Bipolar disorder can usher in thoughts of running away. I get it. It is not pretty, and can be irritating to have to deal with the unknown day-to-day changes. Watching one spiral from one extreme to another is exhausting and difficult. Your feelings are valid and we understand your confusion, and the need to walk away. Before you do, and especially if you hope to stay, please keep reading.
Our mind is a battleground, and though you feel like you are in the line of fire, it is not your battle. You are not actually fighting the battle at all. You are not the one injured, and you are not the casualty of war. I understand that you may feel different. You might feel like you are the unarmed enemy, waiting for the next piercing bullet to fly your way. At the end of every war, the heroes come home to their family. It may take some time to adjust to being home, and in that period, relationships are difficult. You, my friend, remain on the outside of the battle, in that period of change.
We are fighting every day for our sanity. While you feel the stings of pain, you do not feel the direct hit, and for that please know we are thankful you do not. If we had one wish, one hope, one desire it would be that you never had to feel hurt and unrest from living with us. We carry this burden, and it drags us down and creates confusion in our mind as well. Many days I have wondered if those I love the most would be better off not having to live with me. Feeling like an inconvenience is not about how you react to us, you cannot change our feelings. We are aware how difficult this journey is for you. While we appreciate your support, we carry guilt for it as well. We have hopes and dreams that one day you will experience us without the chaos and wounds, fresh or unhealed. Ultimately, our hope is that with medications, counseling, and other resources, one day we will live differently that what you see today.
There are times our loved ones remain frustrated, feel unwelcome, unappreciated, and unsure. This is never intentional, and I can assure you we do not even realize we are doing this. Seclusion is a coping mechanism that hurts us, and you, and it is another challenge we must work through. Your valuable support is necessary. On my darkest days, I may not speak to anyone. Please know there is comfort in someone being there when I desire to speak again. I know I can run, but I can never hide from those who love me and refuse to allow me to push them away.
I imagine you cannot keep up. As our mental state appears to jump on some invisible trampoline, you are wondering if we are up, down or about to plunge into one or the other. The cycles of bipolar are exhausting and your worry is justified. You ask questions like, “Is she suicidal today?” or “Is he about to spend his last dime?” “What did I do now?” The unpredictability of bipolar is not easy to cope with. You are amazing in your determination, your compassion, and the care you provide, especially when confusion frustrates you.
Loved ones tend to question their ability to hang on through the struggles of bipolar. It is hard work to remain in a confusing situation, have no control, and still search for ways to be present. You accepted this challenge to love through the chaos of this mental illness. You are a hero. Many days we are trying to stay above the waters, and those same days you do the same for you while helping us. You are a treasure. You are a rare and precious jewel, and we could not do this without you.
Thank you. May you hear these words often, we those of us in need of you always remember to say it.