Mental disorders are also considered when trying to figure out what causes cracks in relationships. Though, the crux of the issue does not usually lie in the disorder, but in the symptoms, and how those symptoms make people in the relationship feel.
Caring about someone and being vulnerable with partners can mean risking getting hurt. When your safe space is a living, breathing, mistake-making person, there is always a chance that their actions will trigger a low mood, among other symptoms.
A common experience of people suffering from bipolar disorder is pressure in a relationship; pressure to have a stable mood or to suppress manic or hypomanic behaviour, all to avoid upsetting anyone. My fear of hurting people with my illness prompted me to leave most of my past partners.
My long-term relationships all began right after a relapse. This is usually when I appear the most stable and mentally well, though with the chronic nature of bipolar and the recurrence of relapses, this was an inaccurate portrayal of me.
Eventually, my mood swings would start up again along with other troubling symptoms like hallucinating and dissociating during difficult periods. On top of the stress from the episodes, I would feel paranoid about the intentions of my partners. What if the episode scares them off? Do they feel forced to take care of me?
Feeling like I could not trust anyone, myself included, resulted in many communication breakdowns. This would stress me out further, triggering more intense and frequent episodes.
As I have found out, our feelings do not always accurately reflect facts and reality. Eventually, I learned how to foster healthy romantic love with communicative and nurturing partners, therapy and self-help literature.
By figuring out how to grow wherever we are planted, we present ourselves with any experience that we could hope for.
For more targeted practices, self-help resources, and peer support, check out SG Support Group on Discord.