Obsession: I Live With It

I read The Swan Thieves as a member of the From Left to Write book club.  I was given a free copy as part of the book club.  This post was inspired by this book.

The Swan Thieves, by Elizabeth Kostova, is the story of a famous painter, Robert Oliver, who attacks a painting in the National Gallery of Art and is put into a psychiatric ward. When Robert maintains a state of silence, his psychiatrist, Andrew Marlow, must investigate the artist’s world to treat him, which includes the women in his life.

The Swan Thieves is a story  about obsession.  It does not specifically delve into Robert’s diagnoses and so I will not delve into “my Robert’s” diagnoses, that of my husband.

As I read the book I recognized my husband in it and wondered if this amazing book would be good for me.

Grant has been ruled by obsessions of one kind or another since his teen years, but I will only talk about the ones that he has gone through since we have been married. For a long time, Grant was obsessed with buying posters, statues and trinkets of cats, particularly of the Egyptian cat goddess, Bast. He had hundreds of pieces. This lasted for many years, after which time he realized that this was stupid and has given much of it away to fellow cat lovers.

Then he got into the cats of Andy Warhol. Cards, posters, pocketbooks (?), scarves.

Now his latest obsession is with “time”, watches.  He probably has about a hundred watches. He doesn’t wear them, he just collects many different kinds.

Those who know me know that my family can’t afford what has added up to thousands of dollars, sometimes as much as a thousand dollars a month.  When I was working it was okay, and although he’s worked on it, in therapy and taking medication, he still can’t stop.

Why do I stay with him?  Because this truly is a part of a his mental illness and many people have this symptom.

He is not a bad person.  He has a disease.

Unlike Robert Oliver, I know where he is all the time and I know and understand his obsession.  He is good to my son and I, and is in fact a bit overzealous with buying for my son. He gets me presents, even though I don’t want him to, but deserve it.

Despite his obsessions, he loves my son and I, and is being the best son and father he knows how to be.

Please don’t be angry or feel sorry for me, because I don’t, and I am the one who chooses to love him.


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About mamasick

Emily Cullen is a pen-name. I suffer from chronic illnesses and diseases which include Bipolar Disorder, Asthma, Diabetes and Fibromyalgia. I had battled Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis but there is no longer evidence of me having these diseases and my Rheumatologist has declared them to be "burnt out" of my system. I am separated from my husband, “Grant”. Our son, “Tyler” was born in September of 2006 and suffers from tics and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and is delayed in fine and gross motor skills. In my blog I seek to let sick moms know that they are not the only ones going through this, and to educate people about what can happens when one becomes catastrophically ill. I also strive to break down stereotypes of what a “Welfare Mom” is like. Anything that I have gone through due to being sick, is written on the pages of Mama Sick.

12 Responses to Obsession: I Live With It

  1. Pingback: Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova – A From Left to Write Book Club |

  2. Thank you for speaking about obsession as an illness instead of a moral failing!
    .-= Brenda Bartella Peterson´s last blog ..Obsession and Calling =-.

  3. Melissa says:

    One of the things I appreciated about the book is that, though it did romaticize Robert’s illness to some degree, is that it showed the impact of his illness on his family and loved ones–which, as you deftly illustrated, can be quite complicated…thanks.
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..My Muse =-.

  4. Elaine says:

    Agreed with others! Thank you for pointing out that issues like this do not make people good or bad. I also loved your comment on my blog about movies, TV, and lotion. The best thing I did was turn my television off.
    .-= Elaine´s last blog ..When Art and Children Cross =-.

  5. admin says:

    Thanks, Elaine. I wonder if Kate would have stuck it out with him if Robert would not have said he was having an affair, which he wasn’t. That’s a deal-breaker for me too, but she seemed to give up so easily.

  6. Emily says:

    It is so refreshing to hear someone accepting their loved ones flaws and all. Many people would have left in your situation and wouldn’t blame you if you did. But, I think it is AWESOME that you are there to love and support him through his “illness”.

    Thanks for your honesty and sharing such a personal struggle.
    .-= Emily´s last blog ..Mema =-.

  7. admin says:

    Melissa, no one has ever said I “deftly illustrated” anything. Thanks!

  8. admin says:

    Brenda, thanks. I am a big advocate of mental illness and the misconceptions of such things as gambling, shopping, and obsessions not being a part of them.

    Not everyone who does these things has mental illness of course, but people who do these to the extreme should be examined for a deeper issue and not judged by a spouse, friend or family member.

  9. admin says:

    Thanks, Emily. It was not an easy post to write and I asked my husband’s permission because this is my blog, not his. But if I won’t come forward other people won’t either. Every time I write about mental illnesses, mine or his, I get nothing but thank yous.

    My experience, his and others’ have changed the way I think about mental illness, and so I want to change other people’s misconceptions as well.

  10. Tina says:

    thanks for sharing this personal story. I hit a nerve in my own family we’re dealing with so I truly appreciate what you shared. Different type of obsession, but this is so hard to discuss and deal with at times.
    .-= Tina´s last blog ..My Post Impressionism of the Visiting Musee dOrsay Exhibit =-.

  11. Mrs4444 says:

    Unconditional love is a good thing 🙂

  12. Marla Hansen says:

    Thank you for sharing this piece of your story. Your transparency may very well touch another life going through similar circumstances. I applaud you both.
    .-= Marla Hansen´s last blog ..Buh Bye Fly Boy =-.

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