My name is Joleen and I am telling my story from a different point of view: I do not have Bipolar or any other mental “disorders”, but my boyfriend, Michael, does.

I met Michael 8 months ago online through a dating service.

We emailed each other and talked on the phone every night for

hours at a time and he told me about his life and I told him about mine.

Mine was not as dramatic and life-changing as his was - I was 43 years old and recently divorced and the mother of 2 young children.

His story was he was riding his motorcycle, was hit by a car and he went flying over the handlebars and landed on his head a few feet away. If he hadn’t been wearing a helmet, he would have been dead on the spot.

But he did not die - instead he was in a coma in the hospital.  He came out of the coma about a week later and had to learn everything over again - and I mean, everything - how to tie his shoes, how to go to the bathroom, how to eat and how to walk. He stayed in the hospital for 3 months and was finally released.  His left side of his body took a beating and he could not use his left hand very well, so that made it hard (and very frustrating) for him to take on certain tasks.

Michael had been a star soccer player and tried to play again, but he just didn’t think he was good enough to play anymore, so he quit.

Michael was beginning to find himself wanting to quit a lot of things in life - including life itself.

He tried to kill himself once with a gun, but handed it over to his mother and it was then that he decided it was finally time to start taking the Lithium that his doctors told him he needed to take. Michael is very stubborn and did not want to be dependent on pills, but he knew it was time to try them out.

Michael just turned 41 years old and the accident happened when he was in his 20’s and let me tell you about the Michael I now know:

When we finally met face to face about a month after meeting “online”, I swear it was love at first sight for both of us.  He is the most loving, romantic, “deep”, handsome, funny and caring man I have ever known.

He has twin girls by a previous relationship (not marriage) and they are 9 years old and he is a great Dad to them. Sometimes he is pretty hard on them, but they love him so much.

He has a good job - it doesn’t pay a whole bunch, but it does get him by and pays his bills. He is always on time and hates to take days off - no matter how sick he is.

He is so romantic and when I say he is “deep”, I mean that he expresses his feelings in almost a poetic way and can go on and on talking and writing like Shakespeare.  He has a tendency to talk fast sometimes and with a lisp at times, but I have become so used to it that when I hear others say “What did you say? I didn’t understand you.” I just look at them and think “What do you mean?! I understood every word he said!”

He is the most handsome man and is in great physical shape as he is obsessed with working out.

On the other side of the coin, he is very jealous and insecure and it is very hard for him to trust people - even me. He needs a lot of reassurance from me and sometimes he still gets in down moods, but I am there to pick him back up. Sometimes he gets very bad headaches and I am there to rub his head and make him relax and hopefully fall asleep.

Sometimes it is hard for him to sleep or he will wake up wide awake about 4 in the morning.

He still does not have the use of his left hand 100%, but he does amazingly well with it. At times, I find myself telling him to use it more because he can get lazy and only uses his right hand.

He is so great to my 2 kids and they love him so much. We have talked about marriage, but we both agree that we can’t get married until he learns to trust me 100% - I don’t know if this trust issue has to do with the Bipolar or drugs or not, but I am praying he can get past this.

I don’t think I ever really considered myself a “patient” person - I am always wanting things done NOW and done the right way and I have been on my own for so many years now....but with Michael, I find myself needing to be patient and answer his questions and tell him all that I am feeling and I do this out of love and caring so much for him that I WANT this relationship to work and I want it long-term.

Let me close with this...when I told my friends and family that I was dating a man with Bipolar, their mouths dropped and they told him to stop seeing him as soon as possible because they heard such horror stories about people with this disease and I told them “You don’t even know Michael! How can you say that!”

And, you know what? As soon as they met and got to know him, they no longer think that way.

When I walk with him in public - at a mall or restaurant or down the street, I want SO badly to stop strangers and tell them what a miracle MY Michael is and that he was on the brink of death and came back and look at him now!

He is truly an amazing man.




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