Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Life With My New Wife
Nate: I have seen many positive changes in my wife since she started taking medication for bipolar disorder. Everything is not perfect but we are in a better place than where we started. I expect that our relationship will have its up and downs just like every other relationship but our struggles are a little different.
Jane: The last time I saw my psychiatrist he thumbed backwards through my file until he got to the beginning. He told me that I have come a long way from the first day that I stepped into his office. He said that I used to be all over the place. I consider that to be his polite way of saying that I was a hot mess.
Nate: Even though I have not met Jane’s doctor, I agree with him. I am glad that we are on the same page. He prefers a one-on-one approach when it comes to treatment. She usually gives me an update after each appointment. When she told me about what he said, it made me laugh. I know exactly what he means.
Jane: At every visit my psychiatrist asks me specific questions. At some point in the conversation he will ask me how Nathan feels about my progress. He uses the information to gauge whether or not my medication is at the right level. There have been many medication adjustments.
Nate: With each change, some parts of her behavior improve but sometimes she has setbacks and the dosage and type of medication has to be adjusted. I expect that it will take a few more times in order to get the right mix. As her condition progresses and her body gets used to each stage of medication, her dosages will go up or stronger medication will be used. It has been a journey of trial and error.
Jane: I try my best to follow my doctor’s orders. My treatment seems to be coming along smoothly. Although I have improved, in my opinion, I am still a hot mess. From the outside it may appear that my behavior has improved, but inside I still feel like I am discombobulated.
Nate: On a tangent...since we started our blog we have had a competition to see who could use the word "discombobulated" first. We are very competitive. Jane won this time. We need to think of a new word.
Jane: I think that he let me win. Either that or he forgot. Back to our original subject...
Nate: There have been many changes in our relationship. Some days are better than others. We recognize the progress that we have made and are able reflect on different parts of our lives. While we understand that there is still room for improvement, we tackle each challenge one day at a time.
Jane: One thing that remains constant is that I take my medication consistently. Since I take my pills at night it is not uncommon for me to forget and go to sleep. More than once, I have pulled all-nighters studying for college and I have forgotten to take my meds even though Nate has set them out for me on the nightstand with a glass of water. Now he makes sure that I take my medication everyday by preparing it and watching me take them.
Nate: Each night we joke about it. She tells me that it is time for her crazy meds. When she looks at the pills in her hand, she often says, “I wish I did not have to take these.” Even though she would rather not be medicated, she understands the importance of taking them. Sometimes I feel as if I am her drug dealer.
Jane: Even though I got my diagnosis of bipolar disorder over a year ago, I just started seeing a psychologist. He asked me why I decided to start therapy. I told him that I needed help adjusting to becoming "normal". Truthfully, I do not know what "normal" means or whether or not I like it.
Nate: She has come a long way since she started taking medication. For a while I have been suggesting that she start therapy. A psychologist would help her make sense of the changes in her life. Medication alone can only take you so far.
Jane: Medication has changed me. I have told my doctor that I have become serious and boring. Many times I have asked my husband about the differences in my personality, mood, and behavior. I often wonder whether he likes the new me. I am afraid that he will not want me anymore because I am no longer the person that he married.
Nate: After her diagnosis of bipolar disorder, I expected that there would be changes in her behavior. When she started taking medication I accepted that our lives would be different. I tell her that she is the same person she has always been, just without the extreme mood swings. I am here for her and do not want anyone else in my life.
Jane: Even though he tells me that, I am still looking for reassurance. I feel insecure about how my behavior will change our marriage. I fear that he would end up falling in love with someone else that is more like the woman I used to be. He responds by taking hold of both of my hands, looking into my eyes, saying that he will love me no matter what, and kissing me on the forehead.
Nate: I understand that she feels vulnerable. Even though we have gone through this ritual over and over again I do not mind reminding her that I will always love her.
Jane: The other day I told him that if he did find someone else who was more like the old me, she would probably have undiagnosed or untreated bipolar disorder.
Nate: If that happened, I would end up back to where I started. Been there, done that. No thank you!
Jane: We laugh at the irony.