Wednesday, 11 December 2013
I still love you but you've got Bipolar!
The impact of a mental illness isn't just confined to those who have it. It can be just as devastating to those around us. Most of the devastation is born out of ignorance and boy were we ignorant.
I sat at the kitchen table in my old house. I looked around and nothing had changed. Everything was exactly the same. The only thing I could see that was different were some pictures of him and her. He sat opposite me. I could see one of the pictures over his shoulder. I didn't feel upset, I just thought how bizarre. I couldn't stop looking at them. Three years since I left and it was as if I hadn't been away....except for those pictures. When I went to the loo the bathroom was the same. I looked into the lounge...exactly as I'd left it.
So he wanted to explain. Explain it from his point of view. Set a few things straight.
He said he still hadn't moved on even after all this time. He said he still felt guilty for what he'd done to me. He said he knew it was wrong because I was so ill and couldn't help it. He said he still loved me and always would. He said he still felt guilty that he couldn't cope with the fact that I had a mental illness. He talked about how for months and months he didn't know what was happening to me. How he was constantly walking on eggshells in case he did or said the wrong thing. He couldn't cope with coming home to find me sometimes so upset and inconsolable, or full of anger, or "too happy", never just "normal". He was scared to walk through the door. He said he tried to help but after months and months of me pushing him away and not knowing what was wrong with me finally led him into someone else arms. He stayed away because he didn't know what to do. He said that it had a huge impact on his work having to keep taking time off to take me to appointments and having to lie about what was wrong with me. He said it had a huge impact on everything. Years of hiding the fact that I had a problem from friends and family and then the "embarrassment" of having a wife who was mentally ill. He tried to explain how when he took me to appointments with the psychiatrist it made him sick to the stomach. He didn't want to know about it and he didn't want help to understand it....he just wanted to ignore it and hoped it would go away.
He said the whole situation was devastating. He said life was just turned upside down. He just didn't know what he would come home to, so he often chose not to come home. He said when he was with her he could just forget about everything. He said he knew it was wrong.
I don't really know what he wants from me. It's obvious he still loves me but I'm always going to have Bipolar and he will never be able to come to terms with that. He said he wants me to know that he'll always be there for me and he wants me in his life. I don't know if that's wise.
I asked him if he really loved her. He looked at me blankly then said yes but not in the same way he loved me. I asked if it bothered her that he wouldn't make a commitment . He said it bothered her that I still had such a hold over him. That's not my doing.
I told him I've forgiven him. I really have. I think he was weak and selfish but I know he didn't set out to hurt me. He said he'll never forgive himself. It sounds awful the way he treated me but that really is how mental illness can affect people. I know 100% if I'd had any other illness we would still be together. There is still a huge stigma attached to mental illness. It is still something people find so hard to deal with and to admit to. When it just creeps up on you it really is devastating. I could tell by his face and see it in his eyes that he was telling the truth. I know he feels disgusted with himself for feeling that way. The thing is we were both ignorant when it came to mental health and we were both battling to find answers. We still are. I do still love him, I never stopped but I could never be with him again. I would never trust him and I can't change who I am.
I don't know what will happen. Sometimes I do wonder what on earth is it all about.
I always thought nothing could get in the way of true love....I guess Bipolar can.