Tina G. was raised a farm girl near Columbus, ND.  She spent many summer weekends at our lake cabin at White Bear Lake  Saskatchewan Canada.  She has loved the outdoors all her life.  She received a B.S. in Criminal Justice/Business Admin. She never cared much for indoor work so she spent about 20 years working with golf course landscaping.   During this time she raised 3 kids,  a daughter and 2 sons with their Dad.  They later divorced.   She then met Tim and he has a daughter.   They celebrated 12 years of marriage this year.   During that time all 4 of their kids graduated high school, their daughters have both married and they now have 2 granddaughters and are expecting a grandson in March!  They have 3 dogs that are theirs together!  

Tina was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 1 and borderline personality disorder at the age of 33.  However, she feels she had the symptoms as young as as her early teens.  She has been on disability since age 46. She does work part-time in retail.  

There’s something I should tell you. I’m bipolar. You said ok. You weren’t scared. You didn’t question it. I said I’m hard to love. You said no you aren’t. I said I hate myself more than I hate people. You said that’s ok. I hate people too and I love you enough for both of us. I said I have chronic suicidal thoughts. You asked why? I said because of my illness it’s part of my illness! I said so I’m pretty sure that’s how I’m going to die just don’t blame yourself. It’s nobody’s fault. It’s the illness. I’m sick. You asked what you can do to help. I said don’t egg me on when I’m pissed. Don’t scream back. Don’t give me a reason to freak out. You asked again what can I DO to help? I said there is one rule for you and the kids…. You can ask me if I’ve taken my meds and I CAN’T get mad. (You’ve asked me, you have brought them to me, you have driven me to the pharmacy if I’m out.) One other thing you can do and the kids do is tell me to take a nap. Sometimes I just need a nap. I’m like a toddler that way. You said ok. 

I said I can’t handle a checkbook. I can’t handle money. You say ok. You handle the money but we are married and my name is on the accounts. My brain can’t decipher real cash to digital banking. It’s fine for awhile and then I impulsively take money that should be for bills. My mind can’t make that connection. I constantly scramble trying to make up for my mistakes. I say I always have a plan. Trust me. You have learned those are famous words of my illness talking. I’m so sorry is all I ever say. I think I expect you to leave me after every episode and yet you don’t. I tell you to leave as I will destroy you. You said money doesn’t matter. We can live on less. We will be ok. 

I don’t like to cook much I don’t like to clean I get distracted when I try to do any projects. You have noticed this. You compliment me when I get a load of laundry done, make a meal or clean the kitchen. You compliment me because even though you don’t live inside my brain you SEE the limitations it puts on me. 

I have brought in 2 more dogs since we’ve been together. You grudgingly allowed them but your heart is full of love for them now. You have witnessed how therapeutic they are for both of us. I love you for that. They love you. 

I advocate for people with disabilities and I have strong principles in other things. You never question my motives and you are first and foremost to protect me when others have hurt me. If I’m unreasonable you explain to me why I am. You don’t get angry. 

You come with me to watch the grandkids or help when they are at our house. One night one of them got the stomach flu and I had to clean them up and cuddle, clean up and cuddle. We got in the truck to go home and you said good job grandma. I said huh? You said you handled that like a trooper! I said thanks. I thought about it and realized you never saw me when my kids were real little. It was special that you noticed. 

I have asked you many times why you stay. You said because you love me. We laugh every day. You said what would I do without you?

Every heart has a hero. You are my heart’s hero Tim. I love you.