“You're like, bipolar,” my ex-boyfriend once told me. I should have seen it coming. My moods were extreme, and at the good old age of 20, he wasn't much help in the situation due to his lack of understanding. I would tell him to shut up and say he was rude for saying that. Little did I know that, about six months later, I would also tell him he was right.
Turns out, I have bipolar II disorder. About a year and a half ago, I was diagnosed. And although a lot of things began to make sense, it killed a part of my self-esteem. Like many others with a psychological or mood disorder, I tend to feel shame and embarrassment in the fact. But it is who I am.
Bipolar II is described as “high episodes of euphoria and low episodes of depression, together known as hypomania.” But this is so much more than having a good or bad day here and there, and we are not “crazy.” With the help of my best friends and loved ones, I found the help I needed.
In a relationship, it takes two. I can look back now and realize that. In the grand scheme of things, my ex and I both took part in the failure of our relationship. I couldn't get over our past, and he never got to know or understand my illness.
When you're dating someone like me — someone with bipolar disorder — you have to be ready for a bumpy ride. We are extreme. You'll never be loved harder or shown more affection in your entire life. We'll shower you with gifts, love letters and all of your favorite things.
We'll stay up all night kissing and loving you because you are our ultimate high. You have just shown a person who believes they aren't lovable that they can, in fact, be loved. You are our saving grace. You are our world, our backbone, our everything. You are what we dreamed of when we were 18 and breaking down on the bathroom floor because another boy just stole another part of us.
You'll realize our laugh is contagious, and we always want you to feel the extremes with us. We want to take that feeling all the way to the top of a mountain, and we want to feel your heart race with ours. We want you to hold our hand so tightly during take off so we know just how little we are in that big sky.
Our love is extreme; our love is unmatchable. But sometimes, for you, our love is unhealthy. And we know it, too.
Sometimes we sit there in our lonesome, and we become a person a you won't recognize. Suddenly, we stop taking care of ourselves, and you will notice. We feel so empty, you'll look at us and wonder what you did wrong. We'll sit there and tell you that this time it's not you, and we'll mean it.
We want you to understand these “bad” moods, aren't fair to us, either. But it's a part of who we are, and it's a part of accepting the person you love. We need you to know that when we have these days, weeks or even months during which our moods are uncontrollably solemn, we just need you nearby. You need to be the voice of reason. We need you to say, "I love you." We need to hear you tell us our feelings don't define us, and that you'll be there to get us through.
The problem here is sometimes we don't always know what we need. Most of the time, you won't feel like you're enough to help solve the issue. You're not doing anything wrong. The reality of our illness is just that nothing is ever enough. Nothing ever helps. To put it bluntly, that's why we're on medication. We have mood stabilizers for the behavioral aspect, and Xanax for the anxiety that comes with being in your own head all the time.
We are so sorry, and we feel so much guilt in the confusion that we cause you. But the problem with this doesn't always have to do with you, it has to do with the fact that we sometimes don't address our issues ourselves.
We don't always say what we need from you. We don't always explain to you our condition, and because of that, you unfortunately get pushed to the side when we need you the most.
We need you to help us when you see we're down. Tell us you notice our beautiful soul on our darkest day. Tell us we shine when we're curled up in our bed unable to talk, touch, kiss, feel you.
But please don't give up on us if you know our heart is in the right place.
It always is.