I’m Not Here For You And Your Mental Illness

I made the huge mistake today of venturing over to my You-Tube channel and reading the comments on my videos. Now I remember why I don’t do that too often. Some people are so nasty. I guess I can’t believe that someone would take the time to write something. I must have really pissed them off. It is not like my videos are seen by millions of people or I am hugely influential. So why do they bother? Beats the heck out of me.

I was going to start responding to the comments. I even started typing but I stopped. You know why? I was just getting wound up and nothing I could possibly say to these people would either change their views or their opinion of me. So I back-spaced, erased and closed the window.

When I first started my You-Tube channel and my blog, it was to give a voice to the spouses of people living with bipolar disorder. I haven’t made a video in a really long time and I rarely do blog posts about bipolar disorder anymore. Mostly because my husband has been stable now for years. It is funny how in good times, we completely forget just how bad and chaotic life can get when a mental illness gets out of control. Maybe it is nature’s way of rejuvenation and renewal. A time to remember why you got together with this person in the first place. A time to strengthen your bonds of love and most importantly, to build memories that will see you through the hard times.

Another reason I have pulled back from writing about bipolar disorder is because of the negative feedback I get from people who have bipolar disorder. Most of the time it is very clear that they are not in a good place at the moment when they are responding to my posts. I get that. But I don’t have to deal with their illness or symptoms and have the luxury to shut it out. Besides, I am living a chaos free life right now and really don’t want to venture down into that rabbit hole with them. I can not diagnose them or give them advice except to tell them to find some professional help. And don’t stop until they do.

I guess the thing that pisses me off about most of the comments from those actually living with bipolar disorder is that they don’t actually get that I am not making videos or writing blog posts for them. There are a million resources/sites/blogs online for people who are suffering from a mental illness. People with bipolar disorder can check out those for information or support. I am here for those that are the carers, the spouses, the parents, the children and the friends that are suffering because they choose to support and love someone with bipolar disorder. I share MY experiences, MY feelings and MY situation. If that helps even one person see a light at the end of the tunnel, awesome.

Just like I can not claim to know what is going on in my husband’s head or really truly know what it is like to have bipolar disorder, those that have the illness don’t have any idea what it is like to be one of us either. PERIOD. Stop the double standard. Stop criticizing me on semantics. Stop getting pissed at me because “I don’t understand”. Stop making assumptions about me and my husband and our relationship. YOU DON’T KNOW SHIT. Move along or pass my posts over to someone else in your life and see if they can relate to what I said/wrote.

But just in case you are still here and want to get a glimpse into our world…

  • Sometimes we are, just as much as you are, at a loss at how to handle YOUR mental illness.
  • Sometimes we make mistakes.
  • Sometimes we get pissed off.
  • Sometimes we have moods or get depressed too.
  • Sometimes we get so sick of having to be the “stable” one and keeping everything together.
  • Sometimes we get emotional and need a break from you.
  • Sometimes we reach the end of our rope and want to walk away.
  • Sometimes we hate the disorder and all the symptoms so much we can’t separate you from it.
  • Sometimes we hate ourselves because we love you so much and want to help you but we feel like we are failing miserably.
  • Sometimes we want to be selfish and just look after us for a while.
  • Sometimes we want to vent to others about the illness and yes, you.
  • Sometimes we want to cry and scream and shake you into sanity.
  • Sometimes we are irrational.
  • Sometimes we want to hug and kiss you but we are rebuked.
  • Sometimes it feels like we can not do anything right.
  • Sometimes we want to turn back time.
  • Sometimes we think if we can just get you to listen, everything will work out fine.
  • Sometimes we look back and laugh at ourselves, you and the whole damn mess.
  • Sometimes that is the only way we can get through it.
  • Sometimes we make it worse.
  • Sometimes we make it better.
  • Sometimes it feels like we are the only ones working on your stability.
  • Sometimes we feel like your parent and we resent that.
  • Sometimes we want to be taken care of.
  • Sometimes we are a mess.
  • Sometimes we will say things that will hurt you.
  • Sometimes we do it on purpose.
  • Sometimes we can be more sick than you.
  • Sometimes we want to be able to express our feelings and emotions openly and honestly without being judged as right or wrong.

Straight up. None of the above things/feelings/emotions/actions are exclusive to a relationship with a spouse that has bipolar disorder but for some reason, people seem to think that we have to keep our mouths shut and suck it up just because our spouses have a mental disorder and we should just understand. That’s not fair.

For those of you with bipolar disorder, know that I love my husband and we have a fabulous relationship and I would never say/share anything in public without his full prior consent and input. We have learnt how to talk through the past and yes, laugh at each other whole heartedly. We have learned a long ago to not take anything personally in times of crisis and maybe you should too.

For those of you living with a person who has bipolar disorder, if you come across my videos or posts, know that I’ve been there, done that and have a wonderful relationship with a spouse that has bipolar disorder. Everyone can and should have stable relationships in their lives, even when one has a mental illness. My way is not the only way to achieve that. I only want to show you that it is possible.

Disclaimer: I am not a therapist or a doctor. This post is based solely on my personal experiences and should not be deemed as advice or counsel. Please seek appropriate medical attention from a licensed professional.
Advertisements

30 thoughts on “I’m Not Here For You And Your Mental Illness

  1. Good article. I have a number of severely bi-polar relatives. My sister passed a couple years ago from cancer and she was one of the few bad ones that went to therapy and tried to stay on her meds which helped her immensely. God bless!

    Like

  2. I just want to thank you for being a voice in what it is like to live married to someone who is bipolar. I started dating someone with bipolar 5 months ago, he is unmedicated right now and I’ve been through some rough moments with him already. He has now agreed to go see a doctor to go on meds as I said I would not go in to a more steady relationship otherwise. I care so much for him and I am beginning to fall in love deeply. I am ready for ups and downs as long as we work as a team around it and through your videos and your blog, I feel that is actually possible.

    Thanks!

    Like

  3. I am the bipolar one in my relationship. Personally, I love your blogs about living with someone you love who suffers with this. I am always finding nuggets to share with my partner and am very often reminded that I am very often the cause of their bad day. As someone with bipolar there are plenty of days I forget that there are other people in the world with emotions…you remind me. I love that there is a validating place for our partners. Thank you.

    Like

  4. My boyfriend doesn’t have bipolar but he does have major depression and this certainly hit home tonight. I’m so glad I stumbled across your blog tonight!

    Like

  5. I just found your blog through a post on the BPSO email support group. One of the rules to join the group is that you must be supporting someone with bipolar and you must not have bipolar yourself. It’s not that we’re keeping secrets, it’s just that we need a place to be real and reality can be triggering or could offend people who don’t understand and we don’t want to do harm or read those nasty rants about how mean we are to have boundaries. Thank you for being real out in the open. Some of us do need to do that to show that we exist and that it’s not hopeless.

    Like

  6. I constantly get slammed in the comments. Did you have to curse? You’re old! Why are you yelling? I laugh at most but finally got to the point of giving it right back to them. They can dish it, but they can’t take it. Since I decided to concentrate on blogging and not vlogging anymore, I just read the comments, laugh and think, hey I can make an awesome blog post about these idiots. Personally, I feel people with depression or other mental health disorders really shouldn’t make videos unless they disable comments because you never know what one little word can do to totally destroy you and cause a breakdown.

    Like

    1. Comments can be a huge trigger for many people. I don’t think that those who are actually writing them, understand that. I am glad you have made a strategy that works for you and wish you and your blog, success.

      Like

  7. “We have learned long ago to not take anything personally in times of crisis and maybe you should too.” I think this part really rang true for me. I’ve learned to never make decisions about major life changing things whilst I’m not in an emotional state, or to try and fathom what others are thinking. Nothing good has ever really come of that for me! I’ve not known anyone with bipolar disorder, but I have lived with someone who had a personality disorder, and that was certainly really, really hard a lot of the time. I’ve learned never to judge other people’s relationships or how they handle them, because the only relationships I truly know anything about are my own. I’ll never know the real ins and outs of another person’s life because I’m not the one living it. Thank you for being so willing to express all that you do so that others who are in your position of being in a relationship with someone who has bipolar disorder can know that they are not alone.

    Like

  8. People can be quite judgy, especially when they don’t understand what they’re talking about.
    Dropped by from your wonderful #BlogShareLearn and it’s always a pleasure. Shared.

    Like

  9. Right one, Elena! Caregivers are supposed to submerge ALL their own feelings, never have an off day, never need anything–in short, be super human. Anything less seems to open you up to judgment as “uncaring” from people who have NO idea what you’re dealing with.

    Like

  10. Yay to the chaos free life. It always amazes me that the carers and loved ones of people with any challenging issue – bipolar, anxiety, dementia and so on – are so often overlooked or made to feel that they are not entitled to negative feelings because they are not the one with the issue. If someone you love is struggling, it becomes your struggle too. It’s great you help people with your own experience and it’s wonderful you are able to have a break from it when you life is chaos free. We all need to ignore the keyboard warriors.

    Like

  11. How very serendipitous. I just submitted an essay to FC on So I’m Stable, Now What? I’ve been stable (bipolar) for nearly five years. I don’t talk about it. I don’t think about it. And I sure don’t want to give counsel on it. Am I selfish? I really don’t think so. I did my hard time writing, role modeling, leading in every way I could to offer people a me, too moment. But–enough. It’s not my jam anymore. Loved this, Elena. I might staple it to my forehead loved it.

    Like

    1. I honestly believe you have successfully re-wired your brain a little, don’t you think? I am so glad you are enjoying stability and the opportunity to explore other facets of your life.

      Like

  12. I have more than a few family members who were diagnosed with Bipolar disorder, and I understand the difficulty and uncertainty it brings. I have been the caregiver, strapped with guilt and sick with fear. Of course you needed a space to vent, to share your experiences and feel the community of others in similar situations. I’m sorry for the backlash you’ve gotten from those who just don’t get it. Keep writing/making videos for yourself and for those who need to hear your voice.

    Like

  13. Hi Elena well written and I’m so pleased that things are on track at the moment for you and your husband. My husband is a Vietnam Veteran who was conscripted to go. Living in Australia, when they returned they were shunned at the time and the damage that the war and the non welcome home did to them has only really just been recognised. He has PSTD and although that is not bipolar I know where you are coming from. For me, it is worrying if he will have that next two or three scotches or not wanting to enjoy life. Fortunately, over the last couple of years he has been doing PT sessions, has lost weight and actually feels much better about things. We revisited Vietnam a few years ago – something he said he would never do and he was so glad that he did. People will always shoot the messenger but I’m sure for all the negative responses there were many grateful ones as well. xx Sue from Sizzling Towards Sixty.

    Like

  14. I can relate to many of these bullet points you listed. I watched your videos to get better informed on this disorder. At this point, still struggling with what my husband may be going through. The things I’ve read about Borderline Personality Disorder sounds more like what we’re dealing with. I appreciate your openness on the subject and it’s helpful to hear how you’re handling it from a relationship side.

    Like

  15. wow! that was so well said Elena! My husband has depression (not bipolar) and when he bottoms out it is exhausting being the cheerleader, the annoying one, the “mum”, the worrier, the one hanging in there and hoping. But then things get better again (when he takes his meds!) and I remember why I married him and we keep on keeping on. I’m so glad you didn’t buy into the trolls and their comments – leave them to their misery and be a voice for those who are looking for one xx

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s