Bipolar disorder doesn’t have to be a ‘negative’ in a relationship. It may instead offer profound and meaningful breakthroughs for both partners.
There are numerous articles that point to partners who have bipolar disorder as having tendencies toward infidelity, or anger outbursts, but readers need to realize that not every person with bipolar disorder will fit this negative stereotypical mold. There will actually be many more who do not. There will of course be specific issues that come up because of bipolar disorder in many relationships, but they may be a lot less dramatic and extensively worrisome. Having a bipolar partner may actually mean that you have someone wonderful who experiences extremes in empathy, sensitivity, and deep ever-lasting love.
The effects of depression in my relationship
When I found the love of my life last year, I concluded that all would be well and understood when it came to my bipolar disorder. Recently, my boyfriend told me that my depressive episodesnegatively affect him, and he often feels like sleeping alongside me during some of my daytime 4-hour naps. Initially, it hurt me tremendously that he conveyed this truth, but I considered such sharing as necessary for growth and learning from our relationship. Communication is always key in all loving relationships, even if the truth is difficult to digest at times. I explained that I cannot erase my depression, and I am not one to pretend that I am ‘OK’ when I am miserable. I now tend to invest more energy outside of afternoon naps and into other more productive activities. It is never my intention to make anyone feel anything other than fabulous, but there will always be days that will deplete me extensively and all I can do is my best. He understands and supports me, and it feels good to know how he truly feels and our relationship is not shrouded in shallowness. When your mood negatively affects your partner it is important to understand that you do have some control to change it, but it is okay if you are not always successful. There have been too many times in my life where I have given into depression, and it felt impossible to see anything but my bedding covering my face. Currently, I have someone special who encourages me to let go of the defensiveness and understand that I am not alone in my moods. He is willing to sit there and mope with me if I really wanted, but instead he pulls me up by reminding me how capable and strong I am.
The benefits of having a partner with bipolar
I never thought I would be a blessing to someone as it always felt like I was burdensome, but that is no longer the case. I have been told that I am admired for my creativitythat most probably stems from the way my brain is wired, and such a trait is profound to the vitality of life in his opinion. A person with bipolar will sometimes soar into lighter elevated mood states where the person is absolutely ‘not’ out of control, but they are fun, open, happy and magnetic to be around. This is often who they are as a person and it is not just a reflection of their ‘illness’ and their smile exudes a tender empathy that only they can offer. I am assured that through my depressions, anxieties, manias, and attempts to take my own life, that I am able to embrace and truly understand the challenges that people face, especially those of the people I love.
“I am very patient, loving and truly accepting, and I feel that my experiences due to bipolar disorder have cultivated these particular qualities in my heart. I feel things so intensely, and I never want anyone to feel the way I have and I will always work to create happiness and hope in others.”
Bipolar disorder is not necessarily a detriment
in a partnership, and every relationship has their flaws regardless of their
situation. Looking within to embrace self-love is always the first step and the
gifts of bipolar disorder are always in the person who has it, so embrace your
situation with acceptance. When you accept your bipolar disorder, then truly you
accept yourself. Many relationships will take you on numerous paths that you
have never anticipated, but they will often contain the most valuable learnings
to remind us that overcoming our challenges is what makes life worth living.
Andrea Paquette is founder and Executive Director of the Stigma-Free Society, formerly the Bipolar Disorder Society of BC, and she is also known as the Bipolar Babe. She is a mental health speaker, published author, advocate and above all a Stigma Stomper. She created the Bipolar Babe Project in May 2009. Andrea has reached over thousands with her message of hope and resiliency in schools, workplaces, and throughout various community organizations and events. Her Bipolar Babe persona has reached great heights locally and internationally as she is a 2016 Bell Let's Talk Face for the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH). Andrea is the B.C. Provincial 2015 Courage To Come Back Recipient in the Mental Health category, the winner of Victoria’s 2013 CFAX Mel Cooper Citizen of the Year Award and the 2013 Winner for Mental Health Mentorship given by the National Council for Behavioral Health, Washington, D.C. Andrea has also received the prestigious Top 20 Under 40 Award for Vancouver Island's Business and Community Awards.
She is grateful for having the opportunity to share her personal message that “No matter what our challenges, we can all live extraordinary lives.”
Feel free to visit her website:
Bipolar Babe. Connect with Andrea on Twitter @Bipolar__Babe and Instagram @bipolarbabe
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