He wanted to be a good husband, a good father, and a good son. As hard as he tried, the Bi-polar left him helpless. Life was hard. By our fifth year of marriage, we found out he had this order. By our eighth year of marriage, I had finally found the strength to leave. But by that time, I also found that I understood him and his disorder. I knew his patterns, I knew how to talk him down, I knew when to leave and when to come back. My kids had also learned these lessons well.
We had family and friends. The kids would call me at work to tell me they would not be home. Or leave while I distracted him. Fact is, Dad was driving them crazy. So, what do I say? I taught them to walk away. When he realized the kids were gone, he’d start whining that he missed the kids. He’d demand I go pick them up. I’d agree but convince him to wait until 9pm, so we could have some alone time. He would calm down a bit and then lock my ear to his depression. Four hours of putting everyone from a down to z, complaints, whining, threats of suicide, all while he exercised his arm with one beer after another. I sit and listen, but carefully remain silent; only nodding and giving simple yes or no answers. I was carefully and cautiously not adding anything to the conversation. It was best to let him ramble as I nodded off. Surprisingly he would never realize that I was asleep; he kept on talking. Eventually he’d pass out. That was a good bipolar night.
On a bad one, He was ranting and raving, making no sense. Accusing, labeling, threatening to leave, commit suicide, or just nit picking. I would wait to see him preoccupied with something. I would quietly pack an overnight bag for the kids and myself, and sneak it into the car. I would then get his attention, which meant I got yelled at and belittled. While the kids closed their bedroom doors and snuck out to the car. Then comes the hard part, I needed to make an excuse to leave the room for just a moment, so I could get in the car. Once in the car, we were heading for a hotel.
Was he pissed? Oh, yeah! Did he follow me? Most of the time no, he wouldn’t. He was either too angry or too drunk. The next day, I’d arrive home to find him exhausted, depressed, angry, but sober. And he would spiral until he dropped; this by that time only took about three hours. By that time the kids came home, and he would be asleep. He’d wake moody, then crawl into my arms sobbing. He never really remembered what happen. It wasn’t the alcohol, I knew that. You see, even when sober, if a bipolar psychosis hits him, he would suffer memory lapse. In his bipolar psychosis, he would always play out the worst thing possible; losing his family. I knew the only way to end it was to leave. It was only then that he felt safe. He knew I’d come back. He knew the kids and I loved him. He was hoping we knew that he loved us. And we did. Despite it all, we loved him and still do.
Bipolar is selfish. It demands the attention of the whole household. Bipolar is one sided, it’s all about that person. It is like a sponge that absorbs everyone in its path. It is like a rush of air, no one in its path goes untouched. It is like a grinding tool on a rock, it leaves painful scars. It is like walking through the desert, it leaves you drained and scorched.
Now that he is on a mood stabilizer, I pray for an easier road. It has taken 19 years to get a glimpse of the man I fell in love with. I just pray he improves and doesn’t disappear again. I really missed him.
Life with bipolar disorder is simply black or white. There is no in between. When it’s good, it’s really good. When it’s bad, it’s really bad. It is love or hate. It takes unconditional love, patience, trust, faith, and endurance. The Lord tells us that through suffering and pain we will be blessed with joy and acceptance. Well, we have had our share of both. Through our faith in God, our love has endured.
I love my polar bear.