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How I Found True Love in Mental Illness

Life with bipolar has a lot of ups and downs...and not just for moods. I think relationships, romantic ones, become one of the hardest parts of your life to manage and to keep balanced when you have a mental disorder. 

Romantic relationships include allowing someone into your innermost circle and letting them see all of you – the good and the bad. Not just the loving friend, dedicated worker, or friendly neighbour – in order to have a strong and healthy relationship, eventually you need to share everything. 

Relationships can be toxic, and a toxic relationship can often affect a person with bipolar disorder more than someone without. I've had relationships that had helped me heal, and some that have driven me to near-suicide. A few years ago I was lucky enough to meet “the one.”

I barely knew “the one” and was just starting to form a friendship when my life took the biggest downturn yet. My grandmother, who I called my “other mother” died unexpectedly. A month later, my other grandmother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. My mother had a relapse in her ITP, my father became seriously ill and had to have a quintuple bypass, and my brother could not handle the stress and was committed to a psychiatric ward for suicidal depression. 

In six months. 

This was the worst time to start a relationship, and yet the time when I most needed someone to lean on and to support me. 

Shortly before the start of this, “the one” had been committed (again) for schizoaffective disorder and had just started a new regime of medication. Definitely a bad time to start a relationship. 

What happened next, was perhaps the best thing that could have happened to either of us. 

We became friends. We talked on the phone almost daily, giving us both a “check in” and a routine. We scheduled occasional dates on weekends – we lived in different cities which forced us to take it slow.  We second guessed our feelings over and over. Is this from my depression? Will I feel this way once my medication is balanced? Is this love? 

Exactly six months after my grandmother died, we became “a couple.” 

We were both a shining light in the dark, guiding the other. A beacon of hope that YES there was something good waiting for us at the end of our dark journey. 

I used to say that I wouldn't date someone with a mental illness – that it would be too much strain on our relationship. While I still think that two people with the same triggers and patterns can be destructive, I know that finding the understanding and support needed with mental illness isn't limited to “healthy” people, and that sometimes the best thing for you is someone who is in just as bad a place as you – ready to make that journey towards better health with you. 

It will be three years this month since my grandmother died. Three years of specialists and follow up care for both my parents, and hospitalizations for my brother.

The most important anniversary of all, is this July. It will be three years since we decided to be a couple. Three years of mood swings, hysterical crying, mania, and days where I don't get out of bed. 

That morning, I will wake up as “Jane T.” for the last time. My best friend will do my makeup. I'll put on a designer gown. My mother will drive me crazy, and I will drive her crazy with at least three anxiety attacks. 

That day, we will promise to love each other in “sickness and in health” and truly understand what it means to follow through on that promise. 

Read the rest of Jane's posts here

Comments

I have been diagnosed three yrs ago with bi polar...because of my illness I decided it would be in every mans best interest to stay as far away from me as possible..last year I started praying for a husband...by then I thought about it later and gave up on the idea again...i felt like I would ruin a marriage...but then this man entered into my life...we became friends...he insisted...I was reserve about mentioning my bi polar illness to him. I wanted to take one day at a time with him..I wanted to get to know him ...I became comfortable with him and thought he would be able to accept my illness. So I told him...he a man in the medical field so he was honored I came out of my shell and told him...I was surprised...he has held on to me with great strength. He understands me greater...I have bad days and he gives me strength and support..He thinks I'm a beautiful wonderful women...he would love to marry me...even though I am afraid that my illness would ruin us...he has faith in me he acknowledges my fear...I ask myself if I should marry...he has reassured me the best psychiatrist and counseling and medications..he supports me attending support groups and seminars for bi polar...he is truly an amazing man to me....so I have decided to marry....he is so delighted with my decision...in March we will be married...he acknowledges that I am still doubtful within myself...but he keeps giving me great strength and courage and prayers...my daily struggle is real ...but I believe in him....and I believe in the protection and wisdom love and blessings from my heavenly father...this is my story.

<3 Teri he sounds amazing!! When you are ready, it sounds like you with have a wonderful marriage!

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