An Open Invitation

One of the neat things about WordPress is that there are built-in tools that can track which blogs are being read and what search terms have been used to find my blog.  Of course it doesn’t collect any personal information, but it does show what the popular topics are and what people are looking for.  Since I started writing this blog, the most common searches have been for just bipolar information in general.  But there has been one subject in particular that has stood out more than others, and that is Bipolar Relationships.  Apparently there are a lot of people struggling with either dealing with a bipolar spouse, or trying to be understood in their illness.

Everyone has their own story.   There are questions being asked and searches for answers.  People are making decisions are looking for assurances that they are the right ones.  Some are trying to understand, others are looking for ways to explain.  The Internet can be a powerful tool for finding and sharing information and it’s apparent that there is a need for both.

So this is an open invitation.

I’d like to ask that the readers here share their experiences relating to their bipolar relationships.  There are successes to be celebrated, failures to be mourned, fears to be expressed, questions to be asked and frustrations to be aired.  So today I’m making this an open forum.  This is as anonymous or as public as you’d like.  Comments can be moderated, so there will be no judgments, accusations or disparaging remarks.  It doesn’t matter how well you think you write, it matters that others hear what you have to say.

You never know when your story will touch someone, or how you might be touched.   I’m hopeful that there are those who are willing to post here and help us all realize that we truly are not alone.

I thank you all.

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13 Responses to An Open Invitation

  1. In 2001 I started my “Happily Ever After” with my college sweetheart. In 2004 I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Neither of us knew how to manage my mood swings. I fell in a pretty deep depression and I don’t think I can out of it until 2006 when my son was born. It is amazing how your own body chemistry can save you sometimes. I don’t blame being bipolar on why my husband cheating but I am sure it didn’t help make home a happy place. We divorced in 2009. I have not had another healthy relationship since then. I sabotage relationships by deeming them impossible before I even get fully invested. I will be single for the rest of my life and I am almost to the point that I am okay with that. If you can’t tell by my writing right now I am on a downward spiral. No different than normal though. Something will happen and trigger my mood to swing right back up. It is a roller coaster and sometimes absolutely painful 24/7. That is the short of it My J. You know all the details, but that is all I want to share with the world today. Always, Your J

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  2. Nicole says:

    My relationships always seem bipolar in the sense that I’m always in love or desiring to end a relationship. And I switch back and forth all the time, even though I’m currently engaged. Right now I’m extremely irritated and frustrated with my fiance, and I feel like just giving up and leaving him. I can’t stand him. My emotions are all one way. But I do know that at times I feel like the relationship is exactly the one I’m meant to have. So I will wait it out and see. Thank you so much for this post. I needed to vent somewhere.

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  3. hart35 says:

    I was with my husband for 12 years before I was diagnosed, surprise!, Bipolar. Why he stayed with me through all the mood swings, the drinking, the screaming at him to ‘get out’, the threats to leave to go live in a tent in the forest, the fixation on his older brother, the throwing things in a fit of pique, I’ll never know. I think in part it’s because he had baggage too which left him reluctant to leave, also his being ADHD, neither of us noticed my manic swings. We were running at the same speed. We’re both medicated now, and in therapy. Life is stable, but sometimes my ‘stuff’ or his ‘stuff’ acts up, and neither of us seems to have the fortitude to withstand it quite so well. When you’re living with the volume turned to eleven you get used to it, when the volume is turned down, it becomes deafening when it starts to get turned back up again. Communication has been key between us, I try to verbalize what’s going on with me, and him not being a talker, I encourage him to do the same. I vowed not to hide anything to do with my illness, like I did before my breakdown 4 years ago, ever again. Even if this means that I have to tell him when I’m starting to hallucinate, or how I can feel that I’m starting to get manic. I tell him so he can plan accordingly, as there really isn’t anything he can do about it, but at least it’ll help take the sting out, when the irrational monster raises its head and starts screaming.

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  4. corffhardd says:

    It was shortly after the birth of my second child that I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. That was 5 years ago and it has been the hardest obsticale in my marriage. My husband was a real champion, he stuck it out when many more men would have understandibly called it quits. Our biggest issue was the side effects from Lithium. Weight gain. My body shape has changed and because of this, my husband has had a real struggle with being physically intimate with me. That has been extremely hard on my self esteem.
    For all the benefits LIthium has, there are equal set backs. I detest this disease. I have tried to go off of my Lithium but have found symptoms come back quickly. Racing heart, thoughts, mood swings, euphoria, irrational thoughts/behaviors, etc… I have realized that for now, medication is the only route because if not, I would sabotage relations all around me.
    I’ve had to make some serious changes in my life recently, one of them being my outlook. I’ve always been an optomistic person but now I’m really putting that extra effort into being more serene.
    My husband and I would have been celebrating our 10 year anniversary this August but it appears we may not reach it. We went through numorous councilors/therapy but none seemed to “fix” the issues. I wouldnt put all the blame on my bipolar but it certainly played a great deal in the struggles we have faced.
    The idea of facing the future without my best friend (hubby) is daunting but I know it’s now time to face my bipolar with strength and confidence.

    B

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  5. Pingback: Bipolar Relationships | The Bipolar Place

  6. bpshielsy says:

    Really good post, I did my own version after reading yours, but I’ve also pasted part below, as you requested feedback in your comments.
    http://thebipolarplace1.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/bipolar-relationships/

    I’ve been with my wife for 14 years & married for nearly 10 of those. As with most marriages, we’ve had our ups & down, so mix that in with me having bipolar, we may have had more than most. I was only diagnosed with bipolar 3-4 years ago, but had been diagnosed with depression prior to that for nearly 10. So who knows when the bipolar thing actually kicked in.

    We’ve known from the start that we love each other deeply. I’m lucky, in the sense that I’ve read plenty of instances where bipolar relationships have broken down, and yet here we are still going & more importantly still wanting to go. One thing I do wonder though, is that as there is a high divorce rate these days, who is to say that those marriages that have broken down, wouldn’t have broken down anyway, whether or not one of the couple was bipolar. I also wonder if that last sentence made any sense

    One thing I do know, and it may sound clichéd, is communication is key. That was the most important lesson I learned from my parents relationship. Theirs failed, but from the get go with my wife & I, we were adamant we would tell each other how we feel. It might take a while to realise what it is we’re feeling, but we tell each other when we do.

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  7. Communication is key? How do you communicate with a bipolar person who takes your every comment, every, look, or any lack thereof as derogatory? I am constantly walking on eggshells and monitoring my speech and every movement. Even with that I don’t praise him enough, share his elation’s enough, respect his opinions enough; it’s exhausting. We are broke up, of course but I want to be friends. I care about him deeply but the issues that broke us up have not gone away despite therapy and drugs. I feel like being in his life is only making him worse. If I really love him, I should set him free. Right?

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    • bpshielsy says:

      Well communication can only work if both people are willing to talk and listen, but even then there is no guarantee of success.

      I can’t say whether you should set him free, unfortunately not all relationships work out. Hope things work out well for you either way.

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    • Sarah says:

      Communication is indeed the key. I have been in a relationship with my partner for almost 8 years (!!!) and he suffers with bipolar. We talk but I often feel that he doesn’t really listen. We clear the air and then a week or two weeks later he is raising the same old, same old that I thought had been put to bed. We seem to go round and round in circles, talking, listening etc but not really hearing. Sometimes he will pick an argument for arguments sake and spirals into what we call a black dog mood and I’m left walking on eggshells.
      I love him desperately but we have spilt up many times over the years and always come back to each other such is the strength of our love. At this precise moment in time we are separated,I could no longer cope with the black dog and we both agreed that neither one of us possessed the tools to deal with the problems caused by his being bipolar. We are having sessions individually with a CAT therapist and she is an absolute godsend she had shown me how to view our problems and the world differently and by so doing I’m finding that the world treats me differently and I can handle that. She is helping me to understand bipolar and I hope very much that with her help we can can our relationship back in track.
      Don’t be afraid to seek professional help, it really does work. Lets face it we take our cars to the garage and call out an electrician when the electrics play up and call out the washing machine engineer when the washing machine goes wrong, we don’t attempt to fix these things ourselves because we are not equipped to do so, so why not call on a psychotherapist to help us navigate through the complexities of living with a bipolar partner, they are qualified to help, so let them help.
      That’s my situation and my advice for what it’s worth!
      Good luck.

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      • I tried some therapy with little success. I think finding the right person is key and I am glad for you that you seemed to have found her. He is in extensive therapy (so he says..he lies a lot so I am not sure). We are split up and I don’t think we will ever be romantic again. We are trying to be friends and as a matter of fact we plan on spending the day together. Of course it’s early in the day and anything can happen. I could say the wrong thing or not say the right one. But hopefully this will be a stress free holiday; this is what he has promised me.
        Thanks for your comment and for letting me know I am not alone.

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  8. My husband is a saint! There is no other way of putting it! Because he has put up with the same type of behaviour from me as stated by some of the other replies, year in year out, swing up swing down! As with many commentators, when things are good they are good, and when they’re bad; well they’re just rotten. But despite all this, he has stayed. Despite years of verbal abuse, anger, tears, frustration, apathy, rejection etc etc, he stayed! He stayed with me by my side in our home with our three children. He stayed and I think he’s a saint. We’re together 25 years, married for 21 and I totally agree that communication is the key. He has also over the years become a very keen observer of my mood swings and can spot a mile away when I’m not doing too good, so before I may even be aware of how bad things are, he knows and helps as best he can to minimise the fallout for me. I was diagnosed with bi-polar after the birth of our first child who is now 19, but to be honest there were echoes of this condition in my past before this. A bout of severe post natal depression triggered off the bi-polar and it just decided never to leave!! But with medication I do okay. I can function well, I have a job I love (well most of the time), three relatively well-balanced children despite having a mother like me and a husband I adore who loves the bones of me. As things go, I have nothing to complain about or lament, or wish was different. We work hard at our relationship, we work hard at having a friendship too and even after a fight, the lines of communication are always open. So, I have to say, despite, or in spite of my bi-polar we’re real good and I say again, he’s a saint!!

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  9. Holding On says:

    Great post! I have been with my husband for 14 years. I am now 36 years old and was diagnosed (again) as Bipolar II. We’ve had a rocky road, mostly due to what someone above (lingeringvisions) wrote about. It’s almost impossible to communicate effectively with me. I take his every word, every look, every breath, as a personal assault against me. If I’m up, he’s bringing me down. If I’m down, he’s not sympathetic enough. Mind you, this is all in my head. He tries so hard to match the ebb and flow of my moods in a way that will make me happy, or on some days, will just maintain a semblance of peace. It cannot be easy for him. He loves me…that is for sure. But at what cost? It must be so tiring, completely draining to deal with me on a daily basis but when I’m in the throws of whatever side of the spectrum, I happen to be on at the moment, I can’t see past my own pain, my own irritation, my own crazy. We are in it for the long haul. I’m getting help for myself but also for him, so that this life that we have vowed to share, can be equally rewarding and joy-filled. It’s a beautiful thing when someone loves you enough to carry the pack for you, to take on the weight of your troubles but it’s even more beautiful when the one with the problems, does everything, EVERYTHING in their power to lessen the load.

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