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Wednesday, July 09, 2008 fkrieger, Community Member, asks

Q: Does being bipolar mute your ability to feel love? I feel very out of touch.

I have come out of a three year relationship where I ended it because I cannot seem to feel love. I know that I was very loved from my girlfriend however. I "feel" love from her, but it is so muted, it is though there is a door that it is stuck behind.

 

I am not medicated, I suffer long bouts of depression with a short periods of being very very manic (not so much as to be non-functional).

 

Thoughts?

 

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Answers (15)
John McManamy, Health Guide
7/12/08 11:04pm

Hi, fkrieger. A few possibilities:

 

1. You may have been with a partner who did nothing for you emotionally. You may have wanted and waited to fall in love with her, but it didn't happen. It may happen with another woman.

 

2. You may have experienced very intense emotions at the beginning of the relationship, including strong feelings of attraction and desire. These feelings tend to diminish as the relationship progresses and settles down. Enduring affection is far less intense than the impassioned attraction early on, and involves different brain systems. You may have settled into a quieter love without knowing it. You may grow to appreciate this quieter love.

 

3. Your depression could have a lot to do with it. On one hand, depression may be too much emotion, such as too much sadness. On the other, depression may be too little, such as not enough joy. In this joyless state, it is very easy to lose our capacity to care and to experience love. If this is the case, you need to talk to a pdoc about treating your bipolar depression.

 

Only you will be able to determine which is the correct answer. It may be none of the above. It may be a bit of all of the above. You sound like a person who is truly interested in "knowing thyself," so your journey of introspection and soul-searching is bound to be a very healing and revealing one for you, no matter where it may take you.

 

Also, please do not hesitate to look to your friends for guidance, and keep checking in here. Hope this helps -

 

 

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wkg1266, Community Member
5/30/14 7:03pm

my wife and i have been married 28 yrs she was dionoised 3yrs ago but the doc at the hospital did not perscrib her meds and now she only brings up the past and says she has no feeling for love anymore i love her dearly can bipolar meds help her regain her feeling and talking to a phicalogist dr signed missing my wife

 

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Mae, Community Member
7/ 9/08 10:47pm

I believe it can ... I've experienced it myself.  One thing that helps me which may sound unusual is that love is not a feeling - it's an act of your will.  Will to love people.  Will to love yourself.  It's a process.

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Tommy Shelton, Community Member
7/10/08 8:07am

Yes it can, you need to go to the doc and get started on some meds, and stop and take a look around you at what and who is there. Sounds to me like your mind is like mine was and still is at times, A f5 tornado things just running wide open 24/7. Just look back at the one you fell in love with in the beginning, I think that you will find you are as in love with them today as you were then. Its not an easy road for you or your mate but if they are willing to stand beside you and support you through it all, take the steps to make it easier on the both of you. I personally hate my disorder and taking meds but it has made my and my wifes life easier and were still trying to get the meds right, I'm not ashamed of the bipolar that I have nor am I of taking the meds, it helps. Just follow your heart and listen to your mate, Don't do what I did and not hear them IT ALMOST COSTED ME THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN MY LIFE, MY WIFE!!!

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swirlgirl, Community Member
7/10/08 9:04am

With me, I love too much.....I sometimes have so much love, especially for animals....not as much for humans....I know I can sometimes communicate with them...not anything verbal etc. of course... I can "feel" them. their life, only those of you you have it know what I am talking about. Non mentally ill people of course, think i'm weird.   I embrace my "weirdness", it part of who I am.

 

 If I were not a Christian, I would most likely be an underground animal rights activist...they can go to extremes though.

 

It it not always good to love to much...people take advantage, you go deeper in a depression when a relationship does not work or last...you give too much of your power to them...so I can HOLD back from feeling love...so I don't get hurt so much again....I will need to see the other person giving to me, not so much me to them...before I could every love again in a romantic relationship...especailly as I am getting in my twlight years....I would love to have someone to grow old with....

 

Best regards to you on your journey, I am traveling with you on the same train...swirlgirlSmile

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4TrueReality, Community Member
11/ 1/12 3:42am

I know someone who loves birds a lot. She had over 200, chickens, exotic pheasants, canaries, exotic doves, an emu, so very many. She often went into a depression or was severly grieving the loss of one of her hand raised birds. She even took care of a blind dove. Oh, my.  She seemed very self absorbed when it came to a personal relationship - often needing help more than considering anothers needs. It was difficult with her medical challenges and my need for emotional support in a relationship. Didn't think of bi-polar having a numbing effect but it makes sense. Thanks for sharing.  

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inhisgrace777, Community Member
7/10/08 9:45am

Hello..I was reading the comments below..about love being an act of the will..and having bipolar myself...loving too much..I am used to that extreme..and getting hurt with excess and my boudaries being too much or too little..so then I would pull away to protect myself...to fall into isolation..because I thought no one  would accept me..so  now I ask the Lord to  help  me to know  when to  speak..when to be quiet..and turn my pain,disappointment, fear of rejection..over to him..

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smc, Community Member
7/10/08 10:25am

i read your comments and i have to say that i feel the same exact way. i feel the love that my partner feels for me but not sure i can have the ability to feel it for the other person. i know i love my partner more then life but i just dont feel the passion. i did once feel an extreme love for someone that ended very badly and it was the only time in my life that i ever felt that way for another person and have never felt it since. I have hope that with my meds and therapy that i will be able to attain that love again. i dont knwo if its just holding back or if i jsut dont have the ability to love that way. i do hope that you can find out for your self and at least have that one love that you can hold on too. good luck and best wishes...hang in there

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TMarie, Community Member
7/10/08 10:45am

I don't think it's as simple as saying bipolar disorder *causes* a muted or 'out of touch' perception of things. 

 

I think it's a symptom of untreated depression, when will and energy are sapped.

 

And it's a symptom of untreated mania; our brain has been spinning so fast with sensations, thoughts, ideas, and compulsions for so long that eventually it starts shutting down and can't take any more in or give anything out.

 

If we don't take care of ourselves - and truly, honestly, as best we can - then our body is so stressed it simply can't extend anything more for others. 

 

When I was untreated and unaware of bipolar disorder I would swing between being acutely perceptive, loving everyone, and deeply, in hypomania - and being a shell of emptiness in depression. Eventually my moods became mixed.

 

As I've been recovering (therapy, meds, education, self-awareness) in recent months, the long-term stress my body had been enduring for years is starting to release. I love deeply those who are truly close to me, but I'm not shattered by the disinterest of others. When I'm depressed, it's not so deep that I feel in a bubble anymore, unable to love or be reached by others' love.

  

Best of luck to you. Wellness is possible with bipolar. Healthy love is possible with bipolar. But it begins -as it does with 'normals' as well - with self-love.

 

 

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Gia, Community Member
7/10/08 10:49am

I will try to answer from my own personal experience.  I don't think loving someone is as much a problem as much as listening to the person when they are speaking without interuppting or acting defensive to something they have said.  That is what got me in trouble and I lost someone who I am still in love with, it hurts but I am moving on. I don't take medication (made me worse, zombie like, and so unproductive, not to mention addicted) I researched and found an excellent therapist, a female because I believed that we would relate better due to the fact that we are the same sex, in others words I would feel more validated and understood because we are females.  I also attened AA program, and no I am not an alcoholic and yes, addicted to phsyc meds did not abuse them, you see for me part of the bipolar was living with an alcoholic parent, being sexual abused by an alcoholic, and living with an enabler so, for me personally I had to sit there listen, understand the disease, to see people recover, and many of them claim to have bipolar and alcohlism.  I also read melody beatties books on codependent and a few others.  I finally realized that my bipolar II was in a nutshell emotional sickeness, ptsd.  For the last 3 years I have worked on my feelings and behaviors.  Most of what I learned about myself was that I had low self-esteem, shame, fear, anger, self-less, self-centered, no self-worth. 

 

I was a scared, abused little girl hiding in an angry woman's body.  I thought something or someone was going to fill that void in my gut, I found out I was wrong, I was responsible for my own happiness, my life and no one else. 

 

I decided that labeling myself was an excuse not to deal with the painful core issues, the pills numb it somewhat, I didn't have to be responsible and when I really let myself spiral off into an emotional nut I would take a vacation in the physch ward. 

 

We all suffer from some past family dysfunction, some more than others. The entire american population is on pills because we all have learn that a quick fix is much better than doing the work and getting honest with ourselves. 

 

Don't get me wrong there are I feel a few exception(s) that should be on medication. 

 

You know they arrest people for possessing drugs, the consequences are fines, jail and a permanent record. And America can push drugs on TV adds and through doctors and legally get us hooked. 

 

I ask myself the question "Is American really hurting by giving so many young Americans social security disability for mental health illnesses or do they benefit financially by way of the pharmacutical companies? 

 

Anyway if you want to love, you got to grow up and do the work of emotional recovery. 

 

I am a work in progress.  I had to go through to get to the other side. 

 

Today I am in recovery from bipolar, I see a therapist, support group and I have worked on my communication skills and attitude.  The most important thing that I have done however, is build a idenity of my own.  I have taken on hobbies, new friends and interest that I mostly isolated from before. 

 

No I didn't get my X back and I am still in love with him deeply but I don't spend my days by the phone, or kidding myself that he will get over my unsavory behavior.  The truth is he thought it was too much work and he wasn't willing to do the work or put up with a woman who he thought he didn't have time to wait and see if I ever changed my behavior. 

 

And yes he know that I have been working on myself but he like all of has his own fears.  I have accpeted that we will never be and responsibility of the fact that I had no business being in a relationship, especially when I was even in a healthy relationship with myself. 

 

You have to work on yourself and love you before you can love anyone else in full. 

 

Good luck and if you really want to find the answer to your question look in the mirror and ask yourself Why you feel mute when it comes to love. 

 

I was dx with bipolar and I can give love, feel love, I just could never handle all that came with love like a mature adult. 

 

We only have two emotions "Love and Fear" we can chose which one we want to manifest.  I decided to love and since then I have been medication free for almost two and half years. Today I can honestly say that I love myself.  My relationships are better.  Getting here was not easy but as time when on it got better...the confusion truned into clarity. 

 

Good luck..........do the work if you want love!

 

Reply
Gia, Community Member
7/10/08 10:50am

I will try to answer from my own personal experience.  I don't think loving someone is as much a problem as much as listening to the person when they are speaking without interuppting or acting defensive to something they have said.  That is what got me in trouble and I lost someone who I am still in love with, it hurts but I am moving on. I don't take medication (made me worse, zombie like, and so unproductive, not to mention addicted) I researched and found an excellent therapist, a female because I believed that we would relate better due to the fact that we are the same sex, in others words I would feel more validated and understood because we are females.  I also attened AA program, and no I am not an alcoholic and yes, addicted to phsyc meds did not abuse them, you see for me part of the bipolar was living with an alcoholic parent, being sexual abused by an alcoholic, and living with an enabler so, for me personally I had to sit there listen, understand the disease, to see people recover, and many of them claim to have bipolar and alcohlism.  I also read melody beatties books on codependent and a few others.  I finally realized that my bipolar II was in a nutshell emotional sickeness, ptsd.  For the last 3 years I have worked on my feelings and behaviors.  Most of what I learned about myself was that I had low self-esteem, shame, fear, anger, self-less, self-centered, no self-worth. 

 

I was a scared, abused little girl hiding in an angry woman's body.  I thought something or someone was going to fill that void in my gut, I found out I was wrong, I was responsible for my own happiness, my life and no one else. 

 

I decided that labeling myself was an excuse not to deal with the painful core issues, the pills numb it somewhat, I didn't have to be responsible and when I really let myself spiral off into an emotional nut I would take a vacation in the physch ward. 

 

We all suffer from some past family dysfunction, some more than others. The entire american population is on pills because we all have learn that a quick fix is much better than doing the work and getting honest with ourselves. 

 

Don't get me wrong there are I feel a few exception(s) that should be on medication. 

 

You know they arrest people for possessing drugs, the consequences are fines, jail and a permanent record. And America can push drugs on TV adds and through doctors and legally get us hooked. 

 

I ask myself the question "Is American really hurting by giving so many young Americans social security disability for mental health illnesses or do they benefit financially by way of the pharmacutical companies? 

 

Anyway if you want to love, you got to grow up and do the work of emotional recovery. 

 

I am a work in progress.  I had to go through to get to the other side. 

 

Today I am in recovery from bipolar, I see a therapist, support group and I have worked on my communication skills and attitude.  The most important thing that I have done however, is build a idenity of my own.  I have taken on hobbies, new friends and interest that I mostly isolated from before. 

 

No I didn't get my X back and I am still in love with him deeply but I don't spend my days by the phone, or kidding myself that he will get over my unsavory behavior.  The truth is he thought it was too much work and he wasn't willing to do the work or put up with a woman who he thought he didn't have time to wait and see if I ever changed my behavior. 

 

And yes he know that I have been working on myself but he like all of has his own fears.  I have accpeted that we will never be and responsibility of the fact that I had no business being in a relationship, especially when I was even in a healthy relationship with myself. 

 

You have to work on yourself and love you before you can love anyone else in full. 

 

Good luck and if you really want to find the answer to your question look in the mirror and ask yourself Why you feel mute when it comes to love. 

 

I was dx with bipolar and I can give love, feel love, I just could never handle all that came with love like a mature adult. 

 

We only have two emotions "Love and Fear" we can chose which one we want to manifest.  I decided to love and since then I have been medication free for almost two and half years. Today I can honestly say that I love myself.  My relationships are better.  Getting here was not easy but as time when on it got better...the confusion truned into clarity. 

 

Good luck..........do the work if you want love!

 

Reply
Beth, Community Member
7/10/08 10:50am

First, I must tell you that I am Bipolar and I am medicated.  With that being said, I encourage you to believe that you can be loved and give love.  Alot of the BP people that I've had experience with are not only bp, but also have low self-esteem.  We constantly question everything around us.  The meds do help tremendously.  I think of bipolarism as being like diabetes......they have to have insulin to live, successfully in this world, and bps must have their meds.  It's not a curse, but, instead is a gift.

You essentially must allow yourself to have the permission to be loved and give love.  Remember that many bps have a higher intellect and odd social graces thus placing them in the spot of the "observer" in life.  Meds help you break out of that game.  Get your meds....the right ones.....and trust (now that's the hard part).  Love is there and you deserve it.  Good Luck.

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Narelle, Community Member
8/20/08 5:02am

I do al ot of loving when i'm "up" and feel very connected to my husband and child - up to the point where i'm too up to see it's not all about me. When i'm down I can sometimes feel very "disconnected", almost as if I can't feel anything but more like i'm not really here. Other times this evolves into extreme anger and I lash out harshly at those closest to me. I don't think it's all cause of bipolar, but it does not help. I do know that I love them, deep down, even when I feel "out of touch" as you put it. I always have it somewhere in this brain of mine...I love them and that never really goes away, even when i'm ranting (can cause alot of guilt that I sometimes don't want to face as well).

I think if you really love someone that this "out of touch" or "disassociation" feeling will pass, and that somewhere inside you still know you love them, you just can't access it sometimes, often the times when it's really needed.

N

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blessedorcursed, Community Member
8/23/08 3:54am

  Compared to most of the acute feelings we experience through bipolar love does seem muted in comparison. In my life I have found that I can not judge my relationships with mere emotion. I too have mood swings like you and I have found that it is important to use reason and logic instead of feelings to make decisions like these. Even without bipolar the adequate  intensity of love is hard to determine. In my life love has been temporarily muted with moods but was very strong otherwise. It seems that if you have been this out of touch for a long time you know the answer.

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NVERGONNAGETTIT87, Community Member
11/ 1/08 2:34am

I Have Bi Polar with a case of ADHD I currently take adderal XR extended release.

I've had it since i could remember so far my time i've been commited was at age 8 unsure if they then diagnosed me then or at 13 when i returned and so on and so forth.

I do feel love but its harsh when i do.and im scared to get involved and its a trigger i itch so idk if its letting you see it from another person but.The key i deal with is putting myself into the people i care about maybe you just were going down a path with a return maybe you new it should end but did nothin idk.ask yourself questions with someone you know that will listen so you can figure the anwsers yourself. IT works.

 

 

 

Reply
CloudHead, Community Member
3/31/09 10:11pm

I can only answer from my own personal experience:

 

I am 17 and fell in love with a girl, crazy in love, romantic doing things out of my normal behavior, being creative etc. I had a crazy weekend and I didnt get much sleep, I was too happy and energetic about life. Then my parents threw me in a hospitol because I was not acting to par and there I was diagnosed, and now I have experienced the same "muting" that you described. When I get "happy" I am described as "manic" and my medicine will be bumped up to account. I feel like I went from a romantic back to a soldier..

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healed, Community Member
7/27/10 7:51am

I have been severly bipolar since a young teenager. I thought I knew how to love, though it's expression was muted during depression because I felt so bad about me. The worse I felt, the more I'd withdraw until i'd become delusional as to my .evilness. I believed the devil was part of me. Soon I'd be commanded to kill myself. When I was high, love would obssess me. But it was not a normal give and take relationship. It was all me....and I hadn't a clue. As the high got higher, I became more grandiose, irritable, with a mind that would ramble and then run through the years, philosophy, ideas..until, again I had to isolate to control the stimuli and what was becoming confusion. Did I have a better self opinion...not really because there wasn't a real me in a real world. I was just part of my hallucinations. So, to make a long story short, I could't truely love until chemically I became more controlled and I had to learn to love and accept me. Then came the backslides and the hospitalizations, and the very frequent med changes. Further healing would take 30 years of my own search to accept and understand me and others. The last step was forgiving my mother who was also bipolar and never on meds :  forgive her, she never knew        and me  I never knew why not 

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By fkrieger, Community Member— Last Modified: 05/30/14, First Published: 07/09/08