When John got home from his latest business trip on Friday night, I was reminded of what a difference a year makes.
A year ago, John went on his first business trip since his diagnosis with bipolar disorder. (Prior to his manic episode, he’d been taking several business trips a month. It took about six months of being back on the job before his company sent him on another one.) I remember how nervous I was the whole time he was away: Did you bring your pills? Have you taken them yet? Did you sleep well? Are you feeling stressed out?
Poor John! I’m sure my anxiety did not help him stay relaxed.
When John travels now, it’s not a big deal. I trust that he has his pills with him, I trust that he knows when to take his PRNs (Ambien and Klonopin). I trust that one night of so-so sleep is not going to send him immediately back into the tailspin of the psychosis.
Letting Go of Trauma
Last year, I was still struggling to come to terms with the trauma of dealing with his delusions and paranoia. I worried that if I wasn’t constantly overseeing my husband’s recovery, he wasn’t going to get well. You see, that had certainly been our experience when he was in the thick of the mania—he felt great, nothing was wrong, why didn’t I believe that his colleagues had hypnotized him, or that there were security guards posted outside our apartment door? I’d been forced to advocate for his health at a time when he couldn’t do it for himself, and I was having trouble giving up the reins.
Time, experience, and joint therapy sessions helped alleviate this, but so did prayer. God used me to help my husband at a time when he could not help himself, but that time has passed, and I have to remember that God—not me—is in charge.
And right now, what better reminder do I have of that fact than the little baby that’s building itself inside me? I’m not directing this baby’s growth. I’m not deciding, “Okay, baby, today your kidneys are going to start working and you’re going to gain 0.05 ounces.” All I can do is take care of myself and trust that the baby’s development is progressing the way it’s meant to. Without that trust, I’m a constant ball of anxiety and stress.