“How many men have you slept with?”
When I was first evaluated by my psychiatrist, and finally diagnosed with hypo-mania, I didn’t have an answer to that question. I still don’t. A lot of people, men and women, have no idea what their “number” is so I never really felt bad about it. But…it’s a sad flag of reckless behavior which, as a hypo manic individual, has never been tempered.
Promiscuity became somewhat normalized with shows like “Sex and the City” and characters like Samantha Jones, however, when it’s a part of your real life, it can be hazardous.
When I lived in New York and was not medicated, I think we can say beyond a reasonable doubt that things were wayyy out of control. Hyper-sexuality is part of being bipolar II, and understanding that aspect of mental illness has always been difficult for me. And when you mix mental illness with a city like New York, you are only asking for trouble.
When I was on a manic high, there was no telling what would happen. I could be on a train or having lunch or simply walking down the street and I would hit on men. I would pick up guys like a guy. When I left New York to go back to Los Angeles and started medication, things didn’t automatically change. A learned behavior doesn’t get fixed with meds. When you have nurture fueling your nature it is not easy to start over. It’s not easy to change ’cause you’ve lived a certain way for so long that no pill is gonna change it. It may help but it’s not the end-all solution.
I have a boyfriend now and luckily he is not one to ask about previous lovers, relationships, and, thank God, one night stands. Thankfully those reckless days are over, BUT only because of my environment. Only ’cause I have a boyfriend — for now. But there is no way of telling what behaviors can possibly resume if things don’t work out with my guy.
That is scary, but thankfully I can be straight up about it. I have therapy lined up to work on curbing certain known behaviors. I may fight the idea of therapy with a stick to my brain but I am too old now to allow what could be potentially self-destructive behavior to remain or resurface.
At the very least I can say I know that about me, so I have a starting point to work on me without worrying about that haunting “number.” When you have a mental illness, be wary of how it affected your life before you were medicated and know that just ’cause you are on whatever pill or pills you are taking right now that nurture may fight nature, so be ready to put up a fight.
Sexy legs photo available from Shutterstock
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Last reviewed: 15 Aug 2012