Backyard Feeder

Backyard Feeder
photo taken through porch screen

Friday, December 03, 2010

Why We Stay With a Bipolar Spouse

We stay because there is always that potential. There is always the possibility that the next med change will bring him back to the one we fell in love with. We stay because sometimes we see that man and sometimes he even sticks around for a while. We stay because we believe in love, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse. We stay because we know what we want and we know that we will never have that same relationship with anyone else and even if we will never have it with him again, we are willing to take that chance. We stay because where there is life there is hope and we have hope.

I second guess myself regularly. I stayed through physical and emotional abuse. I stayed through terrifying psychotic manic episodes and months of living with a zombie. I stayed because I knew that the body-snatchers might return my husband and I didn’t want to miss it. And slowly. With lots of bumps in the road. With ups and downs that would make an astronaut ill. With one medication, then another, new doses, new medications, so slowly that it was physically painful, he emerged from the darkness and like a child learning to walk, he became human again, then disappeared, then emerged, and still…he is back and he wants to share our life and raise our children and be my partner and even though it isn’t always easy and he isn’t always reachable, he keeps struggling and I keep struggling and we are more together than apart.

If I had given up early in the marriage, no one would have blamed me or found fault, but I always knew that I would rather stay and fight than give up. I would rather have him sick than someone else healthy, though having him healthy would be almost too much to even hope for. I have grown stronger and wiser, more patient and tolerant through our struggle and I am thankful for that—if only I could have gained that with less pain, but that isn’t the way it works.

I can’t say if it is worth the effort for you to stay in your relationship or if leaving would be best for you. I can only say that doing the insane thing with an insane person was right for me—so far. Twenty-five years and counting.

Bonnie Rice

Author of Love Has Its Ups and Downs

Wife to Troy, BP1