Someone who has been following my website for just about since it was born, and is bipolar himself, having faced many a personal trial and challenge, sent me a private message recently that was SO amazing that once I dried my eyes, I asked him for permission to share his message more widely, because I believe that many could benefit from it. He generously consented, and I will leave it up to him as to whether he wishes to identify himself in the comments.
Long time, no see. I've been following developments lately, and did read your blog. There are some things I absolutely need to say. I hope you understand.
I'm sorry for what Alex did... not because it's my fault, but because I know people with bipolar can act better than that. Alex is still responsible for what he does. The mental illness isn't an excuse... it's an obstacle that makes things harder; not impossible.
But I know what you're thinking. And so I'm going to say the second worse thing I've ever said to someone (the first is a story for another time):
Alex doesn't care enough about you to act better.
How he acts is still his choice... even if the voices and imbalance in his head is telling him to do something he shouldn't.
I'm sure he loves you; it's not that. It's just that he needs to care enough to think long and hard before he acts; and he didn't. Hasn't really.
But here's what I'm trying to get at. That's such a shame. A lot of bipolar people could use someone as caring and loving as you in their lives. It's not your fault for not doing enough; or not doing the right things. It's his fault for acting like a shit. His responsibility. And it's his fault that because HE can't control HIMSELF that he's losing the two best things he has in this life.
I'm trying to tell you that you did everything right, everything you can. And you should never question that. Because I know what's going through Alex's head; and I also know that he could stop anytime he really, really wanted to. You can be tempted to push an enter key on a keyboard all your mind likes... but you are the one who has to tell your finger to press it.
I'm bipolar.. My force of will is strong because of people like you who care/d for me. I stop and think before doing anything. The ME inside is in control... not the impulse or the emotional reaction. Because those things hurt people I love. And I don't want to be that kind of person.
Alex isn't going to get better until he decides he wants to. He doesn't have a choice about having faulty wiring, but he does have a choice about accepting the faulty wiring and using the proper electrician to get it fixed. It's just easier not to.
I never want you to think that you're a failure. You're not.
I see everyone telling you that living with mental illness is hell. That makes me sad. I hope that living with me is not like that for the people in my life. The decisions we make matter. The people we choose to be matters. Everyone deserves a chance. You gave more than a chance. Alex made his choices. They were the wrong ones.
That implies that he could have made the right choices. See what I mean?
I have nothing extra to give right now... both my parents are out of work, and I'm trying to help them get by until they can find jobs, or I'd send enough to make you cry. You were always so kind to me, and I wish I could repay that kindness. It made ME a better person. Unfortunately, I'm not your husband, so that effort was kind of wasted, eh?
Chin up. Watch where you're going. No running into stuff. And if there's anything else I can do, just ask.