Everyone has secrets. Some of us even choose to keep our mental illness a secret because we’re afraid of ruining our romantic lives. Stigma surrounds people with bipolar every single day. But the truth is, we’re just like you. Here are a few things we want you to know before you start a relationship with us.
- We’re not “crazy.” People love to throw around the word “bipolar” as if its an everyday adjective. If the weather is acting up, it’s not bipolar. If your sister is lashing out, it doesn’t mean she’s bipolar. Get the picture? People with bipolar disorder aren’t going to act differently than anyone else for the most part. We only want to love and be loved, just like anyone else.
- Yes, we have mood swings. No they’re not an excuse for you to blame us for everything. Symptoms come along with any illness. In addition, everyone has ups and downs. It just so happens that ours are more extreme. However, many bipolar people are on medication, meaning that extreme mood swings are very rare, if they ever happen at all. We’re not going to act like a different person every day. We may act a little extra irritated once in a while. Or maybe we’ll have a short manic or depressive episode. But with love, understanding, and treatment, we will get through it.
- We will love you with our whole heart. We feel things much more deeply than the average person. While this can sometimes work against us, it mostly just means that we are extra empathetic and caring. So yes, there are good things about having bipolar too.
- We expect to be accepted. It’s not an option. If you are dating someone with bipolar, get ready to stick up for them. Not everyone will be accepting, but as a good partner, you should never sit back and let anyone badmouth your significant other just because they have an illness they can’t control. By entering this relationship, you are becoming somewhat of an advocate.
- We are just like everyone else. We hurt, we laugh, we go through the same motions of life that you do. Relationships with someone living with mental illness is more than possible.
So next time you go on a date with someone, think about these 5 things. If they tell you they are bipolar, don’t freak out. Don’t be part of the problem. All we ask is that you listen. It’s hard enough for us to tell people because of the horrible stigma, but you can make or break that. Just look at us for who we are, and not for the cards we were dealt.