"Love Me ... Broken" Dating While Living With Bipolar Disorder
Humped over on my bathroom floor, feeling like a shell of myself, I already missed his arms. Another one bites the dust and that sinking feeling whispers again – “Will anyone ever love me broken?”
Someone told me once that you have to get yourself together before anyone will ever love you. I researched convents the very next day. When you live with a mental illness (bi-polar for me), there’s no such thing as simply “getting yourself together”. Well, not totally.
Image: Kelsey (Love Fusion Photo) via Flickr
I can maintain. I can stay balanced. Drugged up, prayed up and lucid. But will I ever just get over it like some get over their trust and commitment issues? No. Not in this lifetime.
Dating with a mental illness is its own special brand of ... nonsense. Do I tell him upfront? How does that even go? “Hey babe, a chemical imbalance sends me huddled into the closet sometimes. Would you like to get dessert sometime?”
Or if I wait and things become serious, the inevitable begins to show. No matter the therapy or the medications, sometimes you slip and fall down the rabbit hole. Now I’m explaining over the kitchen table and asking the difficult question – “Can you love me broken?”
Asking him to willingly sign up to date someone bi-polar (and not in the not-so-cute way we toss around “Oh you are so bi-polar” to a moody teenager, but the real imbalance) is tough. People, the men I attract in particular, are fixers. People who love you in general want to fix what’s broken, help you outgrow it, but that's not possible here. They want to love you as a whole person too. But sometimes I feel that’s not possible with me. He will have no choice but to love me broken.
I know that I may be alright 98% of the time, but that 2% is hell on earth. He must knowingly pick the tea pot with the crack in it and hope it never leaks too badly.
Is it impossible? No. I’ve had great relationships. I’m no wounded bird waiting to be rescued. I’m strong and my mental illness isn’t stopping me from greatness. I can love and love greatly ... most days. But am I still single? Yes.
In my relationships, there may be a time that I’ve asked a man to hold me when I cried and cried unable to get out of bed about "nothing." Asked him to keep loving me even though I could give no love in return and questioned if my feelings were real or imagined. Lost somewhere in my mind.
I’ve asked him to hold me at night knowing I will never sleep, and to bear with me when I snap or “go off” because my perception isn’t always reality. I've asked him to breathe with me through anxiety.
We all ask our partners to hold us up sometimes, but sometimes there's too much broken and not enough whole. Although I throw myself out there in hopes of love again, inevitably I return like the defeated heroine back to the village with nothing to show for my escapade but memories.
Regrouping and working to be more whole for the next time.
Although the bad days have decreased, they have not stopped. Not everyone can accept that and I don’t blame them. I can only hope for the best and understand that love has a limit and strength has a stopping point. And no one really is to blame. I keep hope alive that one day my needs and his abilities will match. (Vice versa too)
I may never be fully fixed but I am loveable.
But you'll have to love me broken.