Sunday, October 31, 2010

Last word

Ok, well, I just somehow feel like I need to explain/defend my thoughts on DH and suicide still/again, as I don't feel like I've explained my point of view correctly.

I don't think I'm being manipulated or threatened with an "If you leave me, I'll kill myself".  I believe strongly that if I asked DH if he would harm himself if I left him, he would deny it vehemently.  However, I strongly suspect that is not the case.

To better explain this, I'll use a different-but-parallel situation.  My mom is in a nursing home.  My brother only visits every few months.  I visit her every single day.  Without fail.  Even if the visit is only 20 minutes, I'm there every day.  I tell her about my day, ask her about hers, tell her I love her.  Make sure she has everything she needs.  (For those of you who know my mom has Alzheimer's, she does still know who I am).  She is happier than I ever thought she would be there at the nursing home.  But she is very proud of the fact that I visit every day and she waits for my visit.  And....I am sure that if I died or stopped visiting, she would lose her will to live and pass on much sooner.  She is not manipulating me or threatening me, and I'm not even sure she knows this.  But I feel it is true.  And that is how I feel about DH and the likelihood that he would harm himself if I left.  Not that I'm that wonderful, but to both DH and my mom, I am a very important person, a person who takes care of them, helps them, hugs them.  It is my opinion that MANY PEOPLE, if they only have one person in the world who is really that kind of support, would see no point in going on if that support person were to be gone forever for whatever reason.  The difference between my DH and my mom is that DH has the means and ability to end his life, where my mom's only recourse would be to curl up and die.  In my mind it's not manipulation at all.

And I also wanted to say that the possibility that DH might kill himself is not the only reason that I stay, not by far.  But it does merit my consideration, for sure.  And my thoughts on that might change if I were to lose so much of my love for him that I was only staying for that one reason.  But I'm not.  I love him and unless "That Guy" moves in to stay, I won't be leaving any time soon.

And now back to our regularly scheduled blog.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Small clarification

I just wanted to clarify that DH has never ever threatened to kill himself if I left.  Not once.  But because of how depressed he can get, and how he acts when the bipolar is at its worst, I suspect that if I left, he would see no other alternative.  Not because he is necessarily wanting to blackmail me, but more of a case of "There's nothing left....why bother?"  If I ask him about this directly, he will always deny it.  But I know.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Why I don't leave my bipolar husband

Well, it's been a thought process to come up with this post, and I have a lot of thoughts on the matter.  My feelings tend to vacillate on a spectrum from "This is stupid, why the hell shouldn't I leave" to "I love him so much and can't imagine life without him".  Most of the time it's somewhere in between, for any of these reasons at any given time.

First and foremost, I did vow to stay married "in sickness and in health".  I take that seriously.  If my DH had brain cancer and it caused him to act like he does now, would people be telling me to leave?  Probably not.  It would be easier for a lot of people to understand--cancer--nobody does THAT on purpose, right?  At my full time job that I was laid off from in January, I worked with a woman who was 55 and whose husband had had a stroke.  Physically, he was able to recover nearly fully, but his personality was forever changed from a laid-back, easy going guy to an angry, easily frustrated, impulsive man.  There were many times she questioned what the "right" thing to do was, but it always came down to "he didn't ask for this to happen" and "If I was in those shoes, I would hope that he would stay with me, too."  And there is DH.  He didn't ask for this.  Which is why when he tries to do things right, even if he messes up, or if what he tries isn't effective, as long as he's trying, I'm seeing that he doesn't want to be like this either.

A lot of the things I'll be listing below do not apply to "That Guy", just DH.

Now, the specific things that he does that keep me in the marriage.....well....

He is very kind-hearted to the animals.  There are not a lot of people who would willingly live with this many animals.  Now those of you who've been reading my blog for a while know that "That Guy" can get angry with the animals.  If you're not familiar with my position on "That Guy", I'll give you a little here, but please read back in the blog to try to ascertain a better understanding--"That Guy" is NOT DH.  I know some of you will argue.  But as I've said before, they are two very distinct personalities.  DH is usually easy going and tolerant.  "That Guy" gets angry over things that DH has been ok with for years.  When "That Guy" goes away, DH might say something like "I know I said that, but what was the big deal?"  Or "I have no idea what I was so angry about".  Which makes it relatively easy for me to divvy him up into "two" personas. 

Anyhow, DH loves the animals as much as I do, and sometimes more.  A man like that is hard to find.

We share the same values.  That's important.  Once again, I can hear some of you saying "What do you mean?  You work all the time and DH is lazy."  I'm talking about the big things--like what's important in the big picture.  Family (including animals).  Spiritual matters.  Doing the right thing as much as you can.  Helping someone who needs help (including animals).

He (and I) have an unspoken agreement and have never needed to talk about it but....we fight fair.  When we disagree, we don't bring up the past.  We don't do name-calling.  We don't "hit below the belt" and take jabs at the other person's weak spots.  That's not to say we don't disagree, but when we do, we stay within the bounds of respect.

DH is very tolerant and accepting.  He never criticizes me.  The only time he questions my actions is when I do something that doesn't make sense to him.  That kind of acceptance is something that I have never seen/known before.  I wish I could be as good at this as him, but unfortunately, I get angry and critical a lot of the time.  I try to follow his example as much as my personality allows, though, and I have learned a lot from observing how nonjudgmental he is.

He's funny.  He knows how to make me laugh and has a sense of when I really need a smile.

This is kind of selfish, but another reason I stay....and by far not the most important one....I can't afford to leave.  A lot of times, when "That Guy" is around, I want a divorce RIGHT NOW.  But....it's hard to find a place to live when you've got a bazillion animals, a boatload of debt, and have been at your new job for less than two months.....

DH trusts me.  When we first married, he would NEVER let me even think that he could/would cry.  He would tell me all the time that "men don't cry" and no matter what I told him, he didn't vary from that.  Now, he is no longer afraid to have me see  him cry.  He doesn't cry too much, but when he does, he's ok with letting me in.  Now here's something I'm not sure I can explain properly.....but despite all the deception that bipolar has brought to our marriage, I trust DH to keep my secrets.  I trust him to tell me if my clothes don't look right.  I trust him to know how much I weigh and not make any comments like "boy, wasn't it just last week you were 10 pounds lighter?"  LOL

He brags about me ALL the time, to everyone he knows.  He is so proud of me.  And when he's DH, he's the most supportive person I could imagine.  He hates to see me cry (although I know that and probably could use that as a "weapon", please see the 'fighting fair" part) and would do anything to get me to stop crying.

He loves my mom.  I don't know a lot of men (maybe I just know the wrong ones but...) who would accept their mother in law's dementia and try to help care for her when he's needed, even to the tone of helping her in the bathroom (when she was really out of it in her apartment and had to have someone with her 24/7, when she couldn't remember the steps involved in bathroom stuff (she still can't) DH did not complain, he did not make snide comments, he just accepted and helped).  He always asks how my mom is doing, and tells her that he loves her.  My mom loves him, too.  Sometimes she remembers his name but not my brother's.  Sad, huh?

Also, if I were to leave DH, he's never said it or alluded to it, but I do believe that he would kill himself.  He has told me many times that I am the only reason he "takes care of himself" as good as he does (and I know it's not too good!).  He has told me, especially in the depths of his depression(s), that he doesn't care about himself at all.  I'm very afraid that if I left he would kill himself and I love him too much to chance that.

I don't want to start over.  I've spent a lot of time with this man, and things have been a LOT worse than they are now.  I complain a lot, I know I do.  A lot of it is due to my inability to (deep-down inside me) accept the fact that the bipolar is going to be there forever, and we are not going to wake up one day and have things go back to "normal".  I get very frustrated when he starts to be more like he used to be, and then he backslides.  I don't know how long it'll take me to somehow recognize that there are ups and downs with this illness (in more ways than one!) and I just have to hang around for a while and things'll change.  I probably won't stop complaining.  I would rather complain to you in a rather anonymous way than complain to my coworkers or other people who know him.  The last thing I want to do is damage his reputation.  "That Guy" has already done that to some extent but I don't want people to think less of him because of his mental illness.

I love my DH very much.  I honestly can't imagine life without him.  There are a lot of changes I can imagine, like moving to a place where it's easier for me to manage on my own (so I don't get so frustrated) and having less animals (you do know that nobody wakes up one morning and says "Yes!  I want to live with fifteen cats and four dogs!") and having one job only and still being able to pay the bills.....and easier to help DH do the things he needs to do to stay healthy.

I could probably write more on this, but right now I'm going to stop.  My marriage to DH is not a "dream" marriage, for sure.  But I honestly do not know many people with a "dream" marriage.  (Ms. Kizzle, you may be one of the few!) My marriage is a good one (for the most part, when "That Guy" is not around too much), and when I look at the marriages of other women I know, really, if I can put aside the bipolar, I've really got it pretty good.  And my brother.  He's got a "dream" job and a "dream" house.   He's got a beautiful wife and two kids.  But all he wants to do is go to bars and strip clubs.  And he told DH that he knows that his wife cheats on him, so why can't he cheat on her, too?  (DH was flabbergasted).  My brother's wife gets irritated when he spends too much time with my mom.  She gets irritated over a lot of things that I see as stupid (like "there's a rabbit in the yard!  What are we going to do????")  I don't want a marriage like that, where they pretend like things are so good, but they're not.....I want (and have) something that (to use a very over-used term) "is what it is".  Warts and all.  Things are better now than they were a year ago.  Hopefully things will be even better next year. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The post you've been waiting for (Nope,it's not here yet)

I’ve been thinking about Anonymous’s not-so-subtle hint (in the comments section of the previous post) that I have been procrastinating my promised post "Why I stay with my bipolar husband", and she’s right. I think about it all the time, but it’s been tougher to put it into words, especially during the "down" times like what we’re apparently going through right now (for about the twentieth time or so). I really think there could be two completely different posts, each one depending on how things are going at the time.

Right now, when I’m very angry at the bipolar and at the situation, I find myself (even without writing it down) fantasizing about just throwing up my hands and saying "That’s it. I can’t do it any more, and it gets harder every day." I come home from work on his day off and I’m instantly crabby because the ONE CHORE that I asked him to do did not even get started. And the fact that he still needs to make that lab appointment, that makes me feel like "he’s not trying, so why am I wasting my time?"

But then, when "That Guy" isn’t around at all, and it’s DH, and he listens to me, supports me, and tries his best to help, I know I can do it—especially if I can get my finances to a point where I would only need one job—I can do it—take care of the stuff that needs taking care of, and still have a better marriage than many people—because that’s really what we have, when things are going smoothly—we have a good marriage with huge obstacles to overcome.

I wish that DH would just stay in one mode or the other—either be "That Guy" all the time, or DH all the time, then it would be a simple thing to figure out.

The tough post (the "Why I stay" post) will be coming over the weekend, I think—it’s harder than I’d like to admit.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Bipolar is always there. Sometimes more than usual.

DH has been sliding back somewhat, mental health wise.  I think it has to do with me starting the new job and not being around so much, maybe?  That's all I can think of, anyhow....he's been "forgetting" to take his pills more often (so I end up being the pill nagger), and he's been starting to spend a lot of time in the bedroom watching Frasier reruns again.  For hours on end, when he's not working.  At least he hasn't been fired yet....that money is going to be very important this winter, since my new job does not pay as much as my old full time job did.

DH is supposed to have gotten his lithium and depakote levels measured at the clinic way back in July.  I remind him to do that EVERY SINGLE DAY and he tells me he'll schedule it and then he doesn't.  One day I scheduled the appointment for him, and he "couldn't get up" to go.  It's getting really frustrating, because it's possible that the lab appointment could pinpoint why he's been struggling.

Right now, being married to a bipolar husband is like swimming with a 10-pound weight around my ankle--I can do it, and I can get where I want to go, but everything is a lot harder than it should be, and nothing is done as "prettily" as it would be--like garbage.  DH, when I'm not home (and he's not healthy mentally), is apparently, as of late, incapable of dealing with garbage.  When the garbage in the kitchen gets full, instead of emptying it into the garbage can that the garbage hauler picks up, DH just throws the bag onto the deck.  I HATE this, because to me, the deck is a part of our living space, and I wouldn't throw garbage into the living room just because I was being lazy....but anyhow....when I see garbage on the deck, I stubbornly refuse to put it in the right spot, because it's not that hard, and he is making things harder for me if I go along with that.  Ok, at this point, he's making things harder anyhow...sigh....anyhow, it can take DAYS of nagging for me to be able to get him to put the garbage in the right place (remove it from the deck and put it in the can).  And he's back to his old habit of just throwing his pop cans wherever they happen to land, too.   I can't help but fantasize about how much less cleaning stress there would be if it was just me living there.  How many more things would get finished when they got started.....one of the hard things is, though, that he has the skills and knowledge to do a lot of the fixit stuff around the house and I don't.  So I depend on him to do the fixit stuff, and usually he starts something, and then doesn't finish it until I start looking for someone to pay to get it done.

There is so much around our house that should be getting done.  I am only one person and it seems like if I can work 60 hours a week and still manage to clean the litter boxes, clean up after Sarah, take care of the chickens and geese and also do laundry, that maybe he could do something too, besides watching tv.  Yes, that does sound resentful, doesn't it?

I do know, as I've said before, that he doesn't do this on purpose.  But I also feel, when he doesn't even TRY to help himself (i.e. by going to his lab appointment etc) that it is not a joint effort.  If he was trying to help himself but still having troubles, I would be a lot less frustrated because I would know that he's trying.  But he's not.  And I'm ready to scream.  I suspect things'll get better, but right now I'm really feeling dragged down.

I know I need to readjust my expectations, like I have in the past, and not expect anything at all from him, then be pleasantly surprised if he does something.  But it's not even just a matter of him not doing things, it's a matter of him making things worse than the need to be, and that is what is frustrating me the most today.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Doggy Diapers--not designed for diabetes insipidus!

Well, I've now got two different kinds of diapers for "incontinent" dogs.  The biggest problem I'm seeing is that the diapers on the market are designed for dogs who might "leak" a little, or have one "regular sized" accident maybe once or twice a day.  Unfortunately, the problem with Sarah is that she is now having five or six HUGE accidents a day.  And the diapers get so soaked that they get heavy and fall right off.  And of course the "wipedown" in between changes isn't fun, either.  But I haven't found the "perfect" solution, for sure.

One possibility is that I try to use "human" diapers, which may be (?) designed to hold more urine(?).  But they also aren't designed to fit a dog well.....I think maybe I'll try putting a heavy-duty human incontinence pad inside the diaper and see if that works.

Another problem I'm finding (and some of you won't be surprised) is that DH keeps finding excuses not to use the diapers, so then we are right where we started.  "I didn't put one on her because I knew that you were going to let her out when you got home".  "I didn't put one on her because they fall off."  ARGH.  But you can bet that "That Guy" will be the angry one when the house smells bad again, and he won't see the relationship.  I've got to get this all to work.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Opossum Facts

I was at the nursing home, telling my mom about the opossum, and she asked me some questions that I couldn't answer--like..."What are they good for?" so I decided to look up opossums.  What I found made me even more happy that I had no means of killing the one I "met".  Apparently they aren't as "mean" as they look.  Anyhow, this link and others caused me to look at opossums in a whole new light.  I'll still try to keep my chickens away from them, but they (opossums) really sound like amazing animals and not the big-time predator(s) that I thought they were. 

Opossum Facts

When I did a search as to specifically whether opossums do, in fact, eat chickens, the facts were unclear.  I found many sites that said that they do, and many sites that said that they don't.  So the jury is still out on that one--I'll try to err on the side of caution and assume they do, but also consider the possibility that they might just be looking for eggs, etc...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Visitor in the chicken house.

Sunday morning, in the chicken house, I found a dead chicken.  She was an old hen, though, so I figured it was natural causes--I couldn't really tell, though.  Then.....I had gone outside to "potty" the dogs before I went to work at the group home last night.  I noticed that Buffy, our collie, was staring at the chicken house (not normal).  Then I noticed that there were a couple of chickens in the pen (not in the house) at 9:30 at night.  That was alarming, because they all go to "bed" as soon as it gets dark.

So I grabbed a flashlight and went into the chicken house to see what was going on.  There was an opossum on the nest boxes, just staring back at me!!!!  I shined the flashlight on it for a minute, hoping it would get scared and leave, but it just kept staring at me, and (since I have seen the teeth those things have) I started to envision what might happen if it launched itself at me and clawed/bit me when I was out in the yard all by myself and DH was not home.  So I went back out into the yard to try to figure out what to do.  If I left the opossum in there, I'd undoubtedly be minus another chicken in the morning.  But I didn't have a gun and wouldn't trust myself to be a good enough shot with it anyhow.  I was in a hurry, as I didn't want to be late to work, so I grabbed a "Tidy Cats" cat litter bucket and propped open the "human sized" door to the chicken hutch.  Then I grabbed another bucket (I don't know what I was going to do, but I figured I'd use it as "protection") and went back inside.  The opossum was still in the same spot, still staring.  Boy, his tail was huge and looked like a rat's tail, except it was about the circumference of my thumb!  But the opossum was a smaller one than I was used to seeing, about the size of an adult cat....anyhow....

I took my bucket and put it next to the opossum's head.  He STILL didn't leave!  But he didn't make any noise or growl or anything, so I pushed a little.  He slid over a ways.  Then I pushed some more.  More sliding.  When he got to the edge of the nest boxes and was about to fall of the edge, he grabbed on with his claws.  So I took both my hands and pushed that bucket as hard as I could and all of a sudden he fell down and ran away. 

Talk about adrenalin!!!!

And as you might have noticed, I hate killing, so I was pleased that I got rid of him (at least temporarily) without killing him for doing what he was created to do.  I'm sure now that he (or she)'s the reason the chicken was dead in there.  But I was happy that it was only one, and not more than that.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Yes I'm a wimp.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to tell you all this but....I'm a wimp.  So, apparently, is DH.  All day Friday, I felt terrible about Sarah.  It was bittersweet, because being rid of the mess and odor would sure be nice....but I kept coming back to the fact that I was going to be putting her to death because it was inconvenient for me, not because she was in great pain, etc....and that's not how I envision myself to be.  I felt very conflicted.  But I also realized that DH lives in the house, too, and "That Guy" was already mad about the situation.

I got home from working at the group home at 7am and DH was awake.  He asked me if Sarah still had an appointment at 9:30 today and I got quiet and said "yes".  He then begged me not to put her to sleep, that it wasn't her time, and it would be wrong.  I was only too happy to oblige, as that was kind of what I had been thinking, too.  He told me that he would think of a way to deal with the incontinence.  We talked about maybe putting puppy pads in the bottom of a kennel crate or gating off a small part of the house.  This morning I am going to buy some doggy diapers and see just how bad the cleanup would be from those. 

So she is still among the living and I'm not sure how I feel about that, but "guilty" isn't one of the options.  Now I HAVE to find a solution that will work, but killing isn't the right way to handle it, as far as I can tell.  Thank goodness.  I think.