Personal Stories

Bipolar Disorder and Love

Living with a mental health condition can have major setbacks, especially in relationships. These relationships can include friendships, family and romantic relationships. For me, the most devastating has been my romantic relationship with a truly amazing man. I am still with this amazing man but things aren’t quite what they used to be. As a matter of fact, things are nothing like they used to be. The reason? The manifestation of bipolar II inside of my brain.

I still look back on those first days when the bipolar side of me was present but less obvious and debilitating. If anything, it would simply get in the way from time to time. But now, almost eight years into the relationship, I feel as though I have lost everything despite the fact that we’re still together. Things aren’t the same anymore and so much has been lost. I used to have hope that things would return back to normal one day but I have lost that hope. I still try for it but as time moves along, the gap between us grows larger.

As someone who hasn’t had the best romantic relationships in life, when I met my current boyfriend, I was often left completely speechless by the things he would do for me or say to me. I didn’t deserve this wonderful man, I deserved the abusive relationships I was used to; or so I told myself. He finally drilled it into my thick skull that I was deserving of this magical love we both found in each other. We had the same goals in life and were instantly drawn toward one another like magnets; it was clearly meant to be. Nobody likes to admit it but everyone has a “list” of qualities they want in a partner and I’m not exaggerating when I say that he had every single checkbox checked. He was—and is, hiding somewhere deep down—my dream man and the synchronicities between us were unmistakable. I truly mean this when I say I never thought the idea of soulmates was legit until I met him. Once we’d become friends, even before the intimate relationship formed, we both knew we had each found our life soulmate.

I still remember how he used to be the only person in the world who could calm me down and his energy was so alive, but it was only me who could feel it. It was meant for me. I suffered from extremely bad insomnia when I met him to the point that I just wouldn’t sleep at all…but something amazing happened when I laid my head on his chest snuggled underneath his arm. I fell right to sleep. I’d sleep through the night only to wake up still nestled safe in his embrace. If he woke up before me, I’d wake up to my favorite coffee and a lovely little note on the nightstand beside me. And this is just one example of how strong our love was.

He made me feel invincible to the world and he made me feel like a princess.

My self-confidence reached its lifetime peak during the beginning stages of our relationship, too. He’d tell me that I looked “stunning” as well as beautiful and gorgeous. I’d catch him staring at me from across the room and as I blushed, he’d say, “I just don’t know what I did to deserve you.”

About 2-3 years into our relationship, symptoms of my mental illness started to emerge more prominently than before and about 5-6 years into our relationship, a full manifestation had taken me away from anything and anyone I had ever loved. I no longer had any friends because I just wanted to lay down all day; I had no energy or motivation to do anything. I barely spoke to my family. And as far as my dream man…he stood firmly by my side holding me while gently stroking my hair as I cried for sometimes hours because I was so depressed. Other times, he took verbal beatings from me as my hypomania raged. But I didn’t know what was wrong, I hadn’t been diagnosed yet. And honestly, it doesn’t matter if I had been diagnosed, nobody should be the victim of verbal abuse. I own up to that and cringe at it still to this day even though those times of rage are rarely taken out on him nowadays.

He urged me to get help and despite my not wanting to be on meds—and I fought back hard—I went ahead and started getting help. About a year later, I found my current psychiatrist and was diagnosed with bipolar II. I was completely dumbfounded and had no idea what it even meant but as I began my research, my entire life made sense. He was right. I am bipolar. My boyfriend continued to stand by my side, holding my hand along the way. He’d go to countless psychiatrist appointments with me, made sure I ate, held me when I cried, prevented me from hurting myself. He took care of me in all aspects. I always felt terrible for him having to put up with me; he deserves so much more than this person I’ve become. All the things he fell in love with about me are no longer present and when you stack that with the negativity of having to live with someone who is self-destructive, depressed 24/7, or angry at the world, what’s left to love?

One year ago, after he fought for four months with my insurance company to get my last resort treatment, TMS, approved, I noticed the distance between us growing exponentially. It’s interesting that I can actually distinguish the time frame the dramatic shift happened but it breaks my heart. TMS failed to provide any results for me and towards the end of my sessions, I just noticed a massive change. It seemed to have happened overnight due to the fact that I noticed it in that manner, but maybe it was progressive; I personally don’t think it was, I think it was an instance somehow.

Though we are still together today fighting to get back what we once had, I’m afraid to say that I’m not sure that we will get it back. It destroys me! He no longer says that I am “stunning” or even beautiful or gorgeous, he no longer holds my hand, we don’t cuddle, I’ve forgotten what his heartbeat feels and sounds like, he doesn’t run his fingers through my hair anymore, I no longer feel at ease in his presence and the list goes on forever. It’s been almost eight years and he no longer talks about marriage like he used to and having a family with my condition is basically out of the question.

My heart longs for him every single second of every single day but we can’t just snap our fingers and have things back to the way they were many years ago. Instead, we simply coexist. He works from home kicking ass as a self-employed marketer and I do nothing because that’s what I am capable of. So many days I have thought about either leaving him or leaving this world for the sole reason that he could finally find someone he deserves and feels that magnetic energy with because it is no longer me that gets to feel that amazing sensation. He should have that magical energy with someone, he is so worthy and deserving of it! He’s done everything for me and I do not fault him for pulling away from me; after all, what else do you do when the person you love is in a constant cycle of deteriorating? He has done absolutely everything in the world for me and not once has he held it over my head. This man needs love and I am no longer equipped to do so.

I am strong and I am a fighter but one thing I couldn’t do was protect my love from this terrible mental illness. Not only have I been robbed of a love that not many people will ever find, but so has he. I love him with everything I have left in me but I know it’s not enough and I know I will never be “stunning” to him again. Where to go from here? I’m not too sure…


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