I am tired of taking medication to keep other people sane.
I have Bipolar I with Psychotic Features. I do not always perceive what is real or true, and what my own warped mind has fabricated. I get angry at things most “normal” people would brush off, I get combative when I feel I am being attacked, I experience extreme changes in mood, and the list could go on forever.
My husband is a chronic depressive (not diagnosed) who is constantly harping on me about my illness, and how everything revolves around me. He complains that no one cares about him myself included. I ask him what is bothering him, and he either tells me that nothing is wrong, or he will start talking, and in the end, it is inevitably me who is causing all his problems. I will admit to taking out past frustrations on him, and nobody deserves that. However, there are things he does in the present that have caused arguments as well. He is in nearly complete denial about his depression. He calls it “being out of it.” Call it what you like, he is depressed. I know it when I see it; I have spent most of life that way.
Currently, our marriage is barreling downhill at an astonishing pace. He sleeps on the sofa downstairs, and I sleep in the bed. This has been the arrangement for several months now. He will not talk to me, and when he does the conversation invariably turns to “No one thinks about me, they only think of you.” They are my family. Of course they have my interests at heart; and he has made more than a few mistakes in this marriage and with my family that have caused them to be somewhat against him. He feels entitled to all the attention I “get”.
When he does speak, it is almost a given that my having Bipolar disorder will become the focus of the conversation. I do not think about having Bipolar very often. I have had it for decades. My meds are like taking an aspirin for a headache. I just do not think about it that much. I do monitor my self with regards to mood, anxiety level, etc. so that my psychiatrist can adjust my medication accordingly. He is the one that always brings it up, usually in relation to two other Bipolar women he’s known. He just doesn’t see that I am not them, that Bipolar manifests differently in every person diagnosed. Some are very high functioning, and some are not. I tend to be relatively high functioning (most of the time), so I do not understand some of his criticisms of me. I think it’s transferrence or projection of his feelings onto me. I am the mirror of his own illness; it is easier for him to look at me and project his feelings onto me because I am a diagnosed Manic Depressive than to look at himself and realize that he is depressed and not functioning very well.
For myself, I try not to let his mood get in my way. It is so easy for a Bipolar or anyone, for that matter, to start to feed off the feelings of someone close to them. However, for the Bipolar individual, it is even more important to not allow someone else’s feelings about themselves become your problem. As far as I am concerned, I have to look out for my health first because if I go down the rabbit hole with him, there is nobody to take care of daily household business. That, and Bipolars have a very high suicide rate, both completed and attempted. So, when I get too stressed or feel myself sliding down the rabbit hole for tea with the Mad Hatter, I become concerned because I do have attempts in my past, and the thought will flicker briefly every day that being dead would be easier.
It is difficult enough for a relationship to flourish when one party has Mental Health issues, but when both parties have mental health problems, it becomes survival oriented, communication breaks down as the depressed person becomes more withdrawn and the Bipolar half starts to cycle rapidly through episodes. I have a tendency to think everything is my fault, so when he goes off on one of little journeys, I am often left wondering, “What did I do or didn’t do?” The question drives me nuts. He will claim it has nothing to do with me, but it generally is some oversight on my part. Basically, I am left holding the bag for everything that goes wrong. He won’t even admit to himself that maybe his own problems with depression may be having a negative effect on the relationship. Nope, it is always my manic depression. This type of relationship where both parties have a mental issue doesn’t go very far. It can’t because it always in survival mode; it takes a lot of work to make a relationship like this work. One has to have basic respect and compassion for the other, otherwise it will end as one or the other begins to feel that they need to protect their sanity.
As I suspected, when I went to his room to inquire as to his “okayness”, I was greeted with irritation at being caught (?) or disturbed in his cozy environment.
And he wonders why I do not seem to ask after his mental status. I get no answer.
If there is no answer or the answer is delivered in an irritable tone, why ask?
If he wants me to care, then he needs to not act like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar when I knock on his door. And then, the lies start. It is warmer in here, I just want to be alone (no problem, buddy). And then he acts hurt if I do not inquire after him.
At this point, I am irritated, and I find that I do not care if he is mentally okay or not. He never asks after me, and I have been certified as nuts.
Has he ever asked me if I am okay? Not that I can remember.
Have I ever been not well, and he sees it as an infringement on his well being rather than the mental status of someone he claims to love? Yes, many times, and I have suffered through it on my own. I have taken the necessary steps to improve my mental status on my own.
Am I irritated this morning? Yes, I am. Do I care about him? Yes. I do.
Do I care if he is in one of his moods? No, not really. I was shot down last night, and it ticked me off because he clams that I do not care about him.
So, when I ask if he is okay, I expect an answer, not an irritated look and harsh words. Especially since he tells me periodically that I care only for myself. I couldn’t give a damn about myself most of the time. He is primary and doesn’t see it, doesn’t believe it.
If all my inquiries are met with irritation and mild anger, then I will simply stop asking. I do not like exercises in futility. I do not have the time.
and I wish I had not come to this piece of enlightenment or wisdom, whichever you prefer. While I think I have been in an emotionally and verbally abusive relationship for a while now (my husband has a tendency to speak in a condescending manner to me, he does not really support the things and activities that I am involved in, he gives me the silent treatment when I have done something that displeased him rather than talk it out, basically anything to demean or degrade me), I came to the realization yesterday that I am no different. I am emotionally and verbally abusive as well. And I became that way before he did. I do think there are reasons why. I have never had a good grip on my temper, or my moods. Medication and therapy do help, but there is no “magic pill” that will make it all go away. Bipolar is always managed; it is never controlled. I have been subject to fits of anger all my life, and I have generally taken it out on the people around me, but not the person that I am angry with. Clearly, it is something that I need to work on.
There is a positive to this realization, however. I think it may be the first time I have really tried to look at my self from someone else’s viewpoint. Where I see someone who really tried hard to please people, someone else may see a person who is manipulative, and tries to please people for their own gain. What I view as sarcasm may be interpreted by another as just plain mean ( I do have this problem with stupid questions: ask a stupid question, you’ll probably be met with scathing sarcasm. It is not a part of me that I like). I cannot tell at this point whether being emotionally abusive is reactionary ( I am feeling attacked, and I have to fight back), or if I actually start fights just to start them. However, in my defense, I rarely call people names. or speak to them in way as to belittle them. I just throw temper tantrums or I become very quiet (that’s when you have to look out because a storm is gathering).
I have always failed to take the role of the other which is what happened yesterday. I finally began to see my behavior through someone else’s eyes, and I was appalled at what I saw. What I saw was a brat who threw temper tantrums to get her way.
How much of my lack of control is due to having Bipolar Disorder, I do not know. I just know that I am destructive and not terribly constructive, that I have a hair trigger when it comes to tones of voice, inflections, and perceived attacks. I do know that Bipolar is a chemical or organic versus situational disease. The depressions and the manias are not typically brought on by things in my environment, they just seem to come and go as they please. I also know my brain does not process information the same way as a non-Bipolar person. I have seen PET scans and MRI’s of the Bipolar versus Non-Bipolar brain, and they are chemically different. Whether or not this chemical difference causes my mood swings, and my tendency toward hurting those that I love, I do not know either.
I just know that somehow I am going to have to learn how not to hurt the people that I love even when I feel like they are hurting me. The perception may or may not be correct. It’s very difficult when you can’t trust your own judgement.
I do not understand my husband at all. I have this feeling that he NEEDS me to be sick so he can validate some sick need of his for me to be incompetent and incapable of doing things right. He claims that I am hard to talk to. No one else seems to have a problem with talking to me. Maybe if he were not so patronizing and condescending, I wouldn’t be hard to talk to.
He says I have so many defenses and so much baggage that I get offended by everything he says to me. Well, maybe if he stopped for a moment and took a hard look at how he speaks to me sometimes, he’d find his answer. Maybe if he stopped sounding so chastising all the freaking time, he would find that I might respond to him in a different manner. Most people would be defensive if they felt they were being talked down to all the time. Perhaps his answer lies within him, but he just hasn’t figured it out yet.
I am not someone you can break by belittling, demeaning or talking down to on a constant basis. I just do not tolerate that, and if I come across as defensive, maybe he should look at the things he says and when he chooses to say them and how he chooses to say them. Half the time he is insulting me. No wonder I am defensive. I am being attacked. My abilities are being attacked. My self is being attacked.
I am not a defensive person with most people. He seems to be the only one. So, whose problem is it really? Mine or his? I am going to vote for his. I am not a defensive person. Nor am I unhappy, miserable, or any other label he tries to stick on me. Maybe it is because I am not those things? You think?
I personally think that he NEEDS me to be sick all the time so he can play the part of knight in shining armor who took this poor sick child and “fixed” her. I wasn’t broken in the first place. I have Bipolar disorder among others. I do not consider that broken. I consider it a challenge.
I am quiet does NOT mean I am depressed. It does NOT mean I am even getting depressed. Sometimes I am just quiet.
And, I really wish my husband would stop assuming that I have taken something or that I have been drinking just because my words are slurred. I had major dental surgery about 2 months ago, and have not yet healed enough to create the dental appliance. I have no F&*&^%$ front teeth! Of course my words are going to come out a little funny sounding. He needs to stop with all of his “pop” psychology and thinking that he understands this disorder. It is beginning to really, really, really piss me off.
It may mean I am having a bad day. I have my medication doses set so I can have bad days and good days just like everyone else. I do not want to be a medication junkie, or a walking zombie. I WANT to be able to feel like a normal person, and that means that, yes, I am going to have a bad day every now and then! Just like every other person including him.
And, I am really tired of him telling me that I complain all the time about everything. Maybe I am being quiet because I do not feel like putting up with his Buddhist shit about not complaining about anything and every thing. He has been complaining non-stop about the moving crews that moved our whole house full of stuff from Los Lunas back to Albuquerque. It is only a 45 minute drive, and they unloaded everything where they could find space. So, upstairs stuff ended up downstairs and vice versa. He hasn’t shut up about that for three days now. And, I am tired of listening to his whining.
Perhaps I am quiet because I do not want him to speak to me like a small child or in a condescending manner. Maybe I just do not want him to talk to me at all. Maybe I just do not want to hear about how many times he’s been “around the block.” Maybe I just do not feel like being pissed off by something he said, so I do not talk to avoid arguments.
Not everything is about Bipolar, and he just doesn’t get that. I am not always sick. It comes and goes like a cold or the flu. I know when I am sick. I have been sick for the last two or three weeks. However, because of moving and getting rid of most of my pets, I did not have time to be sick. And, now, he won’t even let me recuperate. He won’t let me wind down from the manic state I had to be in to accomplish this move. He won’t let me mourn my lost friends.
I do not know if he is just a cold person, or if he really just doesn’t get it. Mania sucks after a few days, and anyone who has had a pet for a period of time would understand what it is like to have it die in your arms, or to take it to Animal Control (which is a near certain death sentence). He thinks I am getting depressed and “we have only been in this house for 3 day. Why are you depressed?” Exact words. I am NOT depressed; just really tired both mentally and physically. All of which makes me quiet. Quiet does not equal depressed. Quiet equals quiet.
I wonder if he’s ever considered that I am not speaking because I am content in that particular moment and happy about it? It doesn’t always have to be about the illness.
This sums up about where I am at right now: too much weirdness has happened in life for the last few weeks . I am fighting tooth and nail to remain well. I am afraid I am not doing a good job at it. But then, again a diagnosis that includes psychosis doesn’t mean that they really are not out to get you
So, I wake up this morning and check the one comment on my google+ account, and it is a guy that had been posting all through the Einstein quote thread that Einstein never said that. Now, what that has to do with anything important (other than his own self-importance), I have no idea. There are so many other things that need attention in this world: the economy is still on the brink, people are out of work and no one is hiring, Syria is falling apart due to Civil War, Somalia is a war zone, we are still in Afghanistan for no apparent reason (we have done what could be done, they do not want us there), the Euro is tanking which affects economies worldwide, and this guy is bitching and moaning and groaning that Einstein never said those words. Doesn’t he have anything better to do? Is he an expert on everything Einstein said. Hell, i am not even an expert on everything I say. I do not remember everything I say. How could someone, other than an idiot savant, know and have memorized everything that Einstein said? I doubt Einstein remembered everything he said.
Oh, and then he was gloating about getting the last word in. So I told him his gloating was petty and he seemed like that type of person anyway. I also told him that he had not provided an alternative source for the quote, and that until he could that he had not earned the right to bitch, and that the right to bitch was like respect; it was an earned right. Clearly, this dipshit got under my skin. But, in my opinion one should not be asserting any form of argument unless you have the information to back it up. And I cannot stand petty people who think that they can just post repeatedly that someone didn’t say something or anything else with no back-up information. If you are going to start an argument, have something to say, have the information to back it up.
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