Anonymous Mom is a weekly column of motherhood confessions, indiscretions, and parental shortcomings selected by Mommyish editors. Under this unanimous byline, readers can share their own stories, secrets, and moments of weakness with complete anonymity.
Dear Bipolar Husband,
I know you’re probably going to read this some day, so before I start, let me say that I’m not talking about leaving you. This isn’t an I-hate-my-husband letter. Just read it.
I wish you weren’t bipolar, but I also wish all of my womanly measurements fell neatly in the mid-30s. You’re never going to stop being bipolar, and I’m never going to be able to wear a bikini without looking like a lumpy loaf of white bread. That’s how I see your problem, as just another part of you. You look past my weight, even appreciate it at times, and I spend very little of my day worrying about the fact that you have a chemical imbalance. You watched all the gruesome and disgusting things that happened to my body when it pushed out your child. Why is it so bad that I see you sob?
You don’t scare me.
I’m the one who sees all of your episodes, all your freak-outs, and I’ve never once been afraid for myself or our daughter. You don’t get violent, you don’t act out. You’ve never struck me, shoved me or done any other kind of physical damage to yourself or others during your episodes. If you had thrown me down the stairs or something, we’d be having a very different conversation. But you don’t do things like that. You’ve never given me a reason to think or believe that you’re even capable of it.
You’re not crazy.
Crazy is being completely unpredictable, doing and acting out irrational things. Your actions, while not always rational, come with a clear set of warning signs. I can see your shifts in moods in colors, like a sunset on a clear day. What you don’t understand, though I’ve tried explaining it before, is that everyone goes through shifts in their moods. Everyone is hyper at times, somber at others. It’s just how we are. Your public exterior, the way you allow people to see you, is no different than everyone else.
No one knows you’re bipolar except your family.
You don’t go through big freak-outs in public. You don’t have meltdowns, and you don’t lose complete control. You worry that people hate you, or don’t trust you because you’re different. It’s not the fact that you’re bipolar that makes people not want to talk to you. It’s the fact that your social skills are terrible. The only reason people don’t want to talk to you is because you act like you don’t want to talk to them. The umbrella shaped like a samurai sword might also have something to do with that.
Your condition is actually very mild compared to what it could be, which is why you function perfectly without being on any kind of medication or mood stabilizers. In fact, I think you’re very lucky that you have such a diagnosis. Most people go their whole lives not understanding why they do what they do, or why they feel how they feel.
You’re one of the lucky few that knows your problem is a slight chemical imbalance, and when you’re having a problem you can tell yourself or others that clear-cut answer. If you ever decide you’ve had enough and that you need medication, I will stand by your decision. I honestly don’t think you need it, though.
I know the media tends to make a big deal about bipolar disorder. I know movies and primetime dramas tend to throw out bipolar disorder as a reason to explain why their main character went nutzoid and killed a bunch of people. I have news for you, though. When you have an episode, you don’t run through the neighborhood Hulk Smashing everything in sight. They’ve never had to call in the National Guard or the Power Rangers to take care of the beast destroying the city. What you do is go to a small, private area, such as the laundry room, hall stairs or your car, and you cry. Then you feel better.
This is not the crisis situation you imagine it to be.
My biggest problem with your bipolar disorder is that you complain so much about being bipolar. You see it as this shadowy evil filling half your head, ready to take over at a moment’s notice. All it really is is an emotional instability that makes you depressed or cry when you’re stressed or overstimulated. You won’t let it go, and you won’t just accept things as they are. To our lives, to our marriage, it’s about as problematic as an ingrown hair.
Yeah, so you get upset sometimes. So what? You’re also the most loving person I’ve ever been with. Even if I could, I wouldn’t go back and change our relationship at all. I don’t regret being with you, and I hope I never give you reason to regret being with me.
We’re still newlyweds. We had a baby and we just bought our first home. Anyone in our position would be going through an immense amount of stress, and I think under the circumstances we’re doing great. The little things that happen, the arguments we have? They’re not going to matter in the long run. Things between us are going to be just fine.
I want you to know that no one is perfect. I want you to stop thinking that I wouldn’t have stayed with you had I known sooner. Most of all, I want you to stop worrying about that little creature across the room, sleeping with her fingers in her mouth and swinging away to the same seven lullabies on repeat.
Stop getting yourself in a panic wondering if she’s inherited some faulty gene from you. If she did, we won’t find out for years to come – but if and when it happens, we’ll be able to handle it.
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