In the beginning of this blog I asked my husband if I could talk about his bipolar disorder with my readers. He agreed, but prefers I stop myself when things are rough and instead make hindsight posts. In respect and love for him, and in light of my mantra of being authentic, my posting was very light last week. Our life had a trifecta of stressors lead to a level 5 depression we finally saw the end of this weekend. There are no definitions of levels, I just pictured a bright red, neon “DEF CON 5” image multiple times a day during this episode.
When we first met being in love with my husband came as naturally as breathing. We really did have one of those relationships that feel like an “aha!” moment from the word go, as if the last piece of finding myself was laid just in time to find myself with him and build our adult life together. I still swoon when he sings, although now its more nursery rhymes than Johnny Cash. When he walks up behind me in the kitchen, lightly touching the curves of my waist while tucking his chin perfectly between my ear and shoulder, I breathe deep and feel every cell of my body sighing in agreement that this love was meant to happen.
On the hard days, the days where he asks me if I love him in a deadpan voice with hurt in his eyes, I struggle. I know the light of morning, or the adjustment of a medication, will transform him back into himself – we know mental illness lies, it just sucks when it lies about you.
So we had our hard days, our struggling to reach the surface days, and our days where we try so damn hard to protect the kids from seeing anything off that the resulting 8pm grown-up time transforms into tears and screams and wishing that science could figure this illness out so we could see love first. Then we have the recovery days where his tentative arms rushing back into our comfort place of hand holding, back rubbing and caressing are met with my ice-wall, constructed to insulate me from the lies of mental illness. Finally we have the day where I laugh at his nonsensical joke at 6am and sneak kisses between getting the kids breakfast and reminding them that brushing your teeth is a school preparedness step. We have the day where I catch myself singing in the shower again, daydreaming about our next date night. We have the day where we are “us” again, and realize we won yet another battle against mental illness.