Living with someone with bipolar disorder is a ride. When things are good, they are beyond good. They are sweet and passionate and the attention you receive is almost overwhelming. You feel like the most important thing in the world. You are showered with gifts and thoughtful acts. And somehow these things help you believe that your partner is taking medication, seeing doctors, being honest. Accordingly, when things are bad, they are terrifying. You are left. Your partner is gone in an instant, giving into the ride his brain will take him on. The thrill and the high. The self-indulgence.
The second-to-final episode with my husband was the one of the hardest. He showed up at my school out of the blue. Came into my office. Hugged me crazy tight. Told me that he had a work happy hour, and that he would be home after that. As he left, I knew he was already gone.
I called his phone, but it was went to voice mail. I reached out to the friends he was meeting. They had laid eyes on him for a few minutes, and said that he had disappeared. In that moment, and in previous moments like that, I became desperate. I’d call and call and text and text – always hoping for a response, but knowing in my heart that he would not answer. I would reach out to friends and to his family to see if he would take their calls. I would try to sleep without success, telling myself that this is what husbands did sometimes – they took a night off, they needed a break. I believed my lies.
At about ten that night, I called the police. I told them my husband was sick and missing. At about seven the next morning, they found him wandering around South Boulevard, trying to buy some electronics with cash, and talking about the music in his head. He was safe, but he was not well.
I met them at the hospital, and I again met the hardness that came hand-in-hand with his illness. He was mad that I had stopped him. He was pissed that he was yet again in hospital. He sent me away. He was gone.
I spent the next days managing the blood-letting of the over-spending and searching for his car in parking garages downtown. I spent most moments of my day wondering if I should stay or go. But after two weeks in hospital, he stabilized, he apologized, he wanted to make it work. I agreed. Two years later, his longest period of stable and healthy behavior since this all began, we decided to start a family. And I dared to hope. I decided to risk, to believe in love and life. Six months after our baby boy came to be with us, that love and life was gone.