February is the month of love which got me thinking about how important relationships are to me, especially a successful marriage.
I’ve lived with bipolar disorder type 1 for 20 years. How could I find a man strong enough to share my life’s journey? My search was filled with both pain and joy.
In the ’90s I entered public high school. Having transferred from an all-girls school, I was in heaven with all the boys around.
I dated so many guys that my father joked that the guys I dated ended up on the “wall of flames.” Just for the record I did have a moral code.
After high school, I met my first love – Russell. He was short with dark brown hair and puppy dog eyes. After we had been together awhile, I had my first manic episode while on a cruise ship. Russell was a godsend. He helped care for me while I took Lithium for the first time. Bipolar disorder didn’t scare him.
Then my father got a job in Iowa. I hated leaving Russell with every fiber of my body, but I had no choice. Our hearts broke like a glass hitting the floor. We tried staying together long distance. It worked for a little while but then I wanted someone where I lived. So Russell and I broke up. I dated others (including a bull rider!) but never found the right one.
At my first four-year college, I met a geeky guy from the football team – Brian. He was handsome and tall with hazel blue eyes. We were together for more than two years.
Over time I became very sick from the stresses of college. I flip flopped from deep depressions with never ending tears to euphoric manias. Brian tried to support me. He was faithful and loving. We hid my illness from his parents and when I finally told them, neither said anything. I felt awful, like I had the plague.
Brian helped me graduate college, coaching me with all my papers. Senior year we even talked about buying a ring. I graduated with a BA in Sociology.
Then I realized I was bored with my relationship.
With the help of my psychologist, I broke off with Brian. I regret that I did so in a very immature way. Brian deserved better. He went on to grad school and things did work out for the best.
After college, it seemed that everyone was getting married. I tried online dating, but got nowhere. I needed a fresh start and moved to Virginia where I met Will.
We were inseparable. Things moved very fast. At that time I was a mess. I was not taking the right meds or seeing a good doctor. I lived in the hell of mixed manias for months. I lost jobs. Will and I fought. He never told me he was in debt, something I could not get over.
My parents begged me to move home to Las Vegas. When I finally hit rock bottom, I did. With their help, I worked hard on recovery, still holding on to my dream of being married. My mom sang me “You Can’t Hurry Love” by Phil Collins.
Cupid struck Feb.14, 2005 when I went on my first date with my beloved Gary. I knew from the start this was the man God had sent just for me.
Gary swept me off my feet. I felt like we were living a sappy Nicholas Sparks movie.
Gary and I will celebrate ten years of marriage in June. I work hard on taking responsibility for my mental illness and taking care of myself. I became stable in my life, so I finally attracted a stable person. We are part of a team, evenly matched. It takes effort from both of us to have success in our marriage. I know that no matter what the future holds, Gary is my rock.
Can you really be lucky in love? It takes hard work, but I believe love can truly go the distance. I am living proof you can be lucky in love.
via bpHope – bp Magazine Community