Bipolar Love

QUESTION:

First off, I am an individual who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I was misdiagnosed for a long time and had a toxic relationship I was part of the entire time until I got diagnosed correctly. Then I was able to get on the right meds and I was then well enough to see what a terrible person he was to be in a relationship with. And he was an even worse choice for someone like me with bipolar disorder to be with. So, I have stayed out of relationships for a while. But I finally met a wonderful guy at church. He had just moved here from Chicago and was new at our church. We hit off and got very close quickly. My friends said we seemed as if we had been together for years, but we had only been together for a couple months. We had a lot of the same values, were both very much family people, had great conversations and also had a very strong physical attraction. One night, we had a disagreement about where our relationship was headed. I wanted to be more than just ‘talking’ but he wanted to take things slow. And then 2 weeks later after things were good for a while, he abruptly broke things off. We went back and forth for a week. Then one day I just snapped and had an episode. I said some of the deepest thoughts I had never ever revealed to anyone about the deep pain I had. I am a very open person so for me to hold something that deep meant it was very significant. He was so afraid for me and upset that I could be so negative about myself. The next morning we were talking again and I revealed to him that I was bipolar. I explained the night before was just an episode that was triggered by lack of sleep and stress from work that was built up over the last 6 months. He’s not sure what to do and wants to be there. He just never wants to see me in so much pain because of anything related to him. How do I have a normal relationship? What can we do to make this better? Do we have hope?

ARIANA:

First of all, I know I’m no expert on the matter of mental illness. I, well as the rest of the STD team, are supporters in active education on and effective treatment of mental illness. Your local hospital should be able to direct you to a unit where you can get more help. That said, there are some things we do know and that is that people with mood disorders need love just as much as those without. It just takes more work on both parties to make a relationship work when one person suffers from a mood disorder. You did the right thing by letting the guy know. If you are thinking about and discussing with someone the possibility of a relationship, you should be up front to let him know what he is stepping into. Then he can decide for himself if it’s something he can handle. And I know it’s hard but you have to try and not take it offensively or personally. Most people are not equipped with the patience and understanding is required. That’s nobody’s fault, that’s just the way it is. With that said, there is hope. You may have found a man who will be patient and understanding, supporting you through this. He can only support, you will have to do the leg work. I truly believe in the power of love, so if it is truly meant to be you two can work through this. It will take a lot of work on both parties, but it will be worth it if your relationship is strong enough to overcome this. You have to be honest with him and yourself when your stressors are building up. If he truly cares for you then he no doubt doesn’t want to witness another episode. And at worse, watch you land yourself in the psych unit of the hospital. I have know people who have gone in several times into the psych unit and although the person may love you, it takes its toll. The only thing you can is take care of yourself in regard to nutrition, exercise, sleep, good coping skills, being on the right meds and working with your therapist. I sincerely wish you the best, you are not in an easy task and have a difficult road. But, in this world, there are people strong enough to fight against opposing forces. And if you’re blessed, which time will only tell, you will have a man who can support you fight the fight. Don’t be mistaken or misguided that he’ll fight it for you, all the hard work lies in your hands. Own your life, it will help you reap the fruit of an excellent life full of love, happiness, and joy.

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