Including My Husband in the Bipolar Equation
Editor’s note: Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.
Feels like it all happened in slow motion. He was in the kitchen asking me a question about the day ahead. He says it was a simple question. I heard something entirely different. My body filled with heat and anger. I leaned forward on the couch and unloaded words of hatred. They shot across the room with venom. This is not who I am.
I then rose to my feet and vile came spewing out of my mouth. This is not who I am.
Shame surrounded me. I felt trapped. The only thing I knew to do was run. Out of control and desperate I fled the scene.
This emotional upheaval actually began the night before. My sponsor always told me we are as sick as our secrets. It’s not a new phenomenon that I withhold information. This time, I chose not to tell my husband I quit taking my meds. The funny part is, and this is the honest truth, I was cleaning the bathroom and declaring to myself I must tell him. I would absolutely find “the right time” this very weekend. I didn’t know the phone rang and I certainly didn’t know it was my psychiatrist calling at 6 p.m. on a Friday night. Shit hit the fan fast.
She was in my ear saying how worried she was I am not taking any medication at all. He was in my sight worried I was receiving this phone call knowing something wasn’t right. I just wanted to yell at everyone to leave me alone. How very selfish of me to want people to not care about me. How very selfish of me to make an important decision about meds and not include my husband. It’s called keeping a secret. I need to get honest and real. I am not a malicious person. My attempt to keep information secret was not meant to hurt him. Although, that’s exactly what it did.
Back against the wall I came clean. Stopped all meds cold turkey about a month ago. Ups and downs continue. Suicidal thoughts continue but I am making it through so far. But, in my bipolar mind, no reason to take meds. If I die, I die. I am still selective in what I want to share.
Catching you back up… morning comes and we are both harboring feelings from last night. I yell and scream, grab my keys and bail. So many emotions fill my car… guilt, shame, fear, sadness. I drive around aimlessly for a while alone with my thoughts. It’s time I take responsibility for this illness. For my one sided decisions. For my overreactions. The road laid ahead of me. My future in front of me. I know this much: this is not who I want to be. I drove until all those emotions no longer took up space.
I didn’t rush home to make amends, but I did eventually return. I’ll spare you all the details of what ensued upon my arrival home as it was not pretty. I am hopeful that it was productive. I shed many tears as I listened to how hurt he felt, how he wonders if at the root of all this disease is my unhappiness with him, how he worries every day I am going to hurt myself. I was able to tell him I don’t know how to let him into my darkness. I told him I didn’t want him to know what I think, the places my mind goes. After many minutes of intense silence, he said this is the most honest conversation we have had for months.
I think we have come to an unconscious “don’t ask, don’t tell” mentality. We are both scared and dancing around each other. I do think I do much more dancing and juggling than he does.
There isn’t a lack of deep love between us. Darkness affects the family as a whole. While I’m in my pit trying hard to cover up my fall in an effort to “protect” him from me, all I’m doing is creating more space between us. That for sure is not productive.
I still have to figure out if medication is going to play a role in my recovery. What I learned today is that not including my husband in the equation is not an option. He wants to support me. But he simply can’t if I won’t let him. My task is to learn how to let him.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.
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Thinkstock photo via Grandfailure