What Do I Do When My Beloved Has the Morbs?

I'm at an interesting point in my life when I no longer want to die. Just typing it feels strange. I want to live. I'm so invested in living. There's so much I want to experience. There's so many things I miss. I'm admittedly lukewarm on acknowledging that I'm worthy of all the world has to offer, but at the very least I care for its offerings now. Desire. Motivation. Drive. New to me.

My condition — bipolar disorder is chronic. It is very helpful to me to frame my state as being "in recovery." I deliberately use the language associated with addiction, despite never having struggled with it, not in an attempt to conflate its nature with that of mental illness, but to call attention to the inherent link between the two. Any hard separation of "addicts" from the "mentally ill" baffles me. We share the same group therapy rooms for a reason. Same plastic tables, same metal chairs, same dingy couches. We are of the same blood. Co-morbid, as it were.

Also, Western psychiatry is bullshit. I refuse to taxonomize humans! The use of said practice, at least in attempts to understand the brain, is limited and often based in pure evil. But that's another conversation...

The issue at hand is the conflict, the tenacious ox, that continuously threatens to gore me because the man I love is in a different place than I. I have climbed out of the chasm of clinical depression and into the soft meadow of stability that lies just beyond. I still run the risk of slipping back there and suffocating, but I know how to scale the cold walls, though I know it'll make my fingers bleed. I'm prepared. For now, though, I'm resting. Grateful. Yet full of dread on his behalf.

So, I find myself shouting from my picnic blanket in the grass above at my boyfriend, who still lies in the crevasse. I entreat him to join my repast, to feel the sun, to gaze at the mountains. He doesn't want to come out. Why would he? Who cares if the view is glorious? Who cares that the sandwiches I've made are to die for? Who cares that I'm begging for him to try? He's convinced that he doesn't deserve anything. There's no incentive to bother, to grit his teeth through the pain, to meet me. I don't blame him. I understand. I remember.

However, I refuse to go down to attempt to pull him out myself, because I am aware that we will both fall. No amount of rope or even the most masterfully crafted crampons can spare him the ascent. I will encourage him til my dying breath, but nothing will change the fact that he must climb, hand over hand, on his own. And it will suck.

In the meantime, I wait. As you can imagine, this is excruciating. I'm an empathetic person to a literally insane degree; it's called "empathetic reactivity" and it means I cry when cartoon characters do, and I can't kill bugs, and I would rip the organs out of my body with my bare hands to save a stranger, had I the strength.

Witnessing the extent of my lover's apathy toward himself is torture, and I suddenly have new insight into what my own loved ones saw not too long ago: Me, endlessly craving self-immolation, and seeking any possible way to reach it without flames.

I know what it means to not want life, to reject it and refuse it, to hate it. I'm familiar with the feeling of being trapped in a miserable void with seemingly only one means of escape, with all else a mere distraction, meaningless; the illusion of hollowness in everything.

What is the point, indeed? That question is yours to answer, not mine. I've determined my "point," but everyone is different, and by extension everyone's trajectory toward an ever-shifting revelation is different. I'll share mine just for the hell of it, well-aware of how corny it sounds: love. Love.

Well, the object of my affection is convinced he neither needs, wants, nor can justify his receiving another's love. He believes I shouldn't waste mine on him. I say, "Too bad."

My heart aches. Memories of my many years spent asleep inform the way that I speak to him about getting better, about caring, about finding a reason to care. I point him toward books, worksheets, opportunities. I won't ever give up. Because that's the kind of support that I got, and that's the kind of support that everyone deserves.

I would appreciate advice on how to cope, though. I also want to know what you wanted to hear when you were at your lowest. What you need to hear when you're one backward step from plummeting. What you desperately wish someone had said or done, or would do now. What is it that would grant you strength, whether to simply endure one more minute, one more hour, one more day, or to begin the hideous process of learning how to accept oneself? 

It's time to take my meds.

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