In honor of Valentine’s Day, Beverly Blaine of Slay Girl Society asked her boyfriend some questions regarding her mental illness. You can read her post here. I thought the post was so insightful, that it inspired me to ask my fiancé the questions as well! Our relationship has had its ups and downs, partly because of my mental illness. I think it will be interesting to hear what he has to say when I directly ask him some questions about my bipolar disorder and psychosis. I asked him to answer honestly and directly.
What is it like to date someone with bipolar disorder and psychosis?
It’s never boring. It’s hard sometimes- I guess it’s like walking through a minefield. It’s like when I say or do something wrong, you blow up at me. And I just have to know how you’re doing; I have to watch out for the warning signs to know when you’re not doing well.
What is the hardest thing about dealing with my mental illness?
When you kind of just give up and break down, and don’t want help.
How can I help you help me?
Well obviously I wish you would tell me, especially little things that upset you. Let me know how you’re doing, but don’t be overly dramatic. But let me know when you’re not doing well.
What was it like for you when I was hospitalized?
(I’ve been hospitalized seven times; but only two while we’ve been together.)
It was kind of like a mixed reaction- I was glad that you were getting help, but it wasn’t the same without you here.
What was it like when we were long distance?
(We met on an online dating website, and were in a long distance relationship for eight months.)
Well, we only saw each other once a week. We talked every day, and the time we spent together was special. Your mental illness didn’t really come up that much. When we talked you would tell me you were having a bad day, and we would talk about it. Normally when I went and saw you, we had a good time together. Except that one time when I came and just slept all day.
Are you worried about when we have kids in the future?
Well, I’m definitely not looking forward for when you are going to get all emotional during the pregnancy. But after the birth,.. I know you’ll be a good mother. I know it might be hard on you, and sometimes you’ll be like, “Ugh, why do I even bother?,” but I’ll be there to help.
How do you think my mental illness has affected our relationship?
I think in some ways it has brought us closer together. When you needed help, I was there to help calm you down or help get you through the tough times. We might have had a couple times when you were having a bad time, but I don’t think it’s really been too bad, or has had a negative effect on our relationship.
What do you think has helped us succeed as a couple?
You. Our closeness. Talking about things- it doesn’t feel like we do it often, but it really helps.
What do you love about me and our relationship?
YOUR MONEY!!!!! (He was joking.) Your growth and your drive for improvement, because when I see you doing things to make yourself better, it makes me want to do better, too.
Have you ever considered leaving me and why haven’t you?
No. Just because we have rough patches doesn’t mean that I’m just going leave.
What do you think about the fact that I will have bipolar disorder and psychosis forever?
That no matter what happens, we’ll get through it together.
Do you have any advice to someone in the same situation, being a partner of someone with a mental illness?
If you’re not happy in the relationship, don’t stay. It will only make things worse later on. If you love someone you’ll do whatever it takes.
How can they help their loved one?
Be there for them and have honest and open communication. You have to learn to recognize when they’re just having a bad time and when they really need help- and make sure that they get the help they need.
Honestly, his answers kind of surprised me. I was expecting some of them, because I’m aware of how I act. I’m glad that I was able to ask him these questions, because it was really insightful. I learned a lot, and it will help me work on myself to better myself. It took a little bit of effort to not get upset at some of his responses- like when he said that being in a relationship with me was like walking through a minefield. That kind of hurt- I don’t want it to be like that. Now that I’m aware that this is how he feels, though, I can work on improving myself so it doesn’t feel like being in a minefield at all times.