In my mid-20s I started dating a guy who made me weak at the knees. He was outgoing, ridiculously confident and enjoyed nothing more than being silly.
That is like a hat-trick for me! I have always adored the class clowns so I was on cloud nine.
We would go on these epic dates that were very unpredictable. We might decide to go for sushi, but then he would find an abandoned shopping trolley, and before I knew it, he was taxiing me around in it and we'd end up on an adventure through the streets.
Or we would go to the theatre and he would re-enact his favourite scenes for me on the way home.
We had been seeing each other for a couple of weeks when I decided it was time to slowly start introducing him to my friends. So when my best friend bought a new car I told her I was on the way to my date's place and she should swing by there to show us.
I knocked on his door but there was no answer. I knocked again and heard a muffled, "Yeeeeeah I'm here." I curiously opened the door and walked on in.
I found him in his room in bed, where it looked like he had been for most of the day. I sat down on his bed and asked if he was OK, and he mumbled a brief 'yes'. But it was clear he was in a mood and definitely didn't feel like chatting.
I explained that my friend was on her way over to show us her new car but he didn't want to come out and look at it. In fact, he didn't want to get out of bed at all.
It was like a dark cloud was hanging over him and he just couldn't snap out of it. Being in my twenties, and probably slightly immature for my age, I took it personally and stomped off in a huff.
A day or so later he was back to his jolly self and asking for forgiveness. I absolutely adored him, and was relieved to see him smiling again. Over the next couple of months, I would notice his moods seemed to dip low, then high, then back to average again.
It wasn't until one night he was in a mood that was a little too wild that I heartbreakingly had to make the decision to walk away.
A few months later, and after many teary nights, I received a call from him. He explained that he'd moved to London to give theatre a real crack and he was sorry that we never got to say goodbye properly.
With an entire ocean between us, he felt brave enough to make one further confession. He explained that he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and that was the reason he had been so up and down during our relationship.
My heart broke. Not only for the fact I couldn't run to him and tell him everything was going to be OK, but also because he had been too embarrassed to tell me.
Bipolar is a disorder associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs. There is still so much unknown about the disorder, but it is believed to be a combination of genetics, environment and altered brain structure.
Basically, those who suffer from it have a chemical imbalance in their brain. It's not from lifestyle choices they've made, it's just the cards they've been dealt.
Years later, I would go on to work with Laura, a strong, intelligent and fabulous woman who is now one of my best friends. I always look at her and her husband and think #goals!
They both have amazing jobs, a gorgeous family and have both been blessed with creative minds, making them ridiculously good at their jobs in media.
So when Laura shared that her husband Bruno also had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I was fascinated to hear how they both dealt with it.
She agreed to come on my Kinda Sorta Dating podcast and in a very open and honest conversation she shared just what it's like being in love with someone with mental health issues, and how love, medication and empathy has seen them go from strength to strength.
Some of what she said is pretty confronting. She explained that the first signs something was wrong was his serious depressive episodes, which was then followed by self-harm and numerous suicide attempts.
She has had to call ambulances, check him into mental health wards and is constantly alert for another episode.
In between that, however, she is married to a man who is gifted creatively, an amazing father, loyal partner and a provider for the whole family.
It's certainly not a walk in the park, but with less stigma around mental health and more open and honest conversations, it's no longer taboo to head to a therapist and find out why we might be acting a little out of sorts, or feeling something a little stronger than others do.
These supposed "quirks" that Bruno and my ex had are actually some of the best parts of their personality.
The occasional setbacks that come with a mental health diagnosis don't outweigh the big heart, and amazing mind of a person. So why let it get in the way of a fruitful life with someone special.
• Jana Hocking is a podcaster and collector of kind-of-boyfriends.
Where to get help:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633 or text 234 (available 24/7)
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (12pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 or text 4202 (available 24/7)
• Anxiety helpline: 0800 269 4389 (0800 ANXIETY) (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.