26: Relationship Problems
19 June 2000 – Diary
C. and I are having some arguments. It’s not clear what is going to happen next because the arguments aren’t over some small point but over a structural weakness in the relationship. At present, C.’s goals and my goals are drifting apart. This is crucial because at a personal level we are still extremely compatible. But what happens when the person you like is setting goals and a mode of life that don’t match yours. And who might not even be in the same town as you in the next year.
This is not a minor problem.
When I was first diagnosed, all I wanted was a safe haven and for things to settle down to normal. And I found one working in our family business. However a safe haven comes with a few drawbacks – one of which is that a protective work environment is not necessarily in the field that I would like. Indeed, I have had to give up my profession in order to survive the last few years. At present I don’t dislike my work, but it does not grab me, if you know what I mean.
Now I want a change, to go back to doing the things I want to do. That is not unreasonable, but it is certainly not an easy change to make. Hence the problems with C..
So in addition to changes I am initiating, I am in the process of trying to keep my relationship together.
My problem isn’t exclusive to bipolar relationships. I’m sure there are many relationships which have difficulties because one partner decides to do something new. My big problem is that my relationship with C. is a major stabilising factor in my life. Remove it and the potential for things to fall into disarray increase dramatically. And with bipolar persons, disarray doesn’t mean life gets a little difficult, it means seriously in disarray.
It’s difficult to start new things. It’s doubly so when you can’t be certain of your basic actions in the next week. It becomes downright unnerving when you are not sure if your support systems will kick in if needed to prevent a complete fiasco.
I want the relationship with C. to work because we make a good couple. We really do. But I also want it to work because I recognise that without the stability C. brings to my life, the possibility of my achieving what I want decreases substantially.
Sometimes, I wonder if I am being cold blooded about the relationship. I hope not.
20 June 2000 – Diary
Well, I’m depressed again. This is not the “soul wrenching, I’m desperately unhappy” depression. This is merely the “I don’t feel like doing anything” depression.
See, I even have types of depression now.
Am bored by everything – which is just another way of saying that I don’t feel like putting the energy into doing any one thing. I’m hungry but there is nothing in my fridge that I want to eat, or rather nothing that takes less than about 30 seconds to prepare. That seems to my time span at the moment – if it takes more than thirty seconds to do, it’s too hard. I really want corn chips, all I have to do is open the package. But it’s too much energy to get in the car and go get them.
I’ve been sleepy all day, which makes no sense since I got about nine hours sleep last night. Of course it goes with being bored. At some point I’m just going to give in and go to bed and sleep too much and wake up feeling muzzy headed tomorrow. It’s 5 pm and I still want to go to sleep.
There is nothing in the house that I want to do. I could continue to neaten up my filing like I was doing last weekend, but quite frankly it seems like too much work. I’ll just leave the papers scattered over the desk. Perhaps tomorrow.
Who am I fooling? The papers will still be on my desk at the end of this week. They won’t have been filed and if anything the pile will have gotten higher.
I could fertilise my plants, but that means I have to get the watering can and the fertiliser outside. It’s so much work. I’ll just find a book to read. Maybe I’ll go out and buy a magazine and the corn chips. And have KFC for dinner (hey, no effort on my part). And read and then come home and sleep.
I could really do with a drink. But it’ll make me sleepy. And drunk. Maybe later, after dinner.
I hope no one calls. I don’t really want to talk to anyone – it’ll be such an effort to sound anything but blah.
P.S. – The website may not be updated for the next week or so after today.
21 June 2000 – Diary
I’m in a reasonable state. I’m surprised, but I’ve decided to not think about it too much and just get on with everyday things.
I did get get the corn chips and the magazine yesterday. And the KFC. And the drink. And I went to bed early. But I got up this morning at a reasonable hour and went to work early. So far today has been quite a good day.
I have a sneaking suspicion that not raising my hopes on what I wanted to happen yesterday meant that I could go with the flow without being anxious that I was somehow failing myself. In a perverse way, actually letting myself go with the flow was a form of control. Think about it. Yesterday I wrote down what I intended to do and then I went out and did it. Isn’t that planning. I grant it wasn’t the loftiest or most noble set of achievements, but what the heck. A plan is a plan and success is success.
This morning I was still feeling fragile, so I set only one real task for the day. If I have more than one major task for the day then failing feels much worse. And I figure that I can gather my resources to do one thing. So this morning I decided that today I will fertilise the plants. And I did it (with streamers and cheering in the background). Now I feel good about myself.
I do have to be a bit wary that things don’t go wrong over the next few days, but other than that I think I will be modestly successful. That’s a pretty good achievement for a person who is supposed to be depressed.
28 June 2000 – Diary
Have been jumpy all day. It’s kinda sorta mania, but not quite. But I’m also feeling as if I want to cry. Very strange. I’d say I was having mixed symptoms of mania and depression. However it has only happened once before so I’m being a bit cautious about making pronouncements.
I’m having a hard time exerting control on the physical issues such as keeping my hands from shaking. My memory is gone to pieces – I forget what I wanted to talk about in mid sentence. And it’s difficult to concentrate.
At work I resolved the memory problem simply by informing the people around me to expect me to be forgetful and to stop talking in mid-sentence. They are used to that now so no eyebrows were raised. I had to exert quite a bit of energy to control the hand twitching and to calm the pounding of my heart, but that was doable.
However, being able to concentrate eluded me. I did do some work but I figure that I added no real value to the company today. This would have bothered me in the past, but now it is just accepted with resignation. Left about an hour early when it was apparent that I would not be getting too much work done. No one commented, but then I’m one of the managers. What would they say?
C. was making dinner when I got home. I helped out a little bit by washing dishes. I also warned C. about my jumpiness and to expect me to be forgetful, irritable, and slightly excited. I also asked if my current state was a bother or harmed the relationship. C. responded that since I have been warning in advance what might be happening next, it has not been a problem. It’s the unexpected reactions or decisions that are the problem.
We sat down for about two hours finishing a puzzle. I also took 200 mg. of Tegretol to calm my jumpiness. Asked C. to let me know when half hour was up so that I would know when the medication had kicked in.
During the next hour and a half I asked C. about having sex no less than about fifteen times. I was nice about it and C. was nice about turning me down.
I finally realised that I desperately needed someone to touch me and asked C. if we could go to bed and could I be just hugged. This has never happened before. I have never been in a situation before where I so desperately needed human contact that I needed to ask for it. But I was feeling that way and I think C. realised how desperate I was.
Rule with your partner – ask for what you need.
C. would have realised my distress much sooner if I had been asking to be hugged instead of asking for sex and would have responded far sooner. (I am always asking for sex, so C. pays no attention to those requests anymore.) Once C. realised how I was feeling, we began to make preparations to go to sleep.
All this was about an hour after I took the medication. It had kicked in by then, but was working oddly. I was still jumpy instead of calm. But I did have the medicinal taste in my mouth, and I was starting to feel sleepy. This is not the standard effect of making me calm and collected.
Anyway, C. and I went to bed, and I was treated to being hugged and made to feel very loved. This did more for calming me than the medication did. It was great. No sex, just cuddling. I finally fell asleep snuggled in C.’s arms.
29 June 2000 – Diary
Still taking Tegretol 200 mg. twice a day. The effects of the medication are even more peculiar than yesterday. In work I had some of the effects that I expect of Tegretol – I was able to focus reasonably well, and I was able to conduct business in with a reasonably clear head. Today I consider I added value to the company.
However, I am still jumpy and I am still forgetting things. These symptoms usually disappear when I am taking medication. And I had forgotten about the muzzy headedness that Tegretol causes and the “medicinal” taste in my mouth. I can cope with both, but I rather not have them.
Still, I accept the side effects for the ability to get things done. Seems like a reasonable price to pay. I just hope that these symptoms go away soon and I can settle back to the symptoms I know and can handle without medication.