Living Someone Else’s Life

Since I’ve moved here from my comfortable life in Missouri, I’ve gone through many challenges and changes.

Sometimes, I look back at events to see where that little “life turn” happened. Sometimes its within your control, sometimes its not. Within 2 months of me moving here, I received a call that was my “life turn.” I remember exactly where I was with my husband. We were in a Greek café in Mountain View. My baby brother called me to let me know he didn’t have long to live. He died less than a year later. I was crushed.

I think I’ve always been thought of as a strong, self assured, resilient and assertive woman whether it was true or not. But now, I was in a new environment, new job, financial stress of the move, missing my kids, my baby brother died. I worried about my health all the time. I had lost my other brother a few years back.

So, all this started breaking me down. I could feel the change, it wasn’t even gradual. I changed into a person I barely recognized as I struggled with trying to get back some part of control or joy that I used to feel. I’d try to run, hike, go to the beach or travel with my husband to feel good in some way. I thought of death constantly after my brothers death. And I was so homesick for Missouri. I missed my old life unbearably. Those were the best years of my life where I was content and confident. So as the depression got worse, I cried all the time. It became severe. I had serious thoughts of ending it all. I had never felt that kind of grief and depression. I didn’t know how to feel better. I felt like I was living someone else’s life even though that sounds weird to say it.

I have had bouts of short depression much earlier in my life, but this one was almost debilitating. I managed through it at first. Only a few people knew it. I became so different. I went to a therapist, but to be honest, she didn’t help. Maybe for a day or 2 but not for long term.

At first, my husband was sympathetic and supportive. But as time went on, I could tell he seemed distracted and barely cared. He was used to seeing me strong and not needing much attention from him. I felt that once I became weak, emotional and needy, he couldn’t deal with it. He would spend a lot of hours in his office on his computer and often up late even when he had to work the next morning. He stopped going places with me and the family and he grew tense anytime that he took me out. He stopped giving attention to the dogs. Whom he had always adored. He would do the minimum walks, feeding etc. but it was like he didn’t acknowledge them. He seemed robotic often just going through motions or actions. If I inquired, he’d get angry or agitated and he would bulge his eyes or more like a glare like he was under pressure, even at simple life things.

So to help me, my doctor put me on meds for depression in Sept of 2019. The first few weeks were hard taking the meds but after a couple weeks, I was starting to feel better and was able to start feeling more engaged with work and life. I was hopeful.


It started out as a bad year with a tragic family event back home, a close relative attempted suicide. And in March, Covid-19 hysteria hit like a tornado. I felt like I was living in bizarro world. It felt surreal to me. It also made my mental issues worse. I get very anxious wearing a mask. On top of being sheltered in place with my husband, we were getting ready to move to Santa Cruz. It was our dream place to live. We found the house we loved and it was a 5 minute walk to the best private beaches in Santa Cruz. Even with the epidemic, we felt good about moving to Santa Cruz. Or so I thought.

In April of 2020, we had an argument. I truly felt it was an insignificant or a nothing argument. He walked out and that was it. At first, he would come around to see the dogs and it seemed he regretted leaving us. I saw him cry a few times when he would come to walk them. A few times, he hugged me crying. I was so confused. I remember once him crying and saying how hard this was for him. I didn’t understand any of it. It seemed he tried to come back or at least be friends at first, but he gradually started behaving stand offish again. His mother died soon after he left. He never called me and I tried many times to call him to talk to him about it and he would not answer phone or text. He wouldn’t contact grandkids or the dogs. He would tell me that he would contact them in “due time”. Even with my emotional issues and being all fucked up, I felt it sounded bizarre. What was “due time?”

My best friend and husband of 20 years was gone. He made it clear that he didn’t want anything to do with any of us. I tried a few times to reach out to him to discuss divorce amicably. He rarely answered emails. He changed his phone number. He had given me his address in a document so one day after work, I dropped by his apartment after he agreed to meet me somewhere to discuss next steps and stopped answering the phone, emails and texts.

I was a bit scared to even see him face to face because he had been so different and strange. I knocked a few times and he opened the door and peeked out. He looked surprised to see me. I said “Hi” and he opened the door wider. His face changed from surprise to anger. He gritted his teeth and pointing his finger and trying to get me to leave. He was keeping the door so I couldn’t see in and I thought he was gritting his teeth and talking low because maybe someone was in there with him. Maybe another women or someone. I asked him if he was alone. He said yes and started angrily telling me to leave. He was saying “you don’t know what you have done.” He seemed more scared than angry. I left shaking and crying. I did not know him anymore. After I got home, I noticed he had emailed me the most bizarre, rambling email, mentioned hearing me say things that were absurd that I never said! He was hearing voices! He talked about people after him, cult activity and by coming there I put him and myself in danger. He mentioned that “they” could have followed me. He was speaking about cult and other bizarre things. He even told me that my family and me were being warned.

That was in August, that was the last I have heard from him except through his lawyer. The divorce is in process.

Its been 8 months since the separation and I still love the person that I had known so long. I miss him daily. My heart is broken. I’m worried about myself, my job. But I still love him. I’m worried about him. I never hear from him. He told me point blank he didn’t’ want anything to do with me, the dogs or the kids. He made it crystal clear. He has no one to help him but he doesn’t even realize he is sick. I wonder all the time how he is doing. But more than anything, I feel I am grieving my husband, my best friend and that pain is almost unbearable sometimes. To be ghosted and left not understanding what happened. That is what I’ll have to live with. I’ll never know what happened.

And with Covid shutdowns, watching more and more homeless and hopeless people not working, my own broken heart, sadness, loss of social contact, my depression had gotten to a level where I no longer wanted to get out of bed. I did work but more often I worked from home but I felt unengaged and I couldn’t even hold a thought for longer than 2 minutes. My job performance was low but my manager and my co workers were supportive and help me through it at work. I will forever appreciate how they carried my load while I tried daily to pull out of my emotional state. I took a few medical leaves to try to help me get through it. Nothing helped.

Before Thanksgiving, my nephew died so I flew home to Tennessee to be with my sister and attend his services. The plane ride was pure hell. My anxiety made that plane ride misery. But I made it. I spent time with my sisters, nieces and other family members. It was good to be with my family. I came back home and Thanksgiving was here. I spent it with my two dogs. But I make an effort every day to get better. There is no doubt in my mind, I would not be here without my dogs. Many days I can hardly go to work because leaving them causes anxiety so bad that I can’t drive. I’m working through all of this with my doctors.

Christmas season has been lonely but I am finding ways to feel good along with my dogs. Its been a struggle every day, but the last 2 weeks have seemed to turn around. I get support from a couple friends and some family but its all virtual due to new shelter in place. California is such a mess. Its leaders could care less.

I am feeling better. My last 2 weeks felt good. I was totally engaged at work and had energy. I didn’t feel anxiety attacks except once this past week and it ended quickly. I didn’t cry as much and not at work. So I keep my fingers crossed that I will soon feel like seeing what I will do in the twilight of my life.

I live in a beautiful area with my 2 dogs. I love my job. But I will be alone for Christmas due to Covid-19 Lockdowns in California. But as of tonight, I feel hopeful that I’ll be fine.

Merry Christmas from Santa Cruz, CA.

4 thoughts on “Living Someone Else’s Life

  1. Hello Charlotte. I am glad to see you back. It has been a long time. Sounds like the road has been rough, but you are learning to cope and that’s a good thing. I lost my wife a couple of years ago, so I can appreciate the support your dogs give you. Mine have been a godsend. I was alone for Thanksgiving and will be again on Christmas. But alone means only that other people are not around. It does not mean forgotten. Hope to hear more of your progress going forward. Til then, Merry Christmas and the wonderful prospects offered by a New Year. Bob

  2. Charlotte, my heart aches for you. I’m so sorry that you’ve had to go through all of this. I can’t even imagine. But the fact that you’re still here, surviving, really does attest to your strength. You will survive this storm. If you ever need to talk, please know that I still consider you a friend, even though we’ve lost touch since you moved, and that I’m here for you. ❤ May 2021 bring you lots of blessings and exciting adventures. You deserve them!

    • Thank you, Tammy. I could use people to talk to. I still cherish us running together. Its been the hardest year of my life but I will move forward. I wish you, David and your girls & family a Merry Christmas.

  3. Charlotte, while I may not know you and my story is a bit different, I understand deeply as to what you’re going through and I know the pain that comes with it! I know sorry doesn’t help but know that you are strong and there are people out there to talk to ❤ Please feel free to reach out!

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