What I Want to Tell My Husband About My Mania
Even though it has been two years since my mania caught us unaware, I want you to know that I live every day anticipating its return. I wonder when my synapses will fire at lightning speed, my thoughts a tangled jumble that you will have to unravel to get to the truth. My words will pour forth like a fountain bubbling over after the kids add bubbles to the water. I will sacrifice hours of sleep to scribble my next masterpiece in the purple journal that sits beside my nightstand. I will impulsively make decisions that I will come to regret as soon as the mood passes.
More than anything, I know that you will eventually have to struggle with what to do when my mania returns to me, full-force and howling for attention. I hope that this letter finds you then, informing you of just what to do for me when the whirlwind of mania becomes too much. It will demand everything of you until it passes, leaving me in the wreckage of the storm to sort out what I have done in my madness.
I hope that you will allow me to pace the floors all hours of the night. Bring me a weighted blanket to wrap around my shoulders. Carrying the extra weight will wear down my energy faster, sending me eventually to the bed where I can sleep off what remains of this nightmare. Remind me to put on sneakers so that my knees and ankles don’t get sore from hours of walking on the hard surface. Better yet, encourage me to pace the upstairs hall where I can have carpet and foam padding underfoot. Give me headphones so that I can turn my music up loud, the only way I can safely drown out the racing thoughts that chase themselves around and around in my head.
I hope that you will still wake up with me in the middle of the night. These are the long and lonely hours when I am the only one awake in the house. I will want to share the parts of my book that make me laugh out loud, even if they make no sense to you. The truth is that I just don’t want to be alone with my thoughts. Even though I know you have to sleep sometime, my mania does not understand how to rest and she gets lonely with all of her thoughts.
I hope that you will listen patiently but will not take the things I say to heart. In the moment, it feels like I am seeing connections that no one else can see. Know that I love you, regardless of what I may say during my mania. Keep listening to the words that I am saying so that you can remind me of the ideas I will soon forget. Filter them out and keep only the good ones. Write them down so we don’t forget the good ideas I had for my life, our future. When the mania passes, I will have no recollection of the conversation we have today. I need you to preserve this part of me so that I can look back on it with wonder.
I hope that you will get out of bed to turn down the music that is so loud in my mind. I will ask again and again who is playing loud music at three in the morning, and you will get up to assure me that our speakers are not making a sound. Encourage me to put my own headphones in to drown out the phantom sounds that my mind has created. Allow me to cover my face and ears with the soft foam of my pillow as I try to block out the sound that emanates from within me, even though you know that it will do no good to stop the assault of sound.
I hope that you will stay with me when I start to see the things that haunt me. I know how it feels to love someone who has lost touch with reality. Please know that I am scared in these moments, sometimes aware that my mind is slipping away from me. Stay up late with me as the night shadows dance along our walls. Rub my back and remind me that I am safe, even as I scream and shake and refuse to believe that you are telling me the truth.
I hope this instruction guide finds you in time, before the next wave crashes over our lives and threatens to drown us. My mania will always return, hungry and loud at the door. Please don’t be afraid of what is to come. We can weather the storm together.
Getty image by AleksandarNakic