I’ve been invited to come on a friends online radio show about mental health. I will give more details as I get them (such as the name of the show and what time it will be). We will be discussing dating and Bipolar.
This is a topic that I’ve written about and had on my own podcast. I will give a five minute talk about the topic and then open up for Q & A with the host.
It will be in a week or two before we do this so I’ll be sure to keep you all updated. I am excited to talk about this subject. I have lived it myself in my daily life. I have dated women with and without bipolar or other mental illnesses. Seems like I date more so with a mental illness than without. I don’t know if that’s because that is all that is left in the dating pool at my age or I’m just the kind of person to attract such women.
You should not be afraid to date someone who has a mental illness. If they are properly medicated and have their life in order you can find that they are just like everyone else.
However there are a few things that you must keep in mind when you do date someone with a mental illness. First, you need to have open lines of honest communication. Without communication everything will fall apart. Things will get misinterpreted, blown out of context, feelings will be hurt. A little misunderstanding can quickly escalate into a knock down argument.
Second, educate yourself about their diagnosis. Know what the symptoms are, learn about triggers, find out how to deescalate that person’s emotions. Without knowing about the illness you won’t be in a position to help when they are cycling, depressed, or manic.
Third, have a plan. Have several plans. Know what you will do if that person is manifesting symptoms of their illness. Do this well in advance. Making a plan in the middle of a manic phase is way too late. But having an agreed upon treatment plan for several contingencies will make life much easier to handle.
Finally, have a safety plan for when things go sideways. Suicidal ideations are quite common for many mental illnesses such as Bipolar. Know what to do when your partner becomes suicidal, threatens to harm themselves, start cutting, or even become homicidal. Your number one priority is the safety of you and your significant other.
There is more that goes into dating than just these things. I will write more on the topic in the days and weeks leading up to my radio broadcast.