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Old 07-15-2011, 12:34 AM
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Default mental illness in the poly community

Hey, all. I'm poly and proud, so please don't take this as an attack against the community in any way (I would also never disparage someone for having a mental illness, so it's doubly not an attack )! But I've been wondering... are there any mental illnesses that are more or less common in the poly versus the mono community?

Specifically, I'll thinking about bipolar. My gf and her hubby used to date a girl who had bipolar. No biggie. But then my roommate mentioned that his brother, who has bipolar, happens to be poly. And I noticed that the woman who writes the excellent blog The Polyamorous Misanthrope had a post about her bipolar. When I saw another member here mention that the new person she's seeing has bipolar, I really started to wonder! Is it just a relatively common thing which I had failed to notice before, is it a coincidence, or could there be a correlation?

I don't want to offend anyone and I'm hardly an expert, so if you know more than I do please speak up! It did occur to me though, that if there was a correlation maybe it was because people with bipolar, seeing as they are in very different states at different times, could be better served by having multiple partners for support/connection.

What do you think? Am I entirely out there with this, have you noticed any positive or negative relationships between poly and various mental issues?

Last edited by AnnabelMore; 07-15-2011 at 02:45 AM.
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Old 07-15-2011, 12:48 AM
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Bipolar Disorder is a more recent name for Manic Depression, I've been told, and that has been around a long time, and is prevalent in modern society. My mother had it. I don't think it's mostly in poly circles. Poly attracts a wide cross-section of people, with all types of personalities, predilections, and afflictions.

There was a similar thread about this a few months ago, but I can't recall the title.
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:05 AM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
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I suspect there are a lot of people with Borderline Personality Disorder who might say they "are poly" as a way to try to justify some of their pathological behaviour patterns.

This could cause the results of such a demographic survey to become skewed.
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
Bipolar Disorder is a more recent name for Manic Depression, I've been told, and that has been around a long time, and is prevalent in modern society. My mother had it. I don't think it's mostly in poly circles.
For the record, I definitely wouldn't theorize that it's "mostly" in poly circles, just that it could possibly be more common in our crowd. I have an inlaw who was bipolar/manic-depressive (you're right that they're the same thing) so I know it's in no way confined to our crowd, it's just that I seem to see it come up in a poly context more often than not lately... heh, maybe it's just that my contexts have changed.
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeonKaos View Post
I suspect there are a lot of people with Borderline Personality Disorder who might say they "are poly" as a way to try to justify some of their pathological behaviour patterns.

This could cause the results of such a demographic survey to become skewed.
Very possibly.
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Old 07-15-2011, 03:11 PM
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Short Answer : Yes.

I was curious about this too, and did research on it last year. It seems that people diagnosed with Borderline PD / bi-polar / depression / anxiety / OCD and those with histrionic tendencies, tend to be drawn to polyamory. Also a high number of people who are alcohol, or drug dependent.

Where it gets interesting, is figuring out, if they are drawn to poly for the 'wrong' reasons, or that their issues stem from denying themself of living authentically for x-number of years. Jury still seems to be out on that one, as there is very little study into people knowingly living poly lives. One research team, was aiming to track poly couples for up to 5 years. Unfortunately, most poly relationships end long before then.

I don`t have time to find, or leave links, but you can do your own searching.



Ahhh... back to work.
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Old 07-15-2011, 04:58 PM
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I'm not scientist, but I learned in school that whenever there's a correlation, it helps me to stop and question: chicken or egg?
Maybe some people have become depressed because they have been trying to mold themselves into a mono life.
Maybe some people are lonely, and that leads to depression, and poly brings more people around them to love.
I've also heard that many people with bi-polar disorder are very creative, and poly is another creative way of looking at life and love.

I posted this quickly because I have to run, but I just had to throw something in there to subscribe to the thread, haha! Looking forward to further discussion on this topic.
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Old 07-15-2011, 08:46 PM
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One probably has little to do with the other. People live their lives and define their sexuality as they do based on a lot of factors. Mental illness and personality disorders most likely play a part, but are far from the whole story. Just speaking for myself, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of factors that played a part in me choosing polyamory. I'd imagine for most people, there are at least a few, and no one thing was the deciding factor.

If there is any correlation here at all, it's most likely to do with openness. Polyamory is seen as negative by society in general, as are mental disorders. If one is polyamorous and open about it, they are probably more likely to be open about other things society sees as negative as well. Pretty much any group of people that is considered non-mainstream seems to show a higher percentage of mental disorders than do mainstream groups.

Last edited by Kommander; 07-15-2011 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 07-15-2011, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SourGirl View Post
It seems that people diagnosed with Borderline PD / bi-polar / depression / anxiety / OCD and those with histrionic tendencies, tend to be drawn to polyamory. Also a high number of people who are alcohol, or drug dependent.

. . . One research team, was aiming to track poly couples for up to 5 years. Unfortunately, most poly relationships end long before then.
The problem is that there are likely many more folks out there living polyamorously who have never even heard of the word, would not identify themselves that way, and are not stepping into the spotlight about it. The studies are only dealing with a small subset of people.
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xared View Post
If one is polyamorous and open about it, they are probably more likely to be open about other things society sees as negative as well.
Excellent point! In order to run a blog about your alternative personal lifestyle choices, like The Polyamorous Misanthrope does, you've got to be pretty darn open and unconcerned about society's judgements to begin with, so it does stand to reason that the woman who runs it would be more willing to mention a mental illness than she might be if she ran a blog about, say, knitting or auto repair. Heck, the poly lifestyle is practically based on talking about things that most people would choose to sweep under the rug rather than acknowledge.
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