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When do you tell someone you’re bipolar?

Posted Oct 21 2009 12:00am

I haven’t posted lately, probably because I’ve been consumed by a new relationship. Well, I don’t want to ‘jinx’ it by calling it a relationship, but let’s just say I’m dating someone that I really like. Usually I keep all my medication in my night table drawer. Usually, I keep at least a dozen pill bottles around and when I need to, I sit on my bed with some television program in the background to entertain me while I put 5-6 pills in each daily compartment of the plastic cases I use to keep things organized. So my drawer is a mess of orange pill bottles and three plastic old-lady pill cases.

Since the new guy started coming over to my place, I’ve put the pill boxes and the pill bottles in a shoe box. The shoe box is in the bottom drawer of my bureau.  Put simply, I’m hiding the pills just like I’m hiding the bipolar disorder. (Or am I just not revealing information that I shouldn’t reveal at this point anyhow?)  It’s been about a month since we started dating. In the past, I’ve blurted out “I’m bipolar” at the beginning of knowing someone. Once, in a moment of complete and utter madness on my part a few years ago after a terrible break up, I decided to tell a guy I was bipolar on THE FIRST DATE. I’ve now realized that bipolar disorder is something that I deal with and not something that the person I’m dating should have to deal with explicitly, especially at the beginning of a relationship. Yes, it is who I am as a person, but I have things under control.

Still, at a certain point, I feel obligated to tell him. I feel like he has a right to know, but I fear judgment and I fear what I know has happened in the past. Which is that once you tell someone you’re bipolar, suddenly you’re the one who’s really troubled. The one who is judged when she’s in a bad mood. The one who, the other person feels, might be worth leaving because she’s not “stable,” even though, I would argue I’m so obsessively tuned in to maintaining my stability that I’m in fact more stable than most.

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