The euphoria and obsessiveness we feel in the early throes of new love have a lot in common with symptoms of mania. How often have you found yourself wondering if your “true love” is really true? Do manic episodes often find you pursuing “the one”?
I was in the early throes of new love with my girlfriend in a relatively short period. I experienced euphoria, irritability, lots of sex, obsessiveness, and controlling behaviors, and wondered if these were manic-induced. Taking a step back, I listed the pros and cons of our relationship and discovered that it was a manic period. We had very few activities and characteristics in common and the relationship was ended.
-J.D., SHERWOOD PARK, AB
The feelings we get from a new romantic relationship are probably set into motion by the same mechanisms that create a manic high. In all likelihood this beginning infatuation will fade like a hypomanic feeling. When we can see a person’s true nature, warts and all, and still hold them in high esteem, then real love, the kind that lasts, could be the reality.
-Bill S., LOS GATOS, CA
Am I excited to be in love or in a mixed or manic episode? Ask the people closest to you to put in their two cents. And really give it some thought. There is an absolute high when beginning a new relationship, and ideally it is going both ways. If he or she is not as excited as you, step back and try to read the situation as if you were an outsider. These things have helped me tremendously in past relationships.
-E.C., VANCOUVER, WA
Love or mania … that’s a false dichotomy. The feeling of falling in love and the thoughts associated with that feeling are very similar to mild mania. “Is your true love really true?” is a question that everyone asks, whether they have problems with mania or not.
-N.G. via Facebook
To me, to “fall in love” is the worst thing that can happen, a sign my meds aren’t working. In hypomania, I become infatuated easily, leaving me open to rejection and misery. The difference between loving and being in love equals that between sanity and madness.
-K.L., RANCHO MIRAGE, CA
I frequently catch myself questioning my true feelings in seemingly “random” relationships. The correlation between a heartfelt emotion and the passions of mania very often become confused in my head. Luckily I have a beautiful 18-year-old daughter who reminds me of my frequent confusion between the two. I don’t always listen to her advice during a full mania, of course, but it is certainly helpful and very much appreciated! After all, I have yet to marry “Mr. Wrong”!
-Melanie, FULTON, OH
I might have been a lot of things while manic, but hopeless romantic I was not. I was on the hunt for something, but it would have been more like “the one night stand” than “the one.” Mania is anything but subtle with me. It was all about risk, adventure and rebellion.
-Katherine M., MARSHFIELD, MO
I have been into a mania kind of love in the past. It would take a little while before I knew it was mania, which has led to unpleasant consequences. At the moment I have an interest in someone who has also in his way let me know he would like to know me more, and I know this time it is not mania. And it feels great. -Name Withheld, MONTREAL, QC
When I fall in love, I am at risk for mania. Don’t we all get unraveled by love? Yes, my passion can escalate into more severe symptoms—but this doesn’t make the love any less true. It does create challenges in sustaining a healthy relationship, and this is without a doubt the hardest part of living with bipolar. -Dan B., NEW YORK, NY
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