Yeah, I started back up with the counseling sessions again. I'm doing so much better already and probably could make it right now if I didn't go back, but she is just so dadgum interesting and wise beyond her years. (She's only 34) Anyway, I told her I wanted to work on my self-esteem. I know everyone feels I don't have much, and I believe that. I've struggled with it for years. There were so many parts of my husband's mania last year that left us both with some bad memories. Not just one manic action alone, although the affair part is the most ridiculously embarrassing and painful one for him and the most disgusting and hurtful one for me.
Alot of people might reason that I wouldn't have been so upset last year about the small part (haha already getting better, eh?) of my husband's cybersex affair, if I didn't have such low self-esteem.
Uh, no. They don't know me. I would have still had a problem with it even if I had high self-esteem. Because the affair WAS THE PROBLEM ....not my self-esteem. Food for thought. The cyber affair, with my husband being married and her knowing it, was just plain WRONG. Facts. It's the only way to look at it.
Anyway, the counselor and I discussed this issue and I have narrowed my risidual hurt and emotions down to only 2 that encompass the WHOLE thing now. They are:
1) I mourn for the perfect record my husband and I shared with each other as never having hurt each other through infidelity. No one is perfect, I know this. I'm not perfect, he's not perfect. But our standards and committment to each other WAS perfect until last year. Some things people get a "redo" on. This isn't one of them. Can't fix it. Indelible mistake in our history together. I told her I just wish I could forget everything revolving around this part of his mania. But I don't know how to because I have dreams, etc and wondered if it was possible to be suffering some PTSD due to emotional trauma.
2) In the back of my mind I seriously still struggle with trust. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. I do realize he was messed up last year, when he suffered his manic episode. Gosh, I saw it coming before it hit. I didn't know what it was. Felt like an Emotional Tsunami when it hit, but we've been hanging on and weathered that part.
Anyway, on with the counseling appointment (in the event any of you can benefit from what she shared with me). In response to the two above mentioned things that still bug me, my counselor said this:
In reference to #1... She looked me square in the eye and told me, "You will never forget it. So don't wonder about that anymore. But it will continue to dull and you will only recall it if you hear something of a similar nature in conversations, news, or a movie. You've already come so far, now. As time continues, you will begin to look back on it as something that happened but you will understand it for what it was." She then told me, "Your husband wasn't himself....I mean that literally! I don't want to disrespect your husband or make light of what happened, but his mania continued to such a degree that he literally wasn't thinking with his right mind. But still yet, when he met the ex girlfriend for their tryst, he had the strength to face her and tell her he wasn't going to continue the relationship with her. He was already beginning to come down from his mania. If he had wanted to continue it, he could have. We've looked at the emails he wrote during his episode and can say that he obviously was "out there" because he stated he wanted to be like John Wayne in the Commancheros...and the mother's ring thing...and remember all the other things he was doing. Selling your car without your knowledge, the frivolous spending, the inappropriate comments he made to people, the lying and everything else that isn't in keeping with his normal character and personality. There was a "cluster" of events, all at the same time, and that is important to remember. HE REALLY WASN'T HIMSELF. You have to believe that, Laura, and now to help you with that...I want you to consider this. You need to separate in your mind the person he is when manic and the person he is when he is stable. I want you to give him a name. And when he is manic, I want you to realize who is speaking and acting at that moment. Can you do that?" And then in addressing the PTSD thought, she said, "No, I don't really think it's PTSD that you are going through. I think the emotions you are going through right now are sort of like when a person you care alot about passes away and you are so busy in the beginning handling all the issues revolving around that, you don't have any time to stop and consider anything else. So much later, after everything has calmed down, you sit and think back over the events, and mourn over the loss, remember the good times you had before. Sometimes, you go back over the events surrounding the actual time of the loss of your loved one. But in time, although you still love and miss them and sorry that you no longer have them, you are able to deal with the loss. What you are going through isn't EXACTLY the same thing, but you can understand what I'm saying...you are at that place right now, I think. The actual episode that hurt you so deeply is over, you handled things for the last year or so, as they came up. You worked to take care of all the details. You released all the initial emotions of shock, fear, pain and everything. Now, you have more time to really look back at the situation and pinpoint was is left. Now you are going to need to deal with these two thoughts you have left. You need to realize that your feelings of your husband being faithful to you are still there. In his right mind, he never hurt you that way. And for #2 you don't have to worry about him lying to you anymore because he has shown you that the real him doesn't lie. He never has lied to you. You said it yourself, Laura, he has never lied to you ever before last year. When not in full mania, he doesn't lie. So try to relax and enjoy your husband. Don't continue to worry until you see his other character emerging through his manic behavior. Then you know what he is capable of doing at that time and you get him the help he needs, early."
I told her that keepthefaith had already told me about the concept of realizing our loved ones while in severe mania are the anti-______ (fill in their name) and arent' truly who they normally are.
The counselor told me in my case with the difficulty I've been having she wants me to actually give his manic character a different name. And when these thought surface or dreams, etc., try to only look at it as the "other him" during mania as the responsible party. It's complicated because it is him that did the things, but not really. That's why he immediately stops the behavior when the mania is gone. He wants to be who he really is. He wants to do what he really wants to do. He is sorrowful.
So I thought about it and I have done that now. I gave him a special name that still reflects him as the person having done the actions, but yet the new name indicates how totally backassward his actions are while in mania. I decided to spell his name backwards and that was the name I will now refer to when I see manic behavior.
I discussed this with my husband (now that he is stable and totally remorseful for his manic actions and not insulted easily by my thoughts on the whole matter...I don't suggest this for everyone, of course!) and my husband told me that the C_____ that has always loved me and thought about me and was so excited to marry me and have a family with me and has happily lived with me all these years and had never gone out on me and has made a million good memories with me for all these years....has NEVER made the decision to treat me the way he did last year.
My hubby told me he knows he performed all the things and said all the things during his mania and assumes responsibility for those actions, BUT
Outside of that manic epsisode and what N______ did we still have a perfect record.....
It was funny to hear him call his manic self his new name. Then we ate supper and watched television. Good counseling appt, good discussion, good evening.
I agree. Sounds like you have a great counselor. ^_^
I was just thinking about the analogy of a death, that you're in mourning. I think we discussed that before, actually. You're still mourning the relationship you had.
It's clear that you still have it, though. His body went through the motions, but not his mind. He was out of it, during that time. As he said, HE hasn't made the decision to step out on you.
There was a moment when your husband was gone, but he came back. He didn't die, he took a hiatus...he went on a long trip and left someone else to look after you, someone that couldn't be trusted. It's not his fault. He just went on a trip. You missed the man he was, because you didn't have your friend, your loyal lifelong companion to keep you company. Instead, you had an impostor husband. The problem is, the impostor could return (the other shoe dropping). There's no way to keep him out, short of psychiatric help, which is an ordeal, itself, and your husband has little way of keeping himself from traveling.
But you're doing everything you can, you could see the impostor coming last time, and you will next time. You'll be able to protect everyone from him, next time. Now, you have the tools.
I actually have another name that I have used for my husband when he was manic!! I even have called him that name on those special occassions and he knew exactly what I meant by it. I like your counselor's way of thinking. You have been blessed to find someone who truly understands bipolar. Good for you!
I love this counselor! But then again, I love anybody who is helping you, Lolly, to heal. I am in a sentimental mood today, and just wanted to add: You are so very special to all of us, Lollipop. You have been a real inspiration to me and to many here. We love you so!
08/03/2011 01:11 PM
Posts: 4281 Group Leader
Thanks everybody. If I can help anyone else by what me and my husband have gone through together, then somehow it doen't really seem in vain.
08/03/2011 05:02 PM
Posts: 332 Member
That is such an inspirational mindset, Lollipop!! I have a great respect for wise counselors, and a great disdain for foolish ones. I think you must have found a gem. That is so wonderful.
08/03/2011 06:10 PM
Posts: 3899 Group Leader
Lolli, once again, I thank you for taking the time to write all of this down for us. You have a very wise counselor, who seems to really get what having this mood disorder does to you and those you touch.
08/03/2011 07:48 PM
Posts: 4891 VIP Member
I agree, it's really important to think of the person who is manic or irritable during depression as someone else, not the person you know. It helps me to separate my feelings. When my husband returns, so to speak, I can be happy about it and not hold a grudge against him. He always apologizes, because he knows that when he gets like that, he is wronging me. Things get no where near as bad as they used to. But still, keeping in mind that his brain is unbalanced at times, helps me to get through it.
I'm thrilled that you have such a good, qualified therapist Lolli!
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