Sunday, October 14, 2007

Standing up to Bipolar

Today I read a blog post that advised loved ones to Stand Up to Bipolar.

As I read it, it seemed to speak directly to me, as that is one of the things I've found so difficult with this. I want to be a supportive wife. I want to say to myself, DH, and everyone else that "DH is ill, he can't help himself."

But sometimes it seems that when I do that, I'm really giving him permission to make things even tougher than they already are. Even though I know that the resentment that comes my way when I stand up to bipolar is much less troublesome than some of the consequences of not standing up to bipolar, I tend to choose the pain that will probably happen tomorrow over the pain (of standing up to bipolar) that I KNOW will happen today.

One of the greater aspects of this is DH's memory. I couldn't begin to count the things that he SHOULD be doing that he forgets to do without reminders. I don't know how much of that is due to the bipolar, but I know some of it is, he was never this forgetful before. For example, he decided in May that he needed to file bankruptcy. His creditors are threatening to sue him, and it depresses him to think of all the spending he has done (and is still doing). About a month ago, his mother gave him money to pay for the bankruptcy. (I had given him money a month or two before to apply to the bankruptcy, and he spent that.) He contacted an attorney who sent him some papers to fill out. Those papers have not even been opened, and his mother's money has been long since spent. Every time a bill collector calls, DH gets very depressed and down on himself. It's very clear to me that getting the bankruptcy started could only help, both with his mental state and with the bill collectors calling. But I remind him and I remind him and he never "gets around to it". So as far as I see it, I have a couple of options regarding the bankruptcy:

1) I can tell him that he WILL fill out those papers or I will obtain power of attorney or whatever is applicable and I will do it for him. If I take this option, he will no doubt be very resentful.
2) I can pretend like I think he knows what he's doing. So basically we keep going as we are now.
3) I can tell his mother what has happened with the bankruptcy. This is probably the worst idea.

It's pretty clear that option #1 is the most realistic. I have yet to talk to an attorney about protecting my interests as best I can, I keep telling myself "he is getting better" and that is not helping me any. So this is a situation where I need to "stand up to the bipolar" and I'm finding it terribly difficult. Our marriage has always been a partnership. It is so very far out of my comfort zone to take charge and say "WE ARE GOING TO DO THINGS MY WAY, WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT". It pains me to even think about it, because that is not the kind of person I am, and I continually put off acting like that person in hopes that by the time I get around to it, things will be back to normal.

So the "standing up to bipolar" post was more relevant than I would like to think about. But reading it made me feel powerful.