, I wondered.

“If she’s the one having the crisis maybe she should move out for a little while. We can say YOU went on a business trip.”

“I’m not leaving my kids.”

“Our kids.”

“Our kids, sorry.”

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