Monday, 26 April 2010


Fella has an illness. It really is that simple; although it explains an awful lot. Why we've been having a difficult time recently, for example. I think it does him enormous credit to have realised his illness was getting so severe that he needed some help, and tomorrow morning that (I hope) is exactly what he will get.

The illness is disarmingly simple. There is an imbalance of chemicals inside Fella and that affects his mood and how he thinks from time to time. In the past this has required medication to control it; and it seems one of those times has rolled around again.

Fella hasn't always been up-front with me about his past and elements of his personal life. Hmmm... re-reading that I mean to write he has chosen not to reveal all to me as yet. Yes, that's better isn't it?

I really don't mind; it is none of my business – so long as I know how to do what is right for him and what will make him happy. So – and forgive me for straying into selfishness mode here gentle reader – I am experiencing various emotions at this new paradigm.

I think I'm a little bit in shock, to be honest. I don't really understand. That is, the technical and logistical; even the biological mechanisms are apparent to me now. But I am somewhat lost in unchartered territory. This isn't the shiny side of Strumpetville, and no mistake.

The primary feeling is a huge amount of guilt. Fella is and was ill, slowly getting worse and I can't help but feel that I contributed to it. A lot. So much so that this Sunday I raised the possibility that he and I should end our relationship if that is what is best for him. He insists, to no small relief on my part, that it is not. But at 11 months and 11 days I am confronted with the notion that I really don't know him. In many ways situations will occur that cause me to tap the brakes on our relationship and that is itself a good thing. But there's new and there's New!

Fella is a creative type; an artist; a passionate soul that feels the world deeply and one of the reasons he has avoided medication for so long is that when smoothing out the lows it smoothes out the highs; the good times aren't so good and it's not a compromise he's considered worthwhile. Have I driven him to it then? It's like some fucking Greek tragedy; to be the people that fell in love is perhaps to destroy that love – but to become someone else devalues it to the point of meaninglessness.

So what is for the best? There's a huge risk of angsty over-analysis of course. Fella, to me, is the living embodiment of Why; I work hard and wish to achieve something with my life and he is the reason for that, given form. So, perhaps it is for the best to say: bollocks to angsty worry about things. Hard work has never frightened me and Lord knows I consciously understand it needs a lot in any relationship. So, let's get to work shall we? After all, we should not discount the possibility that the help might help.


Nik_TheGreek said...

I’m sorry to hear about this news. I can understand why you are feeling guilty. I would probably have that reaction at first as well. However, rationally, I’d expect you’d be feeling disappointed as well. After all this time, Fella should have told you about this, for you to be prepared.
What about you? What about your health?

headbang8 said...

Just my opinion, Mike. But here it is.

His illness is not about you. Unless he is utterly incompetent to take care of himself--committable--then he must look after himself.

Not because of some Calvinist notion that one should take responsility for one's failings. But rather, that only he knows how he's feeling--whether it's appropriate to ask for help, and of whom it's appropriate to ask it.

It is an illness. He knew of it. He knows what he has to do to function with it. If you didn't know of it, then you couldn't possibly have avoided contributing to it. If, indeed, you did.

My guess is that you were just acting normal. If that "contributed", then it's not an act of reckless indifference or conscious cruelty on your part. It was just...well, being normal.

So you do yourself an injustice if you feel guilty about it.

If you want to end your relationship, don't do it because it's best for him. You have needs--and rights--in the relationship. He has the chemical imbalance, but there's no need for you both to suffer from the disease.

Look at it this way. Those who find themselves in caretaker roles--and when you talk about feeling guilty, or feeling partial responsibility for his worsening condition, that's the role you cast for yourself--must understand that the caretaker needs care, too. Especially since you've got a disease of your own to worry about, one recalls.

You often talk about "making him happy", and not just in this post. Alas, he has to make himself happy, and you have to make yourself happy, before you can contrbute to each other's happiness. It's a bit like putting on your own oxygen mask before you help others...

Happiness is your own independent responsibilty, each of you. You can help each other, or enrich each other's lives. But the baseline is being happy on your own.

You're right when you say it's none of your business, and that's a start. But much of what you write--and forgive me for saying so, it's just my opinion--sounds a little codependent.

It's not in the nature of 12-Step programmes to promote themselves. But I'd seriously suggest you check out a CODA meeting. You may be surprised at what you hear there.

But again, it's not my business to suggest it.

It's my sincere wishe that getting through your problems should make you both happier and stonger people.

I've seen, and faced, a few issues like this before. Drop me line if you'd like to chat.

Paul Brownsey said...

Maybe he feared you would dump him if he revealed these problems earlier on. There are some guys who would think it made them look a bit of a loser if their boyfriend had what is regarded as some sort of defect or mental health problem; would think it affected their own status adversely if their boyfriend were not conventionally tip-top in every respect.

So maybe you need to reassure him that these revelations make no difference...


MadeInScotland said...

Hi Mike - hope things are going well; it does sound like an awful lot of hard work to deal with, but such is the nature of love. At least it is settling to know what has been causing the various episodes. If it excuses them then that is really good news for the future!


Antony said...

Hello Mike,

We all have health problems at times. Mental health problems are more difficult as there's no physical symptoms. So if he initally missed the signs you cant be have expected to have seen them. Especially when you don't know the history.

Now remember my advice about 8-12 months in a relationship? Where your both your brains start to think: do I want to be with this person? do they make me happy? Can I agree and achieve shared goals? The rocky patch that comes as a result of these thoughts is difficult but you both just need to ride it out and keep communicating.

My love,

A xxx

GaySocrates said...

Great attitude!
My man got ill with depression and chronic fatigue syndrome a few years ago. I remember being confronted with what seemed the grim reality of a future supporting an invalid. Not what I'd dreamed of for happy ever after.
But up til then we'd had a blast and I reminded myself that grown up relationships are for richer,for poorer, in sickness and in health.
Illness is a crucible for relationships- and friendships. It helps to burn off all the useless crap and leaves behind pure molten gold.
The work involved can be hot and sticky at times but for me it has all been really worth it.
Good luck
And help often does help

Mike said...

Thanks for the advice all. I think dealing with it all will involve realising I'm allowed to have negative feelings or some uncertaintly without that reflecting badly on me or Fella. But also that the illness isn't about me, and in fact it is irrelevant - and reassuring Fella of that. The help has indeed helped!