When it comes to love, we all have trouble regulating our emotions. Maybe that is where “madly in love” comes from…to love is to flirt with madness. That has been the case with all of my relationships or lack there of.
It began in college this love affair with the idea of a man. I imagined him perfect. We were perfect. He was gorgeous. He was funny. We had so much in common. We traveled. We laughed.
We hadn’t even met.
And so went the course of most of my relationships. Me not understanding what love really meant. The root cause: fear. If you fantasize about someone, they stay perfect. Nothing goes wrong.
Except in my case everything went wrong. With each episode, there was a man involved. And in each case, the guy HAD liked me. But in my own way, I had pushed them away and the relationship didn’t get very far. I gave mixed signals. I had no idea how I really felt. No self-awareness.
The last guy was the worst because I think he may have been the real deal. No fantasy. The real deal. I realized how I felt in my last hypomanic episode in 2008 (I had met him several years ago and had since moved away). I had changed my medication (turned out to not have been a good idea). It really was like my brain went haywire. Some synapse fired and I knew I was in love. I had felt a connection the whole time. I know this sounds strangely like the fantasy I have outlined above…BUT I really do think he was and is the one. Despite never really knowing him—any of you reading this know—when you know you know.
Now, here’s where the mania comes in…I thought he was sending me messages through my computer. I felt overly aware of my surroundings. I felt like I was part of movie. Everything was making SO much sense—again. I actually hallucinated one night and saw him. I came home one night and followed him behind my house in the rain. (Surprisingly—you will be really shocked—I never found him).
The really crazy part though was the fact that despite all of the mania I was able to fake it. No one ever really knew how bad it was because I could function pretty well. People just thought I was stressed. Maybe a little too stressed but in touch with reality. But, I believed all of the craziness for a while. Only now, have I begun to let go of it all. Maybe I have held on so long because I really do love him.
But he got away from me. He is married now. It is very difficult to accept because as any person with a mental illness knows…the “could have beens” are the toughest.
There are statistics that point to it being more difficult for a personal with a mental illness to have long-lasting relationships. I think the key is utilizing therapy. Knowing yourself allows you to give more of yourself to your partner (this is true in any relationship) When you are happy, you can make someone else happy.