Love, Hope and Bipolar

love-hope-bipolarA friend of mine, Deepak, recently sought my advice. He now wishes to marry and settle down. So what’s the big deal, you’d say. Don’t thousands and thousands of Indians marry every month (maybe every week)?

That’s where the catch is. Although he is young and has a job, he happens to be a Bipolar. This is where it gets tricky, a sort of catch 22 situation. A caring and loving wife could help stabilise his condition, motivate him to be disciplined and aim high in life. Of course, it does not always work out that way, not even in seemingly ‘made for each other couples’..

“The hardest of all is to be a well of affection, and not a fountain, to show them that we love them, not when we feel like it, but when they feel like it.”
Nan Fairbrother

Deepak’s hesitation is but natural. Mental Illness remains a taboo subject everywhere but more so in these parts of the world. I could empathise with his dilemma when he asked me the other day,

“Sir, I am going to meet a girl but I do not know how to go about this. If she knows I am a bipolar, she might turn down my marriage proposal. Can I inform her after marriage?”

Absolutely not, I told him.
“Firstly, no relationship founded on dishonesty succeeds for a long time. Secondly, can you imagine the clashes that will arise between the two of you due to this? Legally also, the marriage can be annulled on grounds of willful non-disclosure of material facts. Above all, it is highly unethical to do so.”

I could sense the despair in his voice. “But Sir, otherwise no girl will be willing to marry me.”

“Why don’t both of you meet up a couple of times, get to know each other? Allow her to get to know you as a human being better. And then, I would suggest, take her along with you either to your Counseler or Psychiatstrist. The Doctor can explain to her what your condition is about and that you are coping well with it. She too needs counselling about what to expect from such a marriage.”

“I am still afraid to bring up the topic of bipolar with her.”

“Look Deepak, I am a believer in God and goodness. I believe if a relationship is going to happen nothing can prevent you from getting married. If not, you never might.”

“Sir”, Deepak said, sounding more cheerful and decisive, “I felt so much better after talking to you. I’ll speak to my Doctor and let you know.”

It is very important for the spouse of a Bipolar to be a caring and understanding person,
for stable relationships are the bedrock of recovery. However, is that always possible in modern society where values are shifting from ‘we first’ to ‘me first’, even in India?

Continuing on this topic, for I can’t imagine anybody not wanting to be loved, to feel wanted…
Many months ago another friend wanted to marry off his bipolar son who was refusing to be treated. Isn’t that a recipe for disaster? While I can empathise with these families, reason must prevail. In this case his own Doctor had advised “that the marriage would help him” !!!

Now, neither of this is a cooked up story. These types of conversations have given me immense satisfaction. Mentoring my community involves huge responsibility.

God Bless me so that I can witness many happy love stories.

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