Dating Through the Unpredictability of Bipolar Disorder
Dating with bipolar disorder isn’t an easy task. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, patience and listening. Whether it’s you or your partner that has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, it takes both of you to overcome any hurdles that arise within your relationship. It is important for you both to be educated on what it means to be bipolar — including what the manic stage looks like compared to the depressive stage.
Bipolar depression can consist of irritability, low energy, negative thoughts, lack of motivation, no interest and large amounts of sleep and solitude — and the manic phase can be just as difficult. The erratic and risky behavior, high levels of energy, extreme stress, rash decisions, euphoric feelings and odd sleep patterns can be damaging. The drastic change in moods, mood swings, anger and fits of rage can be draining at points and feel like things are going in circles.
Symptoms can be subtle just as much as they can be prominent.
They can be unwarranted and unprecedented. They can range in all forms.
Symptoms should be conquered and not define who you are or the relationship you are in.
Being bipolar can put a strain on any relationship. Relationships are hard enough as it is to maintain, but adding mental illness to the mix is a different story. Just like any other relationship it is important to have stability, understanding and trust.
Sometimes fights are unavoidable, and I’m still learning that it’s not the fights that matter — but how the problem was overcome. Communication is key even when it’s hard, uncomfortable and the last thing you want to do. It is important to relay what you’re feeling and thinking since bipolar disorder is so unpredictable and things are constantly changing and shifting. For a long time, it was hard for me to talk about my hardest days — I really just needed someone to help me overcome difficult daily tasks and certain obstacles that people without bipolar would consider easy.
Sometimes it feels like not a lot of people truly know who I am. Date someone you can be 100% yourself around and allow them to have both the good and the bad. When you look at your significant other you need to be able to see them as your partner-in-crime, someone who will be there through thick or thin, the positive and the negative.
It is important to remember it takes two to tango, so put in as much effort as you would want someone to put into you. Remind each other of what makes you happy. Remember why you started this journey together in the first place. Never give up on yourself and never give up on your significant other. Find someone who will give you space when you need it and comfort when it is appropriate. Find someone who, even though things might not always go right, is willing to try and continue to fight for the relationship. Overcoming challenges makes the relationship stronger.
When you get into your head about certain scenarios, it’s important to have someone who can ground you and be your rock, your strength, a support system, security and voice of reason. Each new day it is another chance to prove your relationship is worth the fight and difficulties. Whether or not you have a mental illness, just remember you are deserving of love. It is up to you to beat the stigma and negative association with dating and mental illness.
Getty image via MissTuni