How I Use Dating to Gauge My Mental Illness Recovery

How I Use Relationships to Gauge My Mental Illness RecoveryI’ve spent a lot of time on this blog talking about how dating makes me crazy, my mental illness recovery notwithstanding. I dislike the putting yourself out there. The waiting. The wondering. Still, I’m not content to spend the rest of my life alone, so I have to do something to meet and engage with actual humans. And I’ve actually met one. Interestingly enough, how I’m handling this connection has told me a great deal about the progress of my mental illness recovery.

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Sex and Bipolar Mania

Today is the first full day of Spring, and I may have Spring Fever.  Or maybe I’m feeling flask_Whiskey_Frisky_pink_4_1024x1024a little manic.  I could be a little depressed.  Or just frisky. I don’t really know how I feel, I only know how I’m acting these days and the times in which I’ve acted like this before haven’t turned out so well.

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Is it happiness or mania?

For almost two years I’ve been struggling with the depressive aspect of bipolar benderdisorder, often called bipolar depression.  Symptoms of depression have been the most common for me since I was diagnosed during business school and they’re the most common focus of my regular therapy and self-monitoring.  Lately, however, I’ve experienced some symptoms and behaviors vastly unlike those that have characterized my recent life.  Though they are all positive, my first question to myself was, “are you having a manic episode?”

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Dating While Bipolar: To Sex or Not to Sex

As Matt and I near the day of our second date, we’ve begin to explore the layers of our Sex-Positions-Silhouettesrelationship, particularly the onset of a sexual relationship.  You might think that the time between dates number one and two is too early to bring up sex.  Like many things, I’m of two minds about this.  Matt and I have a very strong attraction for each other and agree that we anticipate a strong sexual compatibility.  Also, we’ve both been with numerous partners, he’s divorced and I got out of a serious relationship at about the same time his marriage ended.  Essentially, we’re grown and we can do whatever we want, with whomever we want, whenever we want.  But in spite of my sexual freedom and desire, pursuing a more intimate relationship has as much of an effect on my mind as my body.

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Everyone with mental illness needs a pet

In my senior year of college I had my first solo apartment, my first cat, and my first manic episode.  As mania goes, mine was pretty mild and pretty short.  I felt AMAZING as one does in these situations. I had tons of energy: I went to Home Depot and I loaded in a show; I had lunch with my cousin up from New York; I went on a coffee date; I cleaned my apartment and did my homework.  I didn’t sleep more than 5 hours across three days, as one also does in these situations, until the depression came.  I was lethargic, teary, unfocused.  Suddenly, I desperately needed to sleep and I couldn’t.  Zora, my cat at the time, was keeping me awake by tearing around the room and grabbing onto my legs with her claws.  She did that a lot, but that time I couldn’t take it.  I threw back the covers and screamed, “why won’t you leave me alone?” at Zora.  Then I began to cry.  As I sat cross-legged on the bed, Zora approached me, put her paw on my leg and calmly rubbed her head against mine.  All cat people know that this behavior means that your cat really loves you.  Zora happened to choose one of my lowest moments to express affection, and it made me feel better.

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