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I’ve held off talking about my fiance because I couldn’t think of a good nickname for him. I really am that lame. In this place I will call him Koios. He’d probably like that.

We met online almost 7 years ago. We both had journals at one of the now-mostly-dead blogging websites that litter the internet through a community for a band that we both loved. I was 13 and Koios was 20. The age difference still makes us laugh; he jokes that I was either very mature or he was emotionally stunted for us to become such great friends despite being in different places in our lives. (And don’t worry, we didn’t actually start dating until I was 16. He’s not a total creep, I promise. It’s a bit weird, I know, but bear with me.) We started talking on the phone after a few months of chatting online, which led to talking for a few hours everyday, to talking for literally half of the day every single day of the week. He lived almost 3,000 miles away from me, but we knew each other better than anyone else in our lives. We told each other everything; about our what happened that day, what books we were reading, religion and politics, and memories and personal experiences. There was a rough patch in our friendship but not because of incompatibility. Our lives overtook both of us during the summer of ’05, but we came back to each other like nothing happened. After that summer we were completely inseparable, even though thousands of miles were between us.

He put up with my mania, talking his ear off without pause for hours and rambling on about plans to create an amazing art portfolio. He understood my utter silences at night, letting me be and not forcing me to talk. Some nights we wouldn’t say a single word for hours, but those nights weren’t as horrible as they would have been for me if I hadn’t been able to hear Koios’s breathing. We started reading books to each other over the phone. If I was manic, I’d read him a hundred pages and we’d discuss the plot and character developments, spiraling off into never-ending tangents. When I was having a down-night, he would read to me for hours from whatever novel he was sharing with me.If I was crying and I didn’t know why, sometimes he’d sing to me. If I was suicidal (and he could always tell somehow by the tone of my voice; he still can), Koios would beg me to just hold on until the next morning. Then he’d tell me stupid jokes or funny anecdotes about his life, or maybe ask me about something innocent and impartial until I was too tired to talk. He wouldn’t hang up or go to bed until he knew that I was about to fall asleep. He was–and still is– my nighttime guardian against the storms of my mind.

Koios had dropped out of college a few months before I met him but he is incredibly well-read in psychology. He should be a psychologist, seriously. He could decode an odd reaction of a RL friend of mine perfectly after hearing my explanation. He could read the psychological symbols of my dreams with literally frightening accuracy. After over 2 years of knowing me and my odd moods, Koios broached the topic of mental health after I said that I felt that there was something wrong with me. I knew that other people didn’t feel the way that I did, with wild moods that couldn’t be explained. He said “Yes, I think so too. I think your have a disorder, but I want you to go to a psychiatrist and see what they think.” Later he told me that he knew that I had bipolar, but he didn’t want to influence my opinion and fuck up my shrink’s assessment of me. I thought that I had bipolar too, but I didn’t want to admit it before I was diagnosed.

Koios helped me through my attempts to find a good shrink that understood me, and sympathized when I found another dud. He comforted me through my tears of frustration and desperation when a shrink told me that it was normal to feel suicidal every night and that I didn’t need her help. He suggested possible medications and helped me research them. He was the only thing that kept me going, even though I could only hear his voice. He convinced me that I wasn’t going to ruin his life simply by being in it, one of my biggest fears at the time. He wasn’t pushed away, despite my best efforts to “not be a burden” to him with harsh words and attempted emotional distance. He stayed by my side through everything, proving to me that I wouldn’t leave me when things got difficult to deal with. He proved that he loved me even with my depression and frightening hypomania by proposing to me on one of the most terrifying down-nights I have ever had, even though it was over the phone and not at the airport gate when I was flying to see him like he had planned.

He later moved out to where I lived to be with me and get away from his temptations to slip back into his drug addiction. I moved in with him on my 18th birthday and I never regretted it. We live in the easy comfort of an old married couple. We don’t have to speak to know what the other is feeling; body language tells us all we need to know.

Koios is the only reason I’m still here; the only reason I sought treatment for my bipolar and one of the main reasons I still take my medication. I don’t ever want to put him through the fear of losing me like he had to live with before, even though I know he would if I wanted to be off my meds.

We haven’t gone to the courthouse to get officially married because I would lose my parents’ health insurance, but we would tomorrow if I could. Our marriage is another thing that has to wait, thanks to bipolar. My yearly medication costs would surpass my annual income without insurance. Either way, the love is there. The marriage would just be a show for what we already have.

I’m so incredibly lucky to have someone like Koios in my life. I know many people with mental illnesses don’t have the luxury of someone like him in their lives. I try to appreciate what I have everyday, even though my life isn’t perfect. He’s made it so much more than what it would have been without him.

-Ashes

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