Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Respond, don't react."

I had mentioned to Lorna, one of the regular readers of this blog, that I am surprised at myself for not reading up on bipolar. Usually, I read everything I can get my hands on. When our chickens get sick, I read everything I can to see if I can help. When the dogs or cats get sick, I also read up on everything I can. And when I had my gallbladder taken out three years ago, I read everything I could, and asked many people about their experiences.

So I was surprised when I realized that I wasn't learning much about my husband's condition. I can analyze from here to there, but the truth is, I really don't understand why that is. But the fact remains: I am relatively ignorant about the specifics about my husband's illness.

I know that part of it is that a lot of the bipolar information out there is geared towards people who have the full-fledged mania, where they think that they will be the next president, so it's fine if they go out and meet lots of women and spend lots of money, etc. I guess I really didn't think there was much information out there for people with the type of bipolar that my DH is suffering from, and it was my assumption (and we all know what happens when we assume) that is to blame, among other things that I have yet to delve into.

Anyhow, Lorna had mentioned a book--"Loving someone with Bipolar Disorder" and, recognizing my lack of concrete knowledge regarding bipolar, I bought a copy. I kind of skimmed through it at first, there are a lot of exercises in there that seem like I might need more time to do them, but there are a LOT of things in the book that seem very obvious, but I hadn't even thought of.

The one thing that is sticking in my mind right now is something the author(s) recommend--"Respond, don't react." And I'm a little embarrassed to say, that up until now (and probably for quite a long time after this, too), I have pretty much only "reacted". I've been running back and forth, trying to put out all of these bipolar fires, and as soon as I get one under control, another one flares up. I can see that it would benefit me HUGELY if I could learn to a) recognize what tends to trigger DH's symptoms and b) accept his illness and c) form a plan to help manage DH's illness so that we can get on with our lives. What an amazing concept!!!

I suspect that for me, for sure, though, it's going to be a lot harder than it sounds. It's been so difficult for me to let go of the "normal DH" and accept that the DH I married might never be that person again. And it's very hard for me to tolerate "That Guy". But they say that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, so this book is my "step" for the week. I'll share what I learn with you all, if I can.


Lorna said...

Glad you like the book and have found it helpful already. I have found the responing and not reacting really works, as well as learning what bipolar talking sounds like to go with it. x x

tammy said...

Listening to how you feel about the change in your husband reminds me of how I felt the first 4 years I struggled to find the right medication. I felt like I would never be the same again. And that is very true I'm not the same, I'm better thank God. I hope things work out better for you too.