The last string that held my marriage together was severed over a bipolar episode sparked by a 99c notebook. Yes, a simple pad of white paper with a wire binding millions of students use every day that doesn’t even cost a dollar. While we were relaxing with a television show before bed on a school night, my daughter casually walked in, plopped down onto the couch and mentioned she needed a new notebook for school that week. My husband, who moments before was laughing and watching the show, jumped from his chair and went into ballistic missile mode. Our girls have described his countenance during an episode as his demon face with big round black eyes, eyebrows that point downwards in the center, red faced, and thin lipped. His hands also wildly wave and he uses his criminal voice. This was the way he looked that night. His face twisted, he launched into an attack instantly. His sick barrage of angry words continued to pelt her as she immediately fled to her bedroom crying. He swiftly chased her and was looming menacingly over her screaming as she lay on her bed sobbing with the covers pulled up over her head. I, the most passive person on the planet that nods and apologizes during his assaults, stood between them with the fierceness of a tiger! I screamed at him to get away from my child. I was ready to rip his head off! She was innocent and had done nothing. I chose him, she did not. She did not have to endure his attacks and I wasn’t going to stand by and let him victimize her. It was okay to do that to me. I’m used to thirty plus years of it. I can handle it. No! Not to my kids! Never! I will fight and defend them to the death this day and every other as long as I live. Mental illness is not an excuse to abuse people, especially the ones you supposedly love! I told her to drive to a friend’s house and stay over as it was going to be a long night. He backed off of her and turned his target onto me as we moved to the kitchen where his tirade continued until his irrational anger was finally spent hours later. That was the night our marriage was truly over. I could never risk that happening again to my girls. He knew he had finally broken me. He had crushed my spirit. There was no hope left. None, it was gone. The look on my face, that spark in my eyes completely extinguished like a torch that finally burned down leaving you shivering in the dark. Thirty one years and it was over. He had crossed the line in treating our daughter like he did me. Maybe it’s because she was eighteen. His mind maybe saw her as an adult and fair game. I don’t really know. It doesn’t matter now. She told me later she had never seen me mad her whole life. That was the first time and it was in her defense. She realized in that moment the depth of my love for her. That night, that 99c notebook changed our lives forever.