Besides the occasional ‘mommy guilt’ I feel every now and again (this happens less often when I’m not depressed), I sometimes feel guilty for having such a wonderful husband.
I know, I know, I know. I know what you’re thinking, ” Yes, Yvette, you’re in the honeymoon phase of your relationship, of course your husband is wonderful.” I disagree. My husband is not wonderful, not all the time. He’s a human being, like me, and so I recognize his faults. I do, however acknowledge his excellent ability to care for me, in my down days and also in my mania he steers me in the right direction (which implies steering me away from shops and the ATM on my spending sprees).
He is supportive when I am bipolar.
I pose those together because I want to highlight the relationship my husband and I have which I believe keeps this marriage going.
My husband is the carer only to my illness, bipolar. He is aids me in making logical decisions and ensures that I take my medication when I am not compliant. He does not argue when I attack him out of the blue; curse at him or scare him with the things I see or powers I have during psychosis. He thinks for me. This may sound drastic, but I’d rather not think when I’m depressed. He gives logic, life, where I only see, think and feel death. His logic is reason in my mania, where the empires I build in my mind have no foundation.
He treats the illness, which happens to live inside me.
In my well state, he is able to discern between the illness and me. In the same breath, I can also discern between him and the physician/ nurse within. When I’m not well, it’s sometimes difficult to do this; I know that I find it frustrating and mostly condescending when he asks me if I took my pills; urges me to go to bed to increase my sleep intake. Mostly, in my darkest hours I am embarrassed that I behave the way that I do and that he is obligated to look after me. I know I hate him when I am unwell.
But that hate is just a reflection of the the turbulence inside.
When I’m here. and present in the real world, I know that every element of my illness is and was drawn to his inherent caregiver nature. It’s a side of him he does not expose to the world. So his secret doctor nature treats this enigma. What I’ve come to learn is that that part of him was drawn to my illness, just like the need and passion a doctor has to rehabilitate his patients. But the physician is only part and parcel of who is. If I did not see it this way, I’d still be embarrassed, even in periods of being healthy. Not feeling like equals, I can predict with certainty, is damaging to a relationship. We’ve survived that kind of torment too, but as a couple- separate to the illness.
I trust the physician in him more than I trust the monster that lives in the heart of me.
It is thanks to this, I’m the best version of me with him: medicated and loved!
Feel free to share how you manage the illness and your relationship with your carer.
Take care of yourself!
*Image take from Dr Brenda Wade