I heard from a long-lost friend last night. She told me of a client who thinks her mental illness will stand in the way of her having intimate relationships. I’ve not written much about relationships on this blog, but I think it’s an important topic.
While I have had some dates feel queasy about my BP, most people are really understanding supportive. And, anyhow I don’t have time for people who don’t like me or want to be with me, because of my BP or for any other reason. I have had several long-term relationships, dated quite a bit and now am in a monogamous relationship with a woman whom I love deeply and who loves me unconditionally.
I think there are a lot of different factors involved here: I am on medication and go to therapy weekly. I haven’t had any real mania for years, only mild depression. And I haven’t been suicidal since my last suicide attempt five years ago. However, my girlfriend knows there is a possibility I could begin cycling again and go nuts, I suppose. But, it’s a chance she (and many others in relationships with mentally ill individuals) is willing to take.
Even while mental illness as a concept is scary to a lot of people (mostly because the media makes it so), most people know someone who is mentally ill and know that they in fact are not as crazy as some people who don’t have a diagnosis!