Touched With Fire: Bipolar Movie Review

My review of ‘Touched with Fire’, a film about bipolar disorder.

I saw it twice. Last weekend, and again today. I don’t get to see many new films and I hardly ever go to the movies. But I’ve been waiting for this to hit theaters. And hit it did. For me anyway. The first viewing of TWF ignited so many emotions in me. I admit my expectations weren’t high considering the media doesn’t paint mental illness too favorably. I guess my guard was up. I was rooting for this film so much before even seeing it. I was rooting for the bipolar audience.

Synopsis

Meet Marco, played by Luke Kirby, and Carla, played by Katie Holmes. Both of are incredibly talented writers. Both of them are diagnosed with bipolar disorder. From my educated opinion, research, and personal experience, I would say they have bipolar type 1. Bipolar disorder type 1 is characterized by extreme highs (mania) and extreme lows (depression), and can be accompanied by psychosis. Both Marco and Carla are patients in a psychiatric hospital when they meet and they form an intense bond. Together they ignite each other’s fire. They sneak around in the hospital, and eventually form a relationship on the outside, which is front and center to a whirlwind rollercoaster.

Writer/director, Paul Dalio based the characters off of himself, and the film from his own experiences with bipolar. He incorporates the strong influence of art, poetry, famous people with mental illness, and the bipolar queen, Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison. Dr. Jamison even has a cameo in the movie.

Critique

One reason I saw TWF a second time is to make sure I wasn’t going to review it based solely on my rush of emotions. But the truth is, Touched With Fire is actually very emotional. Dalio represents a very realistic insight into the bipolar life. Manic episodes are unruly, impulsive, unbelievably creative, and indescribably passionate. These episodes are just as defiant and destructive. We see this in both Carla and Marco. We also see them crash. Again, each action and thought from the characters ring into true suicidal depression. As someone who’s lived with type 1 for over 16 years, I could absolutely relate to where these characters were, in each moment. I can’t imagine that the rest of the audience didn’t feel this spilling from the screen as well.

Another area that Dalio dove into is the realities of medication non-compliance. Non-compliance is a serious symptom of the illness. (I still fight my wife about taking my meds.) The film gives Carla and Marco an opportunity to demonstrate their views on why they don’t like to be medicated. Once off of the meds, there is a gradual deconstruction of their mental states, showing what happens when someone with severe bipolar disorder is not accepting treatment. It also involves their parents, who all seem to be pretty supportive and caring, while showing how the manic and depressive episodes affect them.

Katie Holmes makes a return to the screen, playing Carla, and her performance really did give me goosebumps. Luke Kirby was born to play the part of Marco. Both actors portrayed the challenge of channeling the characters’ emotions, actions, impulses, thoughts, desires, and talents. They nailed it.

My only less than positive critique is that this film is not for everybody. I guess this isn’t really critiquing the film, but rather the audience. For people who know absolutely nothing about mental illness, or who are not here to learn about it, go see something else. I was biting my tongue each time the woman down my row would obnoxiously laugh at the psychosis Marco was experiencing or the manic love the characters had. She took no social cue that nobody else was laughing until about a third of the way through the film.

Last Words

The first time I watched Touched With Fire, I got choked up so many times. I felt Paul Dalio was pulling material from inside my head. The moon plays a heavy influence in the film, and I have a huge obsession with the moon. And I’m sure many, many bipolar folks are writers with moon obsessions, but in the moment, it spoke to me. The frustration of Holmes’ character as she tries to learn of her life prior to becoming sick, to Luke Kirby’s character philosophizing every single thing. My mania has dragged me to that point too many times. I was crying at many points during the film. I was scheming on which medications to stop taking. The second time I saw the film, it was much more cognitive. I studied their behaviors and of course, compared myself to some, but mostly just watched the transformation from hypomania to mania to severe depression to being stable to impulsively triggering instability.

Overall, an excellent film. I will be adding it to my personal library. It’s only in select theaters right now, but if possible, go see it.

TWF

 

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Lingerie and Lithium: Flirting with Bipolar Hypersexuality

Your energy levels are high. Priorities and principles low. Attention causes your body to react. You have a sudden, hard hunger for human contact. Just about everyone in the place looks delicious. You feel as sexy as you look. And you’re ready to release your scent to the world.

Lingerie and Lithium: Flirting with Bipolar Hypersexuality

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You make eye contact with a woman across the bar, smile flirtatiously, then nonchalantly meet one another in a bathroom stall where you go at it like ravishing lady beasts. It’s hot. It’s risky. It satisfies you. For the moment. Minutes later, your attractive friend sends you a simple text, “Hey Beautiful”, in which you respond how you couldn’t get his sexy self out of your head all day. He’s intrigued. You say you may have a little something for him when you see him tomorrow. You have a physiological reaction to the anticipation. Later that night, since you barely ever sleep, you are adorned in nothing but one of the new lacy numbers you treated yourself to the day before. You logon to your iPad and an old crush sends a late night message. You tell her how adorable she looks in her profile picture and how you really miss that face. Then you send her a seductive selfie in your lingerie. You don’t notice that she becomes awkward and says she has to go. You’re so turned on by the song on your manic playlist and still high from the attention, not to mention how incredible your cleavage looked that night. You take care of yourself and practice self love for an hour and a half. You own battery operated sex gadgets, but just need to feel the connection with your own fingertips, where you appreciate your silky lace T-string. You hit the video record button on the iPad, just to have on hand in case you ‘need’ it. At the very least, you’ll watch it yourself. You are so electrically charged that your world of sex consumes you.

This might seem extreme to many. This might seem slutty to most.

What if I said this was day three in a seven day manic spree? What if I said there were at least four other prospects in this tangled web of lust?

What if I said excessive drinking, very little need for sleep, extravagant shopping sprees, craving stimulation, grandiose thoughts, and copious amounts of energy are also present at this time?

What Exactly is Hypersexuality in Bipolar Disorder?

Hypersexuality is a clinical diagnosis used by mental healthcare researchers and providers to describe extremely frequent or suddenly increased sexual urges or sexual activity. People who suffer from bipolar disorder may often display tremendous swings in sex drive depending on their mood. As defined in the DSM-IV-TR, hypersexuality can be a symptom of hypomania or mania in bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder.

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In other words, a person becomes overly horny. I know I get consumed by the thought of anything I remotely find to be sexual, that I force myself to take deep breaths and try to take a walk and cool down. I already have a pretty high libido normally, and I don’t shy away from risks. Oh and I should mention that I like a considerable amount of attention. These ingredients mixed with that hypersexual stage of mania can be a recipe for disaster.

Symptoms of Manic Hypersexuality

  1. Thinking obsessively about sex all day long.
  2. Feeling horny for no particular reason.
  3. Uncharacteristically having sex with both men and women.
  4. Not feeling in control over when and with whom to have sex with.
  5. Going out to the bar or social gathering every day to find hook-ups.
  6. Feeling overwhelmed by the urge of needing sex.
  7. Masturbating several times a day without the control to stop.
  8. Participating in group sex situations.
  9. Wearing uncharacteristically provocative clothing every day to any kind of location.
  10. Compulsively viewing a significant amount of porn movies, pornographic or sexy photos.
  11. When having sex, safe sex is hardly an option.
  12. Flirting with or trying to pick up your platonic friends.
  13. Excessive fantasizing about celebrities or crushes.
  14. Obsessing about exes or past flings and desiring a “last” hook-up.
  15. Every song you hear is interpreted as sexual, or else you only play sexy music.

Consequences of Manic Hypersexuality

  1. Cheating on your partner & possibly losing them.
  2. Susceptible to new and risky sex games.
  3. Vulnerable to people offering money or goods for sex.
  4. More susceptible to being offered jobs in the sex industry.
  5. Very sensitive to combining drugs and alcohol with sex.
  6. Feeling guilty for joining in on sex parties.
  7. Losing friends.
  8. Not being aware of any of the consequences your actions might have.
  9. Confused on the concept of right and wrong.
  10. Not being aware of possible sexual abuse.
  11. Losing complete track of time and place.
  12. Contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
  13. Risking to die of murder for being in dangerous environments.
  14. Needing years of therapy to cope with the guilt and shame later on.
  15. Finding it difficult to trust yourself or others again.

My Bipolar Boom Boom

Hypersexuality is something I have been plagued with. Or is it blessed with? I’m not going to lie, sometimes it’s hard to know. I love sex. I love lust. Anticipation. Flirting. The rapid heartbeat. Increased swelling and wetness in your skivvies. Yeah, I’m into all of it. I’m turned on just typing this. And I’m not even manic right now.

I discovered the idea of sexuality when I was very young. My parents watched the 80’s sitcom, “Three’s Company”, where the characters spoke nothing but cheesy lines and sexual innuendos. An articulate child, I picked up on the sexual energy of the show. Lacking the maturity to understand what I was indeed understanding, it sat in the back of my mind until I began interpreting radio songs, and insisting my mother watch daytime soap operas, so I could secretly observe the women with their hefty bosoms crammed into cheap looking lingerie.

In middle school, I got boobs before my friends. Feeling self conscious at first, I quickly discovered boobs get you places. And they get you attention. By seventh grade, I was wearing low cut tops and skin tight sweaters. In my mind I oozed sex appeal, and I liked it. I had many crushes, including the realization of my interest in females.

By my senior year of high school, I was exhibiting many bipolar symptoms, including full blown mania. Getting in trouble in school, running away from home, grandiose ideas, obsessions, and delusions were all forming. I was also exploring my interest in girls even more. I was infamous for going bra-less to school, or wearing little skirts with fishnet stockings. I felt sexy when I was on my periodic highs. (I also experienced a deal of depression in high school too.) I was experimenting with sexual fantasies, such as tying my girlfriend to my headboard, trying out sex toys, or sneaking lesbian erotica into choir class. I also masturbated ALL THE TIME.

By my 20’s, I was known for being wild. At various points I initiated group sex, attended fetish parties, and did erotic photography. I went into manic episodes often and my most severe, longest episode was when I was 22. I impulsively left my boyfriend of three years, quit my job, and cut my hair. I started hanging out with an ex girlfriend, with whom I immediately rekindled our old flame. Our usual chill spot was a local dive bar that eventually became my sanctuary. Shortly after, I reunited with another friend there, with whom I left girl 1 inside the bar so I could fuck this girl out in the car in the bar’s parking lot. I continued seeing girl 1 and girl 2 until girl 1 decided to get a girlfriend. She brought new girl up to the dive, and with very little effort, new girl went home with my number, met up the next day where we fucked for hours in the parking lot of a different bar, all the way until a police officer had to intervene. With little regard for girl 1, I now had myself girl 3, aka girl 1’s girlfriend. Because I was very manic, and not just horny, I suffered from psychosis as well. I truly had convictions that somebody put pheromone spray in the vents of the bar and were drugging all of us to the point of a mass turn on. Then again, I had other theories about cheese being the meaning of life, so my credibility is questionable there. Girl 3 and I hooked up in places other than cars. We got it on in the courtyard of the bar, at other people’s houses, bathroom stalls at clubs, Denny’s parking lot, and in most rooms of our homes. Girl 4 didn’t come until the end of that manic phase. An old high school crush I only got to make out with once at a party, I was thirsty for the opportunity to get in her pants. As if it wasn’t enough, when girls 1, 2, 3, 4 didn’t call me fast enough, I still occasionally got my rocks off with the ex boy. At this point I was exclusively with women, but I made the exception for function and familiarity.

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Why am I telling you all of this? Because with five different sex partners- often two in the same day- I was still starving for sex. In what little spare time I had, I would masturbate at least once a day. Wait- I always say I don’t masturbate, I have sex with myself. I dressed sexy, but not slutty. Makeup was always done. And I mastered the art of playing it cool. I only listened to music one could fuck to.

I was the poster child for manic hypersexuality.

I was also living life in the fast lane. Drinking, cocaine, getting kicked out of my college of choice, and fighting with my family were all consequences. I would wake up in the morning, being spooned by one of the girls, but have no recollection of which one I went home with. In my hungover haze, I would look around the room and try to put the pieces together. I broke more than a few hearts and lost some friends. I could have contracted an STD. And yet, I chose to be unmedicated.

Now, in my 30’s, life has been a bit different because I’m married. (And very medicated!) While I still get the heavy urges, I constantly find desperate ways to pacify my sexual appetite. I won’t lie, I have real crushes and often find it difficult to resist temptation. I flirt with friends who I know are deemed “safe”. I masturbate religiously. I enjoy lesbian porn, sexy music, and wearing revealing clothes. I tend to take more selfies during this phase. And I write fiction where my characters can do as they please, like little pawns in my steamy world. To an extent, my wife knows how I am. She came into my life overlapping the tail end of girls 1,2,3, and 4. While I’ve come close to infidelity, I tend to teeter on the edge, then by some saving grace, I pull myself back onto the side where I belong. Then within a couple of weeks, the episode dissipates. During these times I feel reckless. And I behave selfishly. My wife and I have had many fights and she knows when I’m crossing boundaries. The problem is, I don’t always know my boundaries.

Taming the Wild Animal Inside

If you are experiencing many of these symptoms and consequences of hypersexuality, then there is a likeliness that you may have bipolar disorder. I recommend seeing a psychiatrist or even a therapist to get started. You most likely need medication to treat the chemical imbalance.

Please note: this is different from a sex addiction. Manic hypersexuality comes as a symptom of mania or hypomania in bipolar disorder. If you experience these symptoms for more than short periods at a time, or if you don’t resolve to a healthy state of mind once treated, please consider getting help for addiction, or a sexual function issue. Now, it is possible for someone with bipolar to become addicted to sex, just as any other addiction. But please research the differences. I won’t spew the DSM at you.

If you are aware of your triggers and you are going trough a tough manic stage, try taking a cold shower, going for a run alone, attending a family function, or anything that would be considered the least stimulating. Attending bipolar support groups are great too.

Another option for those of you who are married or involved, be open with your partner about your hypersexual waves, and make the most of them. Together, I mean. Play with fantasies and take advantage of frequency. In a trusting, loving environment this could be a positive experience. Any non-communication could lead to resentment later on, or the feeling that one was taken advantage of during a time of illness.

Balance > Mania (Even if it doesn’t always seem that way)

Too much of a good thing can be bad for your health in more ways than one. I shared my personal experiences on this topic to hopefully help educate about real symptoms affecting the lives of many. Bipolar mania has many symptoms and hypersexuality is just one. And pretty much after any manic episode, despite the symptoms, comes a crash. Energy is drained and sleepiness or depression may creep in. The sexy beast may be replaced with a lack of libido. Finding a way to balance episodes is imperative.

Please share feedback. I’d love to pick your brain!

Sources:
Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll Mania. Bipolar Women and Hypersexuality
Personal experience & observation, along with undergrad studies
DSM-IV-TR & DSM V (Bipolar manic episode symptoms, hypersexuality)

For Better or For Worse…or For Bipolar

So you said “I do” to a sweet face with bipolar. Congratulations. By now you’ve probably seen a few mood swings, maybe a manic episode, and quite possibly some depression. Or maybe not. Your experience depends on many factors: how long you’ve been together, how long your significant other has been diagnosed, if he or she is medicated, your own stability, and to what severity his or her bipolar is.
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Here is a brief bipolar marriage primer.

I’m writing this today because it has been one of those days where my wife and I couldn’t seem to get along. From the second we woke up, until she just went to bed, we were at each other’s throats. Having been diagnosed 13 years, I know what has happened in my past relationships. It’s easy to be afraid or uncertain when loving someone with bipolar. Known for risky behavior, infidelity, mood swings, self harm, mania, and severe depression, it can be a lot to become involved with. Not to mention, divorce rates are significantly higher in bipolar marriages. So, after some meditation and reflecting, here are a few tips for living in a bipolar marriage, or in a relationship with a person with bipolar disorder:

  1. Let your bp spouse BREATHE! Seriously, the more we feel smothered, or like we can’t safely release, the tension only builds and we could explode or lash out.
  2. Remember that you LOVE your spouse. It is safe to say that your bipolar spouse is very passionate. This passion will come through in his/her worst moments. But you love this passion, because it also comes out in their best moments.
  3.  Be FIRM in medication arguments. I am constantly trying to get off of my meds. Constantly. And I act like a child over it. But my wife is made of stone on the issue. She has made it non-negotiable since we both know how topsy turvy our life will get if I quit meds.
  4. Ask her/him what she/he NEEDS. It’s likely they are angry because they need something. They will most likely not express this while yelling at you. The yelling is usually being triggered by something else that he or she may not even realize is the core problem. This is where you step back for a moment, take a breath, and ask her.him what they need to alleviate the situation. Odds are they’ll tell you. Their #10 will go down about 5 notches. Peace will ensue.
  5. Pay attention to TRIGGERS. These are whatever things set your spouse off. And I’m not saying cater to their every whim, but if you can do so reasonably, try to avoid said triggers.

Those are just quick, go-to points for coping. I write about relationships and marriage pretty often, so check out some other posts on how my wife and I keep holding on!

Bipolar Valentine Part 3: In Sickness and Health, Mania and Depression

I love you. I hate you. I want you. Don’t touch me. Marriage and bipolar. Is it a toxic combination? According to NAMI, statistically 90% of marriages with at least one bipolar spouse will end in divorce. That is a sobering number. You can’t deny that it’s a bit discouraging to those not yet married, and scary for those of us who are. So before we go any further, let’s ask- is there even a point? Absolutely.

b3265cde38e270325fd8828a36e074f0In lieu of Valentine’s Day, I’ve pieced together a three-part series on various aspects of bipolar disorder and love. This is meant to be informational with a shot of perspective, and a smooth aftertaste of personal connection. Please feel free to leave feedback or share your own experiences.

It is possible for people with bipolar disorder to endure successful long-term romantic relationships, and even marriage. There are many factors involved because every individual and every relationship is different. What works for one couple may not work for another, and vice versa.

Factors to consider:

One factor to consider is the time of diagnosis. While the symptoms are usually present for a period of time, we all know getting that official diagnosis makes a difference. It provides an answer and treatment options, as well as a name for what is going on. (I don’t like the term “label”). For several couples, the diagnosis comes years into their marriage. They receive the news together and unless they’ve already suspected BP, it is brand new information. What usually happens in these cases is a sense of relief, followed by frustration, and a new sense of responsibility. Changes must be made in the every day routine.

Other couples have it a little bit differently when the person was diagnosed prior to their union. In this instance, the non-bipolar partner entered the relationship knowing something was unique about it. In my last segment, Bipolar Valentine Part 2: Adventures in Dating, I discussed how to tell your new partner about your BP diagnosis, and about my own experience with my wife. Both types of couples face challenges.

“Following a diagnosis, the first and most dominant response from a spouse usually is sympathy, says David A. Karp, professor of sociology at Boston College and author of The Burden of Sympathy: How Families Cope with Mental Illness (Oxford University Press, 2002). “But further down the road, a spouse may experience emotions they don’t think they should be having—anger, frustration, and even hate.”

Indeed, caring for someone who has a mental illness can be more draining than caring for someone with cancer, says Dr. Karp. When a spouse does something for a mate with a physical illness, they are usually met with gratitude. People who have bipolar disorder, on the other hand, often deny the diagnosis, are unwilling to comply with medication, and—worst of all— treat one’s spouse like the enemy.”

Another factor to consider is if there are any children in the picture. Since bipolar disorder has ups and downs that can be unpredictable or inconsistent, it is especially vital to double up the top priorities to both the bipolar spouse’s needs as well as the children’s needs. Kids should never feel like the mood swings are their fault. And in reality, sometimes the hustle and bustle around the house is what triggers an episode. It is important to have a strong partnership with your spouse when you are not functioning at your best so the kiddos will have stability.

How can we make it for the long haul?

I give my wife a splintering headache every single time I go hypomanic or full blown manic. I lie about my meds. I drink. I stay out all night. I argue with her. I hate sleep. I become very self-involved. And I no doubt make her feel like shit. When I get depressed, she can’t get me out of bed. I ignore my responsibilities and don’t even care. I know she knows when my patterns will start. I know she goes through hell. But…we make it. We get through it and carry on. Have we come close to ending it all? Oh hell yeah we have. But chose to work really hard instead. Here are a few tips that really work.

I swear by education. Read about bipolar disorder and have your spouse do the same. One book I recommend is Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder, by Julie Fast.

Finding the right doctor, usually a psychiatrist, is imperative. Make sure your partner joins you so he/she can become acquainted with your doctor in case of any future emergencies. A good doctor is someone who listens to you, addresses your concerns, and explains the recommended course of treatment. Both of you having a good relationship with your doctor is important for your relationship with your spouse.

Other factors in your treatment include the right med cocktail, and any support groups you join. It is mandatory to get your partner on board with all of it. This is one thing that has held my marriage together these last 7 years. My wife is my medication manager and during my rough times, she sorts and distributes it for me. Even when I’m able to administer it to myself, she is my daily reminder of when I’m supposed to take it. Without her, I know I’d forget or choose to not take my pills. Without the pills, I’d be a hot freaking mess! She also encourages me to attend my biweekly support group.

One of the absolute most important things in a bipolar marriage is having rules. Yes, rules suck. But in this case, rules are the glue holding the package together. Establish grounds for when to call the doctor, to disclose suicidal thoughts, to have your partner notify you of red flags, when to go to the hospital, to communicate your triggers, and a commonly broken rule- to always take your medication! In my house, my wife has given me the medication ultimatum that if I refuse to take it, she will pack up herself and our son, and go stay somewhere else. That thought kills me. So I stay motivated to comply.

My last biggie is communication. More specifically, speaking the language of bipolar. Make it clear what “highs” and “lows” are and what things you might verbalize differently in each of these states. This way there is no cause for alarm if you are transitioning moods.

Enough of the technical stuff, where’s the love?

d55dc7e5bb39d7d2ed43d96fe7dd2663I can’t say this enough- do not make your bipolar the center of your relationship! For any marriage, with or without mental illness, it is important to nurture the relationship in order for it to grow. It’s just like any living thing. If you stop feeding it, it wilts and dies. The bipolar is just a part of it. Your relationship consists of many other parts. Give these a try:

  • Re-examine your core values and what brought you two together in the first place.
  • Carve out some time in your busy lives for a date night.
  • Have passionate sex.
  • Laugh together.
  • Go on a road trip.
  • Renew your vows.
  • Say “I love you” often.

If you haven’t already, check out the first two parts of this series, Bipolar Valentine Part 1: Is It Love or Just Bipolar?  and Bipolar Valentine Part 2: Adventures in Dating.

Bipolar Valentine Part 2: Adventures in Dating

You have mastered the art of first impressions. It’s easy to reel them in and land the date. As long as what’s underneath doesn’t creep it’s way to the surface, that is. How does a person with bipolar disorder survive the dating world? My answer: mindfully.

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In lieu of Valentine’s Day, I’ve pieced together a three-part series on various aspects of bipolar disorder and love. This is meant to be informational with a shot of perspective, and a smooth aftertaste of personal connection. Please feel free to leave feedback or share your own experiences.

The noise in your head is louder than the conversation between you and your date, but you somehow manage to keep your composure. Your date is beyond attractive. You still cannot believe you are here. Your head is getting louder and you can’t feel your tongue. Now this could sound like any first date jitters, but the difference between jitters and what you are experiencing is the fact that any chance of a future with you and this person, in reality, includes you, this attractive person, and your bipolar. The three of you. Admittedly, knowing this can be discouraging.

Dating in itself is hard. It is full of anxiety and expectations. Dating when you have a mental disorder creates it’s own set of difficulties because the disorder isn’t typically visible to the naked eye. Mood disorders such as bipolar disorder or depression, or even anxiety disorders don’t necessarily have symptoms all the time. Mood swings and triggers induce symptoms that result in behavioral changes. Understandably, this can be a huge pain in the ass when in the market for a mate.

So, what makes for smooth dating?

First and foremost, make sure you are ready to date. I’m not saying all of your ducks need to be in a row. (I mean really, who’s are?) I’m referring to having your mental health in check. Are you stable? Have you been consistent with your medication? Are you depressed? Manic? Having thoughts of harming yourself? You know the rest. It is so very important to be in a healthy place before bringing someone new into your life. If you are not really ready, then it’s not only unfair to that person, but it’s unfair to yourself. Besides, dating is fun and the point is to enjoy one another. You can’t do that if you are sick.

Another key to dating is to know yourself. Know where you stand on issues such as marriage and children. Odds are they will come up at some point and it’s no secret that bipolar disorder can complicate these things. But please know bipolar is not poison to domesticity! (I can tell you first-hand.)

When do you spill the beans?

No doubt this is the scariest part. The part of dating when you have to tell your partner about the thing that you try to not let define you. The thing that can turn you from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde in a matter of minutes. The thing that allows you to hear colors and taste sounds. The thing called bipolar disorder.

It’s tricky because it is possible to reveal your bipolarity too soon, and it is also possible to reveal it too late. The best time to bring it up is as the relationship has reached a level of intimacy where you are ready to be exclusive and make a commitment to one another. When you are entering a deeper trust mode.

When talking about bipolar, be mindful that the person you are talking to may not have had previous experience with it, at the same time they may have had a bad experience with it in the past. This is also a highly stigmatized disorder. Be delicate, but make it clear that what you are about to talk about is important and personal. Gauge the conversation as you go, and try not to react to their reaction if it is not what you expected. Go ahead and tell them about your treatment regime and your feelings with having the diagnosis. Try not to use a ton of technical medical terms so it’s a little less intimidating, and easily comprehensible.

d9d34d2303b499e42364119e0aef7cacBack in 2006, when my wife and I were just dating, I remember being pretty nervous about telling her my diagnosis of bipolar type 1. I really liked that girl a lot and was so scared she would think I was defective or crazy or something. I waited until we had been dating about a month. At this point we had grown exceptionally close and developed intimacy. We went on a camping trip and I basically blurted it out at the campfire. She didn’t freak out or judge me. I learned that she had previous experience with her mother being bipolar. Her life growing up with an untreated bipolar mother was mostly dysfunctional, so she has seen the ugly side of the disorder. Of course because of this I thought she would run, but instead she was very knowledgeable and chose to give me a shot. It’s about learning to trust one another and take chances.

What about the dreaded psych hospital?

So you and your new mate have been dating for a handful of months and all is peachy. And then it happens. The dreaded episode. It could be depression or mania- doesn’t matter, either is shattering. And you find yourself in a psychiatric hospital. Perhaps you’ve been there before or maybe it’s your first time. Either way, on top of regaining stability and utilizing treatment, you are going mad over the fact that you have to tell the new girl/boyfriend that their partner is in the looney bin. What is the best way to handle this situation?

Well, for starters, make sure you keep your partner in the loop prior to any hospitalizations. Granted, that may be awkward since it’s still in the beginning stages, but it may help to bring up treatment options and discuss the possibility of being admitted into the hospital for a medication adjustment.

I was first hospitalized when I was 18. At that time I was dating a wonderful girl who treated me well. While we weren’t that serious yet, after a couple of months I could see it going somewhere. Maybe it’s because I was young, or because I was freshly diagnosed, I never told her about my bipolar disorder. I think she got used to my moodiness so when I didn’t call her for a few days, she wasn’t concerned. I didn’t tell her I was in the hospital. I was too ashamed and didn’t want her to see me like that. When I didn’t call her for even longer, she figured that I just didn’t want to see her anymore. When I was finally discharged, I assumed she didn’t want to see me so I didn’t call her. For years I regretted not contacting her and I wondered what could have been. (Side note: We did reacquaint years later and she wished I’d have talked to her about what was going on with me. We have since drifted, but I was able to gain closure. And I have since been happily married to my wife.)

Try these suggestions for dating done right:

If you see things going in the positive direction with your new partner, encourage them to educate themselves a little bit on bipolar disorder. There are a lot of good books and websites available. This could make it a little less overwhelming for them and establish a connection between the two of you. It also makes it easier when you do open up about what you are experiencing.

Be honest about what you need. For instance if you are feeling depressed, maybe you don’t need someone to try to cheer you up. Maybe quiet meditation serves a better function. Make it clear what is helpful and what isn’t.

Share your positive qualities. We all know having bipolar also comes with some intriguing qualities as well. We’re vibrant, creative, passionate, and unique!

b08191d09ac31c91ed1f84e56576f8eeCan it become more?

So you really dig this person with whom you’ve been canoodling and you’re starting to feel the urge to utter the little ‘ol “L” word. Good for you! Of course there is so much running through your head. It’s no secret that relationships with a bipolar partner tend to not fare well. Statically 90% of bipolar marriages end in divorce. That’s depressing in itself. Don’t let the statistics scare you. It is possible to take it to the next level. Just check in with yourself often and put forth the effort to maintain stability.

I will be focusing on marriage and long-term relationships in the third and final segment, Bipolar Valentine Part 3: In Sickness and Health, Mania and Depression. And if you haven’t already, check out my previous segment Bipolar Valentine Part 1: Is It Love or Just Bipolar?

Bipolar Valentine Part 1: Is It Love or Just Bipolar?

You feel sexy. You feel on top of the world. Your heart has never been more full. You’ve never been so turned on. You want attention- and you’re getting it. It’s euphoric. It’s definitely love…or is it?

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In lieu of Valentine’s Day, I’ve pieced together a three-part series on various aspects of bipolar disorder and love. This is meant to be informational with a shot of perspective, and a smooth aftertaste of personal connection. Please feel free to leave feedback or share your own experiences.

Well, is it love? Or is it bipolar?

Picture that you just met someone you are insanely attracted to. You notice every single detail about their perfectly angled face, the tiny dimple on the left side near their mouth, and their adorable laugh. You are dizzy with intoxication by the very scent of this perfect human specimen. Upon this meeting, you are charming, so very charming. And you are drunk on your own sex appeal. You are suddenly very aware of your flesh. You take notice of every detail of the night air, senses beyond heightened, and you are convinced that that very moment was created especially for you. You and this person with whom you share a heavy fondness. Not only are you practicing your most seductive moves, you desire to make love all night long, and release yourself into the throes of passion. Sighhhhhh. Sounds like a scene straight from a romance novel. Could it be love? Perhaps. But in someone with bipolar disorder, these feelings could be symptoms of hypomania or mania. Common signs of mania include feeling unusually high and optimistic (or irritable), grandiose ideas, racing thoughts, impulsiveness, impaired judgment, little need for sleep, unrealistic beliefs, delusions, acting recklessly without consequence, feelings of euphoria, and increased sex drive, also known as hypersexuality.

“When you’re in a hypomanic or manic state, you’re also more likely to feel you’re in love,” says Elizabeth Haase, MD, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and a member Human Sexuality Committee of the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry. “You may then act on that feeling when making major long-term life decisions, not understanding your state had something to do with what you were feeling.”

For someone enduring a manic or hypomanic episode, sex is often the main course in a banquet of other amplified feelings and behavior. Hypersexuality is when someone experiencing bipolar hypomania or mania has an increased libido or is excessively interested or involved in sexual activity. The thing is, a high sex drive isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, most of us would think that is quite wonderful! It becomes problematic when there is no regard for consequences that could become of the sexual activity. This can include extramarital affairs or cheating on your girl or boyfriend. Sexually transmitted diseases are a tremendous concern as well, especially if someone is sleeping with multiple partners. Regret and shame are often the result of impulsive sexual activity. Hypersexuality can also trigger a sex addiction in some people. And don’t forget about the interpreted emotional connection people tend to believe they are feeling with their sex partner. The bitter aftermath of manic sexual relationships typically end in heartbreak, one side or the other.

29d9c9b8a66dc439b71fa7773c55575cI do recall experiencing a pretty wild manic episode in my early twenties where I felt like I was on fire. I was feeling hot, looking good, and my moves were working for me. (I was also delusional, had extreme grandiose ideas, drank too much, did too much cocaine, and felt on top of the world.) I was very in tune with my sexual side and ended up dating four girls at the same time! In my mind I was a sex goddess. Who needs sleep when you can do other things all night long? Of course I also felt I had an emotional connection with each of them. Everything was intense and special. That is until I started to come out of my mania. I first had a breakdown, then like most manic episodes, I had a huge mess to clean up. Needless to say, people got hurt and I was confused, emotionally.

So, how do you know the difference?

It is important to know what triggers your episodes. Examine all other areas of your life. If any of the symptoms of manic or even depressed episodes seem to describe your life, then something is off balanced. If you are on medication, make sure you are taking them as prescribed. If you take them as you are supposed to and are still experiencing manic symptoms, then it is imperative to talk to your doctor for an adjustment. And if you are comfortable with the path you are leading, regardless of how reckless, I urge you to use protection, for reasons I don’t need to explain.

If you are in the clear and pretty balanced, but still have feelings of intense passion and attraction to a certain special someone, then it sounds like you have a hot, steamy case of romance! If done right, both lust and love are very rewarding. Those intense feelings are consistent with the beginning stages of romantic relationships.

ecee8e6b34c6c1f06bd39cb5ea18f657I can’t say it enough, it is so healthy to know yourself and your bipolar patterns. New love is on the list of common potential triggers. There are so many emotions and changes that even non-bipolar folks act like fools when they are smitten by a beautiful new face. Also, don’t ever be discouraged because you have bipolar disorder. There are many bipolar people in successful relationships. I will be exploring bipolar dating in my next segment, Bipolar Valentine Part 2: Adventures in Dating.

Peer Support in Mental Illness

This past week I had the opportunity to visit a friend in the psych hospital. She is in the process of accepting her new diagnosis of bipolar disorder type 1. My diagnosis. While I knew something was going on with her before, it is certainly best that she is in the hospital, receiving the care she needs. As her friend, and as someone who is living with the disorder, and someone educated in mental health, I want to do whatever I can to be there for her, and help her through this complicated time. This brings me to an important topic- peer support.

Peer support for those with a mental illness is so essential in acquiring mental wellness. Associating with peers who understand and can relate to what you are going through can help to form a bond. Having a support system of friends who also live with a mental illness, and who can relate is helpful in a different way from those who do not. Either way, there are things peers can do to help ease the burden of treatment and every day struggles.

Taken from the DBSA website:

What You Can Say That Helps

  • You are not alone in this. I’m here for you.
  • I understand you have a real illness and that’s what causes these thoughts and feelings.
  • You may not believe it now, but the way you’re feeling will change.
  • I may not be able to understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and want to help.
  • When you want to give up, tell yourself you will hold on for just one more day, hour, minute—whatever you can manage.
  • You are important to me. Your life is important to me.
  • Tell me what I can do now to help you.
  • I am here for you. We will get through this together.

What You Should Avoid Saying

  • It’s all in your head.
  • We all go through times like this.
  • You’ll be fine. Stop worrying.
  • Look on the bright side.
  • You have so much to live for; why do you want to die?
  • I can’t do anything about your situation.
  • Just snap out of it.
  • Stop acting crazy.
  • What’s wrong with you?
  • Shouldn’t you be better by now?

Peer support groups are also really helpful. I attend the DBSA peer support groups twice a month and I appreciate the freedom and safety of being able to openly express myself. I can share whatever I’m feeling, if I’m having an episode, and any difficulties I’m going through. The meetings are confidential and exclusive to those with bipolar disorder or depression, and their loved ones. I will be encouraging my friend to participate in groups as well, once she is discharged from the hospital.

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Maybe Baby? Should I Consider a Bipolar Pregnancy?

I need some input on this one. My wife and I have been seriously discussing the notion of having my bipolar highness carry our second child. Yes, I’m aware this sounds presumptuous, considering our first won’t even be here until December, but it is well known that a great deal of preparation must go into a bipolar pregnancy. Because we are getting older, and because we want our brood to grow up close in age, it’s wise to consider all factors ahead of time. Not to mention that we are indeed, a lesbian couple with limited resources (ahem, readily available man ingredients), and the mere truth that there is a higher percentage of difficulty in getting pregnant via IUI or IVF. So, we are doing our research and talking openly. The process of fertilization aside, what we both feel most concerning is my bipolar disorder. This is the weighing factor. She supports me if I decide I want to do it, but she is wise to be cautious.  I’m scared and unsure, as well as confident I could do it if I really wanted. I go back and forth on the subject all the time. So I’ve decided to weigh it out here. Help me pick apart my bipolar pregnancy anxieties.
 
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I would have to come off of or significantly reduce my medications during pre-pregnancy.
As we learned with this current pregnancy, when going through intrauterine insemination (IUI), the months leading up to the actual insemination must be treated as carefully as if you were already pregnant. This is because the body is going through preparations, which may include fertility drugs, in order to promote healthy ovulation. What does this mean for the bipolar end? Well, it means weaning off of medications that could potentially be dangerous for a developing fetus. Mood stabilizers such as Lithium, or anti-convulsants, are known to cause severe birth defects. Other classes of medications include antipsychotics, which should be avoided due to lack of research, and tranquilizers or sedatives, which should be avoided, especially in the first trimester, also due to increased risk of congenital malformations.  Now, I know some researchers say certain things are alright to be on in low doses, but you have to remember it’s a timely and costly venture for us gay chicks to get knocked up. Why in the world would I dare to risk anything potentially hazardous to unborn baby? Why would anyone, really?
 
I would have to remain off of meds for several months during pregnancy.
Okay, you already know why I’d have to come off of medication. Common sense says I’d have to stay off for the duration of the 38-40 weeks of carrying the baby. And unless I decide not to breastfeed, I will have to remain off during the nursing months as well. My head spins a little further and I imagine life not on meds… To begin, what’s different already is that we’d have a little one around. I’d have to maintain parenting an almost two-year old, while my hormones are changing in ways I cannot even imagine, all while being off of the medication I rely on for stability. I would have to try not to destroy my marriage, become hopelessly depressed, fly away on a manic spree, or worse yet- develop psychosis. I’m not really sure what they do with a pregnant person in the mental hospital when you can’t consume the drugs. I can, however, imagine the manic version of nesting and it sounds quite colorful indeed!    
 
It’s scary to not be in control of potentially changing moods under the influence of hormonal changes.
The last thing I would want to do is jeopardize my family. My beautiful wife will be giving birth to our son in just two short months, and already I love him more than I imagined I ever could. We certainly want to add on to our family and I consider my role in doing just that. I think about what I contribute now. I work a steady job, I do my share to keep the house clean and put together, I take care of our many loving pets, and I try my best to be a good wife. I’m able to play these roles because I am on a strict medication regimen, I am in touch with my triggers, my body, and my mind. Have I had major episodes that were beyond my control? Absolutely. And yes, they impaired each of these roles significantly. Now, if I were carrying a baby, off of medication, I wonder how I would be affected by the many hormonal changes that come along with pregnancy. I would need to have prepared some coping techniques for when things seem out of control. Part of my preparation would be to have an outlet, where I could put my energy in the case of a trigger, to help steer me back on track. Maintaining some area of control would be imperative, not only for me, but for the growing baby, and my family as well. 
 
The heart-wrenching feeling that I could be passing my bipolar to my baby. And knowing it.
While no exact gene can be determined as of yet, researchers have found that a child with a parent diagnosed with bipolar disorder, can be somewhere around 50% more likely to also have bipolar disorder or some other psychiatric illness. Whoa. Ok let’s be real for a minute. No parent would ever want their child to have to suffer from any type of illness, medical or psychiatric. So part of me feels like I would knowingly be putting this baby at risk for developing bipolar. Is that irrational? (Is it bad that I can’t tell if it’s irrational?) Maybe my anxieties are taking a toll, but I want to be a good mother. And I know that starts at pre-conception. That baby would have an increased risk of developing bipolar growing in me, as opposed to a safer route, and having my wife carry all of our babies. (Which I’m totally okay with too- she is ADORABLE pregnant!) 
 
Postpartum instability and re-entering the drug sphere.
Say I do manage to get through pregnancy and childbirth, med-free, family still likes me, etc. Okay, now the hormones take a whole new shift postpartum, often causing changes in mood. Some women fall into a depression, others become incessantly irritable or have crying spells. I may or may not have these issues, but it’s good to be aware of the flood of hormones. Now, judging from my own illness, my past, what has and hasn’t worked for me, I will be going back on medication. The thoughts in my mind, however, include What if my old meds don’t work for me anymore? Do I have to start over? I don’t want to go through trial and error while caring for a newborn, Is it okay to not breast feed?  I guess there are probably a million more things that will take over my brain if I did go through the process, but each of these are important questions to be answered. 
 
In a way, it is selfish of me to carry a child.
Perhaps I’m over thinking, but on one hand, I look at hetero couples, with a man and a woman, and I think there is only one womb, only one of them can carry a baby. If the woman in that relationship has bipolar disorder, then do they have a bigger dilemma than us? Would it be selfish of me to want to carry a child when my relationship has another perfectly good womb in which plant a seed? This is one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever been faced with. And while I don’t need to know today, I eventually need to make my decision. My wife is very understanding either way, and is in no way pressuring me, which I truly appreciate. She is, also, more than happy to carry again. Part of my brain looks at the cautions and repercussions involved with me taking on pregnancy. Then, a teensy part of my mixed up brain realizes that other bipolar moms have accomplished this remarkable task and came out of it better than ever.
 
If anyone has gone through this or if you have any any advice, thoughts, anything- I’d really like some input! 
 

Annoy a Bipolar This Holiday Season

This Thanksgiving you will probably be around a lot of people you don’t usually see. While we all know family is a wonderful thing, we know sometimes with Bipolar Disorder or Depression, sometimes there can be too much of a good thing.

Loved ones, even when they mean well, can sometimes say the exact wrong thing. There are some common phrases we hear that can feel like little digs as we try to maintain our disorder, and I admit, for me it’s tough. Here is a list of some statements we can all agree are annoying. We might run into these or ones similar during run-ins with the relatives this holiday season.

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Do these sound familiar? Now you need to strategically plan your response.

First, try to realize your loved ones care about you. That’s why they make comments in the first place. They are showing that they’re being caring. With this in mind, if you hear an irritating remark or question, you should practice relaxation & take a deep breath. Give them the benefit of the doubt that they are not aware that they’re saying something potentially offensive.

Next, you could either react with compliance and politely answer their question, which, let’s face it, most bipolars wouldn’t do. Or you could ignore the remark, which I do recommend in most situations. The reason I say it’s ok to ignore someone’s comment is for several reasons- you keep your temper down and avoid an unnecessary fight, you avoid hurting an unsuspecting relative’s feelings, you keep anxiety down and possibly prevent a trigger, and you can possibly deliver a hint to the said speaker.

One last thing you could try is telling the person the truth. If you do choose to confront the person who said something offensive, make sure it’s not at the dinner table in front of many people. Even if that person was disrespectful, remember they probably didn’t know that they were, so do yourself and everyone else a favor, and pull them aside speak to them privately.

However you choose to address these types of situations, remember every individual is different and you need to be prepared for any result. I do think sometimes with Bipolar Disorder, we need to learn to bend a little since there are a few needs we have that others don’t always understand.

Good luck and have a fantastic holiday!

If You Have A Bipolar Loved One

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Very recently I was asked for advice on something that is very important regarding Bipolar Disorder and loved ones. How do you talk to someone with Bipolar Disorder? What can you do to show support to a loved one with Bipolar?

Most of us reading this know that it’s a sensitive subject and all too often someone will say the wrong thing and we may react in a manner that is the start of the next world war. It is imperative to have a solid support system. Loved ones who you can trust to be there for you no matter what, and who can help you out with your Bipolar Disorder during an episode.

I’ve compiled a list of some ways loved ones can show their support in the most effective manner possible.

Validation.
Validate the disorder and take your loved one seriously. This is possibly the most important thing to remember, and could make or break your relationship with your person. Validate that what they are feeling is real and not ‘just in their head’. Accept that they have some limitations and that the limitations are part of the Bipolar Disorder. If there was something they could do yesterday, but cannot do it today, believe that it’s true, and accept that it is part of it, but that it will be okay.

Reassurance.
Tell your loved one that you are there for them and that you love them no matter what. Bipolar Disorder is a very involved illness and every individual with BP is unique, with unique symptoms, which may progress over time. They need to know that you are not going to judge them or become annoyed with their disorder. Many people with Bipolar tend to experience feelings of guilt. Offer that reassurance that it is not their fault, and you do not blame them for them having BP.

Education.
One of the best things you can do for yourself and for your loved one is to learn about Bipolar Disorder. This includes the different types, the symptoms, the treatments, and everything involved. There is no cure for Bipolar Disorder- only treatment, meaning BP will be in your loved one’s life for the rest of their life. Encourage them to help you learn. There are many excellent books, websites, and organizations that provide resources.

Practice Patience.
Bipolar Disorder is not an easy diagnosis to swallow, nor is it that easy to live with. Try to remember for all the frustration and irritation you may feel, your loved one feels it even more so. They may even feel guilt for being sick, or experience low self-esteem. Bipolar people can be easily distracted, have difficulty with concentration and focus, and be forgetful. Expressing anger and frustration will only make a bad situation worse. It is crucial that you have patience.

Be Respectful.
Show your loved one respect when it comes to their Bipolar Disorder. Please watch that you do not treat them as if they are less-than or stupid. Don’t say things to make them feel like they’re crazy. Bipolar is just like any other illness and you wouldn’t look at someone with Diabetes or high blood pressure like they’re a damaged good. It’s the same thing; just instead of a physical, medical condition, your loved one has a mood condition- or chemical imbalance in the brain. Another way to show respect is to take your loved one for their word and don’t try to push them. If something is bothering them, don’t make light of it and assume that it is petty, and expect them to move on. Respect that if they get into a certain mood, and have to handle a situation their own way, that this is probably preventative and they are controlling a potential trigger.

Be Helpful.
You can help your loved one not just by saying you’ll be there for them, but by actually being there. Participate in things like scheduling appointments and offer to help organize things at home. If he or she needs help managing medications, go ahead and offer your assistance. My wife counts mine out each week and assigns the proper pills into the daily pill sorter. As trivial as it may seem to someone without a mood disorder, may of us with BP have a hard time with medications. (And many of us have a harder time admitting it.)

Trust.
Do your loved on a favor and trust that they can still make their own decisions, even about treatment. Sure, sometimes they may need a little bit of extra help, but they can still function at a high capacity when they are well. Please do yourself the favor of trusting him or her, otherwise you will feel like the crazy person trying to keep up with every possible mood, emotion, swing, and trigger.

Here are a few tips:
• Not every swing is an episode.

• Consider external factors before jumping to conclusions.

• Don’t assume someone knows when he or she is having a manic or depressed episode, conversely, don’t assume someone doesn’t know when they is having a manic or depressed episode. Talk to them.

• Don’t get upset if he or she is forgetful. BP affects the memory, as do medications that treat BP. Try to be patient if they don’t remember things.

• Don’t assume someone is overreacting for no reason or “just being dramatic”. Overreacting is a symptom of bipolar disorder, which may lead to a dark depression or fit of rage.

• Make your friend or family member recognize and take responsibility for their illness and actions, should they become irritable or say something unkind. Then forgive them and love them regardless.

• It is not okay to joke about Bipolar Disorder, even if your loved one does so him or herself. It is a defense mechanism and their right to do so.

• Work together to recognize triggers and develop a confidence system, where you can be open with one another if you notice any behavior or thought patterns that may be unhealthy.

• Respect boundaries and don’t hover.

• Be positive and praise the progress your loved one makes.

For additional information, see: What Not to Say to Someone With Bipolar Disorder

What Not to Say to Someone With Bipolar Disorder

There are several hurtful things that you could say to a person with Bipolar Disorder that will make them feel like garbage, destroy their self-confidence, and possibly contribute a trigger for an episode. So learn what they are and don’t say them!

What not to say to someone with Bipolar Disorder:

“You are crazy/insane/abnormal/psycho.”
This can be taken as nonsense if it is clearly meant in terms of slang, but for someone who is newly diagnosed, or having a hard time with their diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, they may take it as meaning “completely unable to think clearly or behave properly”, which is pretty offensive.

“Bipolar Disorder doesn’t exist.”
This revolves around validating the diagnosis. Validate the disorder and take your loved one seriously, otherwise you not taking them seriously could be detrimental to their treatment process.

“Snap out of it.”
BP is a real illness and nobody can just come out of it, so don’t tell them to. It’s just plain ignorant!

“It’s just hormonal/PMS.”
While hormones can make BP worse, BP is a disorder independent of any other. Don’t offend someone & mix it up with a different diagnosis. You will come off as ignorant and like you don’t care to learn the facts.

“You have Bipolar, so you’re lazy/stupid/whiny.”
None of these offensive words are used to describe Bipolar Disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. That’s all I’m going to say about this one.

“You’ll never have a real life.”
That is simply not true. While living with BP certainly isn’t always easy, most everyone can have a very active and fulfilling life with the proper treatment and medication.

“There is nothing wrong with you, everybody has mood swings.”
While it’s true that even among those who do not have a diagnosable disorder that has mood swings, people have changes in mood. The mood changes are usually due to circumstances in life, home, and health.

“But you seem so normal!”
That may very well be. First I ask “what is normal?” Then I need people to understand that someone could be in between episodes, could be on medication that produces ‘normal’ behavioral results, or maybe you don’t see this person very often or haven’t known them very long. People can go years between episodes. Also, hypomania is very charismatic and attractive to others, so in that state someone with BP can potentially make several new friends.

“Isn’t that what serial killers have?”
Probably not. Honestly, a serial killer is much more likely to have Antisocial Personality Disorder, or be a sociopath or psychopath.

“Just take medication and you’ll be fine.”
While medication helps tremendously, it doesn’t always help everyone, and it certainly does not get rid of the disorder or treat all of the symptoms.

Please do not be afraid to talk to your friends and family members about their Bipolar diagnosis. This was just meant as a guide to help the ease of conversations between you and your loved ones.

Stay tuned for some helpful tips on how to offer support to your Bipolar peeps!

Interview with Stephanie Schroeder, Author of “Beautiful Wreck”

Read fellow blogger Hot Femme in the City’s interview with Stephanie Schroeder, author of “Beautiful Wreck”. This memoir is about a lesbian living in New York City, struggling with undiagnosed Bipolar Disorder and Tourettes. A first of it’s kind, this book deals with both lesbian situations and lgbt culture, as well as the realities of mental illness. Highly recommended read.

Interview with Stephanie Schroeder, Author of “Beautiful Wreck”.