We sat together, alone on a Friday night. What an atypical Friday night, without people hanging from our rafters and music blaring. A couple of cans of beer and a pack of cigarettes were the only occupants of the old grainy table with red paint peeling. I chipped at it a little carelessly while watching him intently. It was him and me, peacefully alone, deep in light, airy conversation.
I was mildly distracted by the clarity of his voice. No ambient noise of idle chatter engulfed his words. They slipped from his full pink petal lips, with the crispness of mildly intoxicated honesty, confessions from a fortress of a man. He explained his position, the station in which he found himself in within his own self. My ears perked up at the heaviness of the content, and I felt the weight shifting from a crushing burden of existence onto him, sliding onto the table, begging for me to grasp it.
All I had desired, each last truth and beautiful, intimate moment sat before me, ready for my embrace. However, I failed to understand the dimensions of it. He began to clarify, “I need you.”
Befuddled, “Need me how?”
“I need to be with you. I want more time with you.”
Those two sentences struck me with the force of a wrecking ball, crumbling every wall throughout each layer, penetrating me into a sweet surrender. Simple words completely ravished me, turning my entire world on it’s ear. And in this entire duration of the last six months, I had been none the wiser.
I wrote an article for A Canvas of the Mind entitled, “Disorder and Love: What We Do and Don’t Know”. It went into a detailed analysis of relationships and how disorder can come to affect them. I wrote:
Mental health disorders have a way of putting blinders on a person. I have to say, there are a lot of things in this world that I miss. Whether it’s because I’m wrapped up in my own head, or I have one of the different shades of the multiple pairs of glasses I don on, I know that my own perceptions are often distorted. In short, I miss things. Sometimes, I miss very important things.
I am not one to take a hint. So, one of those subtle things, such as love, often slip past me or whiz over my head.
This admission was far beyond my own powers of perception, interpretation, and insight. Riding a ten year roller coaster of various states and natures of friendships and romantic partnership, I came to expect that no further surprises existed. He had seen me in the worst of lights, beyond any imagination of my own personal wreckage. This is just as he had seen me in my greatest successes, radiantly reborn each time out of my own ashes. And I witnessed him in his own pits, disheveled, yet hiding it well. With each crack beginning to show, every time pulling himself back into flight. We ran our own cycles again and again.
People don’t change, they just become more so. Murphy was sorely mistaken in this context. And I had made some serious fallacious conclusions in this progression.
Have I folded into myself so tightly that I failed to see this? Clearly, this desperate longing existed within him, stirring and quaking for eternities, extensively understated. Had I walled myself into such complete introversion that existing within his own mind and heart was an impossibility?
It no longer mattered. The blinders came off, and he had never been so radiantly focused though my own eyes. We were unencumbered by the shackles of responsibilities and obligations. In that moment, we were young lovers, engulfed in each other, professing each perfect droplet of affections in fine, caressing detail. The purity of those exchange brought definition and order into our world of chaos and illusion.
That simple phrase was so multifaceted, in such a simple package with a little satin bow. He had lost me, the pure, undistorted, unadulterated me before him now so many times. He had lost me to our child, sacrificing so much time and energy that there was not much left to give. Again, I disappeared into the abyss of postpartum psychosis, and dropped even further into the depths of bipolar disorder. Each relapse must have been more inexplicably painful and confusing for him than it was for me. A wild woman emerged in each episode of psychosis, severing him from me as reality slipped through my fingers and out of my grasp. In the last six months, he had to have been suffering the same loneliness and mourning for the life and love we shared.
“I’m not going back there,” I assured him. “I am better, and I will keep getting better. We know what’s wrong with me. And we can make me better together. You don’t have to lose me again.”
“I just want it to be us.”
And it is. And forever will be, us.
- Disorder and Love: What We Do and Don’t Know (acanvasoftheminds.wordpress.com)
- Disorder and Love: What We Do and Don’t Know (sunnywithachanceofarmageddon.wordpress.com)
- Blog for Mental Health 2012 (sunnywithachanceofarmageddon.wordpress.com)
- Every New Beginning . . . (sunnywithachanceofarmageddon.wordpress.com)