My BiPolar Triggers: Anniversaries

RelaxDamit! It’s just another day!


Today is just another day. I need to keep repeating that until I believe it. A calendar alert reminded me that today was the day my marriage was supposed to be over. One year ago today my wife told me she wanted a divorce. It should not have been a huge surprise since neither of us had been happy with each other for some time. Still it was a punch in the gut that sparked a 4 month extremely dark manic laden depression cycle.

Fear, Anger, panic, shock, paranoia, and a whole host of other emotions were dumped into a mega jolt that got injected straight into my brain. For months I cycled through bouts of complete breakdowns. The first week was the worst. Even now it’s difficult to write about how I minutes would turn into hours while emotional panic attacks would completely take over. It was beyond grief or sadness it was physical pain as though I had broken bones. The pain may have been just in my head but it was as real as if I was struck by a car. The one thing that helped was my anti-anxiety medication. That was if I could get up off the floor to get it.

We told the kids were going through a separation and we told our family a divorce was all but inevitable. It took months of therapy to bring us closer again. My wife had every reason to reach her decision and though it hurt I supported her. That was a bit of a shock to both of us. Living with, caring for a person with a Mental illness is a difficult load to bear. I could see that she was at the end of her rope and I did not want to be reason for any more pain. We continued to live in the same house but lead separate lives. The agreement was 1 year then we would go our different ways.

After 7 months of counseling we wound up working through better ways to communicate and work through things and her stance on divorce began to soften. Even though this was the outcome I was hoping for it made me angry and I almost walked away from the marriage. All this time we had been focusing on what was making her upset and how I needed to do things differently. I had been repressing the fact I was just as unhappy at the time she told me she intended to get a divorce.

One of the things I had been dealing with was guilt and low self-esteem. How could I have cause to ask her to change things if I was causing so much pain. That all changed when unilaterally she decided things we heading back to normal. When I brought up my feelings it set things back to day 1 and the walls went back up. This time though I was through. I started looking for a place to live. The thought of being on my own was terrifying but I was ready to face it. In a manic fueled pace I got legal aid through a clinic to draft a formal separation agreement covering custody and finances and was resigned to getting on with the next phase of my life. The panic, fear, and anger were fading were fading and planning for the future was taking over.

Somehow continued counseling got us through things. I never showed her the agreement I had drafted. Once she heard me talking to an apartment manager about setting up a showing but we never talked about it.

Now our relationship is at a new normal. Communication is the key to avoiding the resentment that had built up over many years in the past. Both of us forgave but neither of us will forget.

So, I’m still sitting here looking at this calendar alert and wondering what to do. Old feelings of anger and resentment resurfaced even though nothing but the anniversary has happened to trigger them. Do I hit close on the alert, knowing the crisis is over. Or, do I hit snooze as reminder of what can happen if I am not careful. Plus somehow I need to manage the wave of emotions that I am experiencing. Luckily I have 5 hours to get myself under control.


5 thoughts on “My BiPolar Triggers: Anniversaries

  1. Let it become the memory of the day you both changed your lives for the better. You found a way to open the lines of communication, and stopped following the path of unhappiness. May the new road lead you both to a better place together 🙂


  2. What an emotionally rough road you and your wife have been travelling. I think its incredible that you both committed to counselling and obviously did the work required to still be together today. I too have anniversaries that bring me to my knees. Anniversaries are significant. As you mention, communication is the key, I have no doubt your wife remembers the significance of this day too. Just possibly, you are not isolated in your emotions? I wish you courage and strength

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yesterday was tough but uneventful. Neither of s brought it up but I the next time we check in with each other on how we are doing. Once a day or 2 has passed I’ll be able to talk to her without being on the verge of turning into an emotional trainwreck.


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