“I belong with you, you belong with me, you’re my sweetheart” these are some of the lyrics to the song Ho Hey by The Lumineers. I walked down the aisle to this song sung by my youngest brother. So it holds a lot of sentiment to me. In fact I am listening to the song now, it’s been on repeat.
When Rob proposed to me I said yes because I love him, because he is my best friend and because we are a team and every day since we got married we’ve gotten closer and learned to work together much better. Last week though, I forgot we were a team for a brief moment. I stopped taking the daytime dose of my antipsychotic and I didn’t tell Rob. “Did you just not think to tell me or did you deliberately hide it from me?” he asked after the discussion got heated at date night. “I won’t get angry if you didn’t think about me” he says patiently. “Well, no. I didn’t think of you. All I could think of was that I hated being drowsy during the day.” I say.
We argue for the first time in months and he drives home points I have never considered. Rob reminds me that I wrote about Carrie, the character that doesn’t look after herself or take her medication properly. I am Carrie I realise. I pay a lot of money to see a psychiatrist and I’m not listening to his expert opinion. I don’t want to listen to other people who have no clue about psychiatric care yet I am not listening to my psychiatrist. Doesn’t make sense does it? Oh and the hallucinations, they haven’t gotten worse thankfully but they haven’t gotten better either – my deviance from my medical regime is most likely why I am not getting better.
We are no longer arguing, just talking but he says very calmly to me that he thought we were partners, a team in this battle but now he’s realised that I am always going to fight it alone. That’s because that’s what I am used to. My ex boyfriends contributed to my struggle with mental health, I wasn’t used to having someone support me so much. My family doesn’t help me or support me, my friends are great but they can only do so much so it is still new to me to have someone willing to help me fight.
When you have a mental illness the person that can do most damage or provide the most support will be your partner if you have one. When I am falling into depression or careening into mania Rob will kindly point out that I should go to see a professional. When I am tired of taking medication he will very gently remind me it is for the best. If I am becoming delusional and start to think people are plotting against me he will listen to my theories and then point out very carefully that my reasoning is not logical or rational. He keeps me grounded.
People with mental disorders can sometimes let their illness affect others negatively. I’ve done it before, we all have. Rob keeps me grounded though. If I fly off the handle in a fit of bipolar anger he is patient with me but reminds me that mental illness is not an excuse to treat someone poorly. Since meeting Rob I learned how to control my reactions and my emotions. Obviously no one is perfect, sometimes I will be snappy or rude but it is very rare now. He always treats me with respect and through his example I have learned to treat others the same regardless of what mental health struggles I face.
Anxiety is another mental disorder or symptom that can heavily impact your life and that of your loved ones. I get anxiety before events, even if I know everyone there, even if the event is low key. I just get anxiety when I have to go somewhere. I don’t believe in caving in to my anxiety but sometimes I get caught up in the worry and angst and convince myself it is better to stay home. Rob doesn’t let me give in to anxiety. He doesn’t let me become a hermit just because I have some irrational fear of groups. He knows I am a social person; he reminds me that I need to be around people. Some of you may think this is a harsh approach but I am a fighter and my husband knows that and he never lets me forget that.
He pushes me to fight through every battle, especially depression. He reminds me to get out of bed, to watch something that will make me laugh or one of my special movies reserved for moments like these, he reminds me to eat, to see my favourite Godmother, my cousin and her kids or my friends that can always heal what’s broken. He buys me flowers or a bottle of wine. When we weren’t dieting he would bring me chocolates. He takes me anywhere to cheer me up and never makes me feel bad for it. He lets me choose what we watch. He lets me sleep when my soul is weary but he always gets me through the day. He pushes me to keep going every day.
We are a team, we are a partnership. My slip up with the medication doesn’t take away from that. Sometimes I get trapped up in my own little world but it never takes away from the fact that I am not fighting this on my own. Sometimes I may revert to flying solo but as you can see there are many ways Rob shows me that I am not alone in this war in my head, this war against Bipolar.