Tag Archive | bipolar disorder and relationships

To my future husband, about a secret longing

By the time you read this knowing it’s for you, you already have my heart, along with the promise that it is yours to keep for the rest of our lives. Now there’s something I need to tell you, a seldom-spoken truth about the heart I gave that hopefully won’t change your mind.

I need you to pursue me.

There. Writing it, I sort of cringe in front of my computer. I try to find words that are less needy, less emotional, less vulnerable. It sounds so…unfeminist. But as much as I believe in a woman’s worth apart from a man’s opinion, there it is, the bare, unvarnished truth of my heart: I need you not just to love me, but to long for me.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not merely being longed for that I crave. There have been other pursuits in the past, other promises that I haven’t accepted because I was waiting for you to show up. But when you came…I stopped running. It’s  kind of ironic that the man I cannot turn away from is the one whose pursuit I most desire.

May I tell you something else? Sometimes, I don’t really believe I deserve it. On the darkest days, I wonder if you can ever look at me and see someone you would seek to the ends of the earth, someone worth fighting for, someone captivating and absolutely irreplaceable. And I’m very much afraid that if the answer is no,  or a devastatingly careless shrug, my love for you and my self-doubt would conspire to make me accept it. I would make excuses on your behalf, clinging to the assurance you gave while you were still trying to win me, convincing myself that it’s enough. I would dismiss my need as overly romantic and unreasonable, all the while quietly wondering if you’re only staying because I ask so little of you. And day by day, my heart would gradually shrink, drying up and shriveling on the part that your yearning used to fill.

So please. When we are spending our lives together, never stop wanting me.

Miss me when I’m gone. Really miss me.

Listen when I talk, even if it doesn’t seem important to you, even when it’s hard to understand. That’s how I’ll know you’re still discovering me, that you’re still interested, and not indifferent.

Don’t let me be the only one who asks for quality time. Your time, those moments when we can just delight in each other, is the “I love you” I most understand.

Kiss me like you mean it. Let’s promise never to let ourselves get out of practice.

I want our bed to eventually sag in the middle, because that’s where we always end up, instinctively drawing close even in our sleep. There’s nothing sadder in a marriage, I think, than a bed where the occupants never cross the boundary between his side and hers.

Whatever you do, just tell me. Tell me in a way that feels more than just a habit. Tell me with your voice and your eyes and your hands.  Tell me with the way you seek my gaze across a crowd. Tell me with the way you touch me when we wake up. Tell me you want me, desire me, that you would choose me again if we both lived twice.

Because there’s one last thing I want to confess, my darling: that’s exactly how I feel about you. You see, I’ve been longing for you all my life. Even before we met, even when my faith wavered that you would come, I’ve been longing for you. And the truth is, love, I simply don’t know how to stop.

*****

Just like last weekInspiration Monday has again given me exactly the push I needed to get out what I wanted to write. This week, the prompts I heeded were “you only live twice” and “single but taken”.  Thanks, InMon!

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Day 13 — Someone you wish could forgive you

With some people solitariness is an escape not from others but from themselves. ~ Eric Hoffer

To everyone who expected more from me,

I’ve let you down. There is no way to deny it, no way to make it seem less of a disappointment. The thing is, when I am at my best, I seem to be someone strong and intensely alive — someone  who can fulfill all expectations with a smile. But I am weaker than  you can possibly guess, and sooner or later it overwhelms me and leaves you confused, bewildered, and disillusioned. I know this, know that it will happen. And so, even on the good days, when all is well and I can feel you beginning to trust me, I live with the painful awareness that it will end soon enough. And it does.

The heartbreaking thing is that I can’t promise it will never happen again. I desperately want to be someone who never lets you down, someone you can always, always count on. But I can’t. There’s something in me, something that has nothing to do with you, that keeps me from always being there. It sets me apart, until, inevitably, I find myself completely alone. And if this hurts you, if you see this as a form of rejection, then you must know that there is no one it wounds more deeply than me, and that the only one being rejected is myself.

Every day, I live with the guilt of failing you, of not being who you expect me to be, who I deeply long to be. You have to believe this, if you believe nothing else: I do not mean to be this way. I ache to be the person you think I am more than you can understand.

I do not know if you can still forgive me this time. But if you can, maybe it will get me closer to forgiving myself.

I am so sorry.

Love,

Your absent friend


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Day 10 — Someone you don’t talk to as much as you’d like

Where are you, little sister? Why won’t you write to me? I am so worried.

~ from one of your emails

Dearest sister of my heart,

I miss you. I miss you because I can tell that you’re happy but I don’t know why. I miss you because there is so much that hasn’t been said. But most of all, I miss you because I know that I wouldn’t be missing you if I hadn’t been the one who drifted away.

Story of my life, it seems. So many connections broken, even those that are cherished. Especially those that are cherished. Why? I am still struggling to understand. Maybe because, in the damaged, wounded part of me, I have always been terrified that I would be found unworthy. And my fear has a voice that is sometimes louder than my faith — it tells me that sooner or later, you will realize that I am not who you think I am…and I will lose you. The agony of waiting for it to happen is so terrible that I feel like I have to start the process myself, to get it over with. Maybe then it won’t hurt as much. I am always wrong, but I do it anyway. It has become a defense,  a shield, for every time the darkness comes around. A false protection that harms more than it shelters.

If there is one thing I wish I could change about this disease, it is that I am not the only one it hurts. You are a victim, too, because you love me. And you do love me. You love me so much that you allowed me to push you away, allowed me to wound you without putting up your own defenses. The stubbornness of your faith in me made you set me loose without ever  completely cutting me free. And because love is always stronger than fear, the cord that binds us is still tightly held in your hands, unbroken. I should have tugged on that cord long ago, for it has always been my lifeline.

I’m tugging on it now. Please, may I return to my place beside you? I should never have moved away. Forgive me?

I love you, I do, even when it doesn’t show. I hope I haven’t lost you yet.

Your little sister,

Arwen


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Day 9 — Someone you wish you could meet

How will it feel, I wonder, to smile for you? ~ from After Sunrise


To the one searching for me,

Are you good at storming walls? I am surrounded by them, and they are tall and resilient. They are not to be breached by passive men, men whose hearts are uncertain, those who always take the easier way. Only a man familiar with risk and unafraid of failure stands a chance.  Are you such a man?

There have been those who tried, even some who got in. But they proved to be thieves, and took too much that I could not afford to lose. Because of them, the defenses are stronger now, and more subtle. There is too much at stake, too much that is fragile, to make any more mistakes. And yet…and yet, I still long to be found.

No, I am not a stereotypical damsel in need of salvation — do not bother putting that armor on. These walls are built with more than just stone or cement. You cannot see them, for I am good at pretending I am free, that there are no obstacles between us. It is one of my best defenses, and if you believe it, then you will never get in. And oh, how I ache for you to get in. I need you more than I dare let you know.

I need you to show me that I am worth fighting for. That even behind these walls, I am seen, and desired, and chosen. Chosen despite the dichotomy that pervades me and makes me both eager and afraid to let you in.

And you need me, too. I have all this tenderness waiting inside me, waiting to be lavished on someone who’ll know what it’s worth, who’ll know what chains had to be broken to open even one door. I may have hurt you in trying to keep you out, but set me free, and I can heal you as well. You can rest in my arms, and I will give you everything that I have been saving for this moment, when I can put my guard down and simply trust. I will love you as I have longed to love you since you looked at me and saw the hope behind the fear.

My only question is this: Are you good at storming walls?

Waiting,

The one for you


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Day 1 — Your Best Friend

“It’s sad when someone you know becomes someone you knew.”

Dearest Best friend,

I cannot remember the last time we talked. I mean really talked, not just have a polite exchange of pleasantries between two people who used to know each other.

I do remember, though, that first day in high school when we  sneaked off to spend hours under the siresas tree and went home with berry juice all over our faces. I remember whispering about crushes and spelling their names out in sign language. (There was even a time when we thought we’d become sisters-in-law! Haha. ;)) I remember buying matching t-shirts so that we’d look like each other as much as possible.

But we weren’t alike at all, were we? In fact, we were a study in contrast. You were glamorous and chic, with a confidence that helped you wrap boys around your little finger. I didn’t know the first thing about fashion (you had to teach me), and I much preferred being friends with boys than flirting with them. You were the girl whose style everyone copied, I was the one who helped them with their homework. But we were both stubborn. So stubborn that our fights could last for months, but also so stubborn that our friendship could survive those fights. We would always make up in time to be there for each other.

Except when it counted. When we needed each other the most, that’s when we drifted apart.

A lot of it was my fault, I know. While you were dealing with your problems, I was struggling with depression. I hadn’t been diagnosed with bipolar disorder yet, which made it more confusing. I should’ve reached out to you then; we could’ve shared whatever strength we had. But I didn’t. Looking back, my history is full of these broken connections. I push people away — the ones that matter most — when I need them too much. When it’s too important to risk being rejected.

Even now, I don’t know if you’ve heard about my diagnosis. It was so far removed from everyone’s expectations of me that I kept it as private as possible during those first few months. But now, I hope you know. I hope you know, and I hope you understand.

Do you have any idea how much I wish I still had you in my life? I regret every step that took us farther away from each other.

I miss you, Best. No one has ever taken your place in my heart.

With all my love,

Abigail


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There’s something you need to know before you love someone with bipolar disorder

There are walls around me, walls that keep you out, and I am afraid that you might breach them. But I am also afraid that you wouldn’t even try. To me, you are invader and rescuer at the same time — a dichotomy as confusing as almost everything else in my life. Can you accept this ambivalence inside me, though it is completely alien to you? Can you accept that nothing that involves me is black-and-white, only shades of gray that shift from dark to light with the seasons? Can you watch me give an incredibly convincing performance of happiness and yet believe me when I tell you that I am shattered inside?

I understand that this is too much to ask of anyone, and so I do not. All I ask is that if your answer is no, then leave my walls alone. They are my prison but also my protection, not a challenge for you to overcome. There is more at stake here than you can understand. But if your answer is yes, then you must know now that sooner or later, I am going to hurt you. I do not want to, I do not mean to, but it will happen. The walls are not breached so easily. Forgive me for this, and know that every hurt I cause is a lash against my own heart. And please, if you can, keep trying. Believe it or not, I ache for you to get in.

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Ache

Maybe I was naïve. All of us wear costumes. Who was I to think I could be different, that I, among billions, could be one of the few who are truly free?

And yet. The longing. The unrelenting, immeasurable hunger to be known. To be seen. And being known, being seen, to at last – dare I say it? – be chosen.

How utterly, pitifully ridiculous. And how deeply, dangerously irresistible.

If I could just resign myself to the pretension. Smile and the world smiles with you. Cry and you cry alone. There’s a reason that’s a cliché. Shine, dammit. Nobody wants your shadows.

But I have them. Secret shadows, hiding in the pockets of my brightly colored clothes. And they are as much a part of me as the laughter and the vitality that are deserving of love. A hidden, protected, wounded part. Frightened and undeserving, but needy of love.

I have risked those shadows. Tried to expose them and  hoped someone could bear the sight. Desperately trusted that I, the whole me, could at last be truly not alone.

And yet I still am. Alone and unseen, in plain sight. Beside you.

Maybe I was naïve.

And yet – the longing.

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