Monday, February 9, 2009
Later this afternoon, I will be making a 50-mile drive in the pouring rain to La Jolla in San Diego to attend a DBSA friends and family support group. It concerns a very bad communication I had last week with a former girlfriend. I really need to talk to some people who understand.
I have bipolar. Or more accurately, bipolar plus other stuff. I have yet to meet someone who just has bipolar.
My second marriage - to a very lovely women with bipolar plus her own collection of add-ons - ended just prior to Thanksgiving two years back. Then I had a short relationship with delightful cowgirl with bipolar (more pluses) that ended just prior to Thanksgiving a year back. Then a slightly longer relationship with personally stunning ball of fire (bipolar fully loaded) that ended - drumroll please - just prior to last Thanksgiving.
What is it about three Thanksgivings in a row?
I'm obviously no expert on relationships - in fact, call me a jerk - but my experience from both sides of the bipolar fence as a patient and loved one has conferred me with certain insights. In the six weeks this blog has been going, I have already posted two blogs on relationships, and intend to post many more.
The experts talk about "functionality," which is arguably a more reliable indicator of the severity of our illness than ticking off a symptom checklist. The two key indicators of functionality are work and relationships (keeping in mind we may choose healthy alternatives to both). Predictably, our population performs poorly in both categories.
Obviously, figuring out how to get it right is a fairly reliable predictor of recovery.
Think of the above as a preamble to this announcement: My favorite bipolar blogger, Therese Borchard of Beyond Blue is devoting an entire week to relationships. Here, she gives a rundown on what we can look forward to in future posts. Check out her first installment, You Deplete Me: 10 Steps To End a Toxic Relationship. Brief excerpt:
"Be prepared to dry off as you step out of the river of Denial. A few questions will get you there. Ask yourself these, for starters: Do I feel energized or drained after I spent an hour with X? Do I WANT to spend time with X or do I feel like I have to? Do I feel sorry for X? Do I go to X looking for a response that I never get? Do I come away consistently disappointed by X's comments and behavior? Am I giving way more to the relationship than X? Do I even like X? I mean, if X were on a cruise and I didn't know her, would I walk up to her and want to be her friend/boyfriend based on her actions and interactions with others?"
More later ...
From mcmanweb: Family Fallout
"The authors devote a whole chapter to mood triggers, and place strong emphasis on partners working together to reduce the stress in the living environment, from keeping work and social obligations under control to more discriminate TV viewing to proper diet, sleep, and exercise. ..."