” How can you love someone with a mental illness? ” is a question I have fired at, screamed at and on nicer days asked my husband. It’s something that has hounded the last 6 years of our relationship and still although I have now accepted he does love me warts and all, it has not always been that way.
I have been hurtful, cruel and out of order on far too many occasions, I have done things I am not proud of and always, always has he stood by me.
He has watched the women he fell in love with, the happy, go lucky, larger than life lover drop into a deep depressive hole with no escape. I believe he met me in a manic mood, where everything in my life, including me was perfect; of course this was not true.
I made him love him, to him I was perfect and he still reassures me he feels the exact same, if not more now because he has seen how much strength I have.
It is not difficult to love someone with a mental illness, you cannot help who you fall in love with but it can be difficult to live with someone with bipolar in my case.
Can you image his face when I whispered “Help, my shrink is trying to poison me”.
My husband is my best friend, I can tell him things I can’t tell anyone else, yet I do try to shield him as much as I can about my crazy world.
I do think having incredible patience and understanding is vital, to love someone with a mental illness must be a tough challenge and a never ending battle. Just when you think you have got somewhere and you’re moving forward and you start to imagine a future, BANG, your life is turned upside again.
My husband does get angry and frustrated at me, especially when I don’t take my medications or don’t take the correct care of myself. Caring for someone with a mental illness is difficult. What hurts him more is watching me hurt. It destroys him to have to watch me lose control and claw and fight my way back through the dirt.
When I am lost in the black tunnel of despair he takes over. He has to be both mum and dad to our children and that is difficult for me to accept, that I cannot always control the things that happen in my life.
I have written a letter of apology to my children and it highlights some of the things that my husband has had to deal with, all because he decided to love someone with a mental illness.
He reminds me that he loves me despite my “crazy mind” and it’s what makes me so special to him. I was mentally ill when I met him; it just took a few more years before I was finally diagnosed. I do feel I robbed him, wonder if he knew what I was; would he still have taken me on? He assures me he would have and says I will never get rid of him now. It seems as if I’m stuck with him.
To love someone with mental illness is easy; you just listen to your heart. We are still loveable and we deserve respect and loyalty as much as any non-mentally ill partner.
Our marriage is normal, we get on, we laugh and we cry, we argue and then we make up. OK so we have a few little hurdles in between but hey we can’t all be perfect.