A few days ago I was thinking about all we (my husband and I) have to do in our lives to take care of my illness.
It is a big deal to travel, because I am always worried about my medication. What if someone steals my purse? What if I lose the container? I am always so careful to pack my medication in two places, carry it on the plane, keep some with me, and leave the rest in the hotel room, and bring at least three days of extra pills in case we miss our flight or something.
Every day I have to take my morning pills with food and my evening pills with food. The doctor said that I should take them with at least three hundred calories. So, when we travel somewhere I need to eat as soon as I wake up. We have to consider this when making our reservations. At night, we have to eat at approximately six o’clock. My husband’s family likes to eat very late, and when they go out with us, which is frequently, everyone has to eat early, because of me.
Then there are the panic attacks, and the paranoia, and the other daily symptoms. There are the times I get overwhelmed in a crowd and need to go home. There are the times, and they are many, that I cancel plans, because I just can’t keep my mind stable.
Thinking about all of these things while curled up next to my husband in bed I asked, “Do you feel like you have to sacrifice too much to be with me?’
He said, “I don’t feel like I have to sacrifice anything. I have to compromise. I would have to compromise no matter who I married, and everyone has something. I could be with someone with diabetes. I could be with someone with cancer. I could be with someone who has different spending habits than me. No matter who I am with, there are going to be compromises. With us, it is your illness.”
I never imagined his answer would be anything like that. I thought he would say something like, “The sacrifices are worth it.” But, to not even consider my illness a sacrifice, to downgrade it to a compromise, I was stunned.
I have known for nearly two decades that I am loved and cherished, and it has been the biggest gift in all my life. These past seventeen years have been the best in my life, despite my illness. Now I know. It’s not a sacrifice.
It’s not a sacrifice.
The magnitude of that simple sentence gets all the way through my chest and wraps itself around my heart.
I wish everyone, especially those with a mental illness, could find someone willing to compromise, it is one of the best treatments in the world.