Dating a bipolar sufferer
I’d always known he struggled with high and low moods.
One in four people claimed it affected their relationship in the recent Natsal 3 survey.
Bipolar is essentially a mood disorder which causes an individual to swing between depressed and elevated states.
Some 2.4 million people are thought to be affected in the UK, with most diagnosed with either bipolar 1 -characterised by the most severe ‘up’ states, known as mania (which can also lead to hallucinations), or bipolar 2: the less severe form - defined by hypomania, a milder elevated state.
Years ago, I dated a guy with undiagnosed bipolar disorder. When low, his habit of stumbling out of bed to browse porn as the kettle boiled, or spending hours trawling the profile pictures of escorts had me convinced he had some sort of addiction issues.
A few months into our relationship, I dragged him off to sex therapy because of his seemingly uncontrollable behaviour. Up until the escort point, I’d thought that the other signs – the spending sprees, sporadic drug-taking, or staying up all night to work - were nothing more than foils to his ample creativity.“From writing, to making phone calls, working to working out or having sex all night, it just depends on the individual.” Along with that energy burst and increased pleasure-seeking, comes the added complication of impaired judgement.“While it won’t affect someone’s baseline sexuality, those with bipolar can end up indulging in behaviours they usually keep under control,” explains Dr Nick Craddock, Professor of Psychiatry at Cardiff University, who specialises in the clinical research of bipolar.Tina, who has bipolar disorder, has been with her current partner for six years and finds that her volatility is the real test: “He's been so supportive and patient with me.