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June 27, 2017

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Friday, May 12, 2017

My sister is in a manic phase again and she just quit her job. Is she bipolar?

By Andrea Bonoir
The Washington Post

I’m worried my sister is showing signs of manic depression. She has always had a lot of highs and lows, but lately they have gotten extreme. She recently quit her job to start school for something entirely outside her field, and it has all of us worried because she has no income but somehow thinks this will all pay for itself and that she will make a ton of money. She has gone through phases like this before and they always peter out and now I am starting to wonder if it is a more serious issue. I’ve never seen her really significantly depressed but she goes in phases where she gets so into stuff and then it just dies.

Right now, whether she is diagnosable with something is less pertinent than whether her behaviour might screw her over for the future. True mania or not, her current path sounds risky. Does she have any insight into her patterns, or recognise the damage — if any — that past “petering out” has done?

Start the conversation not with some overarching mental health issue in mind but rather with the evidence you have in hand: the financial risk, lack of clarity of her plan and the times her pursuits have stalled. It is a good sign that she has never overtly plunged into depressive periods, but you may not be seeing all the symptoms. Regardless, first addressing her patterns of impulsivity, in a respectful way, is the loving thing to do.

I met someone two months ago at age 32 that I could see spending my life with. My friends and family would think I was crazy for saying that because it is too soon. At what point am I allowed to start thinking in serious terms? I feel like if I push things, I might scare him off — but when you know what you want, you know what you want.

Life is hard enough without deciding to stomp on excited feelings. But yes, there is the important question of “pushing things.” What does that phrase mean to you? Of course, proposing marriage after two months is likely inadvisable. But does “pushing things” also include making sure your commitment is a monogamous one? Talking about individual hopes and dreams and seeing if they align? Expressing how this feels different from past relationships? The latter are reasonable steps when you are developing a strong attachment to someone and have high hopes for the future. Don’t go by anyone else’s rules but your own. And while booking a DJ is premature, hiding your feelings from the person you want to be with is a type of game-playing that won’t serve you well either.

 

@drandreabonior

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