Kay Jamison in one of the most famous memoirs of bipolar illness, An Unquiet Mind. The popular caricature of the disease -- people swinging rapidly between happiness and sadness -- isn't the whole story.It's easy to confuse love with mania, Jamison says. Most of us may have been unhappy enough at one time or another to recognize a fit of depression, but the other half of the disease (the mania that leads to everything from religious fervor to shopaholism to insatiable libido) is much harder to fathom.
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.
You could compile an entire book of quotes comparing love to madness.
A 1997 National Mental Health Association survey found that more than two-thirds of Americans had limited or no knowledge of the disease; almost a decade later, eight out of ten Americans think they know what bipolar disorder is.
Everyone from disgraced New York Times reporter Jayson Blair to Debra La Fave, the high-school teacher convicted of seducing her fourteen-year-old student, has employed the bipolar defense.
I have recently been dating a woman who has told me she has been diagnosed with bipolar disease. I have read some horrible stories of how bipolar people can be in a relationship (cheating etc).