In 1995 I said to my soul mate ‘Till death do us part’- little did I know that 10 years later I would find myself sitting next to Rachael watching her soul drift away right before my eyes. I just couldn’t believe that I was losing her after such a short time together.
I remember how I felt the first time I saw Rachael across the crowded dance floor at a local nightclub. It was like you see in all those films where everything slows down and a cheesy love song fills the room. It’s truly a magical moment. Within 2 years we had joined as one and were inseparable. Time flew over the next 5 years and in 1999 our son was born.
Rach was an amazing mother who devoted herself to raising our boy so that he could be the spirited and passionate young man he is today. But something wasn’t quite right.
Like a coin, Rach had two sides. The energetic and eccentric side that most people saw. In stark contrast was her dark and depressive side that only I got to experience.
The public Rachael was a positive influence on people, always seeing the good in things. She was someone everyone felt comfortable around and was the belle of the ball. She was the woman I fell in love with and who I believe was my soul mate.
But on the flipside, in the safety of our home she was a total mess, dying a little more every day.
Little did we know that Rachael had Bipolar and once diagnosed changed our lives forever.
Bipolar Disorder is characterised by two states – Manic and Depressive.
A Manic episode is typically characterised by risk taking, poor decision making and boundless amounts of energy. During one Manic episode Rach spent $40k within 3 months with not a thing to show for it except a half a front fence (this was across only a small portion of a 3-acre property, the rest remained unfenced). She invested in and opened a retail shop, with no previous experience in this industry, located in an industrial estate.
Following shortly thereafter was the great depression of 2005. She had retreated from her public life where she was revered by all who met her as an amazing soul, to a comatose zombie devoid of all life. A good day for Rachael was a day in which she could wash her hair followed by a day on the couch staring lifelessly at the TV. Good days were few and far between.
It was towards the end of the 3rd straight month of the great depression, that I remember looking into her beautiful blue eyes and seeing nothing. You see what I remembered most about Rachael the first time I looked into her eyes was her amazing zest for life, a beautiful person and my soul mate. What I was seeing now was an empty vessel, her life drifting away being filled with nothing but pain and anguish. I was losing her right before my very eyes. I felt helpless and to be brutally honest I just wanted her pain to stop and I would have done almost anything to make it happen.
As time moved on and with all the support from our mental health team, Rach started to claw her way out. She stated to engage with me and with life and within a few months she was able to interact with the outside world. My wife was coming back to life and I could now see her beautiful blue eyes once more.
The amazing thing about this experience was not my resilience or the way I saw it through. It was the strength of Rach to fight back. Each day she clawed her way out of the darkest depths on her hands and knees. She crawled and clawed until she was strong enough to stand. She fought a fight that I could never fight.
Rachael is the strongest person I know. She is constantly working hard on fighting this disease and holding the black dog at bay. Every day is another round for her and she is always up for the fight.
Most importantly she is my inspiration, my rock and my best friend. When times are tough for me I look to her strength for inspiration. I look to her commitment to us and know that there is nothing that can stop us.
We made a promise to love each other till death do us part – it’s not that time yet.