Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Surviving with no support

When you are married to someone who is bipolar, and has an extreme anxiety disorder on top of it, there is no thataboy or heartfelt congratulations for your accomplishments or achievements. I shouldn't say there are none, they are there, but they come with strings attached....and the fallout. I have discovered over the years that my happiness concerning certain events will only cause my husband to spiral into a deep depression about how worthless he is and the inevitable conversation about how I deserve better, to be followed by a few days later of borderline obsession that I will leave him.
Case in point, about a month ago I was picked up by a major publisher. One would think this would be fabulous news and celebrations would abound. We went out to eat with friends, and it was joyous - but just like always it came crashing down only hours later. The moment I needed to be on my computer to send manuscripts, cover art concepts, and information to the publisher, the negativity started. Negativity is something which rules every one I have ever known who is bipolar. They are either happy or extremely depressed and disgusted. It's a crapshoot which one you are going to get. I hoped, even prayed, after struggling so long to get picked up I would perhaps, just this once, get an evening of happiness we could both share. He complains constantly that I am on the computer ALL the time. I am not. 3 days out of the week max because at this point I can't take all the negative comments. We have no friends because you only want to write. We have no friends because you won't call anyone because you are too wrapped up in that computer. You don't care about anything but writing. The list of negative comments when he is in one of his downward bipolar spirals could fill up this page with little to no effort. Now that my small measure of success in landing a publisher has set in, he is now in anxiety mode. It is the constant utterings of don't leave me. You deserve better. What's wrong with me? Why can't anyone help me? I can't imagine what it is like, but then again some days my survival mechanism sets in and I turn off. I have to - for my sanity. I have learned coping mechanisms - perhaps some deep seeded survival instinct that kicks in to keep me from having a meltdown. I have come close to it many times. I won't lie. I have spent time crying in the bathroom because it is the only place I can be alone. It doesn't help. You can't talk to your friends. They just don't understand what it is that he goes through, what I go through, or the damage that was done by his psychotic mother. The friends we once had - they have dwindled away over the years. They can't cope - or don't want to- with my husband when he starts to have a meltdown. He says a lot of crap without thinking, and sometimes no amount of apologizing can fix what has been said.
So my joy, my monumental moment of landing a reputable publisher after years and years of going it alone as an Indie came crashing down within one hour of arriving home, and I am left to deal with the aftermath of him thinking somewhere in the deep recesses of his mind that because I found 'success' I will leave him. A little cake I bought for myself on the way to work, a new shirt for my author headshot, and the congratulations of people on Facebook are my reward, to myself, and I still pray that one day there will be a pill, a procedure, anything that can help him and in the end save him.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Secret Life You Lead

You hide it from the outside world. Very few know the truth. Some days you wonder how you are going to survive. Going to work makes you happy, well not really happy, but gives you sense of relief. YOU are away from it, and for a little while, your life seems normal.
Anxiety back to the point he is once again talking about how we need to move home because he needs someone to stay with him at all times. He is back to the "I am dying" and can't you stay home today? I can't stay home anymore. I have no vacation time or sick time left. Now it has to be accrued all over again... Last night he started yelling at me for being on the computer how fucking ridiculous it is that I was on it for 5 hours. He wanted me to lay in bed with him. I didn't want to channel surf because that always wakes him up so I watched 2 movies on the computer with headphones. This morning I got the 'now I know how ----- feels' response when I tried to explain to him he always goes through bouts of sweating and being cold with the anxiety. Now I am being compared to his friend ---- whose wife is a complete mess due to tragic events that happened when a child and continued on into adolescence.... I cried myself to sleep. If we could only have a whole  month of normalcy...if they could find something for him to take...He attacks me verbally when he's like this then 15 minutes later he apologizes because he says he didn't mean it- he never meant for my life to end up this way. But secretly I wonder if he really is sorry, if he really didn't mean it. People say what they really think when they are drunk because they have no barriers. Sometimes I think being manic depressive is the same way. The way he really feels about everything just slips out. Once moment he is praising me about how well things are starting to go for me and my writing, how slowly but surely, the recognition is coming. The next he tells me we have no friends because I don't want to do anything but write - all I want to do is stay home. That isn't true. I want to stay home because we are broke, and there is no place left for me to get extra money from - it is finished. It is yet another aspect of what they do to feel better...spending money. I should have seen the signs way back when, especially after meeting his mother. Both his mom and his grandmother had to have been manic depressive the same as him by the way they acted and treated other people. He blames the fact we don't have any friends on me when he is like this. Everything is my fault. But the truth is they are tired of listening to him tell them if he is going to die he wishes it would get the hell over with. He complains constantly when we are around other people, there is never any joy. It seems like it gets worse and worse each time. Hopefully this one won't last for a week. This journal to track his behavior is all I have to keep record. I never know who I am waking up to in the morning or who I am coming home to at night. I love him with all my heart yet I feel like a part of me is dying.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Horrors of BiPolar as a Spouse...You are not alone

It's a pretty name, bipolar disease. Once it was known as manic depressive but someone got the bright idea to 'change' the name. Regardless, it is ugly in every form and destroys lives, and I have no love of it. My husband is bipolar. I see him struggle to be normal damn near every single day. Week long anxiety attacks, the fear, the obsessive behavior followed by the manic 'highs' of the disease where he is happy and joyful only to plummet again. There is no middle of the road. There is no even keel. Medication either does not work or is not an option. They seem to believe the only person it affects is them. And no matter how much you attempt to help, it is pointless. You can't help. There is nothing you can do. Reassurance is met with agitation. Telling them they aren't dying of some unknown disease gets the response of 'it will be funny when I die.' They spout things that are hurtful and are often very curt. Then only hours or minutes later they are crying, genuinely remorseful, for what they said and for not giving you the life you deserve. They tell you that you should leave and start your life over. It isn't that simple when you love them.Some days it is hard to just survive. I have known 2 other people who are bipolar. I can honestly say they are never violent towards those they love, or at least that is the case with my situation. They are on the verge of emotional destruction every day and vocalization is often the only release they have. My husband has never laid a hand on me, but he has said things that have brought me to tears, not directed toward me or at me, but directed toward himself. I am lucky he is not a suicidal person, so please don't jump to the conclusion he threatens suicide. What he does do is belittle himself, say how stupid he is, and because he is often in a state of confusion if I attempt to explain something, then I am told I think he is stupid too - which is not the truth. Their thinking is far from rational and they cannot be reasoned with.

They can't make decisions, and when they do, the decisions they make are not generally good ones. Sometimes I want to hide in the closet, or under the bed, or lock myself in the bathroom just so there can be a few minutes of normalcy in my life. Work is my sanctuary...the only place where I can be me...or I should say what is left of me...

Often, there is a history of mental illness. Bipolar does not always show itself immediately, often manifesting after the age of 20 or between 20 and 40. The life my husband shared with his psychopathic mother didn't help his situation any. In fact, it made it worse. When someone tells you they have seen evil, believe it. Some people should not be allowed to be a parent. It is that plan and simple. Anyone who would leave a child alone between the ages of 4 to 8 while they worked nights...that is only the tip of the iceberg. His anxiety began then, as a small child, and progressively advanced with age. Finally, a diagnosis of bipolar. At least we had an answer but as of yet there is no solution.

A small piece of you dies every day you watch them struggle. During episodes of mania you become frustrated and want to beat your head against the wall. But then you realize the person you fell in love with is trapped in there somewhere - the person who would help anyone, doesn't have an unkind bone in his body, and who stops to carry turtles across the road because he can't bear the thought of it being struck by a car.

You have 2 faces. The face the rest of the world sees - the one you put on every morning when you go out to face the world. The one your boss thinks is you. The one that is happy and jokes while getting coffee in the morning. No one knows what you live with. No one sees your despair. No one knows how many times you have been reduced to tears in the bathroom with the door closed because you don't know what to do.

Your friends have all but abandoned you. The behavior the bipolar exhibits frightens people away you have known for years. They complain they have no friends yet when they are in a good mood they don't contact anyone or invite them over. It is only when they are in the throws of a manic low they get on the phone and feel the need to commiserate. Soon, no one wants to deal with them. The constant streams of 'I am dying. I have been sick for a month and just want to be well....' it makes people who were your friends for years turn their backs on you. Soon you are...alone...alone in world where there is little help for the person you once loved and the person you still love.

I decided to create this blog so other women know they are not alone. There is someone else out there - someone who understands your pain - someone who knows the struggles you face every day of your life - someone who cares...

Though I have chosen to remain anonymous, it doesn't mean I am hiding. As an author there are times when you need to protect your identity and the identity of the one you love. I hope you understand.

Sincerely,

an author and a wife