Bipolar Choices

'bipolar-symptoms-in-children' photo (c) 2013, Life Mental Health - license: brother is 51 years old and got married for the first time last weekend. His wedding gave me the opportunity to reflect on our bipolar life choices: his decision for a traditional marriage late in life and my decision for a divorce that allowed me to embark on a journey of alternative healing and personal growth.

My brother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder while I was in high school. Although his behavior disrupted my life and we didn’t keep in touch much as adults, he asked me to play the role of the “best man” in his wedding. As I wrote a wedding speech, I thought about the many options we have to view and describe our past. I could have written about the difficulties of having a bipolar brother, but that doesn’t belong in a wedding speech. Instead I pulled up some of the pleasant memories of my childhood as I wished him well on his journey and commented on the exceptional nature of a woman who could take on the challenge of interacting with my brother.

Surrounded by married families at the wedding, it was hard not to question my decision to divorce. My brother has just married a woman who cares enough for him to marry him despite his challenges. I consider myself a very caring person, and I cared for my ex-husband, but I still chose to end my marriage. Because it doesn’t seem to me that their marriage will be any better than mine, I keep finding myself comparing and judging our choices.

What choices are you making about relationships? Do you accept your choices or judge them? If you are judging them, you have been given the gift of a belief to uncover and release about how your life “should” be. You can choose to focus on the negative aspects of your life or the positive. You can choose to focus on the choices you didn’t make or the choices you did. You can choose to focus on the perfection or the imperfection of being in relationship or being alone.

I am a different person than my brother and my choice is just as valid as his. I was given the gift of marriage at 24 and the gift of divorce at 38. My brother has been given the gift of exploring marriage at 51. My choice, his choice, and his wife’s choice are perfect. So is yours – even if it is different from anyone else’s.