“Oh, Oh, I Gave You My Heart.” ~ Elton John

dry rose flower next to broken heart shaped cookie
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So, when I started this blog it was for 2 reasons:  first and foremost, to talk about life with mental illness and to shed light on related issues that might help start conversations while reducing mental illness stigma by letting others see we are ‘real people’, and not just diagnosis, who are coping with issues as best we can.  Second, it was selfishly for me.  I suck balls at journaling.  I get the cutsie notebooks with the fancy schmancy covers and then write for 2 days and stop.  Having this blog helps me be consistent, with awesome feedback and support, and allows me to get things out I need to process.

I’ve had this friend since we were in Jr. High.  He’s amazingly funny, kind, smart, respectful.  Actually, he is everything that’s good in a person that I’ve lacked in my other relationships.  When we were in HS, he asked me out a couple of times and has said how he had wanted so badly to be with me, but I was with my first ever boyfriend so it didn’t happen.  We lost touch after graduation but a couple of years ago we rediscovered each other on Facebook and started responding to each other’s posts and having bits of conversation.

As I was dealing with the break-up of J, he reached out to me and we started messaging.  He made me feel better and more confident in myself by building me up, telling me how much I have to offer, and how I should never ever settle for anything less than wonderful.  I was starting to think that maybe he was the wonderful that was finally coming into my life.  I’ve known him for so long and talking with him was second nature.

I knew I was developing feelings…feelings that started a long time ago and grew quickly as we re-connected.  In my mind, I could see a future.  A ‘forever’ partner that I could be ‘me’ with and know I was safe with.  I told him that the difference with him was that my other men had made me cry…but he made me smile.

A few days ago he said he loved me and that he had always had me on a pedestal.  I didn’t say it back right away; I needed to think about what my feelings really were.  And with the joy his words brought to me, the way my heart opened, and the butterflies I was experiencing,  I knew I loved him too.  It was like a part of me always did, all these decades since school.

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Now the caveat.  He’s with another woman who he says he’s not happy with, doesn’t have sex with, but who he’s comfortable with since the relationship has lasted for a lot of years.  I know, I know:  “Kristi, wake up and smell the fucking coffee!  ALL men say that when pursuing someone else!  Duh!”  And you’re right; so many men do say this.  But I know him, and I think he’s genuine.  Don’t say it…I know what you’re thinking, grasshoppers, that it’s just another game I’ve been sucked into.

So, I said I love him too.  And I mean it from the bottom of my heart (sing that sentence like Stevie Wonder does please).  We talked about having a life together and wanting to be together.  But then, just today (which is why I needed to write this so I could process it the best I can right now) he told me that the future would be us together when we could be, and him going home to his partner.  He just can’t leave her after these years together, no matter how unhappy he is.

I can’t do that.  I simply can’t.  I know first hand, not just with me, but with family members too, how horrendous ‘affairs’ are to everyone involved.  They destroy relationships…break up families…hurt so many people in the name of ‘being happy.’  How can I do that to someone else?  How can I selfishly hurt a person I don’t even know?  How can I look my ma in the eye and tell her why this man I love won’t be around for any holidays and just sporadically at my house?

round window view of the ocean
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But (and y’all will be proud of this), how can I do that to myself?  I have spent the last 2 years of my life rebuilding it.  Rebuilding me.  The reason why Hubby 3 left (sigh)…everything J did to me…my sweet nephew dying senselessly…my health scare…my issues at school regarding a threatening student…my mentor passing away…dealing with the most difficult depression I’ve ever had in my stinkin’ bipolar life…cutting myself…attempting suicide.  For fuck sakes, I’ve had a lot to patch up and, by the grace of God (I’m very very serious about that, and I need to add with the grace of O, ma, and sis too), I have.  I was at the very bottom of where I could be.  Sometimes, I can’t even think about it.  Revisiting that hole is terrifying because it makes me have to wonder if I’ll ever fall in again.  I don’t know if I would make it this time if I did.

I like to joke and laugh about being bipolar.  Like I’ve said before, if I don’t laugh I’ll cry, and to be honest with you (and I always am),  I am so fucking tired of the tears.  Us bipolars do that a whole lot you know, and it’s exhausting.  So many of you with other mental illnesses can relate all too well;  I know my sis does who struggles immensely with her major depression.  Like so many, I’m overly sensitive, overly emotional, overly affected by rejection.

How ironic is it that this man is everything I say I want?  Need.  Desire.  And like a bad joke, he’s the one man in my life that’s not accessible to me.  I feel like I don’t know how to handle this.  The tears have been flowing…my heart has been aching…and my brain is trying to process how I could get hurt again so fast.

Remember when we talked about punishment?  It’s hard not to think that’s what’s happening to me now.   I know ‘logically’ that’s probably not true.  But as my neighbor and I discussed yesterday as we chatted for a couple of hours in my backyard, it’s not reality that we work from, but our own perceptions of that reality.  So, ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, my perception holds true for me.  I’ve also talked a lot about really shitty things I’ve done in my life that I attribute so much to my unmedicated bipolar, as well as just really crummy decisions I’ve made.  I deserve retribution for those things.  I deserve to pay the price.  Unfortunately, I selfishly thought I had already paid that debt, but I think there’s still more there to do.

And you know, when something like this happens, it’s very difficult to think my mental illness doesn’t play a role.  After all, our mental illnesses affect every part of our lives, don’t they?  Maybe I’m too ‘much’ for him.  Too ‘different’.  Too ‘imposing.’ And yes, I probably am.

Anyhoot, I needed so bad to talk about this; to see these thoughts in words.  And to be honest, connect with you, my sweet peeps.  I thank you for listening.  Thank you for the understanding I know you will give me because y’all are just so supportive and kind to me.  In fact, thank you for going on this journey with me which I’ll continue until my age-spotted hands just can’t type anymore.

Hopefully, you’ll all be here with me for a happy ending.  Very greedily, I want it sooner than later.  I’m 53 (sigh…) and want my forever.  Not a perfect forever…I know fairy tales aren’t real.  But a forever where I’m happy…he’s happy…and we build something genuine and stable that keeps us together through the good and bad.  I’m ready.  I’m waiting.  And when it does happen, I’ll appreciate it so much.  I promise.

Kristi xoxo


Author: Kristi

Just a bipolar Professor working to end the stigma of mental illness.

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