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"I hope it doesn't scare you off."Panicked thoughts raced through my mind. This was the odd humor Sara and I had already established, but I wasn't entirely joking.I'd had several close bipolar friends, and had once been in a long-term relationship with a bipolar woman, Nyla, whom I still consider the smartest person I'd ever met.The most obvious problem is the wild swings in libido: one week your partner wants sex all the time -- maybe too often -- and the next they've got the sexual impulses of a Buddhist monk.

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Keith Ablow all but diagnosed Britney Spears on air this month.

"I would put on the list of possibilities a mood disorder like bipolar," he said, further cementing it as the official catch-all for crazy people."There is never a story or scene with healthy, happy bipolars because even though that type comprises the bulk of the population, it doesn't sell and isn't exciting," says a bipolar woman who maintains a blog about bipolar disorder called Weird Cake.

"Top this off with sensational misinformation from people like Oprah, and you build a population that fears us and looks for us in dark corners."As a result, half of all American adults say they wouldn't date a bipolar person. I'd read in Psychology Today that ninety percent of marriages involving a bipolar person end in divorce, but I figured that statistic applied to couples who were ill-informed about the illness, people who weren't prepared to meet it head-on.

But because Sara clung to the structure so fervently, I followed her lead. The parameters of our life together drew further and further inward, until we were living in a tiny, airtight box created by the quirks of her disorder.

I became not only her enabler, but her progeny as well.