Monday, September 8, 2008

Spousal/Partner Support

As my regular readers know, personally I am neither for nor against medication--for other people. I believe it's a personal decision. While medication doesn't work for me, I can see it does work for others who have different issues--both medical and psychological--than I do.

So, ordinarily I might not post about another blogger's medication withdrawal. However, my friend Gianna from Beyond Meds has been going through a Herculean effort to stop taking medications, and I truly applaud her bravery and endurance.

But her post about this process that has struck me so emotionally was written by her husband Daniel (with a postscript by her) a few days ago. What I love about what Daniel has written is his love and support, which I can relate to because my husband has been as supportive of me.

When I read bipolar blogs, I often wonder whether we let our spouses/partners and those who stand by us know how much we appreciate them.

I have told my husband how much I appreciate him. I have let him know that I never could have gotten well without his unwavering support. I am grateful that his love for me never diminished. And his pride over what I have accomplished has been evident throughout.

But perhaps I have not told him often enough. So...today, I celebrate Bernie, Daniel, KJ, Wes, Maurice, and Carolyn--six spouses/partners whom I know have supported their mates in extraordinary ways. If you want to add your spouse's/partner's name to the list, let me know! Or if you want to share the ways in which your spouse/partner helps you, I welcome your comment!

P.S. In response to Josh's comment, tomorrow I'll write about spouses/partners, friends, and relatives who don't help out. On Wednesday, I'll write about mindfulness meditation and depression.

12 comments:

KJ said...

Wow, thank you so much for the acknowledgement. I appreciate it. Loved the post!

Wellness Writer said...

Dear KJ,
You're welcome! Joe is very lucky to have you and the kids as his support team!

Warmly,

Susan

jipps76 said...

Dear Susan,

I look forward to your article tomorrow on mindfullness mediation.

Regarding ths topic, I'd like to express my feelings, but don't want to throw a wet blanket on other posts like Gianna's. It's crucially important to me, so I'm hoping all of you will tolerate it and hopefully provide some insight.

My wife does not understand depression or bipolar disorder at all. She's done a lot of research, and on a cognitive level, she's aware of many aspects of the condition. However, in day-to-day interaction, her knowledge does not help matters at all. Basically, she feels I should suck it up, fight through whatever I'm feeling that day and lead a normal life.

I'm a conscientious person. I understand that what I go through is very hard on those around me, which is why I have distanced myself from many friendships over the years. I have taken every step possible to make myself as happy and pleasant to be around as possible. Meds have worked well at times, but I've had more success the last 1-2 weeks due to strong will and natural aids...in large part because of the support and advice I've received here.

I phrase I've uttered 10,000 times if I've done so once is "I do what I Can when I Can." It's absolutely true. When I feel well, I am productive, sensitive to others' needs (especially wife and children) and am willing to subordinate myself to the benefit of others. I'm also good at communicating when I need some help and relief. Many times, it's of no consequence. She is still unwilling to help. I am aware I ask a lot of her at times, but I also feel I return the favor as much as possible. In a large sense I feel she has abandonedm e in my greatest time of need and don't know what to do about it.

Airing my feelings is a burden to all of those who read this, I know. Simply scroll down if you don't want to hear a negative story like this. I decided to write for several reasons. First, it's nice to have someone to talk to, so to speak, even if nothing comes of it. However, if I am lucky enough to receive some good advice, the positive impact on my marriage would be immeasureable.

Thanks for lending an ear.

Josh

Gianna said...

Susan,
thank you so much for highlighting my delightful husband.

You know I did not even know what a gem I had until the proverbial *crap* hit the fan. In my darkest hour my husband was unshakable and willing to sacrifice his own well-being.

I did not know how awesome he is because this journey has made me irritable quite often and I sure as heck did not thank him often enough for standing by me. My irritable mood did not even allow me to see how wonderful he is much of the time.

But now I know. I am profoundly humbled by his love for me. My heart flutters when I think of him now, much like when I first met him.

And as the irritability the drugs cause returned when I had to take an emergency dose of meds during my crisis, I was granted the insight, from the crisis, to integrate his great love and now even when irritable I have a new found self control and ability to see that it is my darkness and not his that makes me angry.

thank you so much for writing this.

marja said...

I am grateful for my husband, Wes. He stuck with me through some very tough times, remembering who I really was, even when I became psychotic and so very much not myself.

Wes stuck with me when I spent months is a mental hospital, over-medicated, mouth hanging open, looking very sick. When I was allowed weekend passes he took me for rides in the country. We spent a lot of those weekends together, him not at all ashamed to be seen with me....and this was three years before we got married. He had not made any commitments to me at that time. He was just being a very good friend.

There's so much stigma in this world, so when you have a partner who will stand by you when you truly lose it, like I did, he must be very special. He's a treasure.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Josh,
You bring up another side of the equation. And because I imagine it's fairly common, I'll address it in tomorrow's post, and deal with mindfulness meditation the next day.

Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Gianna,
You're welcome. I would guess that your candor about not appreciating all that Daniel has done--when you've felt very irritable--will resonate with many people.

When we feel bad, it's so easy to blame the people around us for not doing enough--when the fact is that just remaining with us and loving us--is sometimes an extraordinary burden.

I am so glad for you that your new insight is enabling you to realize how much Daniel loves you--and to show it in return.

I'm really happy for both of you!

With love,
Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Marja,
I've added Wes to the list in the body of my post. I'd forgotten about how you met, and how wonderful he's been throughout. Thanks for sharing!

Susan

Bradley said...

In my support groups there are so many who have spouses who do not provide support at all. I'm grateful to have my husband, Maurice, who has held me and been with me all the way. He accepts my bipolar is a disease and treats me that way, rather than acting like I'm just weak.

Thanks for reminding me I need to tell him how much I appreciate him again.

discoverandrecover said...

Susan,

My wife Carolyn and I celebrated our 18th this past summer.

She has been by my side through six major intestinal/colon surgeries - four of them life-threatening....

For many months, following each, I was incapacitated - unable to do much....She was there for me - in the hospital, and when we got back home.

I found out the hard way, that our moods are more connected to our ability to absorb that many will ever realize.....

She stood by me nontheless.
We both married our best friend - and I am forever grateful.

Duane

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Bradley,
I'll add Maurice to my list. I'm so happy for you!

Susan

Wellness Writer said...

Duane,
It sounds like Carolyn has been a true helpmate in every sense of the word. I'll add her to the list. Congrats on your 18th wedding anniversary!

Fondly,
Susan