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Old 11-19-2014, 12:40 PM
 
Location: Columbus, Ohio
124 posts, read 158,025 times
Reputation: 159

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Last month, I reconnected with an old friend, a woman I knew through my statewide church youth group when we were both teenagers, and when we went to the same university. We had lost touch when I moved from the area, and found each other on Facebook.

We met for dinner when I was in town (her hometown, the same town where we both went to college). She is 48 (I am 51), and she is on SSI. She is bipolar, and has been hospitalized 14 times (the last more than a decade ago). Her treatment has included ECT on one occasion. She is currently on Clozapine. Her apartment is in a HUD-subsidized building

Since meeting in person (our dinner lasted almost three hours), we have IM'd back and forth almost daily, and her end is full of compliments (about my intelligence, humor, etc.), and I praise her when it's appropriate, not for any quality she doesn't have.

I am thinking about pursuing this relationship further. She is a two-hour ride away, and she has a very flexible schedule, so we can meet quite often. (I don't drive, but the bus fare is $20 round trip.) She is coming here for New Year's, and said her mother is paying for the trip as part of her Christmas gift.

What should I know ahead of time, and what should I be on the lookout for re symptoms and behaviors? (I am bipolar as well, but have it under control with Lamictal and regular psychotherapy.) If I pursue the relationship, I don't want to be in a constant state of waiting for the other shoe to drop. (There is no possibility of children--she is menopausal, and I have had a vasectomy, so the worry about passing it on to another generation is a non-issue.)
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Old 11-19-2014, 01:06 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
52,118 posts, read 40,982,999 times
Reputation: 73039
Quote:
Originally Posted by conusmound View Post
Last month, I reconnected with an old friend, a woman I knew through my statewide church youth group when we were both teenagers, and when we went to the same university. We had lost touch when I moved from the area, and found each other on Facebook.

We met for dinner when I was in town (her hometown, the same town where we both went to college). She is 48 (I am 51), and she is on SSI. She is bipolar, and has been hospitalized 14 times (the last more than a decade ago). Her treatment has included ECT on one occasion. She is currently on Clozapine. Her apartment is in a HUD-subsidized building

Since meeting in person (our dinner lasted almost three hours), we have IM'd back and forth almost daily, and her end is full of compliments (about my intelligence, humor, etc.), and I praise her when it's appropriate, not for any quality she doesn't have.

I am thinking about pursuing this relationship further. She is a two-hour ride away, and she has a very flexible schedule, so we can meet quite often. (I don't drive, but the bus fare is $20 round trip.) She is coming here for New Year's, and said her mother is paying for the trip as part of her Christmas gift.

What should I know ahead of time, and what should I be on the lookout for re symptoms and behaviors? (I am bipolar as well, but have it under control with Lamictal and regular psychotherapy.) If I pursue the relationship, I don't want to be in a constant state of waiting for the other shoe to drop. (There is no possibility of children--she is menopausal, and I have had a vasectomy, so the worry about passing it on to another generation is a non-issue.)
Bipolar disorder can be successfully treated via medication and sometimes some psychotherapy as well. You probably know that since you are bipolar yourself. However, as you also know, bipolar disorder is not curable and will always complicate a relationship to some extent - sometimes in very extreme ways.

Do you have loved ones in your life who do not hesitate to tell you if they think your meds may need to be adjusted, or if you are "slipping" into a depressed or manic state? I really do hope so. If so, you know that this is an important part of living successfully with BPD, because it is often difficult for the person with the disorder to recognize early "signs of trouble." Does the woman in question have such a support line in her life? Is she willing to listen to others who care for her, regarding her mental illness?

Also, it's been my experience that even BP people who are following a successful treatment plan still struggle with some "highs and lows" more than most other people. Not sure if that's the case with you but it has been with the people I know who are BP. So if you choose to pursue this relationship, are both of you mentally and emotionally prepared to accept this in the other, as well as dealing with your own illness?

These are the questions I would ask myself and her as well, if I were in your shoes. And good luck. I think that it's entirely possible for people with mental illness to enjoy and contribute to meaningful relationships - but I do think success is rare unless they are vigilant about their own treatment plan and meds.
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Old 11-19-2014, 02:16 PM
 
Location: Dallas, TX and Las Vegas, NV
6,295 posts, read 5,113,413 times
Reputation: 13796
Since you are BP, you have pretty specific understanding of the issues involved.

I would continue to spend time with her and see how it goes.
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Old 02-13-2015, 04:00 AM
 
Location: PANAMA
1,424 posts, read 1,148,169 times
Reputation: 1156
Ask your therapist about it, act accordingly.
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