Monday, March 28, 2011

The Ups and Downs

For weeks now I've been reading several books on bipolar...everything from the clinical, medicinal, holistic approaches to living with someone with this illness. I've read books written for loved ones and ones written for the patient. I've been trying to get a handle on just what goes on in Chris' head. But the thing with bipolar is that it isn't really much different than the stresses we all endure from time to time. Sometimes, I stop and wonder if maybe we all are a little bipolar.

But, then I realize that even though the stressors can be the same, the reaction is always much, much more intense for a sufferer of bipolar.  I'm learning to be aware of triggers that cause the symptoms as much as becoming aware of the symptoms themselves.  This is so much easier said than done.

After almost twelve years together, it is bewildering to view what I always thought of as personality traits as actual symptoms.  Some of our best conversations and most creative ideas have been products of a hypomanic state.  It was always frustrating to see very little follow through after these conversations (unless it was on my part).  But now, I know this is a product of bipolar.  The hardest part for me is knowing what to do now.  Do I dismiss these ideas as "crazy" because I know it is the illness?  How do I encourage constructive thought processing instead of fleeting moments of greatness?

This weekend was my first sneak peak into the building cycle of bipolar.  From racing thoughts to flat out selfishness to isolation and depression, it has run the gamut over the past few days.  It is becoming increasingly harder not to get mad at him.  Not to lay in to him for his selfish behavior, unwillingness to contribute to the family and lack of affection.  I want to shake him and make him snap out of it.  To make him see what he is doing to his family and to himself.

I am constantly reminding myself that it is not him.  It is not personal.  It is the illness.  But then, when does "the illness" become a free pass for bad behavior?

I am wrought with worry.  I am scared.  It is consuming my life.  I hate to see my husband suffer, and I wish I could remove this burden...carry his cross.

Today, I am trying to pull myself back from the brink of self-pity and complaint. I've fallen back into the lie that I am in charge and that I must work out every single detail.  I am turning my thoughts, my fears and this illness over to God and reminding myself that worry is the opposite of faith.

His next counseling appointment is tomorrow evening.  I've been documenting the symptoms I've noticed in hopes he will discuss these with his counselor.  We are still searching for a private insurance policy that will insure him.  We are still looking into how to manage the out-of-pocket costs if we can find a psychiatrist that will take on a new patient without insurance.  We are still looking for that psychiatrist. 


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