Posted 5/28/2013 1:52 PM (GMT -7)
Dear Inappropriately Lost
Although I am not married nor facing the ruin of my family, I felt compelled to reply to your previous post.
I am a chemistry graduate and have been living with rapid cycling bipolar 2 for close to 3 years now (I am 22). Due to my financial situation, I cannot afford the recommended treatment options, and have resorted to posting on the internet to strangers.
In my experience I have found that an abrupt change in environment, or any work related stress can trigger a bout of severe depression. For me, this means complete separation from society, excessive drinking and cutting. Clearly this is not healthy, but it was my coping mechanism. I didn't know what it was and got through it in my own way. Until one day, as I was in the emergency room getting some stitches, I had a moment of supreme clarity: I decided that I will not have my life defined by my illness, but that I will define the illness for my life.
I know, it sounds stupid and I am probably too young for such clarity. You cannot medicate or drink or shop bipolar disorder away. It is as much part of you as your skin. I find that losing myself in my work or in my painting distracts me enough to not want to drink or cut. In addition, I keep to a routine in my daily life. I wake up at the same time everyday, go to class at the same time and eat at the same times everyday. I have defined the boundaries of my condition to fit my life. It will not influence my studies or my family, and that is what I need to cope.
Of course, sometimes the depression hits you like a train and no amount of organizing and preparing can stop it from beating the confetti out of you. At times like these I sit down, think about what needs to be done at that given moment, and then complete the tasks at hand. When I am alone later that day, in my car or alone in the lab, I would let it wash over me and swallow me whole. After a while, I realize that I am still here. I am still in control and it is still my life. If I let it take control of my day, I will lose myself. I cannot let that happen. So I make a conscious decision to not close myself off to the world and to face my depression head on. I decide to be depressed and be happy about it (okay, as I type it out it doesn't sound logical, but it makes sense in my head).
I hope that this helps. If someone as young and inexperienced as me can find a way to cope with bipolar 2, I am sure that you will find a way to deal with this and to save your marriage.