February 15, 2012

Photo of Julie (Time to Change blogger)The year was 2004. I had not long ago had a breakdown and had been diagnosed with Bipolar II. I was 31 and my world had been turned upside down. I had worked from the age of 9 and by this point I had gone on sick leave from a lousy job that I invested long hours in. Most of my friends and family had turned their backs on me. I hated men after having been in many unhealthy relationships.

David was separated and looking for a new relationship. He contacted me through MSN in the December of 2003. We sent a few messages back and forth, nothing exciting. I had just been told to move out of my sister’s house and things were bad. I messaged Dave that I would be offline for a while. He offered his phone number in case I needed help moving. Sweet!

I moved into a new apartment and a few weeks later I got online again through the TV web. Logging into my hotmail account I found a message from Dave. We messaged each other a couple times and then he asked me if I would like to go out sometime. I answered yes.

There was something on my mind. I didn't want to get into another unhealthy relationship. I didn't want to be hurt. I was confused at that stage in life and was learning about my new diagnosis. I decided to protect myself. I sent a message to Dave and explained my diagnosis and asked him to research it before deciding to take me out. He said he would and he followed through, asking me out. Intrigued but nervous, I agreed. I changed my mind a few times before the date though Dave was not aware. On the day my mother said to just go ahead with the date, have a meal and watch a movie just to get me out of the apartment as I was shutting myself in.

Just before 5pm on the 12th of February my date pulled up outside. There began the greatest romance of my life. We had a good date. We agreed to get together the following week, but the next day we were sending messages all day long. I knew I couldn't last the week as I had fallen hard and fast. We saw each other again on Valentine’s Day. Dave gave me a soft cuddly toy and a beautiful card in which he professed his love. I was over the moon.

From that day forward we were inseparable; a whirlwind relationship. We got pregnant within weeks and I was scared. I had wanted kids when I was younger but when I became ill had decided to pass on that phase of life. We had a boy.

My son was born four weeks early and suffered withdrawal from the medications I was on for bipolar. He came home the day after Christmas.

Dave and I married in 2005. We got married in Niagara Falls, Canada. We married on the Maid of the Mist boat, wearing blue jeans and t-shirts. Everything went perfectly.

It's been 8 years now since our first date. Dave has stood by me through everything when even my own mother turned her back on me: through tears, days in bed, through my self-harm phase, through my shaved head, through my one drinking binge. He keeps me out of hospital, he loves my endlessly. He knows more about bipolar then most professionals. He is amazing, truly amazing. He is my best friend, my lover and my carer.

Do I believe this could have worked out the same had I waited to tell him about my mental illness? No way. My honesty from the start saved me possibly losing the best thing to ever happen to me.


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