When You Find Yourself in a Lifelong Relationship With Bipolar Disorder
During the highs, he sprints, jumps and dances with me until our feet cannot take anymore. We become invincible. We talk fast and make little sense. We pull all-nighters, because who needs sleep? And we drive faster — much, much faster. We believe we are parkour masters and superheroes able to jump off buildings and punch through walls. We spend money we hardly have for things we hardly need. Oh, how we love Amazon. Remember, we don’t need sleep. We act on carnal impulses. He flies higher than a kite without a single drug necessary. We don’t want to come down — we soar. We have implausible, exponential energy. Who needs reason? We don’t. There is so much to do. He challenges me to read entire shelves of books at the library. I love dares. He normally does them with me. We text everyone we know to let them know that we feel fan-freaking-tastic. We are paranoid yet excited. There are no limits to what we can do. You see, in these moments, we are infinite.
During the lows, he holds my hand or hugs me so tightly that my tears run down his arms instead of on my cheeks. Sometimes I can hardly breathe. He whispers to me as my muffled sobs beg for help and escape my trembling lips. He doesn’t leave when panic attacks find me. We watch Netflix for hours until we pass out from exhaustion. We don’t want to get up from the couch or out of bed. We hardly do. Wrapped in blankets is when we feel safe and secure. I write somber, relatable poems. We listen to depressingly beautiful lyrics of our favorite bands and songwriters. Sometimes, we sing hoping for smiles. We contemplate whether life is really worth it sometimes. He is also there when I struggle to love myself. Do I really need my job? He doesn’t think so. I just want to curl up and stay there — he’s always next to me when I do. We have deep conversations about religion and philosophy. We experience and explore existential crises. He stays up with me in the darkest of nights and lingers around every morning. Isn’t he a sweetheart?
He is manic depression. He also goes by bipolar disorder. Not the prettiest of names. His personality is exhausting. But, here’s the primary issue with our relationship: we are not dating, we can’t just “break up.” We are not married — we cannot just get a divorce. He won’t sign any papers. From my head or my life, he will not move out. I suppose I could consider him “faithful” as he is ever-present. He fights me when I say we need help and that counseling would benefit us. He refuses to take his medications and I must force him to. Most of the time, he is relentless and lashes out on me. When that happens, I feel stuck. He abuses me more than I care to discuss – but, the cops are useless in this situation. They cannot stop him. They cannot save me. I can hardly save myself. He is loud and obnoxious, and he loves to scream lies of his control and of my “insanity.” But, I’m not crazy. He can be sometimes. I hate his lies. They make me feel worthless.
I scream back. I put up a fight. I remind him my worth is not dependent on him. I tell him I’m powerful and beautiful and bold and capable. This is not a debilitating disability. It can be sometimes. But, I can function highly. I can live with purpose. I have potential to fulfill. I have a hope and a future. I don’t believe in religion, I believe in relationship with something or someone bigger than myself. I can and should get out bed. There is much for me to live for. He won’t hold me back. He will win some battles — but, I’ll win the war.
He can be wonderful and he can be an absolute nightmare. It is difficult to manage him. Rarely, he operates at a happy median. He is a blessing and a curse. Triumph and defeat. Pleasure and pain. And unless I’m miraculously healed, there is no cure and we are in a lifelong relationship. We can make it work.
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 Hemera Technologies.