Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bipolar Disorder, Sexuality And You

Our society is ingrained with sexuality. Everywhere you look there is sexual innuendos, signs and issues. It is always pushed to the forefront our minds and in many ways our lives. What happens when the way you think and act are governed by an issue such as bipolar disorder and your behaviours change as a result, and so too do your degrees of sexuality.

You have the one end of the spectrum, hypersexuality, that is often associated with mania. This in itself isn't the issue. It's the coupling of it with mania end of the spectrum that is. So what if a guy or gal wants to get down a little more than often, that really isn't a problem. Mix it with the dangerous thinking associated with mania and you have a big problem. You have a lack of judgement, you have impulsiveness, and worst of all you have the long reaching effects that all of this can have on your life and those of others.

During these periods, one of the last things thought about is protection. A week of different flings each night with different people can have a widespread effect on someone's life. It can result in pregnancy, and possibly even death. It can break up families, marriages, homes and everything in between. It can rob someone of their life. Completely. And utterly.

One of the only ways to curb this is to ensure that the bipolar person is being treated for their disorder. The proper medication and therapy can go a long way to preventing and minimizing manic episodes and the issues relating to them such as hypersexuality.

It can also help to have a very strong support system in place. One that will help ensure your morals and mind are about you, even when they may not be.

It may also be to a point where the sufferer needs to understand, and realize that when they are in a manic episode, it is often better to stay home going crazy with boredom, then to be out at the club or other such place where the behaviours are only sure to escalate. It may seem strange or even over the top, but sometimes locking yourself up at home during these periods is the only thing to do to prevent the results of a dangerous encounter in an altered state of mind.

You may also find, either as the person suffering from it, or the outsider watching it, that after the fact a whole lot of remorse kicks in, a whole lot of soul searching and pain and confusion. What they (or we) did in that mental state haunts us. It was abnormal behaviour for us, and even if the negative consequences aren't seen by outsiders, we feel them, within ourselves.

It is very difficult to live and feel like this. To do your best no matter you mental state to fight off urges and behaviours we know in our heart of hearts are wrong, and not something we would normally ever consider. This quote says it better then I can: "You often see a lot of regret for the past behavior because they put themselves in very bad situations," says Viguera. "When they're well, they reflect back on that and there can be a lot of regret and remorse. It's just another clue that shows you that that was not their normal state." And this in itself can cause the depressive side of bipolar to be even worse. Living with the remorse and pain of what we did in an altered state.

Which of course brings us to the other side of the spectrum. The depressive side. Where nothing in the world could make us want to be sexual in anyway. Where the last thing in the world we want is to be intimite with another person, even if they are our spouse, or someone we love and care about deeply. The depression eats us alive, and along with it our libido.

Dr. Last, author of When Someone You Love Is Bipolar, writes several contributing factors:

Your mate feels physically unattractive (old, ugly, fat) and sexually undesirable.

Your mate feels vulnerable or fragile and can't handle intimacy right now.

Your mate no longer pays attention to his or her grooming and isn't comfortable relating on a sexual basis.

Your mate is withdrawn and wants to be left alone.

Medication side effects have decreased your mate's sexual desire or interfered with his/her ability to achieve erection/orgasm.

Your mate is feeling exhausted and doesn't have the energy for the exertion that sex requires.

Your mate can't experience pleasure from anything right now, including sex.

So where is the balance? How do you make it work, not only for yourself but those you love and care about and those who love you as well?

Honesty is the best remedy. Being completely open with your partner about your urges, your feelings and most of all your condition is just one thing to start with. If they don't know what is going on with you, they cannot help you, no matter how they try. If they don't understand what you're going through and that you don't mean to behave in some of the ways you do, it can help.

Support is another big one. You need to have someone to confide in. Someone who won't judge, who won't point there finger when you admit your deviant behaviour, someone who will help you overcome the guilt of living with those behaviours. Someone to listen to you.

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