Looking to a Relationship to Fix Bipolar

April 9, 2012 Natasha Tracy

I am single. I have been single for a long time, actually. It’s OK; I don’t mind it that way. I have my dalliances, I have my friends and I have my cats. It’s a touch stereotypical, but it’s my life.

I have, however, fallen victim to an irrational line of thought from time to time – I really want to couple. Some of this desire is completely rational. It’s normal to want to spend Sundays in bed with someone and have someone to share orange juice with in the mornings.

What isn’t rational, though, is the idea that a relationship will make me “happy,” will make me “better.” In times when bipolar feels it’s darkest, more than anything I just want someone to hold onto even if holding onto someone doesn’t work.

Holding onto someone, however special, will not cure bipolar disorder.

Depression Desires

One of the things notable about depression is that it will make you hate yourself and your life in many cases. Instead of looking out and seeing that you live in a beautiful city, in a lovely apartment with wonderful friends all you will see is a ratty couch that you cannot afford to replace thus proving your lack of worth as a human being.

And being single is similar. Rather than seeing the choice to be single as a choice, and quite possibly a positive one, it is seen as something negative and something that proves your lack of worth as a human being.

“See how bad I am. No one even wants to be with me.”

When that, of course, is just depression feeding you a lie.

Relationship Desires

So if being single proves that you are a worthless human being then being with someone must prove the opposite. If being alone feels so bad then being together must feel good. Right?


I talk to people every day, married people, coupled people, relationship people who are every bit as unhappy, or manic, or sick as those who are single. This disease does not discriminate and it certainly doesn’t care about your relationship status.

Wanting a Relationship

But of course there’s nothing wrong with wanting a relationship. Humans couple for a host of reasons. It’s something that most people do.

But make no mistake about it, your depression will not be less, your self-hatred will not be less, your illness will not be less because of it. Your illness will simply find a new way of beating you up. The only way of making your illness better is by tackling it head on, no matter what your brain might falsely say. There are no shortcuts and speed dating is not a recognized treatment for bipolar disorder.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or GooglePlus or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2012, April 9). Looking to a Relationship to Fix Bipolar, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 22 from

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Natasha is also unveiling a new book, Bipolar Rules! Hacks to Live Successfully with Bipolar Disorder, mid-2024.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleX, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

Abhisek Mukherjee
August, 11 2014 at 9:56 am

Natasha, I am 21, Indian and a patient of OCD ( if you are not aware of it, just read on it). I happened to read this and another blog of yours regarding denial in relationships. What I would like to tell is that while this may be the case for many of you, there are people out there who won't run away. My girlfriend didn't, when I told her. Infact she keeps on supporting me in her own ways. We fight a lot, but in the end she is always for u see, not all of them run away..and those who run away..would run away too if u had an accident and scarred your face. They simply don't deserve you..:)

Elvish Junior-Chris
May, 2 2012 at 3:26 am

Now that I see all the posts are being moderated .. a couple of follow up questions. - Why is that video even up? a video like that its useless and even hurtful just for the reason that.. a person taking care of someone is going to make that decision in time, a little 2:10 you tube clip saying "ITS SOMETHING YOU'LL HAVE TO DO." it makes me gulp. Anyone with Bipolar had better hope they can figure things out quick or hope that they don't somehow fall into a manic episode or you can get permanently cut off by your own family as suggested by a youtube video.
Statistically, what is that video getting accomplished? Do you get where I'm coming from?
Also, I would imagine that a family could help get a person into rehabs/psychiatric-hospitals, from a distance with modified restraining orders. I Don't know, maybe u can enlighten me. Ill wait for a response.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 2 2012 at 8:19 am

Hello Elvis. I'm Deborah with Since the video in question wasn't done by Natasha, she thought it might be better for me to address your concerns.
This video ( ) is an interview HealthyPlace did with our consumer bipolar expert, Julie Fast. She is NOT advising that family members should just abandon a loved one with bipolar disorder on a whim. She was asked what family members should do when a person repeatedly refuses to acknowledge they have a mental illness, rejects all reasonable attempts to have a mental health evaluation and followup treatment, and they present a threat to others' health, mental health, finances, and physical safety. In that instance, Julie advised that you have to draw the line. Under those circumstances, family members, loved ones, friends should not let any person destroy their own health, mental health and put them in a position of constantly worrying about their personal safety.
Julie has bipolar disorder and understands very well what the condition is all about. But let me put this in another context so the "mental illness" part of it doesn't confuse the issue. If you had a family member in your house that threatened or inflicted violence - putting your, your spouse's or child's health, mental health, and physical safety in danger, would you allow them to stay? And especially, would you consider allowing them to stay if they refused to acknowledge there's nothing wrong with that kind of behavior?
I hope that addresses your concerns.

Elvish Junior-Chris
May, 2 2012 at 3:03 am

After visiting this site and clicking on two links, I'm so perturbed that I'm writing and in-depth response.
-OK first of all.
"If being alone feels so bad then being together must feel good. Right? Wrong." Maybe. but, If being alone feels so bad then being together can feel good. DEFINITELY YES!. Don't give up on finding love. Some people get their heart broken never love again.
This is where I got shocked and even a little bit anxious.!
I'm quite frightened to see a website called "HealthyPlace" Instructs people to Disown/Abandon Their Own Blood by saying: "Its The hardest thing you'll ever have to do." if their family member is being violent towards themselves and others and causing financial burden. The woman in the interview Has failed to realize.
1.) A person with bipolar disorder Is going through a heck of a lot more than you could ever imagine, and the sadness/frustration is relentless. The basic fact is - THEY TEMPORARILY MAY NOT BE CAPABLE OF NORMAL THOUGHT & IT IS NOT THEIR FAULT. It could take someone 5-20 years to get their head straight. I Would even say that its possible that after they have found the right medications, it could still take 5 years of adjusting. "It's the hardest thing you'll ever have to do," could have been said, instead 'Sticking By Your Family', rather than, 'Fleeing'. Hopefully the person has some strong people around them that can handle taking care of someone they love; Regardless of how intense the person is(at that time). Also, the word "Refusal" is completely outrageous when talking about a person with Bi-Polar Disorder. The diseased person is not being adamant/mean/rude/unwilling etc. THEY ARE SIMPLY NOT BEING THEMSELVES, and MAY NOT HAVE THE INTELLIGENCE OR KNOWLEDGE PRESENT TO DEAL WITH THEIR DISORDER.
If the moderator of this forum has anything to say, or maybe can clear something Up for me, I would greatly appreciate it. Otherwise I would hope that this message is not deleted so viewers could get a broader range of perspective on the topic.

Natasha Tracy
April, 11 2012 at 6:19 am

Hi Carey,
Well a stabilizing factor in your relationship would seem to be a good thing. Relationship-induced mood change doesn't seem to be the best idea. Perhaps someone a bit more "boring" is a good choice. I guess I just couldn't say.
I'd say it's happiness that matters. If you have that, you've won.
- Natasha

Natasha Tracy
April, 11 2012 at 6:13 am

Hi Dave,
Well, sometimes we find those, so don't give up.
- Natasha

Natasha Tracy
April, 11 2012 at 6:11 am

Hi Amelia,
I actually find that quite a reasonable life choice :) You're protecting yourself and your stability, which makes perfect sense to me.
I have a friend who I adore and every time he comes over he messes up my towels in the bathroom. When he does it I chuckle to myself because I just think, "thank goodness I'm not married to him" because I can't imagine how much that would drive me bonkers.
- Natasha

Natasha Tracy
April, 11 2012 at 6:08 am

Hi Emily,
You have a point. Marriage has been shown to be useful in mental wellness but I believe it is the stabilizing influence and not the marriage itself. In other words, we could be stabilized by any number of factors and one is marriage.
I think a big part of it is routine and a secondary part is socialization. We living alone folks can get that too :)
- Natasha

Natasha Tracy
April, 11 2012 at 6:03 am

Hi Londonchap,
I would tend to agree. Everyone tends to look for external validation and it's really just the wrong place to look.
- Natasha

April, 10 2012 at 4:19 am

I think what we seek in a relationship is that we pair with someone who will let us be ourselves; we can hide under the covers when we need to, will let us beat the crap out of a punching bag, will GET that we need to RELEASE this inner anger/frustration/anxiety without taking it personally.
I ache for that.
I know others don't have it better in their relationships than I do in my current one (primarily a dating relationship) and to be honest, in public, we appear very, well, together. No one would guess that I break down not just due to something he said that hurt me or something that I fought with my mother over or that he can shake from so much stress (he's a research fellow).
& sometimes I forget that he needs to hide under the covers a bit.
I also agree that I kinda wait for the rug to be pulled out... yet he tells me it isn't... that, well, what will break us up is more that one of us will want something out of our lives that the other wont be able to be along for... which, well, sounds like oatmeal to an extent; he's good for me. He isn't exciting. He doesn't have me living on the edge. But as BP, maybe finding someone who keeps us on edge isn't the best thing. Relationship induced hypomania... not a good thing

April, 9 2012 at 6:03 pm

In my experience, something will inevitably happen that will send a relationship down in flames. I don't know. I think if I were to get into a relationship again, it would have to be with the kindest most understanding woman on the Planet.

Amelia Mims
April, 9 2012 at 1:28 pm

Personally, i have avoided relationships as the turmoil of a break up is a trigger for depression, or mania or both. That my seem like a strange life choice, but maintaining stability can be so tough, it just doesn't seem worth the risk. So to your point of relationships not fixing bipolar, might i add the stress of a relationship could be more of a hindrance than a help.
When i hang out with couples and hear them argue or disagree, i actually feel relieved not to have that burden. All that said, meeting the right person is not ruled out, I would just take it very slow. Natasha, I find it a relief to read your stuff and see that I am not alone in my 'eccentricities' :).

April, 9 2012 at 1:19 pm

I agree with you to a certain extent, but- marriage does seem to be protective against mental illness in many studies. And people who live alone are twice as likely to be prescribed antidepressants. So while finding a mate might not be the magic answer, it probably does help some people's mental health.

April, 9 2012 at 1:18 pm

External validation will only ever be fleeting, whether its through a relationship, drugs, applause from being on stage, if you *need* something outside to solve a problem inside, you'll never be able to get enough.
That is how addictions are formed, people get addicted to relationships as well as drugs.
I true sense of validation and happiness can only be generated from within. And once in place, you'll find that relationships are much easier to attract and will come from a much healthier place.

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