BM goes crazy and now everyone is in therapy, except her
This post is really long. I’ve thought about not posting it because it’s so long, because who will even read it? But since I think we are about to enter into a serious custody battle, I’m trying to get out as much information as I can now, so you will have some background as I continue to post. I have not posted about my own step-life in years, though I read here almost daily.
DH and BM had 50/50 physical and legal custody until about 2-3 weeks ago, after BM’s most recent psychotic break.
BM’s formal diagnosis is bipolar II with psychosis. She was diagnosed went OSD12 was 2 years old. During a psychotic episode, she experiences extreme paranoia, hallucinations, and severe loss of contact with reality. Some milder examples of this include believing she needs to save people and herself from the devil by "killing the devil", thinking the garage door opener is a bomb, needing to "inspect" cars by shaking them and climbing on top of them or trying to push them over to see that they are "safe" before she gets into them... you get the picture.
Often she is able to “come in and out” of reality, where one minute she’s talking to the devil and imaginary people and the next she’s telling you about how she’s going to go to Target to pick up paper towels because she noticed she was out. This is not a “blackout” experience. She is fully aware and remembers everything that happens and is able to communicate what she’s doing and why, even while she’s doing it, but she loses the ability to understand what is “real” and what is paranoia and hallucinations.
Her mental illness is "treatable" in the sense that when she takes her medications, gets proper sleep, avoids binge drinking, and sees a psychiatrist regularly, she is "stable". (This has been why 50/50 custody has been re-established two times in the past.) When medicated, she is a giant paint-in-the-butt, high conflict GUBM and a terrible Disney parent, but she lives in reality (as much as any of the GUBMs can) and is able to function.
She is able to work when receiving proper treatment, and has held a number of part-time jobs. However, she prefers not to work for a number of reasons for all of the typical HC GUBM reasons, including DH pays $5,000/month (combination alimony and child support) and the fact that she stopped paying taxes in… 2013? So when she does work at a legitimate job, her wages are garnished. Often she works as a waitress and gets paid cash uner the table.
During the course of BM and DH's marriage, she had two (maybe three?) psychotic episodes and since DH and I have been together (five years) she has had three, including the one she is experiencing now. Each time (including this one) she has been taken to a behavioral health facility, either willingly or by police and/or paramedics, and she has been held on a 5150 or 5250, which are the California codes that allow for the involuntary psychiatric commitment of individuals who present a danger to themselves or others due to mental illness. She has been held for anywhere from 1-3 weeks. This time she was held for 8 days. She was released last Tuesday. Until this time, she has never had a psychotic episode in front of the kids, OSD12 and YSD7.
So, a few weeks ago…
DH was notified of this episode by two acquaintances who called him around 11AM, both saying they saw BM in the grocery store in BM’s small town, which is really two exclusive, gated communities in the middle of nowhere next to a prestigious equestrian center and the town where they lived when they were married. Both people told DH that BM was yelling and cursing at customers in the store, trying to get groceries for free, and threatening the store clerks by telling them “Satan would come for them” if they didn’t give her what she wanted. She had SD7 with her and both people who called DH were concerned for SD7’s safety given BM’s behavior.
It was a school day and our custody day anyway, so DH went to her house to get SD7. When he drove into her neighborhood, he saw her on the sidewalk on the street about a 15-minute walk from her house. She was drinking a beer, had her dog on a leash, and she was doing karate on the sidewalk with the leash in her hand as SD7 looked on. (BM does not know karate.)
DH told her he had received the phone calls about what happened in the store and she denied anything happened. He asked BM if he needed to call someone to take her to the hospital, or even if he could give her a ride then. BM told him to “eff off” and dropped the leash to the dog, threw off her hat and glasses and began “kick-running” down the street, where she would stop every few feet to do a karate move and aggressively yell “ahhhhh” before running some more. She did this for a minute or so and then stopped. DH got SD7 in the car and drove the short distance down the street to where BM had stopped. The dog came trotting back up to her. He told her he was taking SD7 and would call someone for her. She again told him to eff off and he drove away.
DH called GMB to let her know that BM appeared to be having a psychotic episode. GBM, doesn’t live nearby at all. She also hates DH and thinks BM can do no wrong. GBM says she’ll take a flight to our town as soon as she can and either rent a car or Uber to BM’s house to “talk to her”. After that, DH called for a health and welfare check from the security officer in BM’s housing complex.
When GBM got to BM’s house that night, she texted DH that BM was not there. GBM stayed in a hotel and went back the next day. Still no BM. GBM waited another day or so, filed a missing persons report for BM and broke into BM’s house when it became apparent BM had left her dog and three cats inside.
Nearly two days later, GBM texts DH that BM called her from a mental health facility an hour away from where BM lives (and there are two facilities much closer) and she asked GBM to go get her car, which she left at a mall in our neighborhood, which is two hours away from the facility and an hour from her house. How did she get to the mental health facility? We don’t know.
As all of this was happening, DH filed for and was granted temporary, full legal and psychical custody. Everyone has started therapy (again), including DH and I. LOL. This is what we have learned from the kids since this has happened:
The night before this started, BM was going through the house testing and retesting the fire alarms. She kept telling the kids she smelled smoke and tested the fire extinguisher in the house. She told the kids they weren’t safe in the house and gave them a “lesson” on how to defend themselves against intruders using household objects. She carried around a knife for “cutting cantaloupe” though OSD12 said there was no cantaloupe. She took off her clothes and curled up in the fetal position in her bathroom and cried for at least an hour. She told OSD12 that she might be going to hell and she (OSD12) needed to accept Jesus so they could be in heaven together. That night, BM turned on every light in the house and would not let the kids turn them off to sleep. She stayed up all night opening drawers and cabinets and “making noises” (per the kids) and told them she “was working”.
In the morning, she drove both kids to school and was driving very erratically, so much so that both skids were scared and begged BM to slow down, to which she replied, “The Lord is in control”. OSD12 told her she needed to take back control and eventually BM did drive a more reasonable speed. At other points during the drive, BM took her hands off the wheel and started shaking them saying Satan was trying to burn her. She “talked” to the car in front of her and told the skids it was throwing pebbles at her and that it was trying to blind her. She dropped OSD12 off, but not YSD7. She called the school and told them not to release the kids to my DH. (They asked if she had a court order and she hung up.) She went back to the school to give OSD12 a toy from YSD7’s bedroom and cried in the hallway while opening up the little cabinets that have fire extinguishers inside them and asking OSD12 to find out if they worked.
GBM told us that BM stopped paying for her insurance in April/May because she “couldn’t afford it” (on the $5,000 per month?) and we aren't sure how long she's actually been off her meds.
DH, BM, OSD12 and YSD7 will have to go to family court tomorrow to meet with a social worker about the case. We already know this is not the "final say" as the judge ordered private mediation to follow this particular meeting and DH’s lawyer said they will most likely grant supervised visitation to BM. Presently, DH wants full custody and some kind of "check" put in place that she's getting regular treatment but he and I don't completely agree on the best way to handle this and he's a little flippy-floppy.
I know i'm leaving a ton of stuff out, but this is already too long. I’ll respond to reply posts (if there are any!) with additional details. If you read this far, thank you.