When I first told my future husband that I had bipolar illness, we’d been dating about a month. I was a little worried about telling him because I thought he might “drop me.” I remember saying, “I have something to tell you about myself.”
“What?” he asked.
We were walking to his car after having a delicious meal at a local German restaurant in town.
“I have bipolar illness.”
I think he said something like, “That’s OK.” His immediate acceptance of my illness made me feel very comfortable.
He could initially say it was OK because he didn’t know much about the disease. Immediately, he went to the bookstore and bought a general info book on bipolar. What’s good is that after he read the book in its entirety, he still said, “It’s OK.”
Recently, he told me that he did have second thoughts about getting involved with a “crazy woman,” but he didn’t let them stand in his way. He laughed when he said this. He liked me for who I was, despite this “flaw.”
The first two years of our marriage we lived in harmony. We had moved to Rhode Island, his home state. I was feeling better because I’d been put on medicine for obsessive compulsive disorder. This new med helped me function in my new environment.
It wasn’t until we moved back to Ohio two years later that my illness reared its ugly head. That was in 1999. At that time, I had a very hard time with paranoia and irritability. Our marriage was tested during the next few years. We often fought and I ended up in tears. I doubted that he had “the guns” to be the husband of a bipolar woman.
Happily, the tension broke around 2004. And since then, we’ve lived a relatively pleasurable existence.
We adopted our son in 2005.
I’m so glad we learned to live together as man and “bipolar wife” before we brought our son home. Having a child puts a strain on any marriage, never mind one in which one party is mentally ill.
In a nutshell, my husband is my true helpmate and my first line of defense with this disorder. We’ve had to adapt and grow and change to meet the demands of a constantly changing illness. I’d have to say that his sense of humor is his best feature. Last night, I asked him if I should take more anti-anxiety medication.
He replied, “Should I?”
From day one, Steve accepted my flaws, and he’s still accepting them.
He’s not perfect either.
And that’s OK.