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When Do You Tell Someone You're Interested In That You Have Bipolar Disorder?

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When do you tell someone you’re interested in that you have bipolar disorder? Is it on the first date? Is it a couple of dates in? Is it once you’ve put a label on things? The idea alone scares me. Do I allow them to fall in love with me before telling them such an important part of me? Do I pull the bandaid off right away and hope they can jump over that hurdle?

• What is Bipolar disorder?

For me, it’s the thought of instant judgment and rejection. The pity and shock on their face. A sense that I’ve caused them distress, because of such a topic I brought up. Believe me, it’s an intimidating conversation for both of us. It is something I play over and over again in my head before we are even close to having that talk.

My brain tells me people think it’s an immediate turnoff. That people will run once that matter is brought up. It’s a scary subject when they know nothing about it and the media has stigmatized this illness and almost every illness out there.

I’m overly dramatic and put pressure and a serious tone to situations that should be everyday and “normal” conversations. I overthink, eating away at myself and my thoughts. Coming to the worst conclusions and embracing them as if they’re a reality, sometimes even believing it’s become real and what’s true. These sorts of conversations are the toughest for me because of all those aspects. Especially since disorders like this aren’t often romanticized.

What do you do? I’ve learned the best thing you can do is:

  • Try and explain what this illness is and how it specifically affects you.
  • Tell them as soon as you feel comfortable, but sooner rather than later.
  • Help them do some research on it. (If they are willing.)
  • Comfort them out of the horrifying thought of what movies and media make it out to be.
  • Wish and hope for the best.

My hopes and dreams are they’ll be accepting and with arms wide open. That they would be willing to fight this battle with me. Helping celebrate my small victories and just being there when all I need is support. If they liked me for me, then to them this would just be an extra flavor to the delicious meal they’ve ordered.

In the end, you have to take that leap of faith and hope for the best, even if it’s scary. Be upfront and honest about what you bring to the table. It might be the best decision you’ve ever made that has to do with your mental health and starting new relationships.

For tips on dating someone who has bipolar disorder, click here.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Originally published: March 8, 2021
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