Looking back on it now, I had become prey to the typical bipolar relationship killers—neediness, selfishness, and paranoia. I guess I’m just tired after all these years of feeling like I have to continually defend myself that I don’t give you what you need. I was indignant, angry, and sad—I felt misunderstood and attacked. I was mortified as I read on: Julie, you are such a wonderful person. But I can’t be the primary support person in your life that you seem to continually want me to be. I’m 36 and I don’t want to be the caretaker I was in my teens and 20s. That doesn’t mean that I’m a bad friend or a bad person.

dating someone bipolar roller coaster-15

Concluding her letter, Melissa said that while she cared about me, she could no longer be friends.

I replied with a long, miserable email about how she didn’t understand how hard life was for me—she was insensitive! Because my self-treatment plan was then at a beginning stage, I hadn’t made the connection between bipolar’s mood swings and my own behavior.

After reading Melissa’s letter over and over and weighing my options, I had a moment of clarity that I can vividly recall: I could stay as I was—miserable and friendless—or I could take advantage of this amazing gift my friend had unknowingly handed me.

I know you want to be honest about your illness, but you also have to realize that [your fulsome descriptions] can scare people off on a first meeting.

Sometimes I want to include you with things I do with friends, [but] they would prefer not to.

As I read this passage, I realized that few people really wanted my company.

Honestly, I had no idea that bipolar’s mood swings could do this to a person—I was still blaming others for my unhappiness.

Selfishly, I couldn’t focus on the lives of my friends—my despair was all-consuming.

Finally, my paranoia became so intense—I couldn’t stop myself from sending long, rambling emails about how people didn’t really care for me.