At age 35 I found someone who was more afraid of closeness than I was. I understood him almost from day one. This understanding came out of years of therapy that followed my breakdown at age 28. Before the breakdown, I didn’t know that I was depressed. Before the breakdown, I didn’t know that my failed relationships were due to my fear of closeness. Before the breakdown, I didn’t know I was Bipolar. I learned a lot of things in therapy that helped to change the direction of my life.
And then one day Thomas walked into the library where I had been working for 10 years. He got a job as a library assistant. He was a graduate student and wanted to work part-time. I took the first steps towards asking him out because it was obvious he never would. I had learned a thing or two after a stint at being gay. We bumbled our way into a relationship and, after 4 years, into marriage. We didn’t know that either one of us had Asperger’s Syndrome, a neurodevelopmental disorder on the Autism Spectrum, until much, much later. We just thought we were very, very shy.
After some 23 years of marriage we are still shy with each other. Our instincts are still to run away from closeness, but now we are able to override the first gut feeling. We have grown together, becoming very, very close. So close that now my biggest fear is of losing Thomas. So close that sometimes we communicate without talking, as if we are on the same radio frequency. In fact talking often confuses things.
We have pushed each other along life’s path. Tom became a clinical social worker and I became a writer and artist. The road has been bumpy in spots. My being Bipolar has been hard for Tom at times. Many times. But there have been many more moments of joy that make it all worthwhile. We both feel the other is the best thing that happened to us, and the journey continues. New lessons are learned. There are still new magical moments and new epiphanies.
It is 3A.M. I lay beside Thomas in bed listening to his breathing as I watch a silent light show outside our bedroom windows. This is not a 3A.M. awakening born of despair as some are. At the moment I feel the Presence and that Presence fills me with love.
The moonlight beckons to me, and I respond by getting up and gazing at the twinkling stars and the hushed light of flickering fireflies. In the quiet stillness of a country night I am stirred by the music of the silence. My ears hum, the sound of the nervous system according to my husband.
The cool air is intoxicating. I go to the den to write and sit in a moonlit cathedral, watching the seemingly random flashing flames of fireflies flying in a frenzy of love. The madness of desire. Well do I know how love possesses one’s spirit and makes one fly through life, manic with emotion.
Yet sometimes, beneath the energy that stirs one’s blood, lies a silent union—a momentary glimpse of eternity in a loved-locked gaze into the eyes of one’s beloved. It is fleeting, at least for me. Gone in a flash, and yet it leaves me wondering just whom I am seeing. The inner voice says that God has touched my soul through Thomas, for the best of human love is merely a sampling of the Divine. Eye contact, so problematic for both my husband and me, is wondrous in this context. For a second, eternity beckons like the moonlight, whispering of another life, another world, something beyond the here and now.
(Click http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/ellen-stockdale-wolfe.html for information on, and to purchase my Bipolar/Asperger’s memoir.)