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-   -   Is a diagnosable mental illness a red flag for you? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=26635)

BlackUnicorn 08-16-2012 02:26 PM

Is a diagnosable mental illness a red flag for you?
To answer my own question:

Yes, IF
A the person afflicted has not sought any treatment or kept up with treatment in the last year
B us being together and/or being poly has for the last two years objectively made them worse
C if their condition is very similar to mine, involves a lot of mood swings and shifts in identity
D they are using drugs and alcohol to self-medicate

KyleKat 08-16-2012 02:41 PM

I am typically drawn to people with "issues". I don't know why it is, but I always have been. It should be a red flag, but my nature is to help everyone I can "get better" and even though I'm not at all equipped to do that, I still try.

I'm not really sure what our responses are supposed to be here, but my short answer is "no".

lovefromgirl 08-16-2012 03:00 PM

Sorta kinda. I'm doing okay-ish (comes and goes, and I handle stress poorly). If whoever I'm with is doing as well as or better than I am, with a decent future outlook, I'll take a chance.

What must be clear is that I won't tolerate certain behaviors no matter the reason. No cheating. No lying. No changing or going off meds on a whim -- I actually discuss med changes with CdM so we're on the same page, and if it's a major change that might affect CdM's partner, she gets to know too. No substance abuse. No acting-out sexually. I will press charges if I find zie is harming me. I will take zim to the hospital for evaluation if zie is a risk to self or others. (If I'm the one at risk/being harmed, the police can help me. Saves on ambulance bills + gas money.)

Fucking up happens, and God knows people with wonky brain chemistry are prone to it. Seen it in myself, seen it in friends, seen it in family. We're therefore responsible for not fucking up, and if that means we have to go an extra mile, so be it. I did it. I do it every day. I'm owed at least that much by whoever I take as a partner.

nycindie 08-16-2012 03:26 PM

For me: Red flag, yes, yes, YES. Dealbreaker, no.

I see how a person takes care of himself and if there is a visible, earnest effort to manage the illness, and if it is clear I won't be dragged down the rabbit hole with him, then I give him a shot. I have to be careful to know that I won't get sucked into someone else's dramas. Protecting myself doesn't mean I won't be loving and supportive -- I just have to be careful that I don't overextend and deplete myself to do so.

BrigidsDaughter 08-16-2012 03:58 PM

I would have to say no. Runic Wolf and I were only married a couple of years when he was diagnosed. I never thought about leaving him soley based on something he had no control over that was literally thrust upon him as a result of 1 in a million medication side effect. That doesn't mean that it has been easy, but I think I have become a much more self aware and understanding person as a result.

Wendigo goes through occasional periods of melancholy, which I hope will be lessened once the cause of most of his stress the last few years moves out next week. Things are definitely looking up for all of us in many ways, but as I was telling Runic Wolf last night that it is okay to be sad about the parts of our lives that aren't quite what we want. That allowing ourselves to sit in disappointment occasionally does not mean that the depression is winning. It just means that we're human.

newtoday 08-16-2012 04:58 PM

It might be a red flag for me, depending on the illness.

Someone very close to me is involved with a man who is bi polar. His MEDS have a very adverse effect on him sometimes and he tires of the side effects so he's been known to 'go off' his MEDS.

There have been times when that happens that he is quite deranged, violent.

It's a sad situation as when he is medicated, he's a wonderful man. We just fear that one day that wonderful man will do something he can't take back.

So, I'd be weary of it for sure, based on my own personal experience.

BrigidsDaughter 08-16-2012 05:30 PM

Runic Wolf is bi-polar and has been managing w/o meds for 3 years now. He's never been violent on or off meds, so I don't have to worry about that. And his behavior was only an issue when during a manic phase, an ex tried to convince him that he'd never been bi-polar and all his issues were mine and our son's fault. She did manage to get him off his meds, which at the time were necessary because he hadn't fully adjusted to how his brain worked at that point. In the end, she got the boot and we ended up with a better understanding of how each other thing and process and that was over 7 years ago when he was newly diagnosed.

GalaGirl 08-16-2012 05:34 PM

Well... in my universe, I'm responsible for looking after my own buckets of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health. AND that of my partners so... I'm looking out for mine FIRST when seeking partner. I accept there are partner buckets to tend, but I'd want a reasonable load of bucket sizes!

So it is a red flag AND dealbreaker on romancing. OK for friends.

If it comes to pass later on (ex: Alzheimer in older years) that cannot be helped. But going in fresh? No thanks. Friends, please.

My own family medical history has too many mental health issues and I just cannot bear YET ANOTHER person with something ELSE. My own stress/anxiety just cannot take it.

Dad has anosognosia amid his other stuff. And that's the worst of the lot. The one where he just cannot see that he is sick. It is not denial. The information will not penetrate, ever. We can tell him, show him things from his file, it just will not go IN. It's like that part of his brain processing center is an empty office and nobody works there. If it were someone like dad dating? His very condition makes it so he just cannot see he'd have a pretty major thing to reveal before getting serious.

I have a lot of compassion for those suffering mental health things but I have to obey my own limit on that one -- I'm just too full already for more people in my life with these complications. Sigh. :(


SNeacail 08-16-2012 06:02 PM

I think the biggest factors are: diagnosed AND actively managing vs those that are in denial or refuse to work with professionals.

We all have issues, physical health, financial, situational, etc that can be just as or sometimes even more stressful than a mental health issue, especially if it's being managed. I don't see it as any more of a red flag than getting involved with someone with physical health issues. I stress again, being aware, and actively managed is the key.

opalescent 08-16-2012 06:45 PM

Beaker manages her bi-polar disorder and takes responsibility for her health. So it was not a deal breaker for me. However, she knew that if she stopped trying to manage it - as many bi-polar folks do - then that is a dealbreaker for me. It's not having a mental illness but the refusal to cope, to deal, to manage, to take one's meds, if needed - that is my hard limit.

Now if it was a disease that had no treatment or was very difficult to treat, I would be more hesitant to get involved.

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