How to explain living with a BiPolar (BP) spouse

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by crazymama30, Oct 17, 2010.

  1. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    So many people ask why I stay with husband, why I put up with what I do, how do I do it? I have never been able to put my feelings and thoughts into words. Here is something another spouse wrote on another support board for adults dealing with BiPolar (BP). I thought I would share it, as many of us here have BiPolar (BP) spouses, and it could be relevant to kiddos in a way too.

    How do you explain something that you can barely understand. There is no logic, there is no rationality. There is only Bipolar. Manic Depressive if you will: an illness that has invaded my life. My husband has a mental illness. He has bipolar disorder. As he so frequently points out, HE is not bipolar. He is still Tom. He is still the loving husband and loving father that we know, just every once in a while his brain doesn’t work right. During those dark times I find myself defending the indefensible, explaining the inexplicable, and turning the hurt that would kill most into a strength I never knew I had.
    It is hard to explain to someone who has never truly experienced a manic depressive’s roller coaster what it is like. One minute he may be fine. Then all of a sudden he is irritated, agitated. He is secretive, and deceitful. He has me believing that it is all in my head, and how dare I even suggest that his mood is off. “I always use that as an excuse. It is my way of getting him to do what I want.” That’s the mania talking. When the manic monster that resides inside him wants out, it is manipulative. The mania always causes the most damage. There are bad choices and indiscretions. Mostly of which he forgets, but I always remember. There is a fight to stay manic……euphoric: a fight to hold onto the high. And once that passes there is the depression. It starts as a little sadness as the realization sets in. As the overwhelming task of fixing all the things that Manic Tom has broken starts, deep depression takes over: sometimes to the point of suicidal thoughts. Sometimes that hurts more than anything. The thought of living without him hurts more than the thought of living with his illness.
    I am not a helpless person. I am not a fool, and I am certainly no one’s Patsy. I am someone who loves someone who has Bipolar. I watch one of the people I love most in the world struggle with a terrible illness. I sit by watching all the hurtful things he does knowing that when he is well, he never would think of doing such a terrible thing. I hold it together for myself, my kids, and for him when at times I wish I could just fall apart. I have learned forgiveness at a level that I never knew existed. I have truly learned what unconditional love is. I have learned that sometimes being strong isn’t about what you don’t put up with. Sometimes strength is more about endurance and tolerance.
    The good times are good. We have a loving relationship. We have been together a long time. It is those memories that I grasp the most in the dark times. Some people don’t know why I stay. Some people don’t know how I do it. I guess that really doesn’t matter. I make the choices that are best for me and my family. Someday I may break. Someday I may give up. But the people that know me most know that is not me. I am a fighter. I don’t give up, and I don’t give in. The harder it becomes, the harder I fight.
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Oh wow! That was very well put........and you could "insert mental illness here" where the bipolar diagnosis is.

    I've found it is extremely hard for people who have never truly delt with mental illness on a personal level to really get that you can still love the person and hate the disorder. Although there are times when it can be a fine line we walk.
  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    That was amazingly written and gives so much insight.
  4. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Thank you for sharing that. Some of those sentiments ring true for me, too, since my husband is also very likely BiPolar (BP) even though he's never forced the issue with his psychiatrist -- the fact that he responds to medications the way he does tells me he probably is. We had many, many years of rollercoaster chaos and drama. It nearly broke me. It nearly broke our marriage. All I can say is thank God for medication.
  5. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I have NO idea how you do what you do - but I think you are an amazing woman! Hugs & Love - Star
  6. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Thank you Star. I do it for the good times, the times when husband is the man I know he is. When he can pick up the kids at school and take them to appts, when he acts like a parent should, not like another child.

    How? I will never know how, I just do.
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member