Altus, Okla._Following last week's sentencing of former Altus radio personality, Blane George, to 25 years in prison for brutally beating his wife, Sandy George, spoke out Friday about her husband to shed some light on their life before the attack.
Sandy, who is about to undergo her 5th reconstructive surgery, says she makes no apologies about what her husband did to her, but she is making it her admirable mission to shed some light on the story behind the verdict.
Sandy says she knew her husband was bi-polar, but in April 2008 she could tell something was different. It wasn't until 4 years later when she woke up in the hospital after being brutally beaten that she found out he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and was prescribed a dangerous combination of drugs.
Sandy says the drug he was prescribed is called Klonopin. She says this particular drug is something she now knows when mixed with PTSD can be a lethal combination.
"I never thought to look into it. A doctor prescribed it. This is a doctor. He's under his psychiatric care once a month, and just kinda trusted it that's what he needed to be taking and that was working for him. I did not find out until after I got out of the hospital that the medication he was prescribed, the klonopin, that he started taking that in April of 2008. And even for me a light bulb went off. That's when I saw huge behavior changes," Sandy said.
He became isolated, even attempted suicide on two occasions, but never threatened her, but Sandy says she and her husband did try to seek help, however, finding mental health resources in the Altus community was difficult. With only bi-monthly visits from the Taliaferro clinic and the one psychiatrist leaving town without notification, Sandy says she felt hopeless.
"It's life or death. Literally. It is. It's the most important thing you can do. When a family member has cancer or any other illness, you know we will take them to a doctor, we will seek treatment and pay very close attention to that treatment, but when someone is mentally ill oftentimes they're isolated," Sandy said.
A representative from the Oklahoma State Mental Health and Substance Abuse Department says the state is well aware of the problem as far as the shortage of outreach for mental illness patients, and the problem is simply a lack of resources statewide.
Sandy says her husband waived his right to trial, so the issue of mental illness in his case was never brought to light. That is why she encourages families to seek help for mental health disorders like PTSD before it is too late.
"Obviously I would like there to be more resources for families who have family members suffering with mental illness. And just education. Because the hardest part for me was to watch my husband isolate himself from everyone. Including me."
If you, or anyone you know, is suffering from mental illness, the Health Department always suggests calling 911 to prevent any situation from escalating.