I need advice on bipolar disorder

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My boyfriend has bipolar disorder, it’s the first time for me to handle the situation. I’m going to be with him tomorrow for us to talk about it.

I just wanted to know what people who suffer from mental illness or any other disease don’t want to be asked about. Some tips, on how to make him believe that I really want to help him and not being with my arms crossed waiting while he suffers.

Thank you

Category: Tags: asked November 20, 2013

4 Answers

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accepted
Remember Mister Rogers? One of the things he communicated to kids was this: "Whatever is mentionable, is manageable." Whatever can be talked about, can be handled. The things that are too terrible to speak about are the things that haunt us.There's no guarantee that your boyfriend will want to discuss everything about his bipolar disorder all the time, but having that first discussion is so important. Things like "How can I help you?" or "What do you want me to know about this disorder?" open the door for him to tell YOU what helps him. That way, you do not have to guess.I'd also suggest googling NIMH (National Institutes for Mental Health) to see what loved ones need to know about bipolar disorder.Finally, get yourself to a support group for friends and family members, either in person or online. Being able to hear what others experience with their mentally ill loved ones may help you.
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Well every person is different. Depending on what his personality is like he might be very open to discussing things with you. Bipolar disorder is a very difficult psychological pathology to deal with in a relationship. This disorder is characterized by the patient having a cycle of Highs (mania), Lows (depression), and normal states. Although, some patients don't have any normal state and just cycle between mania and depression. The disorder can be managed with medication, but what tends to happen is, the patient gets enough medicine into their system and thinks "Hey! I'm feeling better! I don't need this medication." So they get off their medication, and start having more manic and depressive episodes. This can be dangerous because you can't just stop taking medication like that all at once, you have to be weaned off with the direction of a doctor.
The thing you should understand and accept now, is all you can really do is to let him know you will always be there for him and support him. You cannot always MAKE him feel better, or be his therapist, or deal with his bipolar episodes for him. I'm not sure if your boyfriend is on medication, or seeing a professional at the moment, but it would be best if he was doing both. At least on some kind of medication. If his behavior is becoming a problem for your relationship, you need to discuss it with him. Let him know that you'll do whatever you can to help him, but he needs to take responsibility for his disorder. You don't want this to take over your relationship, and if he cares about you he needs to understand his behavior, and how to prevent it, so that he doesn't do something or say something to hurt you while he's in a manic or depressive state.
I had a boyfriend in the past who was bipolar, and it became a huge problem, because even though he knew exactly what would trigger his episodes he wouldn't work to avoid those triggers. He also expected me to just "sense" when he wasn't feeling good. So whenever he did have an episode, he would blame me for not reading his mind and making him feel better. He would get so depressed that at one point I had to hand feed him! You don't want to get to that point. I started to feel like I was crazy! When I brought up that he should try to find some help, because he had no therapist and no medication, he didn't make any effort to get help. I went to therapy and that's when I figured out that I was the normal one, and I needed to get out. Eventually I did, but it wasn't only due to the bipolar disorder.
If you want to discuss this a little more, feel free to message me! Good luck! :)
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V
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To: true3Thanks for replying. You're right and I agree with you that those two questions will at least not offend him and I can the answer he's confortable with to share. I know that he won't talk much, maybe he will refuse to say anything but I have to break the ice. Unfortunatelly he cancelled the plans to do some school project, I don't know if it's true or a lie but still Im thankfull because he didn't ignore it, he ar least warn me that he was not comming. I will check your website and try to join a group for some more lights about this issue, at least this way I'm doing something.Kiss
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To: VThank you for sharing your experience although it left me a bit nervous about how this relationship is going to be. I got it, I will not play "mommy" or therapist on him, just let him know that I'm there if he needs me. If you don't mind, since you've experienced the same situation I'm for the first time going throw, I will be glad to message you to any issues that might come up. Right now, I'm giving him time, I'm not mad at him because he answers my texts with yes or no... and I think I will be fine, until we meet again in person.kiss