From a distance, I'd seen how much energy it took Nyla to keep her episodes under control: weekly doctor's visits, blood tests, complicated regimens of medications.
And yet for all their problems, my bipolar buddies had always kept things interesting.
But of all the psychological issues in the DSM-IV, only one really resembles the experience of love."I would put on the list of possibilities a mood disorder like bipolar," he said, further cementing it as the official catch-all for crazy people."There is never a story or scene with healthy, happy bipolars because even though that type comprises the bulk of the population, it doesn't sell and isn't exciting," says a bipolar woman who maintains a blog about bipolar disorder called Weird Cake."Top this off with sensational misinformation from people like Oprah, and you build a population that fears us and looks for us in dark corners."As a result, half of all American adults say they wouldn't date a bipolar person. I'd read in Psychology Today that ninety percent of marriages involving a bipolar person end in divorce, but I figured that statistic applied to couples who were ill-informed about the illness, people who weren't prepared to meet it head-on.But because Sara clung to the structure so fervently, I followed her lead. The parameters of our life together drew further and further inward, until we were living in a tiny, airtight box created by the quirks of her disorder.I became not only her enabler, but her progeny as well.It took her all day to clean the bathroom, and when she was done, she would begin all over again. " she'd say, as if these predictable tasks were the only options.Our relationship became defined by obsessive routine, something that might normally have made me feel antsy and restless.Before L had found an effective combination of meds, she drove halfway across the country in a mixed state, buying expensive clothes and jewelry for herself, with the goal of committing suicide when she reached California.Fortunately, her mania dissipated before she made it there. All relationships suffer from irrationality, which is why they can be particularly susceptible to the ups and downs of bipolar.At eighteen, she enrolled in the Ivy League university she'd dreamt of attending since childhood, and within a semester, was incapacitated by depression; she dropped out and returned to L. Sidelined for years, she was finally looking forward again: doing PR for a record label and working part-time toward her bachelor's degree. When I looked at Sara, I felt inspiration, not pity.And even though I'm not the type to plunge quickly into relationships, I was convinced I was in love. Aside from a quick trip to clean out her studio apartment a few weeks later, she never went home."Of the two of us," I told her as we lay happily in bed, "I must be the crazier one."Nine months later I stood over her pale, unconscious body, frantically dialing 911 for the first time in my life.