Guardian has an interesting article on how someone with bipolar probably shouldn't disclose this and offers some advice here.
if and when should I disclose this issue to my potential dates. And if
I do it, how do I frame it so they won't run away screaming?
If they run away screaming they aren't the right person for you :)
Unless you want them to, so wear a funny T-shirt about it and test this! (Joking)
The first part of your question is if you should disclose this issue to your potential dates.
Yes: If the potential dates are women there is a good chance you will want to marry and they will, too. This is someone you may end up spending the rest of your life with so honesty and good communication is important for a healthy, long-lasting relationship.
Depends: If you are disclosing this to women you aren't sure about.
- You may go on a couple of dates and not feel this is going to work out so there is no need to say anything early on.
- However, there is also a possibility that you meet someone who is going through the same thing and decides to tell you about it even on the first date. In that case, you might feel inclined to do so, too.
To answer the when component of your question,
When it feels right to you and when this person:
- seems compassionate and encouraging to you to open up about things
- values honesty
- has told you they love and want to be with you not just for the good but also for the "bad
- asks you herself because she happens to have a relative or friend with the same illness
The how might even come naturally when that person has made you feel comfortable enough and you will be feeling they are here to stay.
Personal experience: I was once with someone who suffered from depression and was bipolar but wasn't on any medication. The relationship was serious but he hadn't been open about what he was going through. Sometimes, it got difficult for me and I did have to consult a professional so I know how to handle some of these difficulties. I now feel I could have been more prepared if I knew from the beginning. I basically had to find out myself. But it still wouldn't have made me change how I felt about him. I wanted to be with him and help him.
Hope this helped any! Good luck! :)