At the end of my first date with Sara, she moved in with me. Until that night, we'd only spoken on the phone a few times. By the time the ice in my soda had melted, I'd fallen in love.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And if they don't trumpet it as the explanation for their misdeeds, media experts are happy to do so on their behalf.
You could compile an entire book of quotes comparing love to madness.
But of all the psychological issues in the DSM-IV, only one really resembles the experience of love.
This is partially thanks to the ubiquity of advertisements for medications like Abilify and Zyprexa, and partially due to diagnoses, which have doubled over the last decade.