A little background; My name is Christopher and I am reaching out. My entire family on my mothers side is touched with mental health issues, specifically bipolar. My elder brother was diagnosed recently, and now I am seeing that what I thought was my personality may be more. I have since mid december been having my most severe episodes. My thinking is out of control, I'm creating fantasies about what is going on around me then persecuting others for it. I am no longer sleeping more than 2-3 hours a day, not eating, and my job performance is suffering. As I type this tears well up yet I am smiling and feel happy.
I am about to lose a woman I love and would be honored to marry. She has stood by me and tried to counsel me and still I push her away. I became self aware of the impact I have on those around me during some insightful arguments, and come with an open question;
What can I do to make life easier for my SO?
She is asking for some space to breathe and be herself, and is at the point where she doesn't want to call ourselves boyfriend/girlfriend anymore yet she too wishes for marriage one day. I don't even know how to process that.
What can I do to curb the relentless need to explain my thought processes? I feel such shame that I desperately want to feel she understands. This is the worst, it's a rabbit hole of a conversation and frustrates her to no end. She gets it and accepts me, and wants to move on together - but I can't let it go until something new steals my attention, which is always out of my control.
I'm getting started with a clinic nearby this week, but I'm lost until I can see a Doc.
This is a lot to blurt out - my apologies if it's hard to follow! Ack! Any thoughts are appreciated!
Hi Christopher, from what I just read, it sounds like you are undiagnosed, but feel you have bipolar disorder? I am glad you are going to a pdoc this week. I am so proud of you for reaching out and for talking about the confusing things going on in your head. And also for loving your girlfriend and wanting to understand her feelings and yours. I think you are taking a big step towards your journey to stability and understanding. I commend you and I hope you are going in to your pdoc very soon. When is your appointment and is your girlfriend going with you?
Correct, I am undiagnosed. I know my family history, symptoms, and that something is very wrong. I'll be doing intake on Monday. Unfortunately, it is unlikely she will join me right away. I'm hoping that she will go to therapy with me - but we need to find out if we're even together first. Which is why I'm here.
Thank you for your kind words! Just being able to have a safe place to discuss means so much.
Post edited by: basque, at: 02/18/2012 10:49 PM
02/18/2012 10:52 PM
Posts: 211 Member
is she living with you right now Christopher. Give her the space she needs and move on with your treatment because if you try to do both (keep the girl and get help), that might make matters worse. As you get better, the chances of you saving your relationship are higher. I really hope you get the help you need on Monday. Keep us posted for sure. And I am sure other members here will chime in.
02/18/2012 10:55 PM
Posts: 56 Member
I am married to someone who is Bipolar and I am the spouse dealing with it. I think I would give her her space so she can take care of herself a bit and get some clarity. I would also invite her to your doctors appointment if you really love her and want her to be a part of your life. She will have to know what she is dealing with and really understand what the illness is about.
There are some YouTube videos about bipolar disorder and that may help and also I would see if she could get some books to read. Here are some books:
When Someone you love is Biopolar: Help Support you and your Partner by Cynthia G. Last
The Bipolar Survival Guide: What you and your family need to know by David J. Milkowitz
Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder by Julie A. Fast
The people on this online suport group are GREAT and have a lot of knowledge and support for those dealing with a spouse who has bipolar or is in an active relationship. The moderators of this online group are Excellent and can give you more support and suggestions. These are the only ones I have above that helped me understand better. I also went to a NAMI group (National Association of Mental Illiness in my area). That may be overwhelming for now but when things have calmed down with your girlfriend or signficant somewhat other ask her is she wants read or learn more about the disorder with you. It really is something that affects the whole family and relationships. It is important to have support and encoragement and also self care because some of the behaviors are self-destructive and may hurt others.
Christopher, I want to give you some credit and applaud you for seeking help and support! I would give you a big hug for doing this because it is a big step!!! Know that you are brave and that you are also strong for doing this. Take Care and Take Heart--there are alot of good people on this group with understanding and knowledge.
It is WONDERFUL, as our members have already said, but I wanted to stress again, that you are getting treated. If you read up on Bipolar Disorder, you will see that being untreated can destroy your business/job, your finances, your marriage and family, your self-esteem, your retirement savings... And untreated mania can lead to some pretty serious brain damage. My point is that whether you and your girlfriend stay together, you have to be serious from here on out about your mood disorder. You have to become an expert.
Her asking for space? I will just tell you a story that might help you understand. When my husband first went manic (as we NOW know!) , he had a lot of strong opinions and he was adamant about expressing them. He would follow me around the house often expressing those opinions loudly at me...[and he would sometimes call me names, like "idiot] and it was TERRIBLE. If you have some of those qualities when you are manic? She might want to have some space from you.
I hope she can come with you to the appointment. Often the bipolar person can't see the forest for the trees. WE have to do it for them.
So wonderful that you want to know what to do if you are married!
02/19/2012 12:39 AM
Posts: 4281 Group Leader
Welcome to the group! Like everyone has already said, it's great that you're willing to consider something isn't right with your thinking for now. My husband's mama had bipolar and schizophrenia and deep inside my husband had known for years that something wasn't right with him, but he had always hoped he didn't have his mama's illness. He does. So does his brother. I don't know if you do or not, but it never hurts to seek out professional help in solving the mystery BEFORE you slip possibly into a big mania where you nearly wreck your life and your relationships with others. That is what finally happened with my husband. He had some peculiar behavior for years, but finally after stopping some anti-depressants cold turkey and then had stress of the death of a dear family member...he slipped into mania...it escalated little by little until he did all kinds of damaging things emotionally to himself and others around him. So it's great that you are getting in there and seeing someone quick. My husband has been totally willing to get the help and keep taking the medications and seeing the pdoc (psychiatrist) ever since. I think this is because he KNOWS from his own life experiences with his mama how BAD things can get with bipolar, if the person doesn't take their medicine. So, your knowledge of your other family members may be something that is helping you push forward for help. That's great. I hope you and your girlfriend can continue in your relationship, if that is what you both want. I would definitely take her to the appointment with you, so she can tell the pdoc some of the odd or different behavior SHE has noticed about you and maybe she can tell them how uncharacteristic it has been, as well. My husband's pdoc says a 3rd party is great help for him, because he says when a person is in any mania, they are more likely to not realize how their behavior is altered and not bring this out as much. It would be evident of course if the sessions were longer and sometimes it is evident if the mania level is too high, but in any case....take her with you if you plan on trying to continue your relationship with her. Bipolar disorder is a family affair. That way, if you do end up being diagnosed as bipolar, your girlfriend will be able to know what meds you are on, what she will need to work together with you to help you achieve stability and maintain it, and also she will be better able to decide whether or not she can stay in the relationship with you or not. As hard as this is, you both will be better to find this out before you do decide to follow through with marriage. Again, WELCOME!!!! Take care and keep us posted. I'm interested to hear what the outcome of your appointment is.
02/19/2012 05:17 AM
Posts: 452 Member
Hi Christopher. I want to cheer you on in your journey to getting stable. I commend you so very much for even noticing something is awry with yourself. Being on the other side of this nightmare I can tell u that I wish my husband A. Wouldn't cheat and B. Wouldnt continue to hammer me saying he doesn't love me etc, which apparently is kind of common for bipolar spouses or significant others to say and do. So my best advice is just remind her you do love her underneath the madness. If my husband would at least do that I wouldn't be where I am which is hiding in another country constantly crying and hurting. Good luck to you Christopher, you are a standup guy.
02/19/2012 10:35 AM
Posts: 4891 VIP Member
Welcome, Christopher. First of all, the fact that you are undiagnosed, untreated and you have the capacity to be thinking about what YOU can do to help your gf deal with this? Amazing, fascinating, RARE!
I hope you will check back in after tomorrow and let us know how your appt. went so we can cheer you on in your quest for stability.
As far as what you can do to help your gf, be as honest as you can with your dr., invite your gf to accompany you to all appts., stick with the treatment the dr. prescribes, seek out a therapist and give your gf the space she desires right now. This is a journey and the more open you are to staying the course to get stable, the easier it will be. I'm not saying it will be easy, there are sacrifices involved for both you and your gf with a mental illness. But if you are both knowledgable about what it is that you are diagnosed with and understand how to best be proactive in preventing episodes of instability, the less it will feel like you are giving up too much to be stable. It is totally worth it once it happens.
I wish you luck and good wishes for tomorrow. Please check back in and update us.
02/19/2012 06:37 PM
Posts: 167 Member
Welcome Christopher! You are wise and brave to reach out for help. Kudos to you! I look forward to getting to know you better and finding out what the pdoc said. As far as I see it - you are stronger than you realize. Reaching out for help is HUGE!
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