My Sweet Boyfriend (with Bipolar Disorder)

Antonella - 29 - Italy

I met Marco about two years ago, he was kind, good looking, and very good at telling stories. I’m a fan of listening people’s stories so that was awesome to me! Only a few dates after we met he invited me to this nice Japanese restaurant, when we were waiting for our food Marco told me “I want to tell you something important about myself, I have bipolar disorder”. At that moment I said nothing about it and enjoyed my dinner with him. But after that I was a bit anxious and wanted to know everything related to it. I asked him and that night he told me so many scary stories, very scary about himself being depressed or maniac and how much he suffered from that.
   
The following days I went on-line to find more information and the majority of the sites just had awful news and experiences about people with bipolar, but I knew that a person like Marco couldn’t be just all that negative stuff. I looked more and actually found positive articles about famous people with bipolar disorder, the artistic side of them, and also how things like relaxation and meditation can help. I decided that I was going to try my best in that relationship because Marco was the sweetest guy I’ve ever met. Coincidentally when I was making my decision I met this Buddhist monk who gave me advice and a bracelet to remind me that there are always going to be obstacles in life but we need to be stronger to live a graceful life. I know sounds cliché but that gave me hope and courage.

And I really needed courage and patience. The things related to bipolar disorder I found in Marco were: he cries easily and could make bigger any daily situation, after any fight he thinks that we are going to break up and once he thought about leaving the house. At the beginning I thought he was playing with my mind and I felt awful. Similarly, even in the positive side, when he decided to work out he went for a large run and he damaged his ankle, when he decided stop smoking he stayed all week at home to avoid buying cigarettes, and also because he liked me he wanted to be with me all the time and he called me every day (which I liked it). Sometimes he gets depressed and iritable, doesn't want to do much and that will go away after a while. But then randomly, he will get really excited about things good or bad like working really hard at his job, or being really romantic about things, or going out all the time. And sometimes he drinks too much, but can stop with my support. So he can just be extreme about his opinions and ideas. 
    

I decided that I was going to try my best in that relationship because Marco was the sweetest guy I’ve ever met.

After almost two years I still wearing my red bracelet and every time we have a difficult moment I just remember that. I think that advice could help in any relationship. Of course we have issues but Marco is so sweet and I’ve learnt with him how to behave and be a better partner, and even a better person. I learn to be more flexible when he does something that I don’t like, because now that I know he loves me I can understand that people with bipolar disorder are very extreme in their feeling and experiences, that’s why they need reassurance of our feelings towards them, the doubt is always in their minds. We also need to tell them when they are acting extreme and not judge but understand them.

Marco and I have being living together for a year and I feel our relationship is getting stronger. We demonstrate how much we care about each other, we have space to say what we like about each other and what can we improve. He is good with words and expressing his feelings. And I think he has a secret weapon, when I’m mad or sad he just plays his guitar and sings the songs he had wrote to me and he makes me smile.

​There is lots of prejudice about people with bipolar disorder, and yes sometime it is difficult to understand, but being informed, discuss together what can each other improve, and even ask for external help if it is need it are ways to keep our relationship going well. This is not much different to what we should do in any relationship to be happy, the difference is that we need to be extra patient but it is worth while. I think because of all the things Marco has experienced he values our relationship very much, he makes me songs, tries to make me feel special everyday (even after a fight). As I said before, Marco is the sweetest guy I’ve ever met.