- 4 years ago
I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for by posting this here. All I know is that whenever I’ve posted anything–happy, sad, what-have-you, I’ve always gotten honest, true and supportive answers.
There’s no easy way to walk into the story, so bear with me if it’s a little rushed or abrupt. I’m still kind of a mess over this.
When Fi and I met, and we started dating, things were amazing. Then, once we started to get serious, he told me that he was Bipolar II, manic depressive, and has a pretty serious history of episodes in his life that include suicide attempts, hospitalizations and having to be out of work for a year and a half because of the high amounts of lithium he was prescribed. At the time, I (19 years old) was the big hearted, full of love and passion, philosophical/literary nut college girl who thought that with enough love, dedication and time, he could learn to embrace who he was, much like I had done with my troubled past (Mine stems more from a family of poverty, abuse and substance use on my fathers part). Things were okay for a while, and then the episodes of Mania (extremely high levels of happiness for long periods of time) ended. When the episodes of Mania are over, for those of you unfamiliar with manic-depressive, it is replaced by long, troubling obstacles of depression.
When I say depressed, I don’t mean that Fi comes home and pulls the whole “woe is me,” life is no fun card. He’s not upset at me, or at anyone, really. He explains it to me like this:
“I get tired. I just get really, really tired. Not of anything big, but of the way life is, day in and day out, and how it always changes, but never really at the same time. It’s a struggle to be here, and I want to be here for you, but sometimes, I hear things that don’t want to let me have that.”
He talks about hallucinations on some medications he’s been prescribed, and sometimes hears things. He says he doesn’t hear other voices. Just his own replaying to him over and over these reasons why he doesn’t belong here. He says he feels broken. All he wants to feel is normal, and he can’t.
Recently, he went off of his medication on the thought that it was the high amounts of lithium making him hallucinate. Work picked up in stress. Wedding stress happened. I tried my best to keep things calm, and while he seemed fine, I should have realized that stress is the one thing that ignites flames in bipolar people.
Last week, on friday, I got a text from him while at work that plans had changed for the weekend, and to meet him at his shop. We had recently won roundtrip tickets with Jet blue, our vacation time is coming up, and Fi is super spontaneous. I, like an idiot, thought this meant he had a special trip planned. I had to swing home first, before meeting him at his store, and came home to the animals hiding under the bed, and blood all over the kitchen floor.
I freaked, called my fiance who didn’t answer, and called the store phone. His assistant manager (and longtime friend) answered the phone and said that he will explain it when I get there.
Billy told me that Paul was inside, and being watched by the owners of the store (husband and wife–also long time friends–Jane, the wife, is my MoH). Billy took me aside and explained that things apparently went south that day for Paul. Paul had told them that one minute, he was having a great day with the dog at the park, and then felt the need to go home, because he suddenly got extremely tired. He said from the minute he pulled up to our apartment, things were a blur. He kind of “awoke” to realize he was sitting on the kitchen floor, and arm cut open.
The cuts were superficial, nothing realllly physically damaging. I was mostly concerned with his mental state. We live in Florida, where Baker Acting is a thing–pretty much, you can be held against your will in a Behavioral Health ward where they will administer ANY treatment they see fit without your consent, if any healthcare professional or law enforcement agent things you are in any danger of possibly hurting yourself or others. Sounds great on paper, except, when people are in a really delicate state, the last thing that’s good for them (sometimes) is being ripped from everything they know with no warning, and being locked in an empty room (only a cot) for a minimum of 72 hours, while being “observed”.
So, being as this has happened to Paul before, he didn’t want to go into the emergency services (it was the weekend), where they have to baker act you. There is no psychiatrist to rule you as a non-threat, so they keep you in the room throughout the weekend until a psychiatrist can see you next week.
Paul told me that if I tried to take him to emergency services, he would do “whatever it took” to not go through that again. He promised me that if I would let him wait until monday, that he would go with me to any facility I wanted, and be honest and open to help, but that he simply wanted to do it on his terms, and not be held against his will. He agreed to me staying by his side 24 hours a day, and not even showering because I didn’t want to leave him alone. He even, endearingly, started calling me “warden” and “Parole Officer”, over the next 24 hours.
Here is where it got really hard for me. The next three days were the happiest I’ve ever seen Paul. He was tired, and slept a lot, but when he was awake, he was more giddy, laughy and silly than I’ve ever seen him. He held me and kissed me in ways that he hasn’t in a long time. He wanted to watch funny movies, play board games, and just go walk around and take in things like the sunset.
Why was that hard for me? First, I was confused. I don’t know what I expected out of someone who just tried to kill themself, but it wasn’t that. Second, the reality hit me that it took him trying to kill himself to feel better than he has over the last year.
Then, on Sunday, 48 hours after he had made the attempt, he also told me in confidence, that he had taken 14 aleve on Friday, right before the knife thing. Working in a pharmacy, I knew this was not good, but I also knew that there was so little I could do now. Aleve (naproxen) will destroy your stomach, little by little, especially in that amount. Also, since he had taken lithium, it will increase the lithium levels in his blood. We called poison control, but they also confirmed that there wasn’t much to do since it had been over 24 hours.
The next morning, I took him to the mental hospital, and asked that he have a psychiatric evaluation. Paul went from being very happy to being extremely scared, to the point he was shaking. It was like watching a little kid during a thunder storm when I saw him answer the doctors about how he was feeling. Then, one doctor attacked me (not physically) and called me “irresponsible” for not bringing him in friday and said I should be ashamed. When Paul told her that he had been off his medication for a while, she scoffed in his face, walked away and muttered under her breath “look at what I have to deal with. Love Mondays. Just love them.” Paul started crying. Like, Weeping. he fell into my lap and I tried to soothe him and calm him down but all he could say is “I have such a mean doctor. I am so scared. They’ll never let me go”. The doctor came back and told me she was Baker acting Paul, and two men grabbed him by his arms, took off his hoodie, and asked me to leave.
They started pulling Paul away, who was screaming, and said “this may be it for a while, so say good bye if you need to” but wouldnt let me touch him or come within five feet of him.
Bee’s, I tried to stay so strong for him. I tried to be rational, and know in my heart that this is what he needs, but I have never, in our years of being together, seen Paul cry. He is a strong man (emotionally strong–not trying to say that men shouldn’t cry or physically strong people shouldnt–just that he has always been an emotional rock). I lost it. Nobody answered any of my questions. They just left me alone in a room to cry by myself, and nobody came in and asked me what how they could help, or offered me any information about what to do next.
The next three days were hard. I had just started a new job three weeks before, and we really weren’t supposed to take time off during our first ninety days. (I had taken off that monday to take him to the hospital after they suggested it when I explained Friday’s events). There are nine of us competeing for the two permemant position at the end of the ninety days so I knew I had to go and perform well, but it was so hard.
Paul is back now, and is back on medications which are hard on his body, but he says they are good for his mind.
I am starting to deal with a lot of my own emotions, and I am trying not to let him on to them, because he needs to focus on getting better, but I don’t know who I can talk to. All of our friends are co-workers, and while they have been supportive, Paul is the manager, and I don’t think they should know all of the privy details.
My mom is “supportive” of me–but thinks that at 21 I am too young to deal with this. My mom had a very rough first two marriages and has now “married for practicality, not love” and doesn’t necessarily believe you should commit yourself to a life of struggle because of love. She has been supportive, but I don’t think she can really relate.
I am just so lost and feel alone. I feel hurt, and selfish, and guilty. I feel like there have been nights over the last week where I feel like I’M about to loose my sanity. There are times where Paul get’s really mad at me–out of nowhere–and calls me mean things (name-calling is something we have NEVER done, even in our worst arguments). Then, two minutes later, he will kiss me on the forehead and say “want anything from the kitchen, baby? I’ll make you grilled cheese!”
He never used to switch back and forth like this before. I feel like I’m losing it. I don’t know what to do.
I’m trying to see a psychiatrist, but in our area, they are hard to get appointments too, especially since I work M-F 9-5. Paul I think can sense I’m having a hard time.
Yesterday, he bought me a journal and a book while I was at work. The book is called “Living with someone who is Bipolar.”
Like I said, I don’t know what I’m looking for. Maybe just some kind words or advice.
thanks for listening, I know that was a long rant, and probably very confusing.