I’m a little slow getting this started, so this opening post that I wrote in December us a little overdue…
December 26, 2016
Just over a month ago, I went on the best first date I’ve ever had with the kindest, most caring man I’ve ever met. It’s been a wonderful, amazing month; getting to know him, experiencing all the new things that come with a new relationship, and enjoying having someone to be with. For years I’ve prayed, wrestled with God over my singleness, and waited. And waited and waited. I’d say that I kissed a lot of frogs along the way, hoping they’d turn into my prince, but the truth is none of the dates that I had got that far. Until now. God has blessed me beyond measure. My guy is a dream come true for me and most importantly he is open with me about what’s happening in his heart. It’s an awesome responsibility to be let into someone’s heart and I count it a privilege that he trusted me. As a part of that journey of letting me in, he has shared some really tough stuff with me. Some of it so tough that he couldn’t even say it.
A couple of weeks ago, he shared with me that he has a disorder that is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. “It’s the same thing that Vincent Van Gogh, Jackson Pollock, and Beethoven had,” he said. Sharing that much was difficult for him; so much so that he couldn’t even use the words bipolar disorder when he told me. We talked about it a bit that night and I was very positive and encouraging to him, not realizing the gravity of the illness. I went home and did what anyone else would have done: googled “Vincent Van Gogh, disease”. The article that came up suggested that Van Gogh had bipolar disorder and I remember thinking, “that can’t be what my guy has”. So I moved on to the others. Each search led me to the same conclusion. My guy has bipolar disorder.
I didn’t do much about it, thinking the counseling classes I had taken while in college, my innate ability to read others feelings, and my super intelligent partner’s experience would be enough to navigate these waters in this new adventure. I soon found out that I was wrong.
Bipolar disorder is an all-hands-on-deck, 24/7 mission. I’ve learned a lot in an incredibly short time, that it is relentless and that my guy is fighting a battle every moment of every day. And, if we’re to make it through this together, then I need to be part of that team fighting that fight. But I can’t fight effectively if I’m not educated and equipped to do so. My guy has been a great model, immediately turning to research, books, videos, blogs, whatever he can find, when he’s experiencing something new. See, this whole thing is new for him too. His fairly recent diagnosis was followed by 10 months of what he describes as hell, before the doctors found a medicine and dosage cocktail that seems to be working for him. This medicine mix is still in flux and may require adjustments and tweaks until he and the doctors find the best combination and balance.
While medicine is great, mood swings still happen. After 2 episodes in less than 2 weeks of my guy shutting down and withdrawing for one or two days, I’m convinced that if I’m to be part of his world, I have some serious work to do. I have spent hours searching online, reading blogs, and praying. And in all that time, I have only found a few blogs from partners of people with bipolar disorder, and none from a Christian perspective. So here is where I begin, using this blog as a way to process our journey, and hopefully, provide insight into someone else’s journey.
And in case you’re wondering, yes, he’s worth every bit of whatever work I need to put in. I found this quote in a blog and it sums things up perfectly for me:
So maybe our friendship does take a little more work. So what? You’re a little more awesome than everyone else. That’s why I’m your friend. That’s why you’re stuck with me. This last one is simple, but it’s probably the hardest for you to understand. And I know that sometimes, there’s nothing I can do to get you to believe me. But I’ll be around, showing you that it’s true anyway. – Dayton Uttinger (http://natashatracy.com/bipolar-disorder/friends-mentally-ill/)