What People Get Wrong About Dating With Bipolar or Borderline Personality Disorder
I have rapid cycling type II bipolar disorder.
I experience hypomanic episodes at least every two months. I find myself energized, adding to my already substantial list of responsibilities and running circles around my co-workers. In addition to that, I find myself overwhelmed, annoying my family and exhausted after a simple eight-hour shift.
My girlfriend has borderline personality disorder (BPD).
She finds herself plagued with memories, anxiety and intense emotional reactions to seemingly innocuous daily events. I emphasize “seemingly” because although it may not seem like an important event to someone else, and she finds herself reacting in a way she cannot control. She has trouble believing me when I say certain things and her brain tells her I lie, but she works hard to have a voice against her own inner demons.
I’ve seen many negative things said about the difficulties of dating a person with bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder. These things have made me feel like I was unable to be loved. They made me feel like my relationship was doomed to fail. Other people’s negative experiences made me feel like I would experience the same fate no matter how much effort I put into myself or into my relationship.
But as time went on, I learned the difficult realities are indeed true, but maybe the others just didn’t have what it took to work through them. They didn’t have the understanding or the dedication to themselves or another person, let alone another person who is just as ill as you are.
When I am having an episode, it’s easy to shut her out and say I need to be the priority in both of our lives, but her feelings are just as important as mine, especially when we are both in the midst of an episode. In the same manner, she is conscientious of my moods and feelings no matter her own state of mind. And even if we find ourselves engaging in attitudes that are harmful towards the other then we are quick to realize it, apologize and talk about it.
The level of communication I have in this relationship is something I’ve never experienced in my life. I find it absolutely amazing that this open, communicative and loving relationship is had by two people who are stigmatized to be unlovable and damaging.
There is hope if you’re willing to put in the work.
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