The Love of My Life has Bipolar Disorder
Every girl who is looking for her Prince Charming always envisions a tall, dark and handsome man. Few descriptions of this person ever describe his mental condition; however, psychology tells us that if a person is tall, dark and handsome, the halo effect that we ascribe to him will automatically include intelligence, wit and mental stability. (If you are unfamiliar with the halo effect, it simply means that a person with one good quality is seen to have many good qualities.)
Few, if any women will ever achieve this perfect vision in their real lives. I have yet to meet the perfect woman on this earth, so we can assume that there is no such thing as a perfect man. Once I got over needing to have a cartoon as my life partner, I found the love of my life in a package much different than the Disney caricature.
Believe it or not, I actually met my husband at an AA meeting. His depressive state had caused him to use alcohol as a sort of self-medication. In many ways he was the most in need of help, but he always had the kindest words of encouragement for me and for others in the group. I asked around to see if his behavior changed just to get me on a date. Everyone said that this was his true personality, so I ended up asking him out.
After six months of dating, I knew that this was the man I was going to marry. He said that he knew from the second he saw me walk into the AA group, which is quite a romantic thing to say. He says very romantic things, which is another reason why I had to lock it down.
Part of the reason that I married him was that he let me know exactly how debilitating his condition was. With his doctor’s permission, he actually went off of his medication for a while in order to show me exactly what a worst-case scenario would be like. I chose him only after experiencing that episode firsthand.
We both wanted kids; we definitely had to agree on this point in order to get married. We decided that our various challenges would serve as a good example for our children. If they came out healthy, they would have no excuses. Both of us are very driven, and we wanted our children to be inspired by us and be driven in life as well.
Bipolar disorder is described as a set of behaviors that fluctuate wildly without any external provocation. Moods shift from extremely manic highs to extremely depressed lows. My husband’s bipolar disorder was not able to be diagnosed precisely, as many cases are not. However, our doctors and my gut say that it was partly from genetics and partly from a lack of nutrition early in his childhood. It certainly did not help that he grew up in a mildly abusive household in which no one really knew how to vent frustration in a proper way.
My husband, the true love of my life, deals on a day-to-day basis with bipolar disorder. Before we go into the reasons that this is difficult, we must go first into the character traits that made me want to marry him despite his mental disorder.