As the end of October creeps closer, my mind keeps returning the events of last fall. Another big reminder showed up in the New York Times, in an article detailing a psychiatrist's pain over having a patient commit suicide. I was able to keep emotional distance from the article's content until the last bit, where the doctor speaks to the patient's mother.

After she left my office, I recalled a conversation I'd had with Carlos some time back. It was just after his first suicide attempt, on his initial appointment with me.

He was relieved that he had not succeeded in killing
himself - a reassuring sign - but he also said that if he had taken his own life, he was sure that his family would be sad briefly, but that they would get over it and eventually be happier without him. If only he knew how wrong he was.

During the days when K was most ill, she believed that I would be better off if I stopped loving her. Not only was I going through the pain of her illness and trying to hold us together, but she was willfully trying to shove me away for my own protection. It is a sign of how ill she was and how distorted her thoughts were during that period.

Her distorted thoughts also had convinced her that I would be better off if she killed herself, even if I was unable or unwilling to admit that to her. Writing this, I feel fear, pain, grief, and a sense of the world closing-in coursing through my body.

K was wrong! My life wouldn't be better without her. She's the one who keeps me grounded and makes me happy. She's the one, who buys me outrageously expensive chocolates from France, and the company makes Halloween witch calls to let me know the chocolates are en route. She the one, who brings out my playful side and tells me that I'm cute. (Cute isn't traditionally used to describe a 6'2" woman.)

Again, these memories have been wiped from K's mind through the drugs and ECT. There are times when I believe the amnesia is good, but it also means I can't share these thoughts with her. She prefers not know or be reminded of the weeks when she was ill. I understand her desire to forget, but I often feel as if I am alone in working through my own pain and anger.

Throughout the worst periods, from July to December 2003, I did see a psychiatrist for therapy to handle the stress. She was a useful sounding board in the day-to-day challenges with the illness. I never did go on anti-depressants. Around the time it seemed as if they would be necessary, I began to workout regularly and the meds no longer were needed. She kicked me out on New Year's Eve and said that I was fine, but I was welcome to return if I found it necessary.

The therapy sessions didn't necessary help with my anger with bipolar disorder, as at that stage I didn't have enough time to become angry. Today I am angry about how the disease has affected our life and I mourn the pain K and I have both gone through. But it doesn't dominate my emotions. There are times I wish K were willing to go through some of these memories with me, but I understand why she wants to keep the door closed on the memories.

Returning to my original thought for this post, the illness convinced K that she was worthless and I would be happier alone. She had her death planned, but never acted on those plans for fear of hurting me more. The meds have fortunately moved her away from those thoughts and her self-worth is returning. It's my turn to learn how to move away from the memories and pain.


At 10:15 PM, Blogger moodymicello said...

L, I know that anger at "bipolar" and wanting to share it with a partner who prefers to turn his or her back on it and pretend what has happened is in the past and doesn't matter. Old hurts are deep and they don't die easily. Could you possibly see K'S therapist to taok out your anger. Until you work it out I fear it will just fester and continue to bother. At least that is how it was for me.

At 3:54 PM, Blogger synergy said...


Most of the anger is gone. It only surfaces on occasion, when I'm frustrated by the disease and limitations. I've actually talked a little to K about these feelings, since writing the orignal post. Writing about it gave me the chance to think about it and even bring it up. K understands how alone I felt and how I still feel at times.

At 10:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...



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