Relationships,  Who Am I

What Having a Spouse With Bipolar Disorder Taught Me About Love

Can we talk about a particular stigma that really, really bothers me?

And sure, it’s probably because it’s personal. Such situations always open our minds a bit wider than most and force us into a space where we learn on a intimate level how miseducated and quick to judge we were in our past. Prior to that new awareness.

I hate. I mean HATE. When people refer to weather as being bipolar. It feels like my spine is a chalkboard and those words are nails being drug all the way down it. Top to bottom.

First of all because it’s insensitive. Second it’s a nearly complete mischaracterisation of the actual eb and flow of emotions – mainly the manic and depressive phases – that come along with bipolar disorder.

They don’t happen within seconds or minutes of each other. The ups and downs are gradual & consistent, there are signs, there are road blocks, there are accelerators, sometimes the dips are few and far between, sometimes they come all on top of each other.

Third. It shows your ignorance about mental illness. And that isn’t something you should proudly broadcast. Mental illness affects more of us than most are willing to admit. So just stop that silly personification of the weather. Thanks.

(also, if you’re mad about why weather patterns are out of whack – see climate change)

Now that that’s out of the way, I have to say something.

I am SO ridiculously proud of a woman I don’t even personally know. I’m proud of Mariah Carey for speaking her truth.

She was so humble and brave in telling her story and including the struggle of acceptance. It’s such a large part of receiving a diagnosis for many. The road to diagnosis is not an easy one and it can be a very long journey of trial and error. On top of that letting go and accepting something that feels so ultimate and heavy is difficult to wrap one’s head around.

Especially if such head is refusing to be rational in the moment.

I do have to wonder though. What if the stigma was less?

(I don’t have to be overly naive and say if it didn’t exist. I’m a realist)

Just what if it was less. Would it be easier to receive a diagnosis?

If you could escape the idea that people will view you differently?

Like a ticking bomb? Broken? Like weather that can’t control itself? As less than fully human? Not worthy? Scary? Weak? Pity stares? Dangerous?

What if a mental health diagnosis was removed from all those gross mischaracterizations?

What if we finally came to terms with the fact that such a diagnosis doesn’t make (or change) a person – it’s simply just a part of who they are.

Are we ever going to take mental health seriously?

As a part of life.

I mean 1 in 5 adults seems pretty damn common to me.

Why don’t we approach mental illness with a decent dose of compassion?

I can’t even begin to tell you what my first marriage taught me. My first real love. The first relationship I found myself in. The 6 years of growth I experienced. And the reason I have THE most beautiful human in my life – Isaiah.

And if I’m being honest. If bipolar was not a part of those 6 years I would absolutely not be who I am today.

The biggest lesson? Love.

Love is actually NOT a two-way street.

Relationships are, yes. Absolutely.

Love. Is. Not.

Love does not need to see or feel it’s reflection in order to exist.

That only comes into play when we confuse “love” for what are a myriad of other feelings.

Is sustainable. It needs no one and nothing.

Love is about who YOU are.

Not the other way around.

Solomon taught me about love.

Those lessons in love taught me who I was.

They taught me how and when to fight for myself.

Those love lessons taught me how to stand for what I love.

It’s made me the perfect human to guide Isaiah on his journey.

Or maybe I mean the perfect human to witness and provide advice to on his journey.

It’s his journey and not mine after all.

I don’t need Isaiah to love me in order to love him. Nothing he does will change that.

My love for him is about me. What’s inside of me.

How I feel about him. He didn’t do that. I did.

All he did was exist.

Same goes for Solomon.

My love for him will always exist. Always.

Don’t confuse that with anything else. Don’t put any restricting explanations and justifications around it.

It’s just love.

Love can exist all on it’s own.

Isn’t that the beauty of it all?

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