When you’re bipolar you never really leave your disease behind. It’s always with you, memories of moods gone too far up or too far down stuck to your ribs like indelible tattoos punctuating frailties you will never outgrow or out master.
Dating his hard. It’s a tiresome performance, a one-woman-show all about you at your most charming packed with stories you’ve told so many times you know how long to pause for a laugh, an understanding nod.
Sometimes, you forget you’re bipolar. Most of the time, you don’t.
If you like the guy, you wonder, how many dates before I say something?
You fear being judged. All the while, you judge too. You judge and you wonder: is this the kind of guy who could handle me at my darkest hour?
Tonight, I’m going on a third date with a guy who seems to be made of stuff that might be able to handle me and my disease. I don’t know why I’ve bestowed this strength upon him. It’s just a gut instinct. A feeling. A judgement I can make long before I expose myself to the kind of judgment that arises when you tell someone you live with mental illness.
We all have things we hide, vulnerabilities, fears, doubts, foibles. I never want to apologize for who I am. This date tonight will most likely be one more in a series of near-misses. The spark won’t ignite and we’ll go our separate ways. He may think to himself, when bipolar disorder comes up in conversation or in the news, that he never knew anyone bipolar.
By then, I’ll be long gone, on my way towards finding a guy who, someday, some way, I’ll be able to tell.