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.


an author and a wife