On Sunday Dave and I are giving part 1 of a 2 week forum on what it is like to live with bipolar from the perspective of having the illness and also from the perspective of how to build relationships of strength and trust throughout a relationship with this unwanted third-party. For being so open here, and with our close friends and family, this will be our first public forum discussing how we keep our love alive through this illness. It seems surreal now because I used to tell people, “If your husband had a brain tumor that changed his personality, would you leave or would you stay?” Hoping they would see that bipolar, like a brain tumor, was a part of Dave, it didn’t replace him.
There is something romantic about coming out together in this way, about holding hands and telling the world all ways we have found to remain faithfully devoted to each other’s happiness. With hundreds of years of misinformation floating around, with well-meaning people offering such gems as, “why don’t you just leave him so you can be happy?”, we felt conflicted opening our lives up for the masses. It also feels right, though, to stop hiding this incredibly important part of our lives. When someone’s spouse has cancer we send food and hold prayer vigils. If someone’s wife has a massive manic episode the reaction is stoic silence at best, whispers and laughter at worse. If we are ever going to do our part to change the story of mental illness we have to stop fearing our own voices.
Think of us on Sunday, ok?