Nearly 15 years ago I met my soul mate. We both worked at the same place. A mutual friend introduced us. We started out as friends, but would quickly blossom into what I now call the best marriage of the century!
When we met I (little did i know) was in mania. After work each day we headed across the street to the local bar. We had so much in common, we would stay at the bar just drinking and talking. Eventually, the night moved us around to other clubs and bars in the city.
Yes, we were plastered before midnight!
This was becoming a ritual everyday after work. After a couple of months one night we did our usual bar rounds and found ourselves at a place called “Jezebel’s,” we went down stairs and sort of got cozy with each other. Before we realized it, we were making out!
That was only the beginning!
We became inseparable! We would send emails to each other through the work day, until we met up after work. Within two months we were totally in love with one another. At this point as I mentioned, I was in Mania. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be until 10 years down the road that I would be diagnosed with type 1 bipolar disorder.
Mania fueled partying made for a really fun girl! I was drinking heavily, went to several bars with my boyfriend, and was a bit of a no-holds-bar partier. My boyfriend found me as wild, fun, spontaneous, and always the life of the party!
We kept this pace for month.
Within a few months we would move-in together. We were always in sync. We were a perfect match for each other. Living together brought us closer. Eventually, a few years passed and we had a child together. Once I became pregnant we halted our wild days.
We moved into more suitable housing and became a family! We both had new jobs at different locations but always connected throughout the day, via text or email.
This is where things start to get sketchy!
After the birth of our child, I experienced postpartum depression. Within weeks, I started to withdraw. My primary care physician didn’t diagnosis me with, well, anything. She told me I was a bit overwhelmed but said it would pass.
Within a matter of time I would fall into severe depression. I went back to work and began drinking again, and slept a lot.
After discussing it over with my boyfriend, I decided to make an appointment with a mental health professional. You see I had a history of depression and thought I should get back on Prozac. This was a new clinic, so I had to take an assessment. I did and they told me I was clinically depressed. They provided me with a prescription of Prozac. I stopped drinking at this point too.
Looking back, I don’t know why the NEVER diagnosed me with bipolar disorder.
I was on Prozac for a few months. Once I felt better I stopped taking them (without doctors orders). Unfortunately, in a matter of time I would fall prey to mania, again!
So you see, there is a pattern there. No one up to this point in my life would catch on!
A few years passed and my boyfriend (regardless of my craziness) would propose to me! I was so elated, I said yes! We married on St. Patrick’s day. We were so happy together, until a couple of years in. My undiagnosed bipolar disorder was worsening. I would bounce between depression and mania.
By our 2nd year of marriage, I separated from him. This became a recurring thing. We have separated a minimum of 8-10 times in the 10 years we had been married, due to my bipolar disorder. We always got back together, but it definitely did damage.
During our 10 years and separations, I dated, I spent who knows how much money, would take off for days at a time, and just wasn’t a good spouse in-return. The miracle of all is that he never (regardless of separations) stopped loving me, nor did he ever stop being by my side.
Even when I almost filed for divorce, he just stepped back, gave me space, and hoped I would come around. I usually did. My husband is the greatest man I know! Regardless of all the junk I put him through, he never gave up hope.
After my worst manic episode in 2011, he finally put 2-and-2 together! He talked to many people online, talked to his father, and researched online, to decipher if our 11 years together was a joke or if there was something really wrong with me.
A lot had happened between us by this point and neither of us wanted to end our marriage.
I agreed to be seen by a psychiatrist. We had a lengthy discussion with the doctor, and he put me on lithium and told me point-blank “Sorry kiddo, but you have bipolar disorder!” He suggested I start seeing a therapist to help me understand my diagnosis as I didn’t know what it meant to have bipolar disorder.
I did make an appointment with a therapist. But also did a lot of online research to better educate myself with this diagnosis. My husband and I also started couples therapy. He goes to all of my appointments and takes part, not to check up on me but to be supportive.
Today, he’ll tell you regardless of my diagnosis, he wouldn’t change a thing about me! As I’ve mentioned before, we have been together now for almost 15 years! Frankly, I couldn’t see myself doing any of this without him. Which is one of many reasons I try so hard to stay stable!