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01/10/2012 01:32 PM

Cyclothymia, relationship problems? Seek help?

Posts: 1
New Member


I'm not diagnosed, but I've thought for a long time that I'm not quite normal. About 15 times in the last 4ish years I've crashed, wondered what the might be wrong with me, and proceeded to spend hours upon hours on the internet researching to try and figure it out. I settled on Bipolar II for awhile, but since about 1 year ago I'm thinking Cyclothymia is more accurate.

I'm very creatively driven, as a drummer I join way too many bands, commit to way too many projects, then proceed work myself to exhaustion in attempt to keep up with them all. My mind is always obsessing about some (often several) ideas, projects, goals etc, and I find myself unable to switch it off when I need to.

I seem to constantly (daily and weekly) switch between states of:

1. Enthusiasm, idea/goal obsession, hyper achievement drive.

2. Normal, flat, stable, calm, engaged, present.

3. Depression, inadequacy, anxiety, hopelessness, feeling overwhelmed with commitments, feeling detached from the world.

It can be hard distinguishing between whether the low points are because of real life stress and sleep deprivation & exhaustion (from overworking myself) or if a Cyclothmic or bipolar disorder. I tend to not think about it too deeply until it starts seriously affecting my relationship.

Relationship: I absolutely love this woman. No doubt about it. I've had plenty of relationships with women who aren't right for me, and I know that this one is different. But we still have relationship problems at least once a month, often more like once a week.

We've been together for about 10 months now, at the beginning I chased her with absolute obsession, to the point where pretty much dropped my music and creative ambition to solely focus on getting her. But once she told me she loved me and the chase was over I let myself creative obsessions back into my life in full force (I couldn't deny it for too long).

I know I love her, and there is no-one I'd rather be with, but my switching modes has me struggling to bond with her, quite often. Sometimes even feeling ‘indifferent' towards her, just because I can't bring my mind out of everything else. We do have our lovely wonderful moments, but they seem to be evenly split between our difficult moments where I feel detached, stuck in my own head full of ideas and aspirations and can't really let her in (although I try)

There are so many times where I think "damn, I've been so distant, I need to take her out and treat her like a princess" and I try to do that, maybe take her out for dinner or something, but I still don't feel present, and she knows it, she will tell me I seem distant. I just can't switch at will, no matter how I try.

There are a lot of moments when we are fully happy and together, but they are equal with the moments of distance and detachment.

She fully supports my goals (and helps me alot with them) but often gets upset and emotional and wonders why things have changed so much since our courtship, wonders why I'm distant so often, she thinks she is just on the sidelines and unimportant because I put so much effort, drive, passion and obsession into my goals but I seem to only sometimes be in a state of mind where I can really bond/connect with her. She often says she feels ike she's on the outside of my bubble, says I seem distracted and seem to have my mind on other things. These discussions sometimes turn into ‘arguments' (she calls them arguments when I'm really just trying desperately to explain myself) and I often say things like “I was really trying to connect and bond with you” and she will say “you shouldn't have to try, if you love me it should come naturally”, she can't understand how sometimes I am in a difficult state of mind and I DO have to try, but it doesn't mean I don't love her deeply, I do.

I just wish I could switch and be 'present' for her when she needs me to be. I feel like I'm hostage to my own moods and states of mind, I never know how I'm going to be when I wake up in the morning. I'm desperate for stability of mind and stability of relationship.

I have talked to her about my thoughts about me being bipolar and cyclothymia and I have told her I think I may need help (maybe some kind of mood stabilising drug), but she actually shuts that idea down, she doesn't think I should seek help at all, yet knows there are problems and pins them on my state of mind.

This makes things more difficult because when I crash (or our relationship crashes) I don't feel like I can seek external help, I'm stuck in my own head, trying desperately to explain to her the chaos in my mind, never able to properly explain it, and the same process keeps on repeating, we've been on the verge of break up (she's been on the verge of breaking up with me) so many times.

But in saying all of that, I know (and during our happy moments she knows) our relationship is not 'damaged' as such, after these breakdowns we always go back to total love, affection and forgiveness, with no left-over resentment because we both know we have a soul connection, in our good moments we talk seriously about marriage, when we should have children, joint life/career plans etc. The problems are all based around the subtleties of (verbal and non-verbal) communication, and both my and her lack of understanding of my moods.

Sorry, I didn't realize I was going to type that much.


01/11/2012 03:43 AM
Posts: 464

Welcome to the group!

If you think that you are suffering from a mood disorder, you really do need to investigate this with your doctor. Sometimes there can be physical ailments that can cause symptoms of a bipolar mood disorder, so in the first instance it's good to make sure you aren't suffering from any of those! The second step would be to go for a psychiatric assessment, as only a pdoc will be able to review your history and decide if it fits a diagnosis. I understand that your girlfriend would prefer you not to, but this is your health, and you need to prioritise getting to the bottom of what's going on. If you are suffering from some form of bipolar, the sooner you start treatment the sooner you will start to feel more stable.

You obviously have two concerns here - one is that you may have a mood disorder, and the other is the problems that you are having in your relationship. Being in a relationship when you have a mood disorder can be really hard. It puts an immense strain on the "normal" partner at times, and some people just aren't comfortable dealing with issues of mental illness in relation to their loved ones. I think you need to know why she has such difficulty entertaining the idea of you suffering from a mood disorder - if you are diagnosed, do you think that she will be accepting and supportive?

Perhaps you could both work on improving your communication as well. It sounds a bit like you're stuck in a bad pattern if you're having discussions/arguments that essentially all boil down to the same problem. If you find it difficult to express yourself, you could try writing down what you want to say. But also make sure that you're being realistic about what you both want from the relationship. Your post reads very much as if you are in the wrong, and your girfriend is in the right, which seems a little harsh on you. Of course you have to work at a relationship, and there are times when you become distracted with other things and can't focus fully on your partner. My other half goes into total zone-out mode when he's stressed - doesn't answer questions, can't make decisions, doesn't want to do anything. I know it's because he's preoccupied, so I make him tea, rub his head if it's achy and then leave him alone to sort through things. It saves a lot of arguments, and doesn't make him feel like he's being pulled in 100 different directions. It may be that your overexuberant courtship has set your girlfriend up with quite unreal expectations of what your relationship should be, or just that you need more space or freedom than perhaps she is willing to give.


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