When do you tell someone you’re bipolar?

I haven’t posted lately, probably because I’ve been consumed by a new relationship. Well, I don’t want to ‘jinx’ it by calling it a relationship, but let’s just say I’m dating someone that I really like. Usually I keep all my medication in my night table drawer. Usually, I keep at least a dozen pill bottles around and when I need to, I sit on my bed with some television program in the background to entertain me while I put 5-6 pills in each daily compartment of the plastic cases I use to keep things organized. So my drawer is a mess of orange pill bottles and three plastic old-lady pill cases.

Since the new guy started coming over to my place, I’ve put the pill boxes and the pill bottles in a shoe box. The shoe box is in the bottom drawer of my bureau.  Put simply, I’m hiding the pills just like I’m hiding the bipolar disorder. (Or am I just not revealing information that I shouldn’t reveal at this point anyhow?)  It’s been about a month since we started dating. In the past, I’ve blurted out “I’m bipolar” at the beginning of knowing someone. Once, in a moment of complete and utter madness on my part a few years ago after a terrible break up, I decided to tell a guy I was bipolar on THE FIRST DATE. I’ve now realized that bipolar disorder is something that I deal with and not something that the person I’m dating should have to deal with explicitly, especially at the beginning of a relationship. Yes, it is who I am as a person, but I have things under control.

Still, at a certain point, I feel obligated to tell him. I feel like he has a right to know, but I fear judgment and I fear what I know has happened in the past. Which is that once you tell someone you’re bipolar, suddenly you’re the one who’s really troubled. The one who is judged when she’s in a bad mood. The one who, the other person feels, might be worth leaving because she’s not “stable,” even though, I would argue I’m so obsessively tuned in to maintaining my stability that I’m in fact more stable than most.


13 thoughts on “When do you tell someone you’re bipolar?

  1. Pingback: Welcome to The Dazed Starling! (Or: Why I’m renaming this blog) – Your Bipolar Girl

  2. Hi there. I was diagnosed with BP 5 years ago. I had a boyfriend then but it only lasted for 6 months. I had difficulty managing relationships. it affected my relationships with my family and friends. Thus, I opted to isolate myself. do not disclose that you’re diagnosed with BP. only few people will understand. people don’t really have to understand they just have to accept. i love the sense of independence and productivity that i’m into now. at times i’m still hoping that i can nurture and maintain a stable relationship in the future.i guess this certain sense of isolation that i’m in right now has given me a different perspective on how to deal with my life and my diagnosis in a positive way.:)


  3. My family member was diagnosed bp one year ago. She takes lithium. She has had many relationships none of which have lasted and all of which have ended very very badly.
    One month ago she met up with an old friend from HS and is subsequently dating him. He was engaged to someone else and has since left his fiance for my family member. He is desperately in love and is talking about the future. When is the right time to tell him she is BP?


    • Thanks so much for this comment and question–I am now back blogging on this site and plan on addressing this in a future post!


  4. Personally, I would never tell anyone until you’re engaged. You’ve got to tell your potential spouse/partner at that time b/c you’ll have to discuss if potential children (biological or adopted), health insurance, future plans, etc. PEOPLE GOSSIP. You don’t want to be labelled as “crazy” or become synonymous with mental illness. It will prevent you from getting jobs, dates, and people won’t let you around their children alone. You’ll be stigmatized. I prefer to take my meds and keep my business my business. If I ever meet someone I like enough to marry then my medical needs will come up then—after he gets to know the real me. (I’m 30, female, diagnosed at age 28, and regret telling family my diagnosis)


  5. Pingback: Telling Your Significant Other/Dating Partner You Have Bipolar Disorder « Dating With Bipolar Disorder

  6. Nice to know that someone else is blogging about dating from the point of view of someone with bipolar disorder! I can’t seem to find any books or articles on it.


  7. This is such a great blog – so honest and genuine. I added a Depression/Anxiety/Mental Health group on my website, http://www.shareWIK.com (share What I Know) and would love your input! ShareWIK is an online community bringing together people of all areas of expertise so that they can share what they know. Keep up the great work, and we would love to hear from you!


  8. Yes, I agree this ain’t the sort of information to blurt out to people you just meet. Information is dispensed on a need-to-know basis, yes? On the other hand, I sort of think it’s not worth doing if you got to hide it.

    Like your blog.


  9. I just found this blog, actually because I googled eye make-up and that picture of the eye came up. Anyways, I just have to say, “I hear ya, girl.”

    Some days it’s so hard to get out of bed and go to school, and I’m so much more interested in going to Dilliards and checking out what’s new with MAC or getting some new amazing perfume.

    I hope you’re well! Cheers to what is hopefully a relationship by now!


  10. Hi, I hid my bp from my boyfriend that I’m with now. I hid my pills in a box in the kitchen, so that when we went to bed I could take them with a glass of water where he couldn’t see, I had to tell him after a month or so after because I nearly forgot to take them. He was fine about me having bp, we both cried. I still feel funny about having my stash of lithium next to the bed but it’s the only way of reminding me. I’ve only just seen your website and I think it’s great. I’m off work at the moment, signed off by the doc to sleep way the mania, after two weeks of late night shopping on the Internet.. I really feel ya. Love your blogs


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