How my silicone wedding ring represents marriage as a whole

August 1 | Guest post by Tara
Silicone wedding ring by Thunderfit
Silicone wedding ring by Thunderfit

Marriage is hard guys. No one who's been in it for more than a couple of months is going to tell you differently.

Now don't get me wrong, I love being married. I married young, and haven't (really) regretted it once. But the marriage and the life that I have today is very different from the one I would have envisioned when we walked down the aisle and exchanged rings of gold almost five years ago. Especially considering the events of the last six months…

I had a breakdown in April. After months of mood swings and panic attacks, depressions so deep and dark that suicide seemed like the inevitable light at the end of the tunnel, and days spent hiding out in the bathroom at work to cry, or vomit, as needed, I finally accepted that something had to change. I quit my high-stress, well-paying job. My family doctor recognized how seriously ill I was, and referred me to a psychiatrist.

I was unemployed and broken. My self-esteem was shot. And soon I had a name for the monster inside of my head: Bipolar Disorder.

I felt like a burden of a wife. I felt like I had pulled a terrible con on the man I loved; I thought that had he known how defective I was from the start, he would never have married me. I felt like a monster. Suddenly instead of plucky Jane Eyre, I was the terrifying wife in the attic that eventually burns the house down.

But my husband did something amazing. He loved me. He accepted me. He held my hand when it all felt like too much. And, on my good days, he helped me live life to the fullest. He never judged me when I was too depressed to move for days at a time, or when mania took hold and suddenly all of the furniture in the house was rearranged by the time he returned from work.

He did admit that things had changed. He did admit that he too had pictured something different for this stage of our life. But he also did everything he could to make me understand that I was not alone. That whatever my life was going to be, he was going to live his right alongside me.

With medications and therapy I'm starting to do a lot better now. But it is an uphill battle, and one that I am likely to be fighting to some degree for the rest of my life.

We went for a drive the other night, up a mountain road to a beautiful look-out. I looked my husband in the eyes and told him I loved him. I thanked him for all he had done over the last several months, and I gave him a new wedding ring.

This one is silicone, and I have one to match. They are flexible, as we now know that we have to be every day in a marriage. The are comfortable, as marriage should be. And most importantly, they never have to leave our fingers; whether we are at work or at play, they can survive it all.

I still have my original gold wedding band, but my silicone ring now seems so much more of a real representation of marriage to me.

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  1. oh man did this hit home for me today. But coming from the other end–we recently found out my husband is Bipolar and it took months of terrible mania and a suddenly down-the-rabbithole life for me to try to convince him to get off the antidepressant that his primary Dr. had prescribed him (which had sent him into a manic phase) and get to a specialized psychiatrist. It was hell. The worst part was that he thought everything was perfectly fine, didn't understand how I wasn't excited about the fact that he had finally found happiness through his spirituality (he stopped doing EVERYTHING he used to love and did nothing but chant, pray, read Hindu scriptures, make offerings of every bite of food before eating it, etc. etc.) I was caught between being supportive and open-minded, and knowing this was terribly, terribly wrong but unable to say my true thoughts to him because he was so defensive and ready to walk out at any moment if I didn't want to live this kind of life with him.

    It got so bad that when he found out I had called his doctor (who in turn had called Crisis Services) he left. There was no talking, there was no telling him how concerned I was, how I wanted to help him, he just saw it as a betrayal. I visited a divorce lawyer. My life as I knew it, our marriage, was completely over.

    When there was a tiny opening showing me that maybe, maybe there was still a chance he could be saved I jumped on it. Cautiously. I told him I knew our marriage was over, I knew there was no saving it, but for the sake of our 2 kids, and because I do still love him and worry about him and his future, as the father of my children, he needed to see a psychiatrist. That was the opening. He faltered. He didn't expect anything but anger from me; I had been turned into his enemy. I thought I had lost everything already so there was nothing more to lose–I could be completely honest about his mental health condition so I was. He had been completely breaking down in fits of sobs every few hours for days. I put my arms around him and he didn't push me away. I told him we need to get you help. This has to get better, please please let's go to the ER (which is what I had suggested months ago and was met with horrific anger & defiance)…

    I finally got him in. They admitted him, against his will (he had agreed to to for a psych eval & wanted to get fast tracked to see a psychiatrist, but didn't want to be hospitalized). He "presents as normal" so he had fooled the intake doctors (like he had fooled his therapist who encouraged his manic behavior), and they thought he was just dealing with depression and weren't going to admit him… until they spoke with me and his mother who told the real details of everything that had been going on, and knew he was manic and needed stabilization. He was hospitalized for a week in they psychiatric ward.

    Within just a few days, on the right medication (a mood stabilizer instead of an antidepressant) he was back. He was himself again. I still look at it as something of a miracle. I visited every day when the visiting hours were allowed. He cried and held me and said how sorry he was, how "I almost lost you." It was like the veil had been lifted, the thing that had taken away my husband was finally gone from his sight & he was finally seeing things for what they were again. I've never had to go through anything so terrifying, so isolating, so difficult in every way.

    This happened in January and he's been on a mood stabilizer since then, had the dosage adjusted to what seems to be the perfect amount now, and we've been going to marriage therapist together. We had a sort of second honeymoon after he got out of the hospital, both of us knowing how close we came to losing our marriage and so grateful that we didn't. It hasn't been easy, and I know we will have bumps in the road now and again, but as long as he sees me as his partner and his advocate instead of his adversary, and is open and honest about how he's feeling, I think we'll be okay.

    Sorry to hijack your story… I started writing and couldn't stop. I basically just wanted to respond with solidarity, sympathy and support. Mental health problems aren't easy for anyone, but if you have someone who truly loves & supports you so you can get through it together, that's huge. Remember you're never alone, even though it may feel like it. xoxo

    51 agree
    • Thank-you for sharing your story. As terrible as it is for the person in the midst of a mental health crisis, I think it can be almost equally hard for the spouse. It's so encouraging to hear about success stories like yours.

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    • Just wanted to say how impressed I am with your strength and resilience. I hope your husband continues to improve. You are an awesome spouse.

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    • This is amazing. I'm probably your husband and OP in this situation, but night terrors and crying jags for a solid week got me in early to see my primary, and now I'm scheduled to see a therapist soon. I'm still not sure if my marriage is how my husband perceives, or how I perceive (probably some combination closer to my husband's), but I'm feeling better just knowing that I'm moving towards something. Thanks for the inspiration that things get….different.

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  2. I have a bipolar husband to whom I have been married for 31 years. I have my own struggles with PTSD and DID (on top of physical disabilities.) Sometimes he's the strong one who takes care of me, sometimes I'm the strong one who takes care of him, and sometimes we just lean on each other like a couple of wounded soldiers trying to stagger off the battlefield together.

    When they say to love each other "in sickness and in health" most people don't think of mental illness. But that vow is really what marriage is all about–to have somebody who watches your back no matter what, and whose back you watch no matter what. Too many people with our kinds of issues die alone, and die too young.

    And it's not all bad. 40% of all people successful in the creative fields have been hospitalized for bipolar condition gone out of control. Not just the sort of mood-swingy people, but the serious cases. And not just people who dabble at the arts or writing or invention and innovation, but the ones really good at it, who can make a living at it. You know how many people are bipolar in the general population? 2%. So while I'm not saying it's a gift, because it comes with way too expensive a price tag for that, it is a resource. But it helps to have somebody loving to steady a spouse through the explosions of creativity, impulsiveness, anxiety, depression, and insight.

    For my own part DID gives me a large tool-set, so to speak. Each personality studied something different and/or developed different skills. When I'm integrated, I'm a powerhouse! And when I start to fray again, he's there, helping me knit it all back together again.

    If I had wanted a normal husband, there were plenty of candidates out there. Same for him, if he'd wanted a normal wife. Instead, we married because we get each other and we need each other as we are, the good and the bad and the beautiful and the terrifying. We are so much more together than we are apart!

    7 agree
  3. "Comfortable as marriage should be." Love that! I too am an advocate for the silicone rings. My husband and I got ours from https://imperialrings.com. I'm sorry to hear about your struggles, but it just shows how strong your marriage is. I wish you both a lifetime of happiness!

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