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To My Wife, Who Loves Me Even With My Bipolar Disorder

It’s hard having a mental illness, but that doesn’t make me blind to how it affects others. I also know it can be almost equally hard to love someone with a mental illness, too. I can require extra love, extra attention and some days I can’t put in enough effort to take care of myself, never mind take care of a relationship.

But, my wife doesn’t care. She’s found a way to love me unconditionally despite the flaws having bipolar disorder brings to the table.

As a person with bipolar, there are a lot of things most people in my life don’t see. For example, (most of the time) they don’t see my full-blown panic attacks. They don’t see how having obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) affects me. And they certainly don’t see how irrational I can be when I’m symptomatic.

But, my wife does. And she chooses to love me despite it.

She doesn’t judge me or back away when things get wary, but rather comes closer, and does everything and anything to help me feel just a little bit better. Even when I know it’s painful to watch, she’s by my side — through the good times, the bad times and the times I end up in the hospital because I just want to die and can’t keep myself safe.

If I’m having a panic attack, she always gets my medication for me. Even if she’s in the other room, enjoying her favorite show, if she hears the slightest sound that might indicate I may be having a rough time, she rushes in to save the day. She’ll bring my anti-anxiety medication and a cup of water, then give me anything else I might need, such as deep pressure or a long-lasting hug.

She’s left work early to stay with me in the emergency room, and has even left work early just because she knows I’ve been struggling and need her support. If she can tell I’m stressed out, she’ll take care of things I normally would for a little while. And half the time, she realizes I’m in a mood episode before I do. Due to all that, she’s kind of a living savior in my eyes.

Most importantly, though, above all of that saving, she always finds a way to understand I can’t control my mental illness, and it will irrationally show up at really inconvenient times. Like all the times a minuscule comment that wouldn’t affect most people sent me into a bawling, hyperventilating panic attack. And while she doesn’t always understand why things like that affect me so much, she understands they do. They just do.

And before meeting her, I still loved myself unconditionally. I accepted these flaws of mine, and found a way to love myself despite them. But I never thought anyone else could. I thought I’d be alone forever because I’d never find someone who could love me more than I love myself. I thought I’d never find someone who would realize my good days make the bad days worth it. Before we met, it seemed like that sort of love just wasn’t in the cards for me.

But in Kayce, I found everything. She’s more than I bargained for, but everything I’ve always wished for and more. And I know how lucky I am to find that kind of support. I know how hard it is, and realize how many people in the mental health community would do anything to find someone as supportive as she is.

Still, I won’t lie. Sometimes, it’s hard. Having a healthy relationship with a mental illness involved requires a lot of things most relationships don’t — like daily check-ins, constant monitoring of symptoms and a lot of communication. But it’s also possible. Not just for me, but for the entire community, it’s possible. You just need to find the right person.

I feel luckier than ever I did.

Getty image by StockRocket