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Rob's Perspective - Part III

The choice to seek professional help was a no-brainer and over time we received the help needed in order for us both to be able to cope. We both benefited. Arlene learned that the damage done to her in her previous marriage was not her fault. And I learned that she needs a lot of patience and tender loving care. We figured that would give us the best quality of life we were both determined to have.

"it was a trying time"

Arlene had to permanently quit working due to her illnesses. She couldn't drive for about one year. She couldn't be left alone for fear she would experience an anxiety and/or panic attack or she would have seizure-like events that were scary to look at. It broke my heart to see her having to go through such changes. It took many hard working Doctors, late night Emergency Room visits and misdiagnosis plus mounting medical expenses before one determined Doctor finally figured it out. Arlene was diagnosed with Conversion Disorder (we will discuss that more in a future blog). I had never heard of it. Honestly, I felt somewhat helpless, afraid and would panic sometimes. It was a great deal of stress on her, on me and on the girls. It was a trying time.

Migraine sufferer in immense pain
Seeing her like this broke my heart

We pulled in every source of support. The internet was our friend. We did a lot of research but at the time, there was very little information on the type of illness Arlene had. So we did the next best thing which was to enlist family and friends. They helped enlighten me on the after-effects one goes through due to being in an abusive relationship. We even created an emergency plan for when Arlene needed to be taken to the hospital and made sure everyone in close company had a copy.

"I worried about if she was okay"

Having a great support system helped ease the stress I was under when I was at work since I worried about if she was okay. I had to inform my employer of her health condition since sometimes I had to leave work to take care of her. They were very understanding. In fact, if Arlene called, she didn't even have to say anything, once they discerned it was her they would immediately inform me and I was able to leave and go to her. I really appreciated that! Without their cooperation I would not have been able to continue working.

"we didn't know where to begin"

Once she was diagnosed then we had to go through trial and error to find medications that would decrease her anxiety and reduce the amounts of migraines she was having. That was fine, but we soon realized it was what she was taking in her body that was a factor. We read that various things like dairy, gluten and sulfates were not good but we didn't know where to begin...

⇒Hello Reader, we're curious: Tell us what experiences you've faced in caring for a loved one in the comments below.

Rob's Perspective - Part II

Pennsylvania Ave in Washington D.C.
Washington, D.C.

For me living in an influential city like Washington D.C. was familiar and comfortable and I had everything I needed there. I had my family. I felt safe since it is the Nation's Capital. I knew the streets. I was good. My job was secure and I had good friends.

I never thought I would find myself in Baltimore until I met Arlene. She was an unexpected yet pleasant surprise. Early on while getting to know each other she told me that she suffered with depression. Even though I saw her in pain, with lack of energy and fighting mood swings, she seemed to be managing it to the best of her ability. Her depression has never deterred my love for her.

As we progressed to the point of engagement, we talked about where we would live. Arlene had her parents, two children and all their friends already established in Baltimore. I didn't want to disturb all of that. We talked about it and we decided it would be easier for me to leave D.C. My job wouldn't be an issue, I would just have a very long commute as I worked in Tysons, Va.

Moving to Baltimore took a little getting used to. From the streets to positioning of the street lights, even driving in Baltimore was different.  People in D.C. are busy getting to their destination. After they have warmed up to you, they are very nice. People in Baltimore greet you or "speak" immediately as they enter busses or buildings. I wasn't used to that but I liked it.

Downtown Inner Harbor, Baltimore, MD
Baltimore, MD

"another challenge...I didn't know what to do"

I had to adjust to moving to a new city and taking on a step-parent family. But I also had another challenge. We were enjoying our new life. But unfortunately Arlene started to suffer from past trauma from a previous relationship which resurfaced in our present marriage. She didn't know what was happening and neither did I. One moment she was happy and fine and the next moment she was absolutely not okay.

Things were happening so fast, it seemed like it was one thing after another. I didn't know what to do...

⇒Hello Reader, we're curious: Tell us what challenges you faced moving from one place to another in the comments below.

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