Sunday, September 16, 2012

But I need roller blades!

There is one memory that sticks out in my mind.

I had gone to see Seth at his apartment. He had no furniture or dishes.
He slept on the floor.

He asked me if he could move “our” bed to his apartment, so he could have a bed to sleep on.
My answer was “Umm.. No, you moved out. If we get divorced we will separate our belongings at that time”.

He was angry with me.

Told me it was my fault he was sleeping on the floor in his apartment.

I remember looking around his apartment, and noticed a box of brand new roller blades. I asked him how much they cost him, and he said “$300”.

I said “You know, rather than sleeping on the floor, you could have bought a bed with that $300.”

He got angry and said “But I need roller blades!”

I said “So having roller blades and sleeping on the floor makes more sense?”

I could see it “clicked” in his head.
What I was saying made sense to him.

I could see the anger subside. He realized I wasn’t the enemy. I was trying to help.

I was pretty baffled how something that was common sense to me wasn’t common sense to him.

This wasn’t the Seth I knew.

The Seth I knew would have thought about this rationally. The Seth I knew wouldn’t sleep on the floor in order to have roller blades.

He asked me if he could borrow $300 from me to buy a bed.

I was angry.

He made WAY more money than I did, yet he wanted to borrow money from me, to buy a bed.
After he just barely bought $300 roller blades.

He wanted me to sleep on the floor in our house, so he could have a bed at his apartment.
In a manic episode, it made sense to buy roller blades, and ask his wife to sleep on the floor, so he could have a bed to sleep in and have his roller blades.

I lent him the $300 and made it very clear he owed me the money. After all, we weren’t “together”. He lived somewhere else so it was no longer “our” money. It was MY money, and he owed me every cent of it back.

Surprisingly, he paid me back.

The roller blades now sit in my garage, being used only once.

After our counseling session, I knew the truth behind Seth’s strange behavior.

Shortly after that counseling session, Seth called me and asked if he could move back home.

I answered “Of course, if you get medical treatment”.

Seth moved home just before Halloween 2008.

We took him to the doctor, where he was diagnosed with bipolar type 1. Wanting a second opinion and confirmation of sorts, we took him to two other doctors, and ultimately receiving the same diagnoses.

After his diagnoses, I read everything I could find on bipolar type 1.

Unfortunately, I knew the suicide rate with people that have bipolar type 1.

The suicide rate is 70%.

Seth started treatment. The medications seemed to help some but also seemed to make some things worse.

He always had an underlying depression.

The depression wasn’t the scary thing for me. It was the mania and psychosis.

At least with the depression he could think clearly. He would sleep and be depressed, but he still had a clear head.

When he was manic, he was all over the place. He would start 20 projects, had brilliant ideas, he was always on the go. However, with the mania came the hallucinations and voices. He wouldn’t sleep or eat for days. He would get paranoid, overwhelmed and scared. He said he had about 5 different voices in his head. They were always whispering and he could never really make out what they were saying.

Then came the depression.

The projects he started wouldn’t get finished. He would sleep, eat, and drink too much booze.

He would then feel like a failure because his projects never got finished.

He rapid cycled between mania and depression. Sometimes he would cycle monthly, sometimes daily. Because he cycled so fast, getting him stable was always hard.
With the rapid cycling, by time we got him to the doctor, we were already a day or two late.

Every day was a struggle. We kind of just bumped along, hoping to get him stable.

He was put on lithium (which was the best medication he ever took), antidepressants, antipsychotics, anxiety medication, sleeping medication, and an “emergency” medication that would pull him out of mania quickly.

April 2009 rolled around. He still wasn’t stable.

It was April 1st. I was at work. For some reason, I had a horrible feeling something was wrong with Seth.

I left work and went home.

When I walked through the front door of our house… I knew…I just knew.

I looked for his medications that I had just filled the day before; all the bottles were missing…
And so was he.


  1. I'm so sorry. If you haven't lived with someone with mental illness it is very difficult to understand - the horror, the fear, the anger, the fear, the frustration that there are so few answers, so few ways to help. The feeling of helplessness when you are watching someone you love being tortured by their own mind is gut wrenching.

  2. Yes it is. But my love died & we divorced.
    He didn't want help.
    I remarried & 2 years later he killed himself.
    I was so afraid of him.

  3. Sorry to both of you. My husband did not kill him self by suicide. He did have depression and was a alcoholic. It is truly such a helpless feeling, when you wanted to help them so badly and nothing gets through to them. To remember how awful your life was when they were here. To have Loved them so Much in the past. To also still Miss them now in the present.

  4. Wow. What a story. I am so sorry. I can't imagine that helplessness as you watch your partner sink to these depths. My heart goes out to all of you who've had to deal with it. xxoo

  5. ((((Melinda)))) What you have been through...I am so sorry.

    My late fiance's ex-wife was bipolar; she hurt him in ways I cannot bear to think about.

    My heart goes out to you.

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