I am starting to test the waters in forming new relationships. I am talking to a couple of guys on dating websites. I have even been on dates with two. (Obviously not a match). It is really hard to say “Be brave. Share your mental illness” then actually do it with someone you want to be in a relationship with. I am ALWAYS telling you not to hide your illness, that it is okay if your mind works differently. So why is it so hard to tell a guy – “Hey, I have bipolar disorder?” Stigma is the answer. People are afraid of what they don’t understand and if they don’t understand you they will run the other direction as fast as they can.
I told a guy today I was a germaphobe (part of my OCD – didn’t mention that part) and he asked what that was. Then laughed when I told him and told me ” germs are everywhere.” I wanted to say, “Exactly.”
When these men ask what I blog and write about I simply say psychology. Not Being Beautifully Bipolar. Not bipolar disorder. Not mental illness. It’s like I don’t want them to know I am “sick,” to judge me before they get to know ME. There is more to all of us than a label and therapy and psychiatrists and medication and groups. There are friends and book clubs and dancing and yoga and jobs and families and so much more. That is what matters. The illness can be managed. It’s new relationships we need to untangle.