Without getting into details too much, I hate myself more than anyone else has ever hated me. (I wrote an entire paragraph describing the intensity and scope of my hatred but I decided it wasn’t really relevant, also it might worry some people.) That said, it’s the biggest perplexity of my life that N.* – my beautiful, stable, productive, cheerful, quotidienne, not-at-all-entrenched-in-the-dark-beauty-of-suffering girlfriend still chooses to love me every day. I don’t know how many times I’ve told her that, or said it to myself. But it keeps happening all the time. Sometimes I just cry to myself. Of gratefulness. And bafflement. Grateful bafflement.
After my spectacular freakout and decidedly less spectacular emotional demise (mania / depression) life has been mainly a difficult adjustment to the fact that the kind of person I really am is a person that I loathe. I’m not sure how much of this is a mental issue or just my personality. It’s like having a roommate, whose everything annoys you – their voice, face, body, smell, inane opinions, awkwardness, incompetence, stupid goals, laziness etc. etc. – and this roommate follows you around everywhere and sleeps next to you and sabotages all your relationships, somehow.
And she doesn’t seem to mind. At all. To her, I’m still the same girl she fell in love with. (From the moment she saw me (!!!!))
There are all these rules about relationships. That you’re not supposed to become too dependent. That you can’t make somebody your “everything”. But I’m beginning to think that, for many people who are mentally ill, a romantic relationship can be salvation.
That said, relationships with mentally ill people obviously come with a unique set of challenges. And if your chosen love is bipolar? If many dark parts of the internet is to be believed – God help your soul.
That’s why I wanted to write about N. I’ve dated probably too many women for my age, some of them very sympathetic and intelligent, who knew I was sick and cared for me, yet she’s the only one who has ever known exactly how to handle me.
The way she won me – it was amazing, now that I think of it. I wanted someone else, and I was with that someone else, for a while. She did her own thing, waited for me to be free, and claimed me. No big deal. Now, I’ve been chased to the point of exhaustion. I’ve been begged for my love. (Have begged more people for their love, though, of course.) But just to wait like that – to trust that I knew what I wanted (even if I didn’t) – no one had really given me that before.
After a few months of being apart, she called me. We had dinner together, and at some point one of us got white sauce all over her fingers, and we both laughed nervously because it looked exactly like after you ____ but we weren’t sure if we should be making allusions to that.
Once we fucked for a whole day and night. The sun rose and set again on our bodies and the tangled sheets. My whole body ached all over after that.
We were caring for a rescue kitten once, and it escaped and was attacked by a dog. She called me crying and told me, “On the way home I saw a white cat and I was thinking that maybe our kitten would look like that when she grew up.”
I love her hands. I wish I could give time away, so she could do better things with her hands.
I’ve been waiting on a letter from her for weeks now, but she drew a beautiful picture of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. I once theorized to her that Harley Quinn is a borderline who has no true identity and thus must derive identity from a narcissist, which is the Joker. (Hence why she’s also unpredictable, given over to complicated scheming, has an annoying laugh and oh yeah, is a clown.) This explains why he remains her obsession even though he’s abusive. She cannot accept Poison Ivy’s love because Poison Ivy is not a narcissist, and thus would not allow her to derive her identity from her.
Then I said I figured I’m a narcissist and that I want a borderline to adore me, and she said, “Well, sorry I’m not a borderline,” and then we ate mango crepes and played cards and took photos in a garden cafe.
I can intellectualize and rationalize all day, and come up with a million reasons why I’m a bad person and we shouldn’t be together. But in the end there’s the honest touch of her hand, her kiss, her fingers wiping away my tears, and an ever-patient ear for every apprehension and insecurity that I have – an encouragement for my hopes, no matter how misplaced or unlikely.
Now I know I’ll probably never be someone you can bring home to your parents, or show off to your friends, or even trust to be in some halfway decent mood every day. But if she sees something there, it gives me hope that maybe someday I’ll see it again too.
When I got taken away to the hospital, there was no one to tell her. I had broken up with her right before I left. When I got out, she drove down to my parents’ house in her new car. She let me drive it and I promptly scraped it against a gutter.
I’ve tried to break up with her a lot. By now she knows I never really mean it. This is probably key to maintaining a relationship with a bipolar person. Then again, maybe not. Talk it out.
* * * * * * *
I walked with her once, down a busy street. We weren’t together yet. We had our arms around each other. Some random guy said, “Hindi sila mapaghiwalay.” I’ll never know who that anonymous prophet was. But it’s still true.