(Already posted this but it’d be cool to have it featured on your blog)
I think it is fair to say that romantic relationships are among the most complex, thrilling and devastating things we get to experience. This goes for every single person.
From the first love to the downward spiral that ends in heartbreak. I am not an expert (clearly) and I am hardly old enough to pull from my past but I am Bipolar so I can tell you what that’s like.
The years before I was diagnosed were filled with confusion and self-doubt. I never knew if I was coming or going. I was all in then I was quite literally running for the girl’s locker room circa 2008. If I had to describe what type of partner I was in my teen years I think the best way to put it would be… I wasn’t. The usual commitment struggles accompanied by a budding mental illness did me no favors.
In layman’s terms, I was trying to be in a relationship posed as a normal person. This was and still remains impossible. There are certain adjustments that have to be made. When I was a little younger I was like that Beatles song…
“You say goodbye and I say hello
I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello.”
Except I was saying hello and goodbye over and over.
Fast forward a lot of years (in my mind) and now I’d say I know a thing or two. Well, this is what I think anyway. My partner cannot, should not and will not be my everything. I think this is actually a pretty healthy way of going about relationships but hey this is my blog so these are just my opinions.
Fact: I need to be taken care of.
Falsehood: My partner is the only person who should and will be doing the taking care of.
I am lucky that I have an incredible mom and best friend. If you lack a strong support system then I highly advise joining a support group, getting therapy and honestly just blogging about it helps so much.
Fact: My partner needs me, to be honest.
Falsehood: My partner needs to know everything I am thinking of any time.
This sort of control is abusive for so many reasons. Bipolar or not we all have our own private thoughts and feelings. It is perfectly OK to keep some of them to yourself. Of course, if it is something that is vital your partner know then open the floodgates but if not give yourself room to breathe.
Fact: My partner needs to try and understand my illness.
Falsehood: My partner needs to perfectly understand what it is I go through and experience.
Your partner no matter how loving and willing, cannot and should not be your therapist. They can offer a wondrous amount of comfort and support but there is such a thing as burdening them with more than they can handle. Please don’t guilt yourself for manic or depressive episodes but try and keep in mind they are not your only outlet.
The beautiful thing about life and relationships is there are so many people. There are so many roles we need to have fulfilled but no one person should have the responsibility of being your everything. In my case, my thoughts can get really dark and no I will not share all of them with my partner. The one exception being suicidal thoughts. I don’t expect many people to understand this last bit but I have a relationship with my illness it is after all what makes me, me.
I hate it, I love it, I loathe it, I accept it, I deny it and I live with it.
We all need our own space especially when you’re bipolar. Your partner can love you till you turn blue but if they want to show their love then they need to recognize there is apart of you they will never fully get to see. They will never fully get to understand. It’s not an intentional or vindictive thing. It just is.