Stigma Fighters : Rey Burgess

Living with a Spouse with Borderline Personality Disorder

Late night. Full mind. Emptier bed, but not totally.
She sleeps peacefully, finally. After the repeated questions,
“When is mommy coming home?”
“Soon,” I reply. “In a few days. Don’t worry.”
I worry. I’m always worried. Full mind. Emptier bed.
Hard to decipher the feelings. Anger, disappointment, loneliness.
It melts away. This isn’t about me. I cannot be that self absorbed.
She fights the long fight. A never ending battle within herself. A battle to survive…herself. Many don’t understand what that means. It took me a long time to understand it.
The quickness to anger, the feelings of inadequate importance. The yearning for the touch, yet pulling away at the same time. I knew her story, but did I understand it fully?
I’d blame myself, as many others do in their own experiences. An outsider peering into the soul of one so close, yet so far. Maybe the stupid decisions I had made, but it was deeper than that. It always is. Deeper than just a surface level issue.
Back in the hospital. Our son understood, but did he? Another week or two without mom. Numb feelings and voiceless worry. Calls from those who did not get it. Who thought they could swoop in like Superman with all the answers. I thought I was Superman once. I gave up my cape. I’m not a hero, but I can protect and support.
If it was just as easy as, “getting over it.” Can’t you? Why can’t she?
If you need to ask that, you don’t understand it yet. You don’t understand the disease.
Full mind. Emptier bed. Sometimes thoughtless actions to fill the time until she returns. It’s almost as challenging as her not knowing how or why another incident occurred. The loneliness is hard, but it is harder for her. Another stay with strangers of similar experiences. It isn’t home. Not the place to stay.
Visiting hours suck. Children all but forgotten. Special permission needed. Stable condition. Hope for a change, a different approach. Stern voices and serious faces.
Late night. Full mind. Emptier bed. Our daughter stirs.
“When’s mommy coming home?”
“Soon baby girl. Soon.”
No questions about why or how. Why can’t she just be happy!!
If you ask that, you don’t understand.

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I am a former elementary school teacher living near Atlanta, Georgia with my wife and two children. My wife has battled depression for a large portion of her life. I knew that going in, and I have supported her through her battle of Borderline Personality Disorder. I will continue to support her, and hope that others, in the support role, can learn from my piece.

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  • Jessica Robinson

    Amazing piece. Thank you for sharing.

  • H.M. Jones

    This is beautiful and heart breaking and real. Many virtual hugs to you both.

  • Tony Spagnoli

    I recognize this. Thanks.