“It brings up a lot of fears and those fears ignite the temptation not to talk about it,” acknowledges Lisa Little, MSc, a chartered psychologist in Calgary, Alberta.
“Pretending [the illness] doesn’t exist is more likely to cause problems in the relationship.” When telling a prospective partner that you have bipolar, Little suggests sharing details about how the illness affects your behavior, including symptoms of mania, hypomania and depression, as well as emphasizing how you manage the disorder.
I write it with the assumption that the Survivor will inevitably do incredible damage to their relationship; if it hasn’t happened yet, it will at some point.
Therefore, we want to minimize the potential damage by developing an understanding of ourselves and how we affect our loved ones.
“But I remember thinking, ‘He’s going to freak out when I tell him I have bipolar disorder.’” The “when and how” decision was taken out of her hands when her new love dropped a bombshell: His soon-to-be ex had bipolar and her illness was one reason they were divorcing.
By Jodi Helmer Hope dated several men after she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder II in 2004, but none of the relationships lasted long enough to make her mental health an issue.
When Hope, 45, developed feelings for a local restaurateur in 2009, she knew she would have to talk to him about her diagnosis before things got serious.
“I was excited about this blossoming relationship and enamored with this man,” recalls Hope, a freelance communications consultant in Denver, Colorado.
A person that lives with Bipolar Disorder or Depression comes to learn loss intimately.
It is a constant battle in our mind to try and avoid tearing our lives, loves, and friendships down to the foundation. We will periodically lose that battle and burn bridges.