Living with Someone with Bipolar Disorder | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness
Like other relationships in our lives, romantic relationships play an important Like friendships, romantic relationships also follow general stages of The love between two brothers. Mania, Emotional Intensity . Navigating is when a couple continues to revise their communication and ways of interacting to reflect the. The health and mental health, psychological well-being, marriage, work-life, and Results indicate that parents of adult children with bipolar disorder had a more . and their randomly selected brothers and sisters (Hauser and Warren, ). .. many limitations associated with self-selected samples, there are 2 ways in. As someone living with a significant other with bipolar disorder, not only is it a The love of your life or your child is suffering terribly and you in many ways are As the significant other, husband, wife, daughter, brother or wife you need to.
We even shared an e-mail account. It was only years later, as Mike grew ill, that I realized that my dependency was unhealthy.
When we returned home to New York after our trip to Saigon, Mike seemed normal. But a few months later, when Mike was 33, his strange behavior returned.
At first the changes were subtle. We had a crate where we kept important papers -- tax forms, passports -- and he became obsessed with rummaging through it.
His voice changed, too, in a way that was imperceptible to anyone but me. His tone was deadened. When he joked, he lacked his previous enthusiasm. I only began to worry in earnest on the night he stayed out until dawn, without warning. When he finally came back, he kissed me on the forehead like he'd just finished a day at the office. Furious, I told him how distraught I'd been.
In response, all he said was, "It's OK. I was out for a stroll. None of this was like Mike. How to feel better everyday I suddenly wondered what else he might do: Would he make an offensive comment to a stranger and trigger a fight? Would he wander into traffic? Increasingly concerned, I called his parents, who lived in New Jersey and didn't know anything had been the matter with their son.
An hour later, they pulled up in front of our building, and we drove straight to the family's primary-care doctor. He suggested a battery of tests and a hospital stay to rule out physiological explanations for Mike's behavior. But he clearly suspected mental illness and recommended that Mike go to a psychiatric ward. Shocking though it may seem, that's when it first occurred to me that Mike's mind was the problem.
I was both relieved hey, at least it probably wasn't a brain tumor! Mike was diagnosed with severe depression and was put on an antidepressant. But he didn't last long in the psych ward.
He checked himself out two days after his arrival, insisting he wasn't sick. And after about a month at home, thanks to medication and weekly therapy, Mike again seemed like himself.
10 Ways to Help Someone Who Has Bipolar Disorder
I was so optimistic about his recovery, in fact, that about a year later, when he spontaneously asked me to marry him, I said yes. The next day, December 12,we took our vows at City Hall. Five months later, I became pregnant. I was ecstatic at the prospect of starting a family -- convinced that we would be fantastic parents and that Mike's illness was behind us for good.
But my sense of certainty was crushed just a few minutes after our daughter, Lizzie, was born, on February 9, As I lay in the hospital bed, Mike leaned over and said, "I heard the baby talk to me. He had gone off his medication without my realizing it.
I begged him to go back on the drugs, and he listened. But he seemed less stable than before, as though he might lose control at any moment. As in Saigon, he constantly checked our locks and shushed me.
He struggled to bond with Lizzie: He held her in a rocking chair and read her books but often had a totally blank expression on his face. I never felt comfortable leaving Lizzie alone with Mike. His mind always seemed elsewhere. When Lizzie was about 14 months old, Mike went off his medication yet again and was hospitalized. This time he received a new diagnosis, the one he still has today: The diagnosis scared me. Perhaps for that reason, I saw the disease as shameful.
I couldn't bear to tell my mom and dad, or my friends, that Mike was no longer just "depressed. How to worry less Instead of nine good months at a time, he'd have five, then two -- largely because he kept refusing to take his Zyprexa pills, swearing that he wasn't ill.
Panicked, I visited countless doctors, read countless books, and visited support groups in an effort to find him and myself real help. Mike didn't want to hear about any of it. He stopped working and spent hours lying on the floor, listening to "Ziggy Stardust" over and over. Then one weekend, in the spring ofI reached a tipping point.
Mike was driving the two of us to a nearby grocery store. He seemed a bit withdrawn but still communicative. So I was unprepared when, suddenly, he blew through a stop sign. I shouted for him to brake, but he didn't seem to hear.
When he finally did stop, I got out of the car and walked home, shaken. I didn't know what to do. The answer became clear the next day, when our family went to the park. Three-year-old Lizzie held out her hands to Mike, shouting, "Daddy, up! That night, as I tucked her into bed, she said, "I don't like Daddy really much.
I lost my husband to bipolar disorder - CNN
What kind of example was I setting by not putting my daughter first? I made a silent vow to take control of my life. I told him, voice quavering, that Mike was a danger to himself and others, citing the stop-sign incident and his inconsistency with his medication as evidence. The order was granted. Police officers came to our apartment and took Mike to the hospital; he resisted at first, but eventually the officers convinced him to comply.
I told Mike that if he stayed there and got help -- and kept going to his psychiatrist after he was released -- I'd be there for him. If not, I'd leave. I knew what would happen, and it did: He checked himself out of the hospital after 48 hours which was legal under the terms of the commitment order.
And true to my word, I took Lizzie and left. Six months later, I filed for legal separation, and two years after that we divorced. I held on to a lot of guilt for ending the marriage. I felt that I shouldn't have abandoned someone who was ill, someone whom I had loved for so long. I felt it was my duty to make Mike better.
However, I also was relieved -- for me and for Lizzie. To her, Mike had been so emotionally absent that his physical disappearance seemed like the next logical step. Try to find something they enjoy that you can do together, like getting a bite to eat, going to the movies, or going for a walk outside.
Continue inviting them to do things together Keep inviting them even if they decline your invitation. Social anxiety or other reasons might keep them from showing up, but they will appreciate being included. Understand when they need some space or alone time Sometimes people need some time by themselves, and it doesn't mean they are mad at you.
Try not to take it personally and respect their space. Offer to go to a support group with them Especially if they have never been to a support group before, they might be nervous about going by themselves. It might be easier to go if they have a trusted friend with them. And even if they don't want you to go with them, they will likely appreciate that you offered.
Reassure them that they are still fully valid participants of society Let them know that their lives have meaning. The illness does not define them and should not limit them. Educate yourself about bipolar disorder The more you learn, the better you will be able to understand and communicate about it.
You are off to a good start by reading this article! Learn more on our website by reading our articles and blogsor watching our webinar series. We also have a free book called Healthy Living with Bipolar Disorder available here. International Bipolar Foundation is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.