But most of all, Her.

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Through all the ups and downs with my health, both physical and mental there has been a constant, and her name is Jill.

Regardless of how down, angry, manic, confused, upset, unbearable or lost I was I have always been able to rely on this amazing woman. Everyone always says she deserves a medal for putting up with me, and they’re right. But it’s me who should present her with it because I have benefitted so much from her influence and understanding and patience. Many people would have baulked at putting up with such an unpredictable person in their life, let alone be married to them – but little phases her. She will quite happily tell me f*ck off and sort myself out when I need it, as much as hug me and console me in difficult times.

I don’t want to use all the well-worn clichés about rocks and soul mates because she deserves more than reconstituted platitudes. Her love and friendship are an invaluable source of stability in a life and head that has lacked those things at times; being a sounding board or an expert pomposity burster – she knows me better than anyone else, yet she’s still here at my side. I’m sure that she’s wondered about how much more she can take at times, but she never voices those concerns. Instead she is more likely to move closer than further away. My mood swings and emotional verbal explosions don’t even raise an eyebrow – she puts me in my place and rightly so.

First through the cancer, then depression and now bi polar diagnosis she is fantastically strong and solid throughout – and I know it has been difficult for her too. Her fears, concerns and questions take a backseat as she looks after me – and I realise how selfish that sounds as I type, and I hope that I have returned that generosity when she has needed me. I may never (and I hope I don’t) have to look after her in any serious way, but if or when it comes I will always think of the selfless approach she takes with me and double my efforts to be the best husband I can for her.

With this diagnosis I am entering another period of uncertainty. How will the meds affect me? What will change and what will remain the same? Then if you consider I’ve lived with it for all these years just undiagnosed and Jill has been there through all of that and will continue to be. Thanks to her great group of friends and her family she gets through these times too, so they must get the credit for keeping her sane through my insanity.

I’m sure that looking after two kids and the honorary third one is not what she would have wished for herself, but I am so grateful and thankful that she puts up with me, the mania and depression. She is the most wonderful, patient, caring, beautiful person I have ever met and if there is anything I rely on it’s not the medication – it’s her.

Thank you Jill x

JD

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