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.