It was June 20, 2018, when I realized something is off with my husband. I just didn’t want to admit it because I played the “happy family” movie in my mind over and over and over again for almost two decades. Yes, he was playing around, and when I caught him, it was always me begging that he let go of the mistress. It was always like that. Well, I guess, things change, and while it was difficult, I tried my best to be tough.
My daughter disturbed my sleep that night, June 20th. “Mom, open up. I need to talk to you,” my daughter said while knocking nonstop. I got up from my bed and sleepily opened the locked door. I was rubbing my eyes when she said “I saw dad’s car. Near her. Is he supposed to be here, mom?” My eyes tried to open, but I was too sleepy. I believed it was what Monique Reynolds, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist explains. “Anxiety is a reaction to a situation we perceive as stressful or dangerous.”
She shook me a bit and said, “Hey mom. Did you understand me? Or are you still sleeping?” I said, “Honey, I’m awake. I heard you loud and clear. And no, dad is not here. He is in Jersey where he is supposed to be. I talked to him a few hours ago. What are you saying?” I reached for small bottled water which was at an end table near the door. The water refreshed me a bit but I was a bit tense, my heart was pounding, and I found it a bit of a struggle to breathe.
“I am positive that I saw dad’s car. AOC 904, that’s his plate number. I know it by heart, mom. If he was in Jersey like what he told you, then, why is his car here? Please, just think of it in a simple sense, mother. He didn’t tell you that he was coming and if he is here, then, why not go home? It’s midnight, mom. He’s supposed to be here. C’mon!” she said.
My daughter was right. She couldn’t have made a mistake in Joe’s car. If she says it was there, then, it really was where she saw it. My heart tightened, and I had to breathe all the way up just to let the air in and then, out. “Ok, I believe you. Let me call your dad to verify.” As I was dialing his number, she took my iPhone from me. “Mom, hello. You don’t get it, do you? This could be something. It could mean he is cheating on you, AGAIN, mom. Don’t you wanna find out now? Are you going to let it slide again? C’mon, mom. Do something! I’ll go with you.” She took my car keys from the dresser and hurried down. “Daniella, wait for me!” That was all I could say as I grabbed my purse, a cardigan, and my sneakers.
The drive wasn’t far, but it felt like forever. I started to feel weak and a bit lightheaded, too. My heart was racing, and I didn’t know why. It was a bit chilly even during summer. I don’t know why I was feeling that way.
We stopped at a condo building ten minutes away from our home. Of course, I wouldn’t be passing by this area because it’s not in my daily routine. And yes, his car was right there, parked at condo unit number 5144. So, it was true. Why is he here when he said he isn’t coming home until tomorrow?
Dani was a fast walker, and we had to climb five flights since the elevator was under repair. My chest started to feel tight, I think it’s because of my lack of exercise. My daughter was right. I should go with her to the gym and start a strength training program, but I was stubborn. All I did was work, work, and work. I don’t even go out with my friends anymore. My life is about Joe, the kids, and work. Is that even a life?
Room 5144 was right in front of me, and Dani knocked on the door loudly. My palms began to sweat and my heart, at that time, was coming out of my chest. Speaking of my chest, it was hurting me. I couldn’t breathe. My heart is aching, literally. I am in pain. I though to myself.
The door opened, and I saw a young woman, maybe 20 years younger than me, and she was carrying a baby. So this is her, and she has a young child. THEY have a young son, a son that Joe longed for and that I couldn’t give. Dani was exploding, and my head just spun around. I blocked out, and for sure, it was a heart attack. I thought I was going to die.
When I came around, Dani was with me and so was Joe. I started to cry, and I was uncontrollable, inconsolable. What I experienced wasn’t a heart attack, the doctor said. It was a panic attack. I have some sort of an anxiety disorder, and that’s because of my life and Joe.
I remembered a text from an article from Donna B. Pincus, Ph.D. where she said: “It’s a natural human emotion; yet unlike the other emotions, when someone feels anxious, we try to tell them to relax, to push down the anxiety and not feel it.” With that, I decided right then and there that I am done with him. Yes, I am not perfect, but he doesn’t deserve me. The doctor gave me anti-anxiety meds and recommended therapy. I’ve been going there since that incident, and fortunately, I am better.
We don’t have to be locked on a person who doesn’t deserve our loyalty, faithfulness, and love. It will cause us great physical, mental, psychological, and emotional pain if we do that. Look at what happened to me. I developed a Panic Disorder. Never let anyone do anything to hurt you, not if you can help it. Listen to the warnings from Jerry Bubrick, PhD, “when the anxiety becomes so intense that it’s seriously interfering with a child’s life, and the life of her family, it’s important to get help.”