My journey to recovery and/or a stable state of the union has been an interesting road traveled to say the least. Primarily due to my own exploits and choices I make. I find that the people we encounter along the way always help define the journey, for better or worse, teaching us valuable lessons as we go. There have been friends who turned out to be not friends, friends who showed me that I didn't understand the depth of their caring, family support and family not-so-supportive and then there is my best friend, my husband. They always say you hurt the ones you love the most and my husband has been no exception to that rule. I destroyed him with my illness. My illness, pre-diagnosis, challenged him and our marriage in a manner that led him to believe I was lost to him forever. He dealt with a beligerent wife who lied, drank, spent our finances recklessly, betrayed our marriaged vows, displayed bizarre, erratic behavior when up and refused to get out of bed and acknowledge the family when down. My bipolar diagnosis was a relief to him. And me. In four hospitalizations over 14 months, he never missed one visiting hour. He refused to leave my side, regardless of how much I hurt him. He recognized that I was ill.
He took his vows to me seriously, stood by me, and put himself and me back together. He read website after website, bought piles of books at Barnes and Noble and became educated, fast, post diagnosis. We have a growing library of resources at home thanks to him. He researched every treatment option there was, including simple diet changes and sleep habits to find what would be the very best for me.
He went to countless therapy sessions with me to understand me and my illness better. He participated in every program my team offered, every open family session. He asked question after question of my physicians until he understood what symptoms to look for and the steps to take if my mania or depression ever appeared to escalate again. He has called my physicians promptly when I saw things that did not exist, heard voices that were not there, wasn't sleeping or was doing anything out of the ordinary. He has never been afraid to play the role of bad cop when I need it or been afraid to force me to take my medications when I am being stubborn, surly and childish.
He has stayed up all night on more than one occasion just to hold me and watch me sleep if it meant that for a few hours, I could feel safe enough to rest when I did not trust myself. He gives me space when I need to be alone, never questioning the occasional thirst for solitude. The simple fact that he has never once given up on me, even during our darkest days, when anyone else would have, has kept me going on a daily basis. It has kept me moving forward on the road to recovery/stability/remission - whatever word you would choose. He is the reason my children still have a mother today.
His kind heart and strength influences me every day and his unconditional love has helped me heal in ways my medications cannot. He has put my needs before his own every single day since my diagnosis and he is my hero.
Thanks Peets. I owe you my life.
Your beautifully bipolar wife
Ann Roselle is an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner at the Heart and Vascular Center at Yale-New Haven Hospital in New Haven, CT. She has been practicing nursing since 1998 and a nurse practitioner since 2006. She was diagnosed with postpartum onset bipolar disorder in 2013 and has been a vocal advocate for mental illness since, either blogging or volunteering for various organizations. She lives in Bethany, CT with her husband and three boys. In her spare time she can be found blogging at www.bipolarandme.virb.com or playing in mud puddles.
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