Hello Fellow Posters,
I appreciate the breadth of information here. I would like to add my own story as I believe it touches on some things not yet mentioned.
I have not been clinically diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but I am doing personal research as I believe there is a high probability that I may have this disorder.
I have dated and did so very promiscuously for years between age 19 - 29. I would go out with just about anyone who asked me out, and quite a few that I ran after myself. I am attractive, so I've been asked out a lot! I suffer from periods of high and low self esteem. I sometimes think that my promiscuity had a lot more to do with my long-held belief for so much of my youth that I was not attractive, and worthless, rather than a true reflection of my real appearance. I guess that by being with a lot of people for casual sex was a way for me to let it sink in that I was wrong, and that others may genuinely want ME. However, I have always feared that my moodiness would lead people to discover my secret pains, become disinterested, and finally, disappear on me. Hence my emotional disconnect from casual sexual and hardly any commitments to people so much of my life during those years. When I actually did fall hard for anyone, I feared that if I'd get hurt or hurt them too. I guess you could say I'm over the fear of being hurt bit these days. But I am still quite afraid of hurting others!
Now in my 30's, I have settled down with someone, and I hope that no-one here is too judgmental when I say the person I settled down with is female too. I don't define myself as a lesbian, but I guess I could say most accurately I'm bisexual. I guess you could say that I like to experiment with what's out there, and I don't dismiss people just because they are men or women, rather, I am interested in personality, politics, religion, and moral character.
Big concerns I have right now is that my current partner is more asexual than sexual, and my dark moods are scary to her. She flinches sometimes if I come near her unexpectedly to give her a hug, and this is extremely disheartening! By the way, when I feel really low I can be pretty scary verbally, but I have NEVER ever been physically confrontational with anyone and in particular, not with my partner. I guess words can be plenty enough to scare people from me. Obviously we have our troubles but it is the best relationship I've been in, and the longest (3.5 years). I am actively working on improving my behavior when I feel down, and I don't want to take out my anger and frustration on her. Of particular note, we kiss and hug a lot, but anything beyond that is very rare. I feel unfulfilled sexually, but my fear of losing a close friend, someone that seems the least judgmental of anyone else I've been with, is very real and scary to me. We do a lot together, and she genuinely tries to understand me and continue to be supportive, despite how my acting out during my period of lows hurts her feelings, and brings her down too. By the way, she is also quite a moody person, and I wonder if it is this which helps her to understand me? She says that she has only been with two people her whole life, and I am the second. I see that this obviously plays a role in her being different from me in terms of experience with types of people to connect to, but from what I understand, her prior relationship of 4 years was quite abusive, and the abuser was her ex girlfriend. I am so ashamed if any of my own behavior has reminded her of THAT person!
Here's what I want, I want a healthier emotional life and sex life. I want to not hurt people close to me when I feel down just because I am wigging out doesn't mean its her fault you know? Additionally, I want to cope better at work, regardless of what mood I'm in. It sucks when co-workers avoid me because I must be wearing on my face how I feel inside... I am afraid of being stigmatized with the label "bipolar"... Meanwhile, I know that my relationship could benefit from couples counseling...would love it but we can't currently afford it! We are seeking to be more open about ourselves to each other, talking things through together all on our own. I can attest that this is definitely helping us. Just this weekend I opened up about stuff I have kept bottled up for years. Stuff about my very dysfunctional childhood, etc. She thanked me for sharing and we were both doing a lot of crying too. I asked her some specifics about what she wants out of our relationship, and she expressed herself quite well, and I will work toward helping reach those goals. She says she wants me to stop those dark moods where I lash out. At the same time, she said that she knows the "real" me underneath it all and that I'm a good person, just that these moods are hard to cope with, and she wants me to stop hurting her when I get in those moods. Guess what? I want that too. How do I stop though? Now there's the hard part. It seems we are experts at feeling bad, yet I have to say, our mutual cry session was a relief to me, and I think she felt so too. My hope is that we can continue to grow together emotionally, and be able to connect better intimately as well. Time will tell! Let's just say, I have hope, I know nothing's perfect, but I have faith in us, and who we are.