Lis I am so sorry to hear your man passed away. Death is such a final state, but thankfully we will all meet again on the other side.
I too came from a loving and stable family, but we experienced death and hard time, but never mental illness. My mother was incredibly strong and forceful woman who educated her 4 sons, so we could make something of our selves. See died 2 years before I met my estranged partner. My stepfather however met my estranged partner and acted as a guide to my estranged wife and friend in past episodes. But he passed in late 2010.
My estranged wife is not as harsh as some of you think, I am not as soft and kind as you think and I have numerous faults. I fear being alone, when I was 7 my father passed suddenly and I fear that happening again. So we are co-dependant relationship.
When my estranged wife was in an episode in June 2016 I fell 6 m onto concrete path and broke my right ankle very badly. (She was 400 km away, and in no way responsible) The young neighbor rang her and left a message for her to come. The accident shocked her, out of the hypo mania episode... seeing the external fixates, caused her to panic, the nursing staff calmed her as she ran from the hospital, (she runs funny) and brought her in to talk to me, after they calmed her, she wept. She cared for me for 12 weeks while I could not walk. She was distant initially, but as she calmed my partner re-emerged. She has a vibrant and happy level self, I comfort her in the depressed state, but i hate hypo mania state. Our relationship is stable and happy in the normal state and as a friend said worth saving Bozo... because you love her and she loves me? (She says she loves me)
She has told me she can not handle her thoughts in an hypo mania episode, head full of ideas that can not be stopped. She just needs her space...alone.. Being with someone else like me who has insecurity is too much. She said she never wanted to be sick again or in the hospital. This must be the desire that I exploit to get her to find the correct drug cocktail. But she has lapsed...not surprising given the stress we were under.
But what hurts is the harsh way she pushes me away, "Never want to see you again", " This is last time we will talk", "I want a separation now", I know this not really her. The programming probably was transferred to her from her mum to her when she was small. Her early life was a train wreck.
I do not feel strong around her when she is well. We are equals, I take care of areas where I am strong (Financial), fixing things (Repairs and maintenance) whereas she looks after decorating, social activities, and where she is strong, we share other things. We have taught each other so much. She is manipulative though and will try to dominate to get her way, and even though we compromise she get upset as she see compromising as loosing.
Yes I did look after her when she had 26% burns, but the Bipolar was just another part of that complex recovery. I changed dressings, washes pressure cloths and gloves, looked out for infection, managed her work, ACC, kept her family in the loop. But I am no different to my stepfather who looked after my mother as see fought cancer and lost. Just part of been best friends. She did the same for me but to a lesser extent last year as i recovered from a broken leg.
While she rides the Bipolar roller coaster I have to continue my search for another work role, I have to finish our house as much as is possible with funds frozen (Bipolar plan issue..dual signatures) So while my life is not on hold until she exits the haze, it will not be normal. I will have one eye on the job pages, one eye on her. For our fates are linked.