I’ve said it a million times – Being Beautifully Bipolar isn’t easy. It’s just not. But that doesn’t make it impossible and it doesn’t make it impossible to be loved. I actually have the world’s greatest boyfriend – fact. We have been together for 4 & 1/2 years.
With Valentine’s Day coming up I thought I might talk about what it is like to be Beautifully Bipolar in love.
I love to hold his hand – in the car, on long walks, watching a movie. Skin to skin. His hand is bigger than mine and tough and manly. It is our way of saying you are mine and I am yours. It gives me a sense of security that I am not alone, that I am cared about and protected.
I shared with him early in our relationship my obsessive compulsive disorder. I was afraid it would change things. That this was one more thing that might push him away when all I wanted to do was pull him close. But his response to my OCD was understanding. In the beginning, and often times today, my OCD gets the better of me. I count and I line things up and I wash my hands over and over again. But he holds my menus for me and opens my doors so I don’t have to touch them. He lets me perform my ritual of washing out cups and doesn’t say a word. He knows not to tease me, that I can’t stop once I start. It has become as much a part of our relationship as kissing.
He tells me that the hardest part of my illness is seeing me depressed. He can see it when it comes. He can hear it in the way that I talk. Everything takes an effort I don’t have. It is all I can do to lift my toothbrush to my mouth. I don’t want to get out of bed and one bad day turns into another and another until there is a long succession of bad days and I feel like they will go on forever. Everyone has bad days, he says, but for me it takes a lot longer than one day to feel better.
Our relationship is unfair. He shouldn’t have to deal with the volatile clash of my moods. He shouldn’t have to sit next to the bath as I cry and my mascara runs and I become a snotty mess. He shouldn’t have to stop the bleeding or call my mother or take me to the Emergency Room. It isn’t fair and I tell him often. But he tells me he loves me, all of me, even the sick parts and the sad parts.
I have been hospitalized twice in our relationship and I have never allowed him to visit me. I don’t want him to see me like that – messy hair, hospital slippers, sedated speech and that lost look in my eyes. I want him to think of me in my favorite black dress and lipstick. I want him to think of the good times. He calls me and we talk for the five or ten minutes I am allowed on a phone in the hallway as a schizophrenic man loiters next to me and a sad girl sits on the floor waiting for someone to call her. He finds relief in the fact that I am safe, that there is an entire staff to watch me. He believes that maybe they can fix what is wrong. But most of all, when I am locked away from the world, he misses me. He wants to fall asleep with me in his arms. He wants to tuck me in when he leaves for work in the morning. He wants a kiss when he gets home. When I am gone there is a hole.
With him I am not crazy, never crazy, despite sometimes acting the opposite. He lets me be me and I can trust him with all that I am. He listens and he holds me in the dark, tells me it will be okay.
He says I am defiant when I am manic. He says if he tells me not to do something, then I will do it more fervently. He says I have three personalities. Manic. Depressed. And me. He says when I am manic I can be super happy, but also defiant. When I am depressed there is no reasoning with me. And when I am me, well, when I am me he loves me best.
We face this illness together; side by side. He cannot save me but he can hold my hand, keep me from falling, keep me from flying away.