Breaking Expectations: Dating and Bipolar disorder

Breaking Expectations: Dating and Bipolar disorder

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Shelby Bodine

“Breaking Expectations” is staff writer Shelby Bodine’s firsthand experience with living with mental illness.

When you live everyday with a mental illness, you live with the realization that at some point you will have to share that fun fact with others. Of course, you could keep it bottled inside, but as I’ve discussed before, that is a terrible idea.

So what happens when you meet the person who gives you butterflies and who you want to share everything with? Do you tell them or do you wait? The thing that makes this tough is that there is always a sense of the unknown stopping you from being upfront with them.

How will they react? Will they think I am unstable? Will they not want anything to do with me anymore?

The thing that makes this simple is that you have to learn to be honest with yourself before you can truly be honest in a
relationship.

That rule doesn’t only pertain to those with mental illness; it’s a true fact across the board. However, if you are lucky enough to have a mental illness and find someone you want to share everything with, there is a balance you must find.

When I found someone I wanted to share this with, it was a complex idea to explain. On one part, I really didn’t want to lose what I had going, but on the other hand, the relationship wouldn’t be completely honest and I would also be constantly trying to keep a piece of who I am in the shadows.

When I came clean and shared that I was bipolar, I was expecting a lot more theatrics than what occurred. I was met with, “Okay. So explain what that means.”

I then explained how it just meant that sometimes I am hyper and don’t sleep and have all these ideas but other times I am dark and twisty.  I am still the person that I’d been the whole time since meeting.

If someone is scared and can’t understand something that is a part of you, why do you want to be with them anyway?