This article is dedicated to my wife, Kendall. She loves all of me – bipolar disorder included. She and I will be married three years on August 22, 2015. She knew on our first date that I was living with mental illness and she showed up anyway. Call it a romantic story, call it love, you can even call it stupid, but she deserves a thank you note. Buckle up friends, it’s about to get sappy.

My Wife Makes Me Happier than Bipolar Mania

Dear Kendall:

You make me happier than bipolar mania. You have no idea how happy that is because you’ve never experienced mania. I can assure you, however, that it is really, really happy. Literally psychiatrically happy. The difference is, this kind of happiness is healthy and doesn’t cause bouts of excessive spending or jumping off roofs. It’s the kind of happiness that isn’t a symptom of an illness, but the result of a happy marriage.

Bipolar Disorder Relationships

Kendall Howard wearing the only purple bipolar T-Shirt ever made. (The unreadable writing is my website, www.GabeHoward.com.)

That being said, you’re incredibly annoying. Your incessant optimism about people, the state of the world, and life in general is enough to make anyone over the age of 12 vomit. Managing to see beauty in a sea of ugliness is both disturbing and inspiring. If I were darkness, you would be light. And while I feel most comfortable in the dark, I need the light to see.

Your desire to love and marry me in spite of my living with bipolar disorder is, frankly, unfathomable to me. While it has worked out fantastically for me, I question your overall ability to properly assess things. If I were to make a pro and con list about myself, it would look like this:

Pros: Funny, charismatic, redhead

Cons: Debilitating depression, chronic panic attacks, lifelong chronic and persistent mental illness to manage

What. The. Hell?  Who would date, let alone marry, that guy?

But, here is why I love you more than mania. Because your pro and con list reads this way:

Pros: Resilient, irreverent, brave

Cons: Steals the covers, very finicky about cleaning, sleeps with four pillows

That is how you view the world. Your optimism, in all its annoying glory, is the fabric that holds our relationship together. It balances us out and allows us to be greater together than apart.

Frankly, our marriage works because, while the rest of the world hears my story and sees tragedy, you see triumph, making you one of the few people who sees me as the hero and not the victim.

For that alone, I will be forever thankful.

Love,
Gabe

Gabe is a writer and speaker living with bipolar and anxiety disorders. Interact with him on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, or his website.