This blog is about the intersection of marriage and mental illness, because it’s something I deal with every day. Since 1999, I’ve been in a Twelve Step recovery program for binge eating and bulimia. My husband was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2008 after suffering a severe psychotic break.
Coping with mental illness in one spouse is challenging (supposedly, there’s a 90% divorce rate for marriages involving bipolar disorder). Coping with it in both is even more so.
There are a lot of fears and uncertainties that assail the spouse of someone with a mental illness, particularly when you first find out about the illness—whether that’s through the onset of symptoms or by learning about your partner’s past. Some people can’t, or won’t, deal with the fears and uncertainties and ambivalence. They think, This isn’t what I signed up for. This isn’t what I want out of marriage, out of life.
But it is possible to weather a mental health crisis together and come out the other side.
I share a lot of personal stories in this blog because I think there’s value in sharing experience, strength, and hope with others. But I’m not a mental health professional, and what’s worked for me, my husband, and our marriage may not work for you.
If you’re looking for some background on John, me, and our mental illnesses, I suggest starting with these two posts:
Note: I’m writing this blog under a pseudonym to protect my husband’s privacy as well as my own anonymity.