“Thank you so much for all the support you give people that are touched by this devastating illness. I have been in contact with a man that has bipolar, we met online well over a year ago. We met twice and it was lovely and he seemed completely “normal”. Since then, every time he arranges to meet me he cancels the meeting at the last minute. I have reason to believe that he wants to meet me but somehow can’t. Could I be a trigger to his bipolar and if so is there a way that he can overcome this? Is the romance doomed?He is not good at communicating his emotions and sometimes he doesn’t communicate at all, I know this behavior seems to be quite common with bipolar and I have learned to detach somehow. How on earth can I get through to him? Is it possible to reason with someone with bipolar? Should I just give him up? Can you help? I have since learnt that my friend has ultradian bipolar and it seems to me that it would be almost impossible to pursue a relationship with him. Do you know much about ultradian, also know as” ultra ultra rapid cycling”. It seems almost impossible that such an illness should exist!”
I do not think your romance is doomed and thank you for taking the time to write to us and ask us before completely giving up hope. So many people are quick to give up on people with bipolar disorder without taking the time to understand, or try to understand, what is really going on or what someone with bipolar is really experiencing. While I do not know specifically what the thoughts are with this particular man, I can explain what I have experienced, or what I know others with bipolar disorder have experienced, when it comes to social situations.
Social situations are hard for many individuals, bipolar or not. They can produce tremendous anxiety. Some people experience anxiety about just leaving the house. For others, its not a problem to leave the house and be in small social settings, but large crowds that cause the anxiety. When I first was diagnosed with bipolar and was released from the hospital, I could handle small family gatherings and gatherings with friends, but my husband and I were season ticket holders to the Chicago Bulls and when I would attend the games, my anxiety level would shoot through the roof to the point that I left several games after only being there a few minutes. I just couldn’t handle it. All the noise just grated on me and the flashing lights were just too much. If you feel that the reason he is canceling is because he has some sort of anxiety about going out, the best thing you can do is try to talk to him about it. Ask him to pick the date/time/place to meet, or pick the activity, or even try to replicate one of the first two meetings you had because it seemed he was able to handle those. That might make it easier for him to meet you.
If the issue is not social anxiety, then it could very well have to do with the ultra rapid cycling. I have been diagnosed with Bipolar II, but a few months ago, I had started to ultra rapid cycle, and by ultra rapid cycle I don’t mean going through a high to low a few times within a week, I would go high to low several times in ONE DAY! It was horrible. I would have to lock myself in my office at work and try to get work done, but I would be in tears and so depressed I wanted to die one minute, and then the next minute I would be laughing and smiling and everything seemed ok again. It was horrible on me because at any second I would just plummet to the lowest point (without any warning) and be there for awhile and then skyrocket back up to happy and laughing. For people who know me, I wasn’t really embarrassed or afraid for them to see because I was comfortable with them and they knew what was going on. For people I didn’t know well, or co-workers, that was a totally different story. That was NOT a side of me I wanted anyone to see. If this is what is happening to this man, he might be very afraid that he might end up cycling really quickly while he is with you and that may either scare you or push you away. This is another situation where talking with him would help because if this is what is bothering him, you both might be able to arrange for short meetings for awhile, until he feels comfortable or until he is able to get the cycling under control.
These are just things you could suggest IF you feel that this is something that you can handle and that you want to pursue. Having bipolar disorder is something that will be there forever. It will have its moments where it appears to hide and it will have its moments when it rears its ugly head, but you must be prepared to be there in both instances. A good support system helps tremendously when you have bipolar, so if you are willing to deal with the ups and the downs, and the good and the bad, then you MUST talk with him and try to find out what it is that is keeping him from meeting you. There are DEFINITELY ways of reasoning with us bipolarees and I have given you a few examples. If those situations are not applicable to your case, then let us know and we can try to come up with other suggestions. Those are just the two most common reasons I PERSONALLY had for not being social. (Aside from the the initial “I don’t want my friends to see me because I was just in the psych ward and they are going to treat me funny or look at me weird,” which doesn’t apply here because you are someone who is new in his life.)