The poem to the left was written about my husband, as many of my poems are. He is my sanity, my steadying force; an unmovable cedar tree. Bipolar people are ill, yes, and sometimes that illness manifests in social suicide. But we are aware of the people around us, especially when we are having a good day. The people we love: our spouses, partners, children, family and friends are no less precious to us than your loved ones are to you. In fact, bipolar people have a hard time keeping people around, so those few that stick are truly treasured because they are certain to be on the wrong end of our insanity at some point, and they stay anyway. My husband is that sort of person, and today, World Bipolar Day, I would like to draw attention to the people in my life who suffer with me because they love me and refuse to let me suffer alone.
I love this picture of my family to the right. To me, it embodies us. My husband sits in the middle of us, guiding us and keeping us balanced. And, as in this picture, that reality makes me very happy. Because I know that I am usually not balanced. I am unsteady, even at the best of times. I have been a shopaholic, alcoholic, raging, sagging, moping mess in my lifetime (as have many of my bipolar brethren). But my husband stays, safely guides us, tempers me and holds me accountable.
There is no "thank-you" great enough for my husband, my children, my siblings, my parents (my ever patient mother, mother-in-law, step-father and father-in-law), my family and friends who help me, are patient and loving and understanding of an illness that they can't possibly grasp. These firm, steady people should make me happy, and, indeed, they often do.
But more often I'm depressed by it all, brought down by the fact that I cannot deserve their patience and kindness, knowing that my illness means I will take more than I can give, and hating it. So what does a person, who knows she owes that little bit of sanity she enjoys, however short it is, do? Well, this person writes, a lot. I want those I love to understand me, just a little bit. And to know, even when I'm unable to communicate my appreciation and my pain, what I'm feeling. Because I always, always feel, or more appropriately, over feel. See the below instances, if you will:
Wow, thanks for that dose of appreciative depression, Hannah. Truly. That doesn't make me sad, at all, think my wonderful loved ones. Okay, yes. These poems are a bit depressing, but, then, so is my bipolar reality. Or it's off the hook high, and I scribble euphoric poetry, as fast as my hands will move, about how unstoppable and grand life is, how magical and wonderful I am. That's fun, sometimes funny, but maybe not so much to those who worry about me and know it's the flight before the fall.
My husband once voiced his concern that he was not sure who he would come home to, on any given day. This was before I was diagnosed but it's still valid, that fear. And what can I possibly say him, to anyone, except: me either. I can say thank you for trying to understand, for knowing that you'll never know what you're going to get but staying. And for encouraging me to heal with my words, with my profession. I LOVE you sticker-arounders, even when it seems that I am incapable of seeing past my own pain. And if I don't say it, I have certainly written it down somewhere in my poetry or fiction. Feel free to find yourselves there, and to look for me, too, though I'm not sure who will come when you call my name.