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To My Boyfriend, Here's How to Love Me on the Roller Coaster of Bipolar Disorder

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Dear boyfriend,

The last thing I want to do is scare you away and the next thing I want to do is bring you closer. I want to tell you about an important part of myself I think makes me unique. I have what you call bipolar I disorder. It consists of two stages: mania and depression.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

For me, mania is when I have all the energy a human could ever possibly have mixed with extra strength and confidence. I want to paint the whole house, bike 50 miles and read 11 books in one day. I want to have sex constantly, change my hair color and buy a new car. It is basically the excited part of me with poor judgment.

For me, depression is when I feel very low emotionally and physically. Walking up a flight of stairs makes me want to nap for a year, watching any movie will make me cry and I just want to be alone in a dark room. In extreme situations, I have urges to self-harm or thoughts of suicide.

Here is the fantastic thing: My medication keeps me on the straight and narrow. If I am taking my meds and sleeping a normal number of hours, then I am good to go — level and stable. However, like any human being, I will still have high days and low days. Here is how you can help.

1. Love me where I’m at.

If I am happy, join me at the party. If I’m sad, join me on the couch. A hug will do when I want to cry and a fist pump is best when I feel like I’m in the sky. You rock.

2. Encourage me rather than force me.

The cool thing about having bipolar I for me is I know myself pretty well. I am very in tune with my body and my emotions — usually. If I am down and don’t want to go out, please don’t force me. If I am sad and just want to sleep, please let me. Thanks, babe.

3. Help me develop some perspective.

Though I need encouragement, sometimes I also need a loving reality check. Sometimes, either high or low, I think of an idea that is absolutely brilliant — or so I believe. That idea may be to sleep for a week or not sleep for a week. Sometimes I need help understanding the pros and cons list, because apparently what I had down, favored what I actually wanted. I welcome feedback, especially from someone I love and trust. That’s you!

4. Remind me to eat.  

Eating anything is hard for me when I am up or down. If I’m up, I’m too busy saving the world; if I’m down, I have no appetite. God only knows how important food is and I need that love, encouragement and perspective to get me pointed in the right direction. Can you be the one?

That’s it, those four things. I am simple in nature and complicated at heart. I just need a gentle hug and a little reminder here and there. Together, we can soar. I love you dearly. Thanks for being on this roller coaster with me. I wouldn’t want to hoot and holler with anyone else.



Unsplash image by freestocks

Originally published: February 12, 2020
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