Looking back, I knew on my wedding day that I had made a mistake. I knew when we he put his arm around my shoulders and he was so proud to touch me as his wife. I knew when I was the one who drove us to the hotel after the wedding. I knew when he held my hand on the way and told me he knew we had talked about waiting but that he didn’t want to wait and could tonight please be the night? I can’t explain what it was about those moments, except for the physical gut feeling that something was off. And from then on I shut down what I was feeling and kept pushing forward, because nothing was wrong, and this had to work. There was no other direction, no other path to choose.
Every fight would break me down, and the yelling was something that I was not proud of. I felt so irrational with every fight, I didn’t understand why I was so upset, and the bigger question of why I was so unhappy. I punished myself since I was so angry all the time, and took it upon myself to try harder, that it was my fault. Something was wrong, and it must be me. I worked so hard to be the best I could be, I made every meal, I took care of his every need, and I never felt that I was getting what I needed, but I didn’t know what I needed. I researched every marriage book trying to find the perfect recipe to my exact situation, what was it that I was missing?
The irrationality continued, and blindly followed my guilty feelings. I carefully made every meal to his specifications, and watched as he casually ate chulent at friends houses that I knew he would not eat at home. I wondered at what he did at night behind a closed door that even I was not allowed to open. I watched his odd interactions with my family, and his blank stares into nothing. I watched his volatile relationship with his parents. I felt blank and empty, that there was nothing that would budge me because everything just passed through me.
The first time that year I had a panic attack I thought I was dying, and every time since then the irrational part of my brain gets energy and still thinks it’s dying and screams at me to stop dying, but there is nothing I can ever do. It was so dramatic, looking back it was something out of a soap opera. I didn’t know what was happening to me, and my husband was at a loss of what to do with me. I went to doctors to make sure my heart was pumping the right way, I tossed it up to a fluke. Except the next month it came again. And then again, again and again. It was begging for attention, to pay attention to what I was going through. How I have always operated my whole life was to always be OK, no matter what was going on. And I had finally gone too far, since in this situation there was no more being OK. I could no longer ignore myself.
I came home three days after our terrible anniversary to a husband who had not gone to work. He was besides himself upset, and all he could speak of was the people out to get him. I yelled at him, that he wasn’t making sense. He spoke of a war, and that spiritual forces were out to get him. He spoke of hearing these voices. I still didn’t get it. That’s how delusional I was. Half an hour of pointless shouting passed. Then he showed me the nails in the wall, that he had hammered there to save us. Then I knew. A wall opened in me and I saw something that I would never be able to unsee. My husband was crazy, and at the moment very unstable. I was so lost, that it took an extreme moment to push me out of my reverie. Things were not OK and would no longer be just OK.
The next 24 hours were rushed. I fled the apartment, and returned with my parents to take him to a doctor. He told the doctor that this had happened before. I was shocked, but I stayed strong. Things were crazy but things were starting to feel manageable. I would take care of him, that was my duty, I would see him through this. Even when he told the doctor in my presence that this had happened before, I just assumed I was the first person close to him to get him help. Then the phone call that I dreaded couldn’t be avoided anymore had to be made, the phone call to his parents. At the end of the rather peaceful five minutes, he said to me “Of course they know.” How dare you? Of course they know? What about me, your wife? Your whole family knows? But even that I tried to swallow, and just tried to get through it.
The next morning I reached over to wake him up, and he yelled at me in his sleep. Instinct took over and I fled again. There was nothing that could make me stay and weather through things anymore. I was scared. I was not going back. I cried to my mother, please I don’t want to be with him anymore. And it should have been as simple as that. Even though I never returned to our apartment, it took six months of couples counseling and therapy to convince myself that it was ok to leave someone who hadn’t told me that he had bi-polar, and who I didn’t trust, let alone love.
I feel that it is important for my story to get out there, because I know from my own research that I did during a time of crisis that there are not many people out there who are talking. So here I am. To tell you to listen to your instinct. It will be the hardest thing you ever do. But your voice is truth. And it is power. Whatever that truth may be for you, it will do more harm than good to ignore it. I promise you.