As I promised in my last post, the following was written by my husband, Marty. I felt, to be fair, he deserved to voice his side of the story.
So here it is…
Living with my wife, Sandy, is a constant adventure into the unknown. Much like the Lewis and Clark expedition in the early 1800’s, one is constantly overwhelmed by the sheer grandeur of the landscape and the frightening twists and turns of uncharted territory. Where does one find a modern Sacagawea to show the way?
I love Sandy, and it is unconditional love. That means no mitigating circumstances or restrictions on behaviour, much as I attempt to impose them. After all, I’m human … or so I’m told.
Occasionally, I suspect I’m superhuman when it comes to coexisting with a brilliant, unpredictable and often pain-in-the-ass perfectionist. That’s not to ignore the reality of her mental illness, which does tend to influence certain reactions in my own behaviour. Much of which might be considered counter-productive to our relationship.
For example ~ a simple automobile accident…
The kind that can happen to anyone in winter driving conditions. Last week with Sandy, it became a cause for an explosion of anger and vitriol. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t so simple. Still, it seemed simple at the time, but apparently the car is a write-off. So much for a fender bender.
Still, Sandy’s anger can often erupt at less serious moments.
Not all her fault, I hasten to admit…
We are, after all, two completely different personalities. She is hyper. I’m laid back, possibly close to a somnolent state occasionally. But all that’s required on her part is a little patience.
Ahh, “patience” … a common word that doesn’t exist in Sandy’s vocabulary. As for me, I am, it seems, much too patient when the occasion calls for speedy action. (A screenplay of mine, titled “Slowpoke” is not one of Sandy’s favourites. I suspect it’s because she sees it as autobiographical.)
However, all this is beside the main point, which has to do with living with a hypomanic personality … namely Sandy’s. She can exhibit over-the-top reactions to what I would consider mere trifling occurrences.
Generally, an embrace or hug can quell the eruption, but not always…
At those times, it is best to retreat to the safety of my office and wait for the storm to subside. And that’s the remarkable thing. When it does cool down, it’s usually followed by double apologies on both our parts. “Quid pro quo” in such situations. So from moment-to-moment, anything might happen. It’s simply a matter of expecting the worst but always hoping for the best.
And actually, the worst isn’t really so terrible, while the best is usually super-terrific.
She is beyond special, as I suspect you, her readers, commenters and members of this community here at Coming Out Crazy have discovered.
Sometimes her “No Secrets–No Lies” motto can be painful for others…
She is the most caring person I’ve ever known. A champion of the underdog. An unstintingly loyal friend. A despiser of bigotry in all its forms. And an uncompromising speaker of truth. “No secrets. No lies.” That’s her motto. Which can sometimes be painful for others to accept.
The last five and a half years, as Sandy’s hearing has deteriorated, it has caused some problems for us.
If we’re in the same room, facing one another, and she’s wearing her hearing aids (which are obsolete and she’s desperately awaiting the arrival of new ones) we can generally communicate quite easily. I can’t emphasize enough that Sandy needs to communicate verbally.
But Sandy has a habit of speaking to me from another room, often posing a question that requires an answer. And, of course, I answer then and there, forgetting the fact that she can’t hear my response. (These days, she relies increasingly on lip reading as her hearing aids are losing their efficacy.)
This usually results in an angry retort from her that she “can’t hear” me, shouted in an exceptionally loud voice.
So, I respond in an equally loud voice, which elicits a response that I am screaming at her, when in fact she is the one doing the screaming. Then she will claim that her hearing loss causes her not to hear herself screaming, and that she is not screaming at me, at all.
When I look around and see no one else that she might possibly be screaming at, I tend to take it personally…
She certainly never screams at our dogs. And so things begin to escalate, to the point of frustration for both of us.
After a while, matters usually settle down. Sandy does not hold grudges. She can calm down almost instantly. I’m slower to let go of things, but I always come around. Some hugs are generally the panacea we both need.
All in all, Sandy is not easy. But guess what? Neither am I…
It’s just that our natures are fundamentally different. Opposite. But what holds us together is that our basic values are the same. We share attitudes, ethics and approaches that allow us to face the world as an empowered duo, a team of two, ready to defend each other, holding fast to our beliefs and our convictions.
Our values supersede all the other considerations and concerns.
Of course, we don’t live in “Never-Never Land.” We live in our own “Forever Land”…
Sandy is my partner, my muse, my best friend – “for better and worse” – and I couldn’t ask for a more amusing, inspiring, demanding, exciting, pain-in-the-ass, love of my life.
Sometimes, I suspect, she feels the same about me … but I can’t guarantee it.
That’s it for now. I’ve said my piece.