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01/29/2010 04:01 PM

How to live with a bipolar person

lindamarie61
lindamarie61  
Posts: 24
Member

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness in which a person suffers from dramatic hyperactive episodes followed by bouts of depression. Living with a bipolar person can be extremely stressful, both emotionally and financially. Bipolar people can have immense energy and spend lots of money when they are on a high, then be depressed for days immediately after. Their families can begin to feel guilty and burdened.

How to cope

1. Confront the bipolar person you are living with if you see him using drugs or alcohol. Remind him that substance abuse can make his condition worse because depressants like alcohol could bring on a depression, and stimulants like cocaine could make his manic episodes worse.

2. Talk to her about going to psychotherapy sessions. These sessions can help a bipolar person deal with the difficulties that come with the disease, and help her not feel so alone.

3. Ask for help from the Department of Mental Health for your state. They can give you financial assistance to help you pay for treatment or offer you advice on how to deal with the stress of living with a bipolar person.

4. Form a structured routine for everyone in the home. Eat a balanced diet, exercise and keep a daily schedule. The consistency can help lessen stress and mood swings.

5. Remain social by inviting family and friends to interact with the bipolar person. It's important to not isolate people with mental illnesses because it can make them feel bad about themselves and slow their progress.

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01/29/2010 04:10 PM
lindamarie61
lindamarie61  
Posts: 24
Member

I know there are bi-polar people here. Please post and let me know if you understand what it is like to live and love a person with bipolar. Because I can tell you about hell from years of "dealing with it" Many books have been written to offer us "the families" support. The best one is "Walking on eggs Shells". That best describes the life of loving a bi-polar person.

01/29/2010 04:15 PM
TerriTee
TerriTee  
Posts: 3989
VIP Member

Linda, those are excellent tips. Thank you.

01/29/2010 04:23 PM
FriedBrainNuggets
FriedBrainNuggets  
Posts: 758
Member

you forgot one LindaMarie....take time for yourself each day, treat yourself well

excellent tips lindamarie, thank you


08/17/2011 08:08 AM
Intheshadows
 
Posts: 150
Member

We're not "bipolar people." We are people who have bipolar disorder. While you give some good advice, the best way to have a harmonious relationship with someone with our disorder is to not see us as our diagnosis. Bi-polar Disorder is a spectrum illness, which means that there are varying degrees of the condition. Not all of us put our loved ones through hell, any more than people without the disorder do. I am sorry for people who have suffered in difficult relationships but, as someone with the disorder, I can't help feeling defensive at the tone of this (and many posts). I have friendships of 30 and 40 years. My employers do not know that I have BP-II. My family and friends love me and accept me. We're not all monsters to have to be "coped with" or handled.

08/17/2011 09:04 AM
joycea
joycea  
Posts: 807
Senior Member

shadows,

please don't take offence at what you read here, or on any of the posts.

as with any disease, bp manifests differently in different people. all ppl with bp are not the same.

i think, imo, that what you have read is from ppl who have had to go thru hell with their bpso's, who most likely, are not trying to help themselves, with pdoc's, meds, ect. and then there are those who use bp as an excuse to act like a**holes.

i am glad that you are responsible for your diagnosis. that, in itself speaks volumes. i wish everbody that has bp would do the same. but alas, they all don't.

try to understand that some of these posts are the only way that some of us have to vent. we do not group ppl with bp into the same pot. we know they are different. it is just that, all people are different, bp or not.

please continue to post here. you, being responsible for your own bp, can really help some of us, who have bpso's, to try and learn and cope.

we have a member in the bipolar spouses support group, who is herself bp. she has helped me and many others, by letting us know how it feels to be on the other side.

sorry so long

God bless

joyce


08/17/2011 01:51 PM
Intheshadows
 
Posts: 150
Member

Thanks, Joyce. I come here because I do want to help. I'm not going to lie and say that living with me is always easy. It's not. But all people have ups and downs in their relationship.

For people who love people with BP, I would give this advice:

Decide for yourself if you're willing to live with/be in the life someone who will not take charge of his/her own condition. If they can't, they need extra help. If they won't, you need to take care of yourselves and set boundaries.

In my case, it was hard to accept the diagnosis and the realization that I would never be cured of my problem. I also face the daily challenges of living a "double life" because my livelihood depends on keeping my condition a secret. To those close to me, I am open. I also have a pre-prepared list of questions that they can ask me to see if I'm ok. I think sometimes people are afraid to saying or doing the wrong thing when someone is having an episode, so they do nothing.

An example of my questions for my family friends are: 1.) have you taken/changed your meds? 2.)Have you been sleeping? 3.) Are you dehydrated? 4.) Have you contacted your psychiatrist or therapist or medical doctor? 5.) What do you need from me right now?

Since I gave the list, I am much less likely to feel threatened and act out. If you're thinking of suggesting this to someone, make sure that the person is (relatively) stable at the time. Ask the questions in a non-accusatory tone. Know that many people with the Disorder are sensitive about other people thinking that if we take our meds, that solves everything. It doesn't. Medication is only one part of the treatment. However, without it, it's hard for the other parts to work.

It all boils down to acceptance. When my sister beat cancer, she said to me, "We are not prisoners of our genetics." I take her advice as my daily courage to live a full and productive life. I want the same things as everyone else. I want to be accepted as a human being and not have my diagnosis thrown in my face any time someone has a problem with something I say or do. BP Disorder does not comprise my entire personality, nor does it dictate all of my actions. It is, however, something that needs to be considered in the whole package that is ME.

Sorry to be so long. I hope this sheds some light into how some of us with the Disorder think.


08/17/2011 02:43 PM
joycea
joycea  
Posts: 807
Senior Member

shadows,

i know there are a lot of ppl who don't have any ideal of what bp is, and if they are not directly involved, they don't care. as you know, there is a stigma attached to mental illness. i can see why you feel you have to live a double life. i am sorry it has to be that way Sad

i, myself, am not bp, but my husband is. i only knew how it can be from my side, for a long time. i am thankful that he has let me in on how he is doing and what he is feeling. that has helped both him and me.

as far as being sensitive, we are all human. i am very sensitive to a lot of things. yes, probally over sensitve when it comes to someone putting my husband down or laughing behind his back. this makes me want to hurt somebody Devil

i am glad that your list works for you. before my husband got stable, when i would ask him these questions, he would get furious. this is why i am so grateful that we have open communication now. i think the main question to ask would be what can i do for you right now.

you are right, all married couples have their problems, if they say they don't, they are lying.

i am glad you are on this site. you can help so many here. not only those with bp, but families, spouses, friends, anybody who is close to or loves those with bp.

please keep posting

we need you here.

thanks

joyce


08/18/2011 07:48 AM
marienoel
Posts: 15
Member

I am new to this group. I have been married to a BP man for 14 years. Most of it has been living hell. When I married him he was stable, he then decided to stop taking his meds. He spent 12 years of the marriage online meeting other women on dating sites. I have 3 children and at the time I found out, he had lost his job and our house was in foreclosure. We stayed together to try to make it work. He took his meds, went to his dr again. Everything was great for 2 years. then he stopped taking his meds and our lives fell apart. Heis not abusive, he is a loving,kind mand and a good dad. I guess thats why I stayed as well. He is now back in counseling and on meds. This life is so scary for me. I have never reached out to anyone to talk about it. I have simply kept it to myself. I have heard so many comments from people who label BP as some crazy illness that makes crazy people. I sit there and say inside my heart you have no idea what you r talking about. I found this site two weeks ago. I have learned so much in the short period of time. I never realized there was a whole world out there of people in my position.

08/18/2011 08:58 AM
sallyo
sallyoPosts: 3684
Senior Member

Welcome, Shadows! It's so nice to get your perspective on this illness; it gives hope to those who are really struggling to understand their loved one with the disorder. So often people come here when they are in despair and confused about what to do, so sometimes it can come across as harsh and judgmental. The bottom line, though, is that if they didn't care, they wouldn't be reaching out and looking for answers. Thank you for giving light to this disorder. I'm just sorry you have to keep it so secret; I hope someday that stigma will go away and we can have open dialogue about how best to work with mental illness. I hope you'll feel free to keep posting. Joyce is right; we do need you here.

Marienoel: Welcome! You truly are not alone. The stigma makes it so hard to reach out to others, but you are welcome to come here to explore your feelings and find ideas on how to help your husband, as well as how to stay healthy and take care of you.

Have you looked into your area's local NAMI group for insight or help? They would be a good place to start to get information about the disorder. And I understand what you mean about staying with a husband who has bp. Mine has bp1 and has been medicated and accepting of his diagnosis for only a few years out of the 25 that we've been married. I hope yours will stay on his meds!

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