Loving Someone With Bipolar––When You Also Have Bipolar
A willingness to stand firm in the face of less-than-ideal circumstances is required of everyone involved in serious relationships.
It’s 11:30 p.m. on a Friday night. I have bipolar disorder and took my medication more than an hour ago. I’m angry, upset and can’t sleep! My partner, who is also diagnosed as bipolar, and I have just had a blowout argument. Unfortunately a bad day can frighten one who has bipolar into wondering if an impending mood episode is on the horizon . Everyone, bipolar or not, has off days. We just have the added stress of wondering if we’re spiraling upward or downward as well.
The word love is defined as a noun 1) an intense feeling of deep affection. As a verb it is defined as 2) feeling a deep romantic or sexual attraction to someone. When a person says that he/she loves someone , the implication is that a willingness to cope with/accept their partner’s problems and faults exists. For someone who’s already dealing with the symptoms of her own bipolar disorder, that is a very tall order.
What can I say? We’re madly in love! John* disclosed his bipolar diagnosis first. I was relieved. No more having to take my meds “on the sly.” Finally, an end to “faking it” on days that I would rather stay in bed and cower under the covers. Yes, I have those kind of days! Just about anyone who is afflicted with bipolar has had days like that. It seems like too much of an effort to get up, shower, eat, go to work or school, etc. On horrible days like that, it’s a blessing to be with someone who has been there. Your partner will, hopefully get you out of bed, on your feet and at least started on your day. But what if your partner feels just as bad? Will you, as a couple just lie there all day, wishing that you had the energy to at least get up and get going? Those are the kind of days that set your teeth on edge.
John*, my partner, is fifty years old. He’s a short, average looking guy, with beautiful, thick, salt and pepper wavy hair. His charm is undeniable and he’s great at “schmoozing” people. I was swept away by his upbeat, positive personality and aura. He’s a multimedia student, specializing in film making. His instructors and classmates just adore him and so do I. Most of
the time, at least. He’s been very good to me, in many ways.
Unfortunately he is, at times, paranoid, overly self-important, is a know-it-all and the list goes on, ad nauseum. As a bipolar woman, with a penchant for severe depression, I have to be careful regarding whom I allow to be close to me. Yesterday was our eight month anniversary.
I have three ex-husbands, one of whom had a mental health diagnosis. I divorced him because he was a liar, womanizer and a definite “Mama’s Boy.” His mental illness had little to do with it.
On the good days, John* and I joke around, sometimes saying “well, neither of us is crazy today! On the average days, only one of us is off kilter. Then, sadly on the really “down days,” each of us is barely hanging on! Fortunately, those days are few and far between.
It’s my belief that every woman, regardless of her state of mental health/illness, should date, be with or marry a man that she loves. It doesn’t matter that much if he’s “normal” or mentally ill. Love, compatibility and a willingness to maintain a loving relationship even in the face of less-than-ideal circumstances are required of all who’re involved in serious relationships.