My bipolar problem
Q: First, let me start by saying that I’m 36 years old; not a spring chicken as my mother would say. I came out as lesbian when I was 17 years old, so I’ve been around. Actually, that’s part of the problem, I’ve been around and around and around in relationships. I’m tired of it. I want to find a permanent relationship with the love of my life – surely she’s out there, somewhere.
I’ve had many relationships but never one that lasted more than three years – actually, not sure any got to three years. Having gone through so many relationships, I’m beginning to feel that maybe there is no special person for me, just serial relationships that break up badly. (This is my pessimistic fear that usually overrides my more hopeful moments.)
Probably my biggest problem in relationships is that I have bipolar disease. I know that this has been hard on my partners because I can be very high energy, or down in the dumps. It’s just something my partner has to deal with, but then so do I. It’s not fun. Well, actually, the highs are great, and I get lots of things done and am very creative during these times. On the other hand, the dumps are something else. I can spend days in bed, feeling worthless, having morbid thoughts, often feeling suicidal, and am very non-communicative. Sometimes I end up in the hospital, but not all that often. Doesn’t everyone end up in the hospital now and then? So my illness is bipolar disease, whereas someone else might have diabetes or another physical ailment. I wouldn’t be upset, or rejecting of someone else because of her disease.
I know that my ups and downs can be hard to deal with, but I have to say that when I’m up, I’m lots of fun. I love to party and people say that I’m a blast to be with.
My last partner “Gail” said that it was just too much for her to deal with – some of my other girlfriends said that too. Gail kicked me out of her house in the middle of the night! I really didn’t believe she would do that, because I was in the middle of putting on an additional room to her house, and I was working all night in order to get the work done. You’d think she’d appreciate that! I wanted to get it done while I was up and had the energy to finish the project.
Shouldn’t my up time compensate for my down time? I mean, I don’t expect a partner to be perfect, so why do my exes think I should be perfect? How do I find someone who understands this concept? What am I missing here?
Stuck in Serial Relationships
A: Probably your meds. Either you’re meds aren’t working and you need to have them adjusted, or you are not on them – I’m guessing the latter. Since you know your diagnosis and have been in the hospital for your disease, you know that you should be on meds for this condition. I understand that the meds interfere with your highs, and that is undoubtedly why you might not want to take them; however, it also helps keep you from sinking into your lows. In another words, it mellows you out on both ends of your mood extremes.
Relationships don’t do well with one member having extreme mood shifts; and, these mood swings can be mitigated. In a manic stage, friends at a party might find you fun, but it is a whole different experience for a partner of someone in a manic stage, let alone the difficulties of living with severe depression.
You mentioned that you’d put up with someone having diabetes, but would you want to deal with that person if she didn’t take care of herself, watch her food intake and take her medication? Wouldn’t you get tired of dealing with the needless drama around her ending up in the hospital because of her not doing what she needed to do?
You have a choice: Stay off your meds so you can have your highs, or take your meds so you can have a relationship.
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