August 16th, 2012 by louise50
I’m a 50 year old, post menopausal woman with Bipolar disorder who’s been on disability for twenty years. My partner has a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, is an ex-crack user and spent ten years of his life in a forensic mental health ward because of a street robbery he took part in when he was on crack. He remains on a Home Office Section of the Mental Health Act even now, which means he HAS to comply with treatment and consult his ‘team’ if he wants to go abroad etc. He did the whole rehab thing in a day programme while he was still in the hospital. That properly set him on the road to recovery from his serious drug addiction issues.
I’ve known M for about seventeen years. I first met him in a hospital ward, back in the days of mixed wards (they’re all single sex now). I was pregnant with my son at the time, though I was still unaware of it (most other people knew!)
We ran across each other from time to time over the next fifteen years. He was going out with an acquaintance of mine and had a child with her. Then they broke up. He would disappear off the scene for long periods. Then we’d run into each other again and I would flirt with him a bit and he would turn on the charm. Either that or he genuinely liked me. I didn’t, on paper, have much to offer any guy, but then again, he wasn’t the world’s most eligible bachelor either. In and out of hospital. A heavy crack user. Criminal record. Etc. We spent two weeks hanging together at my house and running after crack at one stage. I noticed even with all his addiction that he was easy to be around. We were good friends but nothing more. I felt somehow safe. Ironic in the circumstances.
Then I met him again. He took me to his art studio and showed me his artwork. He talked about rehab and recovery. He was out of hospital now and living in a supported house. He came on to me a little bit, but I was still wary. We swopped phone numbers though, and I went away thinking I had witnessed a true story of redemption.
Then I got a phone call from him asking me to loan him a tenner. I remember arguing with him at some length about why he was asking me, etc. This from someone who has frequently given away large sums of money to ‘n’er do wells’, when I’ve been psychotic. I remember telling him ‘You’re asking the wrong person, M’.
The next day for some reason I had a mini moodswing. It isn’t the first time I’ve had a temporary ‘high’, a little blip, that has resulted in life-changing circumstances. The first time it happened, my son was conceived. This time my temporary high persuaded me that I should go round and see M and give him what he’d asked for.
When I arrived at his place I was immediately impressed by how palatial the house was. A million and a half pounds worth, and in one of my favourite areas, Palmer’s Green. Next thing that struck me was that M had a very attractive young blonde girlfriend. As we were only friends, that wasn’t a biggie for me. But that, together with the beautiful house with a gorgeous garden where the three of us sat out and smoked, kind of impressed me. I started noticing M’s possibilities a bit more.
When I handed him the tenner he said ‘Oh, give me twenty Zoe’ and I immediately did. That’s classic M, and classic Zoe. He’s a piss-taker as we say in England, and I have a soft spot for people who push their luck! A few days later he called me to meet up with me at Finsbury Park for him to give me my money back, which he duly did. He was down in the mouth because he’d just discovered that his young blonde girlfriend had cheated on him!
That visit, and the paying back of the money planted a definite seed in my mind that M was way more eligible now than he’d been ‘back in the day’ when we were chasing crack together. He had a wild, untamed quality, and also has dashing, handsome dark looks. He’s mixed race, half Jamaican, is tall and elegant looking and very charming. You could tell he looked after himself, unlike so many guys with mental health problems, who tend to self-neglect to some degree.
A couple of months later I was becoming psychotic, having faced bullying in a workplace, the loss of a best female friend in extremely upsetting circumstances, and the end of a 12-year relationship with my ex. All that stress had to find an outlet somehow, and I ‘escaped’ into my alternative reality.
When my other friends were largely leaving me to get on with it, I called M. He came running. We hung out. Met in a cafe every day. It was just after Christmas and there was snow on the ground. M feels the cold A LOT and I remember one time he didn’t come to meet me because it was ‘too cold’ out. We’d chill at my place playing music. Getting to know each other. I just loved the fact that I had someone to spend time with when I wasn’t altogether in my right mind and had been rejected by certain others as being ‘too ill’. We remained friends at first, both feeling comfortable in the other’s company, then intimacy followed and we fell in love.
The rest is history. We’re still happy 20 months later. What looked ‘a bit shit’ on paper has turned out to be wonderful beyond all my imaginings. He now lives with me effectively, though he still has his own place to go back to. He does almost everything around the house, he also cooks, drives me around, is redecorating my house, lavishes affection on me, mows the lawn, digs the garden, you name it! In return I help to subsidise his marijuana smoking. Well, no one’s perfect! He’s a kind of Rasta with dreadlocks and a love of Roots Reggae, but his taste in music is very eclectic. He’s introduced me to so much.
Why am I posting a love story on a suicide website I hear you ask? Well some might say it’s too ‘random’, but I think it’s justified because it is a story of hope and recovery from suicidal depression. I’ve found true love comparatively late in life, and it was a helluva long wait, but to young people on this site (almost everyone’s young compared to me!) I would just say if you don’t hang around you may never get a chance to meet the soulmate who really puts the ‘living’ back into your life. And just to add – it may not be the person who you’re expecting!
Love you guys. Zoe x