(I know you may not agree!)
I have rapid cycling Bipolar I, and my swings last upwards of two weeks, two and a half weeks, tops. My husband has depression, and he has had it for as long as I’ve known him.
When I was a teenager and first became Bipolar, my swings started out at between four and eight hours.
No kidding. It was devastating and new and I couldn’t handle it.
As I’ve gotten older, the swings have mellowed out and gotten longer, and I have a good set of medications that make a huge difference, enough so that I’m working again.
Here’s the thing though. What I have is a fairly predictable roller coaster ride. Up and down and up and down. What he has is unchanging, unceasing misery.
And I have it so much easier, because I have that magic thing that he doesn’t: hope.
I know, even in my darkest moments of depression, that if I can just hold out three days, tops, I’ll be coming out of the worst of it and swinging up. So when it’s at it’s hardest, I have a time limit and a goal. Just stick it out and it will get better.
He doesn’t have that.
It’s hard for me to understand that sometimes. I have my miserable days and wail and need attention, and then I get better. It’s predictable.
It’s never ending for him. There is no light at the end of the tunnel. And I’ll admit that when we’re both sick we can drag each other down.
We’ve tried medications for him, but they were entirely ineffective plus miserable side effects, and we suspect that most of his depression is directly related to his corn allergy/Celiac’s and his gut issues. How he deals with this daily I don’t know.
He’s amazing. He struggles and he still reaches out to support me. I can’t even articulate how much I love him and appreciate him, and I know I need to show him more.
Are you in a relationship where both of you have mental health struggles? Do you have any advice for ways I can be more supportive? Inquiring minds want to know!