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An Apology Letter to My Love, From Your Partner With Bipolar Disorder

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I’m writing these regrets with a broken heart and tears streaming down my cheeks. For those who feel guilt and shame at having hurt the ones you love, this is for you.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

I’m sorry that, once again, you’re required to help me get dressed because I am so completely exhausted that I can barely lift my head off the pillow. With considerable effort, I pull myself into a seated position even though my limbs feel encased in concrete and my mind is full of cotton. Slowly and gently, you remove my fuzzy, blue, penguin pajamas. With more effort and exertion, you grapple with my black, worn-out leggings to haul them over my ample hips. Next, you softly lift and guide my arms into my favorite purple, paint-stained hoodie. Finally, careful not to tickle my sensitive feet, you calmly unroll black socks over my skinny feet.

The amazing man that you are, you do this with a pleasant smile while gently reassuring me that you love me no matter what. I silently wonder to myself if you really knew what “not matter what” would consist of when we got married. I am literally naked and completely dispirited, but you make sure I’m not weighed down with endless shame. We have built such a delicate intimacy throughout these rough depressions. It is amazing to feel really seen and accepted.

I regret that I’m not the partner I desperately wish to be. It never seems 50/50; it’s more like 25/75. You continuously reassure me, with a patience I don’t understand, that this is not the reality of the situation. Still, I’m confident that I’m constantly letting you down. It would be amazing if I could welcome you home every night with a genuine smile and enthusiastic embrace, but some days I’m barely holding on. I would love to feel the warmth of your arms enveloping my exhausted body and mind, but I’m too numb to handle any affection. The meager energy I can eek out is focused on either slowing down my racing thoughts or calming my anxiety riddled body. Truthfully, I just stepped out of the shower, hair still dripping wet, minutes before you unlocked the front door. I feel so embarrassed that, once again, I have spent most of the day slumped on the couch in sweat-stained, chocolate-covered PJ’s.

I’m heartbroken when I catch a glimpse of exhaustion and frustration on your face. Shoulders shrugged, face drained, eyes tired. You hide it well, my love, because you don’t want me to feel tormented by the guilt of something I can’t control.

I can’t describe how grateful I am that you have loved me through all the horrible ups and down. I am damn proud of the partnership we have created and the role I have played in building this amazing relationship. Some days it may be impossible for me be the partner I wish to be, but I do bring gifts to the marriage. I bring a vulnerability that creates a safe place for you to share your deepest shame, a strength that inspires you to be a better person and the ability to laugh at the darkest of moments.

Getty image via Benjavisa.

Originally published: November 26, 2019
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