Life is hard and mental illness is even harder. Luckily we don’t have to do it alone. A support system is crucial to help anyone to stay healthy and to thrive. Kat and I make up a small support system but with her illness that isn’t enough to fight against this disease that threatens her. That is why we have both a psychiatrist, a doctor, and a counselor to help us along.
Yet it isn’t enough. It takes time and it takes patience. The willingness to step back and realize that I can’t fix her. Sometimes I am with her and it isn’t “Katie” that I am talking to. Sometimes it is hard to tell whether it’s my wife or her bipolar talking.
Sometimes in my weakest moments, I am unsure if I want this relationship to continue when she seems hellbent on driving everyone away. I let those moments pass and I refocus on the person I know her to be. The loving, kind, intelligent, creative woman that has a gumption and a strength that is incredible. I have to be willing to stick around to let it happen. The butterfly wasn’t always beautiful, it had to change first. That change took time and I have to give her time.
I want people to know that just because this illness is invisible that it doesn’t mean her struggles aren’t worth anything. She stumbles and falls many times with her illness sometimes falling into hypomania or falling the other way into depression and suicidal thoughts. This constant toss back and forth between the woman I love and this bipolar is exhausting. Sometimes I have to take a step back and re-center myself. I know this love isn’t easy, but I know it’s worth it.
That’s why I constantly try to learn more things, or notice changes in her so I can better respond. Not react, but respond. The difference is between someone panicking when they see someone is choking and someone who sees what is happening then calls 911 to save their life.
I love this woman and I intend to love her forever. I hope that you can keep that flame burning no matter how hard it gets. People on the outside may not understand but you are not alone in your struggles.
If you want someone to talk to feel free to comment.