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Bipolar as Love Thief: Discarded Because I Am Bipolar

June 3, 2010 Natasha Tracy

In a world of education and tolerance, bipolar disorder shouldn’t thieve love from my life. But it does. Bipolar disorder slips into everything.

After my last post, where I commented on my fear around being bipolar in public, a discussion came about regarding attitudes, and how I’m the same as everyone else. Well, I beg to disagree. I’m crazy. And the implications of that are undeniable.

In a world of education, political correctness, and tolerance, it seems like the fact that I’m sick shouldn’t rob pieces of me, pieces of my life. It shouldn’t affect my work. It shouldn’t affect my friendships. It shouldn’t affect my lovers. But that, of course, is falderal. Bipolar disorder slips into everything, even when you’re watching and you think you’ve got everything covered, it still manages to steal.

The First Friend I Lost

About a year or two after my bipolar diagnosis, I was still deeply in the throes of being depressed and didn’t know how to really express it. And I had a best friend, Hanna*, who I would talk to about it. She too suffered from depression, and she could understand where I was coming from. We hung out together every day for more than a year, sipping lattes at the university. I saw her through boyfriends, and she saw me through my first girlfriend.

And then one day, she didn’t return my call. Or the next call. Or the one after that.

I finally did pin her down to ask her what was going on. She would only say that because I was bipolar, it was too hard to be my friend, and she didn’t want to do that anymore.

She had never discussed it with me. I had no idea there was a problem. I would have compromised with her. I would have taken her needs into consideration, if only she had asked. I cared for her deeply. But she disappeared. It was as if she had never been there at all.

The Last Friend I Lost

Last year, I had an index series of electroconvulsive therapy (shock therapy, ECT) treatments. In spite of professional, well-meaning medical personnel, I still believe ECT is barbaric and horrific, despite being helpful for some. Jessica*, my love, the person I felt closest to on the planet, agreed to help me through some of them. It was going to be hard for her, I knew, but she agreed to shuttle me back and forth to the hospital, make soup, and feed me meds. I was so utterly terrified that seeing her face was the only thing that allowed me to lie on the table, and let them put me under. Her hugs afterward were all that kept me standing upright.

After the first six treatments, she had to get back to her life, which was to be expected, and another wonderful woman stepped in to help.

But Jessica never talked to me again. I called her and called her. I sent her emails. I left her jokes on her voicemail. But we never had another conversation.

My heart broke. It breaks still. The one person I thought would always be there for me had left. No note. No discussion. No explanation. Nothing. After six years, she just disappeared into the ether.

And, of course, there have been others. Those are but two. It took me years to stop feeling pangs over the first one. I’m still not over the last one. I wish them both well, but despise the way they have treated me. I deserve better than that.

Discarded Because I Am Bipolar

I’m not like everyone else. I am crazy. I am sick. I am bipolar. People abandon me without a word. People think it’s okay to treat me like that. People think it’s okay to use bipolar disorder as an excuse.

I look around, and I see a humanity that I’m not part of, a race that I’m not in, not because I feel that bipolars are intrinsically unequal or divergent, but because the world keeps showing me that I am. It isn’t about what the guy down the street thinks, or about what a columnist opines, or even how my family feels, it’s about these close, personal bonds being destroyed by something over which I have no control.

Yes, I'm crazy, I'm sick, I'm bipolar, I'm different. I know. Life keeps telling me so.

*Names changed

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or GooglePlus or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter or at the Bipolar Burble, her blog.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2010, June 3). Bipolar as Love Thief: Discarded Because I Am Bipolar, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2010/06/bipolar-as-love-thief



Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleTwitter, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

Donda
June, 3 2010 at 9:05 am

This reminded me of a friend I once had. I met her in an intensive outpatinet program. She was really sweet and well-meaning but she was very intense. Very needy. I don't blame her Bi-Polar but her insistence to not accept it, therefore sabotaging herself at every turn. I started avoiding some of her calls because they were incessant. I felt like I was "stuck in sick" when I was around her. She only wanted to talk about Bipolar and her substance abuse, sponsor, etc (she also was rehabbing for drug addiction). It became too much when she once asked me to dump her pills (that she had gotten the night before at an ER for her fake back pain) and do some crazy ritual over the toilet that I am guessing they do in AA or whatever. I tried to let her down easy after she didn't get that I am not answering my phone for a reason and she left a "dear john" vm that sounded like a suicide note. She was exhausting. I don't think she was exhausting because of her Bipolar. Her parents bailed her out of every situation she ever had been in so she never took responsibility for herself. All of this happened after my first meltdown and hospitalization and I was still trying to be stabilized with meds. It was just an unhealthy relationship all around.

Natasha Tracy
June, 3 2010 at 9:17 am

Donda,
Well, I can certainly see how that relationship might not work for you! We've all met people, ill or not, who are emotional vampires. People who only take in relationships and never give. People who are drama central. People who can only talk about one subject, whatever that may be. And I agree, limits have to be drawn so we can maintain our own health.
And certainly I respect when people talk to me about their own limits. When I care about someone, I don't want to hurt them. And, for the record, I'm not an emotional suck. I don't constantly talk about bipolar. In fact, most often I don't mention my illness or how I'm feeling at all. My friendships are about stepping out of that. Admittedly, when I was younger, I was less able to compartmentalize as successfully, but now, it's pretty prevalent.
Part of what really hurts in my case is that people leave without even talking to me about it. Without even saying anything was wrong. I know how challenging this disease is. I wouldn't want to deal with it either. But when I love and respect a person I don't just abandon them because it's hard, and when I need space, or boundaries I talk to them about it. That, at least, would be a reasonable way of dealing with it.

Adriana
June, 3 2010 at 11:15 am

When I was reading your text I couldn't stop thinking about the friends I lost after my first strong "manic episode". They realized I was crazy and gave up on me. Because I spent all my money (I don't know where...), I was very, very happy and talking too much... They thought it was easier to deal with someone with depression, when they knew I was bipolar, they vanished. I almost lost my partner too, and he still have prejudice agaist my disorder, e.g., he thinks if I really want I can be "normal" and avoid crisis...
Every person that left me never talked to me about it as it happened to you. And I feel sad because I keep my friends no matter how they are, I'm always trying to understand people without prejudice.
But, I still believe in people and I'm not shamed to be bipolar or crazy!

Natasha Tracy
June, 3 2010 at 4:19 pm

Hi Adriana,
I'm sorry to hear that you can relate like that. I know how hard it is. I know how painful it is to have people vanish without explanation.
Thanks for sharing your experience. It does actually feel good to know that someone else has had that happen to them.
- Natasha

Claire Wallace
June, 4 2010 at 5:21 am

I can certainly relate. My partner and I had an absolutely fantastic relationship for the first two years, then in April 2008 not long after I went back to school to study Law, I was diagnosed with bipolar. Everytime I went back to the Dr and was put on different or increased dosages of meds, I seemed to only get worse, and had a severe depression lasting over 3 months which culminated in me attempting to take my own life by swallowing 180 Epilim. That was the beginning of the end for me and my partner I believe.... We were told it would take between 6 to 24 months to stabilize, but we were not prepared for the damage it would do to both of us. I improved moderately for a few months but spent the most part of 2009 in a deep depression, totally depersonalised, I'd put on about 40 kg (90 pounds).... Finally at the end if last year my Dr hit upon an effective med combo and I've improved consistently since, but it's too little too late. My partner came to see me as someone to be cared for, not an equal, and is totally emotionally burned out. She had an affair with someone else as an escapism instead of getting help. An now I am fairly recovered, she has broken up with me because um able to look after myself again. She doesn't want to try again because the bipolar will always be there. She says things like "but what if you got sick again and we were paying off a big mortgage and you couldn't work"... She doesn't feel secure with me as a partner any more. Bipolar has stolen that reliable part of my character away.... I feel guilty because I let her down and I wasn't able to meet her needs when I was so sick.... But I know also that it wasn't my fault.... I know too, that it isn't her fault. Some people just aren't equipped to deal with this stuff.... It's sad....
Bipolar stole the love of my life. I wonder. Will I ever have another relationship? If so when do I tell them about it? Is it right to inflict this on someone else again?

Natasha Tracy
June, 4 2010 at 5:56 am

Hi Claire,
You're struggling with the questions I have been thinking about for years. Relationships beak-up for a variety of reasons, but when it's ones own lifetime illness that is the cause, it's really hard to take.
But one thing I can tell you is that it will not always be the same. Might get better, might get worse, but it will change.
Yes, the bipolar will always be there, but you'll learn how to handle it better. I have over a decade in, and you do develop strategies. Hopefully you're getting some therapy, CBT, if you haven't already.
And as to you when you should tell someone, I recommend pretty darn soon into a relationship. I think you need to know upfront if the person even might be able to handle it. I think you need to tell them before you get too attached to them. But that's just me. I don't want to invest in someone who can't even handle my everyday life.
While I will often word it exactly as you have "inflict myself on someone" you shouldn't think of yourself that way. You have many amazing qualities. I don't know you, but I know that you do. And yes, there is this one really big scary thing about you too. But you are both. You have lots of things to offer someone else. You are not an infliction, you are a person. Imperfect. Like everyone else. Your partner could get sick at any time, too. They are not immune.
I'm sorry that happened to you. It's tragic. But you will move on. In time.
Good luck.
- Natasha

Kassie
June, 4 2010 at 9:44 am

Hi. I have lost friends over this as well. Only two has stuck by, but she is long distance now so it may be easier for her to deal with it then it is being right in front of it. My husband is the second. He is at his wit's end right now with me tho. He has no idea what else to do for me.
The last friend I lost, was because she just couldn't handle the suicide attempts that I had. I had 6 in one year, and now a 7th just a couple of weeks ago. She was lost as to what to do for me too. She said she talked to me until she was blue in the face but nothing went through. she was right, I didn't want to hear what other people had to say. I was feeling the way I felt and it wasn't changing. Even with changes in medications. She found my blog and found entries about her, and wanted to charge with slander (which was really lible because it was written). she said she had consulted a lawyer which obviously she didn't because she knew the wrong lingo to tell us. She called my husband over to their house and if I went I was going to be charged with trespassing. My husband went over there and she told him a lot of lies. That was the end for me. She was on our calling plan and I ended up shutting her phones off that night. She didn't know it was coming but why would I keep someone on my calling plan when they probably wouldn't pay anymore? She hurt me deeply, a knife through the heart. I thought she was a true friend, as she also had bipolar and I felt that she understood what I was going through. Obviously, she couldn't, I guess because she never went that far down. Lecture after lecture from her, I was getting tired of it anyway. She still wanted the friendship and said they wanted to sit down and "hammer this stuff out" but I was unwilling by that point. I was hurt beyond belief and was not going to open myself up for that again. She just couldn't realize how sick I was and how much help I needed at that point. I ignored her calls and emails for a long time, but eventually wrote her one where I forgave her for what she did to me but would never forget and that I didn't want the friendship aside from the email that I sent. It was very hard to write, but it was something that I had to do. I needed her to know that I forgave her for putting a knife through my heart. I'm sure she still blames me for everything and doesn't see that she played a big role in what happened. Life is life, and what she does with the email is her business. Forgiving is a hard thing to do, but when done, I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.

Margaret Denvil
June, 5 2010 at 4:44 am

I have been bipolar since the days it was called manic-depressive, and am now 67. When first diagnosed at a time before effective medication, I received dubious psychological diagnoses, then had many ECT treatments and was confined to the local Mental Hospital by my parents, who could never accept that I was not just 'acting out'. I lost all my friends, my Uni scholarship and it felt like everything. I worked by sheer willpower out of the Mental Hospital until I had a job and was considered able to be released. I was spitting all medication into the toilet at that time as it made me feel apart from the world. It was inappropriate. I then had to learn for the first time in my life to lie to hold a job. Fortunately, I then met a compassionate psychiatrist who was 'on my side'. She never diminished the bipolar issues, but concentrated on what I coulld stilll do well, and I have had two very good careers and a family since. I have had to learn, painfully, that most of our culture cannot cope with hearing the bipolar piece, so I keep that for my therapist and several enightened friends. I never speak of it otherwise, but use it in my understanding of other folks'
issues. It is painful to know that I have to keep part of myself off limits, but I do have a duty to protect myself too, particularly from the pain of mis-understanding and fear. It is not their fault. Our culture demands perfection, and mental illness rather than being as common as arthritis or diabetes, is just not yet 'kosher'. Margaret

Natasha Tracy
June, 5 2010 at 6:10 am

Hi Kassie,
As a brilliant friend of mine once told me, "loving you is very expensive.". I'll write on it sometime.
It's really tough to have a friend who attempts suicide. It's really tough to have a friend that hurts themselves. It's really tough because there really is nothing you can do. You have to just be there for them. In the best way you can. Be supportive. Unfortunately, you can't talk them out of it, and you can't fix them.
This is a really hard reality to deal with, and yes, it breaks some people.
I don't think it's acceptable that she treated you that way. She had an emotional reaction to a situation and took it out on you. That not any fairing than your doing it to her. She made the choice to behave the way she did.
And you are brave to forgive. It's speaks well to your character.
I'm sorry that happened. Know that it doesn't always work that way. That's what I tell myself.
- Natasha

Natasha Tracy
June, 5 2010 at 6:18 am

Hi Margaret,
You are a real trooper. You pulled yourself up from a very dark and deep place at a very young age, not even knowing what adulthood was. That's amazing. You're amazing.
People deal with the diagnosis differently and disclosure is a personal decision. In my audio next week I'll be talking about "Bipolar Betty" a person I used to work with, and what happened to her.
But I will say that it _is_ their fault. Society affects us all, but we act individually. We all have to be held accountable for our behavior. If we choose to behave out of prejudice towards a group, yes, society might have influenced that decision, but the individual is the one who chose the action.
I refuse to let people off the hook just saying that there is a prejudice built into society. That's a cop-out for bad behavior. It is not OK to treat badly a race, a religion, disabled, or any other group of people. And it isn't OK to treat the mentally ill badly either - no matter what influences might be around you.
You're an amazing role model. Thank-you so much for sharing.
- Natasha

Anonymous
June, 8 2010 at 4:42 am

Has something similar happened to you with dating a bipolar person?
15 years after having a bipolar person fall madly in love with me professing his lifelong love for me and then telling me he never felt those things I am still broken.
It sorta makes sense in my head now how the bipolar affected our relationship; I know nothing can be so simplified but...
We had a few months of professed love. We were traveling from coast to coast and talking sometimes twice a day. But, on his second trip to me he told me he didn't feel the same way I felt toward him. We agreed to live in the now and see where it took us; It grew into what I thought was true feelings from his part toward me. But, in heinsight he was continuing to rely on me during his bipolor episodes to have emotional support from me with none from him to me.
My last trip to his coast to move to his side of the country he admitted he had been dating someone else who had even moved in with him. I had no idea even though we were talking twice a day; Well, I felt like he was cheating as there were signs. I move there and it was as if he was still with me. Luckily I did not stay with him; But, the other person had moved out and it was as if had never resided with him for 2 months...
I met the other person who had no qualms about cheating and said knew I was the other person.
I kept looking for reasons for the cheating; I don't know if it was a combinsation of the disease, real feelings of nothing for me or lack of respect for our relationship... I still don't know...
I still love this person but have no way of digging up this with them. I have so many unanswered questions that I cannot think of getting putting myself out there in the dating world. I have been trying to date but am emotionally stunted. I cannot get close to anyone like people usually do when they first start dating; My dates may look at me with googley eyes but all I can do is roll my eyes and must give off that I'm not interested. But, It's just that I don't feel love or amourous thought can happen anymore.
I don't know how this relates to this thread; I have googled cheating within bipolar relationships and the only thing that sorta related was 'love thief'...
I'm interested in hearing other folks similar situations to mine... It may help in my healing.

suzy
June, 8 2010 at 8:19 am

i am in a relationship with someone who is bipolar. he has a lifelong history of mental illness, and had been diagnosed with many disorders. of course he did not mention this until our relationship was serious. i am a very strong, patient, loving, caring woman. But i am not sure this is something i can deal with forever. i can not imagine living without him, but at the same time i crave peace and happiness and easiness. he can not afford therapy, and because of his past knows how to tell them what they want to hear anyway. he wont open up to them. i think he fears being committed again, and part of this disorder is about denial. he takes depakote for seizures and that helps bpd as well. i am willing to work with him and be a team. i am not willing to do it all myself. but i need help on how to get him to work with me. i am prepared to do a lot before i give up on him, but i will not give up myself to save him from himself. please help me!!! i would love tips and advice on how to help him help himself. thanks.

Natasha Tracy
June, 8 2010 at 9:28 am

Anonymous,
It sounds to me like the issue in your relationship wasn't bipolar, it was a person who simply didn't treat you well. That isn't part of bipolar, that's just part of being a jerk. Bipolar might have complicated it, but that person sounds selfish and lying and otherwise not-so-great.
We all get scarred by relationships like that - I think you're perfectly normal. A local relationship might be easier to deal with rather than long distance.
And of course, you can always talk to a professional to work out some of the resulting issues. Sometime you just have to talk this sort of thing out.
And give yourself some time to heal. What you're describing hurts, and it takes time for that hurt to diminish.
This was just one really crappy person. That person was the anomaly. There's nothing wrong with you. You just need some time.
Good luck.
- Natasha

Natasha Tracy
June, 8 2010 at 9:37 am

Hi Suzy,
I'm sorry this person didn't tell you about his illness until things were serious, but please try to understand that this type of disclosure is extremely difficult to handle and makes us very vulnerable. It is very scary to tell someone this kind of thing about yourself.
That being said, you can't possibly be a single, long-term caregiver. You do need to be a member of a team for those hard times. The other person's health can't come at the expense of yours.
But you can't help someone that doesn't want to help themselves. I understand fear of being committed, but that can't stand in the way of getting better.
If this is your bottom line, then you need to be clear that if he isn't getting treatment, then you can't be with him. Treatment might be psychiatry, therapy, a support group (often free), but it sounds like you need to see that he is trying something. And while he is getting help, you should too. Find a good book on bipolar disorder, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and give it a read.
Right now you're both alone dealing with something very frightening. You both can get support, bring it out into the light, and make it less scary.
Good luck. I hop this helps.
- Natasha

Emma
June, 10 2010 at 1:06 am

It's funny how this disorder seems to take over our lives and destroy our relationships. I lost my fiance, because in his words he could not "risk our children being bipolar too". How frustrating!!! I was left completely heartbroken, it took me years to trust anyone again.
Luckily, my current partner is extremely understanding. Before we ever entered a steady relationship, I explained that I was bipolar and he was surprised that I thought this was a big deal.He is so tolerant and helps me out in every way he can - bringing me back to reality during manic spells, and trying to lift me when I'm depressed.
I find my relationship with my parents has also suffered since I was diagnosed. I think they partially blame themselves for my illness, despite them being amazing parents. One thing that I find most annoying is that since my diagnosis, my parents overreact anytime I express an emotion. If i am upset over something, they ask if I have taken my medication, if I am excited, they think I am manic. I appreciate that they are trying to look out for me, but it is difficult to cope with this overprotective nature at times.
In regards to friendships, I find myself to be somewhat opposite - most people distance themselves entirely from my bipolar and if I ever bring it up, it is met by an awkward silence or a subject change. I have lost friends who can't understand why I cannot leave the house and attend to their every whim when I am crippled with depression. I suppose it is a shock to have a friend who is attentive, enthusiastic, a bit overbearing and intense, and suddenly she is replaced with someone who can barely even get energy to speak.

suzy
June, 10 2010 at 6:30 am

hi emma and all, you mention your bf helps bring you back to reality during manic spells. how? i would love suggestions on the right, helpful way to act during those times.

Natasha Tracy
June, 10 2010 at 8:09 am

Hi Suzy,
I'm not sure how Emma's boyfriend does it, but I can tell you what helps for me.
Recognition that I _am_ hypomanic is helpful. I don't always realize that's what's going on, but someone outside of me often sees it quite obviously. If I trust someone completely, they can tell me this and it may help.
If someone encourages me to use my energy in a positive way, that can help. Someone can offer to go for a walk with me, or go to the gym or even just listen to my ramblings.
And, unfortunately, I know there will be a crash afterwords so anything that person can do to calm me down, and make the high less high may make the crash less nasty.
I guess it just comes down to acknowledgment, support, channeling of energy, and preparation.
It's individual, of course, but if you have a partner up for those things, they can help.
- Natasha

Richard J.
June, 20 2010 at 12:35 pm

Wow, what a great blog and comments as well. A year ago a woman beautiful to me came back into my life, in one of those cool magical type ways and had been rapid cycling during that time, so it was like a god send and just started a new job right before so cool. I just lost her 2 months ago as a lover and partner after my last episode, and I barely here from now.Sucks I feel for all of you. She aloso comes from a family that are itellectual and diverse with loved ones that are afflicted,to some extent, so it is difficult for me to grasp her not either understanding. Tring to get a new dialog going sinse she is the only one person that knows me well enough to get or to realy be of service. Being positve is so difficult right now. Losing my train of thought now Oops. :0

mediamoxy
June, 23 2010 at 7:08 pm

Here's the flip side. I'm curious about others' experiences losing friendships by your own making. The reason for my own eroding support network is indubitably because I shut people out and will not/cannot accept their help.
Have you lost friends you made during periods of "normalcy" because you dropped off the face of the Earth in your next cycle of depression?
I sometimes grieve over the loss and general absence of people in my life because they eventually give up on me at a time when being a friend to anyone feels like climbing the tallest mountain. Sadder yet, those I've tried to reconnect with have shut ME out, because it was I who let THEM down.
I wonder if I'll die alone because isolation is the nature of my disease.

Natasha Tracy
June, 23 2010 at 7:36 pm

MediaMoxy,
Well, obviously, I'm looking at this from the inside, but I can honestly I make an effort to be there for the people I care about. It's a short list, but that list matters to me. And they understand that I can't always give them what they need just like I understand when they're not consistently. No one has ever left claiming something I did.
But that's me.
But yes, I wonder if I'll die alone because of my illness too.

ashley
July, 4 2010 at 7:53 am

i've lost everyone because of bipolar. but i cant really blame them for abandoning me when i constantly hide anyway. i push and push and push, because they can't possibly understand, and they never will because it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. boy it's a lovely way to live.

Mel
July, 4 2010 at 9:16 pm

I married this man for two years now, who told me only after we had planned to get married, that he's bipolar. I did do a lot search about bipolar before married, but could never realize the impact of episode until today. I also didn't know that I am his 5th wife, until I married him and incidentally found a document in our drawer listing all his marriage history. I guess they all left him during his manic or depressed episode.
During almost 2 years he has been a very good, loving, responsible and thoughtful husband and father for my 2 kids.
Until last 3 month, I found out he got involved in promiscuous sex with 4 or 5 different women, including those whom he paid to get laid. Over spending money, verbally abusive and very irritable.
I endured the hurtful feelings as I pushed myself to believe that it's the illness instead of him, and therefore decided to continue be with him. I also recognize that it is unfair that I stayed with him when he gave me happiness, but then leave him when his illness is taking over his personality.
But my real problem here is after he promised he would never hurt me again, I found another woman he tries to get laid. One after another, and it's starting to drain me up. I started to question whether this is because of the illness ? is he still manic ? or it's just jerking ? He's been regularly on medicals, but seems like of no use. I told him I can always deal with any manic symptoms, or even depressives, but infidelity, cheating, promiscuous sex is something that really hits me hard right on the face, which I think is starting to make me feel depressed to. Not to mention work and kids that I have neglected. My thoughts are now only about how to make him stop cheating me, how to save our marriage, should I walk away for the sake of my own sanity and my 2 kids well being ?
Any advices would be highly appreciated.

Natasha Tracy
July, 5 2010 at 10:01 am

Hi Mel,
I'm so sorry you're going through this. It must be very difficult.
Since you asked, here are my 2 (or more) cents.
It is extremely difficult to anticipate what kind of impact this disorder will have until you live it because everyone is different. Unfortunately, that's just how it goes.
If your husband has been well for years and is acting out of character for 3 months, he may be going through a manic episode. He may not even be aware of it. Sometimes from the inside, we can't tell. If he's continuing to be manic, he may not have much control over some of the behavior he is exhibiting. Medical intervention may be needed.
He may be on medication, but it may have to be adjusted if what he is experiencing right now is mania. He may not be able to get out of it very quickly, and you may not be able to tolerate it. Both of these things are completely reasonable, but you need to see a doctor and tell him that so he can make informed medical decisions.
Unfortunately we know that medications sometimes stop working, so constant medical review is needed.
I understand how hurtful his actions are for you. Even understanding it's his disease, it doesn't make the pain go away. I would recommend therapy and support for yourself and for both of you as a couple. You can make a plan together on how to move forward avoiding this in the future, and you can work on repairing the relationship from what is happening now.
You don't want to sacrifice your mental health for him. It's not good for either one of you. Get help. You need to be a mom and a breadwinner for your family. Get help both for him and for you. Don't tackle something this big alone.
Good luck.
- Natasha

Anniem
August, 19 2010 at 6:47 am

I am 56 yrs old. I was originally diagnosed with manic depression when I was 26, but things were not really explained to me that I had a mental illness. I was married to a very abusive man, which made raising my children, working, and maintaining stability very difficult. Finally, after 10 yrs. of what I call spouse-induced insanity, I left him. But, I was an absolute mess, in and out of the hospital, and trying to find the right meds. I was told by hospital staff that I could no longer raise my children. This absolutely devastated me. I have learned since that today they don't say those things, and they offer support to the parent and the children.
My now adult children want no part of me. I have tried desperately to make amends for whatever I have done (not that anyone has told me), but they have all made it clear that they won't even call me for holidays. I miss them, and find all of this very painful.
I met a man and was absolutely up front about the bipolar. He accepted it. After about 3 years we moved in together and eventually married. But, boy were there difficulties. He moved out 3 times, leaving me completely confused as to why. I still don't understand why. However, now, after 19 years, we are doing pretty good.
But (and there's always that BUT, isn't there?), I feel like I'm being punished for things I've done in the past. No matter that it has been about 8 yrs since I attempted suicide, I feel like it never gets forgotten or forgiven. I haven't been in a hospital in almost 8 yrs. But he's constantly calling me from work, b/c according to him he needs to remain diligent, watch for the signs. I have actually broken down crying b/c he calls so often I feel like I have no life.
Don't get me wrong, he's a good man. But I can see where the illness has affected him deeply. Sometimes I feel like that's all I am to him: bipolar. Things can get pretty confusing.
As far as friends go: I've lost life long friends suddenly, with no warning and no explanation. It's not even like we talked every day or saw each other frequently, b/c we live in different states. But they are gone. So, now I'm very careful not to tell new people about the illness, and keep my distance when I know I'm not well. I made a new friend about 3 yrs ago who knows about the bipolar. She is so kind and non-judgmental. But she is the exception.
I have one sister who clearly sees me separate and apart from the illness. I can always tell that I'm presenting symptoms when she says to me: Now don't let this (or him, or the situation) make you sick. That's a heads up for me to pay attention. But, she loves me, and I know that. I'm careful not to overwhelm her, and often just wait for her to call me, rather than I call her over and over.
I'm so glad I came across this article, it helped to make me feel not so isolated.

Natasha Tracy
August, 19 2010 at 10:17 am

Hi AnnieM,
I can see you identify with what I've written.
Unfortunately, in life, we cannot always undo the hurt we have done to others. People can't always forgive and forget. That's simply the nature of the human condition. I understand, this doesn't make it hurt any less.
And honestly, it is _extremely_ difficult for people to discuss matters of mental illness. Again, I know this doesn't make it hurt any less.
It's unfortunate that you feel like you're being punished for past behavior. That must be very difficult. I suspect it's equally difficult for the person who loves and worries about you. Maybe he is seeing you too much as a sick person, and not just a person. Some counseling for both of you might help to deal with that issue. Because these are such powerful issues sometimes an outside voice is needed.
I'm glad you have a good friend. Those are wonderful.
Thank-you for sharing. I'm glad the article made you feel less isolated. We all need that.
- Natasha

Linda
August, 19 2010 at 2:47 pm

I really would like to comment on having bipolar 2 disorder. I am not bipolor, just like I am not cancer. I have a disease like many other people do which changes their lives. I have supportive friends but I have found those with the same disorder as I or others are not the best to be with in person a lot. I heklp run a support group of those with mental issues of my same faith. We are there for each other with no judgement. I don't keep my having bipolar a secret, but many people think I should. My ow mother used it against me when I set boundaries with my bully Dad. It took me 52 years and a therapist and Pshychitrist to see what he had done to contrubute to my low self esteem and still was interfering in my life and marriage. I stood up for myself. I'm healthier mentally every day. Oh yes I take meds , but I also have other tools I use that work. I figure friends who don't stick with you are not your true friends anyway. Proverbs 17:17 Really if you look at the world almost everyone will admit they are a bit crazy. This world is driving us crazy!

Natasha Tracy
August, 20 2010 at 5:41 am

Hi Linda,
It's great that you've found tools that work for you, and being open about your illness is certainly one option, I just find it doesn't work for everyone.
I don't think it's true that "friends who don’t stick with you are not your true friends anyway". That's something we say to children to make them feel better about the way children act. People are complicated and they can, in fact, be your friend - truly and deeply - and still end up walking away from you or severely hurting you. It happens.
- Natasha

Theda Bara
August, 20 2010 at 5:43 am

My ex-husband has borderline personality disorder (similar in many ways to bipolar). I lived with him for 25 years and have been divorced for three years.
Natasha, what you don't fully realize is----people end relationships with bipolar friends or relatives because they have to save their OWN sanity. If they don't leave, they remain in a never-ending abyss of misery and pain. It's one thing to "feel" another's pain and be sympathetic and friendly. But the bipolar person isn't content with sympathy and helpful words. He (she) DRAGS the seemingly healthy person into a bipolar or borderline hell, and the only thing the spouse or friend can do---to save themselves---is to leave. My ex-husband drove ME crazy with his angry delusions and insanity, and he absolutely refused to admit he had a problem. He wouldn't take meds and he wouldn't see a shrink. My life with him became so miserable and nightmarish that I finally stopped being his co-dependent---I felt in order to regain my life and I'm no longer his scapegoat and emotional punching bag.
I've learned that I am NOT responsible for the feelings and emotions of other people. My ex would create a non-existent reason to scream, yell and rage at me for three days straight---and later pretend it never happened. And when anything went wrong---he always blamed me. The nightmare never ended, and finally, after more than two decades of enduring his mental illness, I left.
It was always "all about HIM"---he doesn't realize he's an emotional vampire with the maturity of a ten year old child. With most bipolar people, it's always "ALL ABOUT THEM." He destroyed me (and I was wrong to allow that to happen) but I've finally regained my soul, my inner-strength and my confidence.

Natasha Tracy
August, 20 2010 at 6:01 am

Theda,
That certainly may be your opinion, and I understand it's based on your experience, but to suggest that all bipolars think it's "all about them" and that they drag people into hell and that they are vampires is rather ridiculous.
First of all, bipolar is _not_ like boarderline personality disorder. They are two completely separate illnesses and your spouse's similar symptoms are not necessarily typical.
Secondly, many of us, in fact, I would say most, are ON medication and IN therapy and are doing many things to make ourselves better. I never rage. I never blame other people.
We are _not_ like the one person you knew. We are individuals. I have _never_ driven someone to hell.
There are spouses on here that can attest that while being with someone with a mental illness may pose its challenges, it is not like what you describe.
I understand you have gone through something difficult, traumatic and feel justified in leaving, but that does not justify painting us all with the same brush. We do not deserve to be viewed that way.
- Natasha

Exwentlooney
August, 27 2010 at 9:14 am

My bi polar girl went from marrying me one day to marrying someone else. She was the kind that never fights or gets violent. She just tell you what you want to hear with a big smile, screws your brains out and make up outrageous lies as excuses to dissappear and carry on multiple relationship. Telling everyone she love them and selling it hard. Thats is some mean evil behavior. I heard one of the other guys was really crushed. I have never hurt so bad and took months to get my brain working again. Her new engagement lasted 2 months or was a lie. Now she is call me but has to make an excuse to call. She wont admit she is manic but I can hear tension in her voice. I know shes suffering but so am I. I am recovering from an addiction to her.

danny
September, 7 2010 at 7:17 am

I have been together with my wife for 10 years, seven of those we have been married. I work a very seasonal job which makes me less available to my homelife at certain times of the year. In winter I am at home much more.
Last christmas my wife began by saying that "we are having problems we need to talk." We tried our best to talk but it would always come back to me talking and my wife saying "I'm not good at talking about these things" My wife comes from a family with a history of BP and Schizophrenia. When there is an episode they all just back off and say, "Oh no, it's not that, it must be something else." The way I read it is that they don't want to drive her farther away since she has this urge to leave. She was diagnosed shortly after christmas with BP 2. In the past I did not know anything about BP and so I tried to reason and talk more about things than possibly I should have. She would show signs of anxiety and even gagging when I guess I must say that I talked and she couldn't talk about these things. We went for about 5 months trying to talk about things and then she said :I have an uncontrollable urge to leave." To make a long story short she left and moved into a house that is for sale with staging furniture where her friend has allowed her to stay without paying rent.
I have maintained that I am there for my wife for the past 7 months. She comes to me each month and asks for financial help even though she is working and not having to pay rent. We are trying our best to be friends on the councilors suggestion. Our home life for the first 6 years of togetherness was great as long as she felt she was contributing to the relationship. She has been a student for 6 years, just graduated and now wants to go back and do her masters leaving me to pay for the majority of things and her feeling like she is not contributing. Now she still won't open up to me or tell me what she needs. She just says she has no feelings for me and doesn't love me anymore. Given that we have been together for 10 years it can be expected that we have both changed within our marriage. I am looking to renew our commitment and love and my wife at this time sees it all as too much to do. Responsibility and comittment to having to real hard work seems to be a real issue. She just seems to want to party and have fun. how can I not be an enabler but still let her know that I love and care about her. We are seeing a marriage councilor but things don't seem to go well as soon as the councilor asks hard questions about responsibility and what my wifes needs are.
Sorry about the long windedness. Is it possible that she sees me and my work as one of the triggers for her stress? Any other comments are welcome as well.

Natasha Tracy
September, 9 2010 at 10:23 am

Hi Danny,
Well first, thank-you for sharing. It sounds like you're in a very stressful situation.
What I have to say may not be what you want to hear, but I'm going to say it anyway: you can't help someone who don't want to help themselves.
The fact is, yes, you and your job may be triggers for her due to her own psychology. We all have them, but hers might be very exaggerated.
If she has a mental illness she needs to be seeing a psychiatrist along with a therapist. Someone needs to make an assessment of her medically, not just psychologically. You say she comes from a family with those issues, yet on one acknowledges it. Then how do you know that is their history?
I appreciate that you have spent 10 years together. I have never been so lucky. And I also appreciate you wanting to renew your commitment to the relationship. Those are both great things. But a marriage takes two people. You both have to want it.
In my opinion, you need to make a plan, with your therapist's help, that you can both live with, and stick to it. What is the living situation going to be, finances, fidelity, and so on. When it comes down to it, she may just not want what you want and there's nothing you can do about that.
But think about yourself, and what you need from this relationship. And be honest. Make a plan. Things can always change down the road, but for right now, you reaching out and her pushing you away, and neither of you being on the same page just isn't going to help anyone.
I hope that helps. Good luck.
- Natasha

shawna
September, 10 2010 at 7:28 am

I'm in love with someone who just recently shared with me he is bi-polar. Are relationship is off and on right now like the flick of a light switch. In the beginning he was compassionate and intentive. I always listened and never judge him as far as what he was feeling or is feeling. Me being a depressive being, he himself was and is considerate of my feelings. He's a wonderful person and I tell him every chance that seems appropriate that how wonderful he is. Until recently things are shakey with him. He forgets what he tells me. Wants to make love to me and there for turns around and says this feels akward. And then says like he is asking "where just friends right"? and me of course says "yeah were friends". Not really knowing what that means to him/ he then makes moves on me like were strangers about to have hot sex. Should I let him think that there isnt more than just friendship for right now. I tell him that I would hate to see the day in my life he wasnt some part of. Even if we are not together i will always be there for him. I dont want to confuse the matter for him. I understand parts of the disorder and I'm not ready to throw in the towel on him. Reguardless of whether we have an intimate relationship or not I've known him for 6 years now and I'm not willing to let go. I ask him if he wants me to leave him alone. he says no. But then turns around and says he wants to be alone. And then turns around and asks if he can stay the night because he doesnt want to be alone. Am I wrong for not questioning why he says or does the things that are confusing to me. I feel like I shouldnt inquire. My best friend is bi-polar as well and working with her and living with her I have learned some of the behaviors. She comes and goes as she pleases. when she leaves I become somewhat depressed wondering what I did wrong. I have been seeing therapists and doctors for my depression. But me as a person do not and will not let go of the people in my life. Im non judgemental and its hard for me to just let go of someone that has a problem. My dad and my favorite uncle had paranoid schitz. my mother and possibly one of my sisters have bi-polar. My best friend has bi-polar and I'm with an amazing person who I have had shared some amazing and in depth conversations with and when I think he has been toying with my emotions up until this point have been told has bi-polar..I would be so appreciative for any tips on not only how to make them know I care and will always be here for them no matter what. But tips on how to cope with the people in my life who dont have the diorder and dont understand why I put up with all the "drama" that comes with loving and supporting people in my life with the disorder. They tell me you are crazy for loving crazy people but I dont see it as that. I love them all for who they really are. And Im not saying I am crazy. But just understanding. I can see the light through them all, I support there strengths. I'm here for them even if theyve done something so hurtful of some. People ask me arent you hurt that he does that. And I say a little but not really. I guess what Im asking for is just something to tell people that dont have the disorder with out risking telling them oh. he has she has this thats why I accept the fact. Because I dont feel right letting them use it as an excuse but Im willing to excuse them because of the fact....

Natasha Tracy
September, 10 2010 at 1:31 pm

Hi Shawna,
Thank-you for sharing your experiences.
If I had one suggestion for the people in your life, I would say this: make sure you take care of yourself and define your boundaries. If you feel these relationships are working for you, and that you are getting what you need from them, then that's what matters. And that's something you can explain to anyone.
I'm all for open honest communication. That goes for people who are ill and those who aren't.
- Natasha

21 PUA Convention
September, 11 2010 at 9:16 am

Good read..

Mark
September, 11 2010 at 5:37 pm

Shawna,
Having been thru alot of what you've written it sounds like you are a wonderful and caring person. I've often said communication is the key. When you're puzzled by how your partner is acting, ask whats going on? It can often be done without a confrontation; but this is where your boundaries need to be set and understood. Fidelity is my number one issue, if thats not gonna happen, things can only be a certain way. I've learned the hard way that I have co depedentcy issues and often have tolerated less then desirable behavior to be accepted. Do I like the fact that I'm wired this way? Heck no, and I'm working on changing it because alot of the "drama" in my life in the past came from accepting certain behaviours. All BP"s are not cheaters. All BP'ers are not pathological liars. All BP'ers are not cold, unfeeling manipulative people. Some are however. Some "normal" people act exactly the same way. Don't let yourself or other people use BP as an excuse. Hold em to the same boundaries and behaviours you would anyone.
Taking care of yourself however does need to be Number 1. And don't fool yourself or be the martyr about that. Journaling is a great way to express some of your frustrations and questions. I often find putting something on paper does make what I'm wrestling with a little clearer and sometimes quicker to resolve believe it not.
As far as explaining yourself to others, don't dwell on that too much. Try and be comfortable with who you really are rather what others perceive.
I have no doubt the day will come when that someone looks you in the eye, tells you how incredible and amazing you are and spends each day working as hard as they can to make you happy.

Paul
September, 12 2010 at 9:06 am

I've been living with my diagnosis for about 30 years now...
I think relationships are difficult for everyone. I do think there is a certain amount of truth to the idea that being up front about how bipolar effects your life will help filter out people who can't deal with it.
I haven't been too successful in my relationships, only a couple were really bad. The bad ones were due to starting relationships when I was manic. Just to be clear, I've never cheated nor has anyone cheated on me (as far as I know).
Mostly for me, it's been a case of not really trusting myself which makes it difficult to trust other people and open up enough to develop intimacy.
Another issue has been the need to have a well established routine to balance out my moods as medications haven't been very effective for me. A side effect of this coping mechanism has been the development of a low tolerance for the SO's behavior that disrupts my routines.
Black/White thinking has been a huge factor too. When I was younger, I felt more driven by my moods and took them too seriously. Now that I've come to recognize the onset of mood changes, I can take counter measures to reduce the stress on myself and my relationships.
I still feel like I've failed to live up to my potential. In my last relationship, the SO had some serious issues as well as personality conflicts. My desire to feel good about myself through trying to help her allowed me to ignore conflicts/feelings.
Being in a relationship to take care of someone is a recipe for failure. Sometimes it seems easier to focus on other people's perceived short comings rather than deal with your own...
Fortunately I was able to communicate with her about these concerns although I failed to share the depth of my concerns until things started to breakdown. I believe there was no ill will on the part of either of us and I think we each learned a lot about ourselves which will help us in future relationships.
Above all, if we learn to be comfortable with ourselves, we'll have a better chance of establishing sustainable intimate relationships.
Nobody is perfect, bipolar or not, so I think there's a lot to be said for trying to be honest in relationships. Just because a relationship ends up not working out, it doesn't mean either one of you are bad people. I recommend we pace ourselves, forgive people, and forgive ourselves.

Mark
September, 12 2010 at 11:06 am

Paul,
Well written. Being in a relationship because it makes you feel like someone needs you is indeed a recipe for failure.
Truly open and honest relationships are often a maze of doors you need to step thru over time. Sometimes however you feel the need to keep certain doors shut. It's often a balance of do I let you in and possibly get hurt or keep you out and feel safe.

Natasha Tracy
September, 13 2010 at 7:54 am

Hi Mark,
This is exactly what I was trying to say here: http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2010/09/seven-biggest-myths-about-bipol…
To quote you:
"All BP’ers are not pathological liars. All BP’ers are not cold, unfeeling manipulative people. Some are however. Some “normal” people act exactly the same way. Don’t let yourself or other people use BP as an excuse. Hold em to the same boundaries and behaviours you would anyone."
Thanks for making that point.
- Natasha

Susan
September, 25 2010 at 1:45 am

I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at age 48, after going to doctors that kept misdiagnosing me for depression. 25 years and 2 bankruptcies later, I was put on Wellbutrin for depression. This drug caused my to go pyschotic, to the point where I thought my brand new vehicle that was 3 weeks old was posessed by the devil. I traded it in for a less expensive car and lost $6,000 in the process. I also began hearing voices and seeing myself in the mirror as my face "appeared" to be changing from that of a somewhat attractive 48 year old, into a wrinkly, old lady and then back and forth again. I finally knew I must be totally nuts. I also experienced feeling out of touch with my body. As if my hands, arms and legs were not mine. I finally was diagnosed properly and put on the correct medication for my disorder. At the time I finally was "labled" as bipolar, my daughter, then 31 y.o. told me she had to "draw boundaries" and distance herself in order to protect herself from my disease. There were times I would be very depressed or be very manic and I think or know that if my daughter has been there for me, it would have helped me tremendously. But if my husband told her I was depressed or manic she would not talk to me on the phone and would tell him to let me know when i was normal again and she would talk to me. When she got married, she all but ignored me at her wedding. She sat me clear across the room at the reception and barely said two sentences to me. I was really devasted and hurt. Later I asked her why she was treating me like I wasn't even there. She said she figured I was manic and didn't want me to ruin her wedding. I was NOT manic, she just FIGURED I was! Yes, I had a little nervous anxiety that the wedding would go as they had planned, but nothing any other mother of the bride would be feeling. This is when I realized I can not expect anyone to be there when I most need them to be. My family being the worst.

Natasha Tracy
September, 27 2010 at 8:51 am

Hi Susan,
I'm so sorry it has been such a long and bumpy road for you. What you've been through sounds horrible.
Unfortunately, your daughter has probably also been through some painful situations relating to your illness. And sometimes, like it or not, we hurt people to the point where it's really difficult to come back.
Family is the worst and family is the best. They have been beside you and sometimes that means they understand what you're going through and sometimes that means they are the most tormented by it. It isn't fair, but it's real.
For my own part, I can say I've drawn my own lines with parents, and even though I've long been an adult and they have changed, I'm just not prepared to move those lines. (Not mental illness related.)
It may be the case that over time and with education you may be able to repair the relationship with your daughter. Maybe you could get therapy together to help both of you to express yourselves.
I wish you the best of luck in your situation. It's tough, but it sounds like you're making headway.
- Natasha

Emily Beadle
October, 1 2010 at 7:44 pm

Hello,
I have really appreciated reading what everyone has written here. I myself have struggled with anxiety and depression in my life and have found that through a combination of sleep, exercise, supplements and 12 step recovery, I can mostly manage it. I am susceptible to mood swings around hormonal fluctuations but I am generally happy these days and getting more consistently contented which feels like a HUGE gift and a blessing. It's a lot of work just to feel "normal" but it's worth it to me.
I also have had the experience of having a bipolar (diagnosed) friend. My grandmother was clinically depressed and committed suicide when I was 11. I didn't find out til later, and also didn't know my father was depressed until my brother attempted suicide and my dad flipped out and wanted to know where the guns were. My brother is OK now mostly and my dad is medicated and doing better. So it's in my family too.
I had to leave a friendship with my friend who was bipolar after 16 years. I had a hard time having boundaries with her and felt criticized all the time that I wasn't a good enough friend to her. I had her live with me for a time, played "psychiatric nurse" (along with many others bc she was terrified of being committed again) when she was depressive, tried not to be too scared when she was manic and thought she was controlling the planets, but I had too hard of a time staying separate from her.
I kept thinking that someday she would realize I'd been there all along, through many manic episodes and depressive times --that I WAS a good friend. But it was never enough and eventually when I got more "well" through taking care of my own needs in my 12 step recovery, I realized how hard it was for me to never be enough for someone. I know that we are all responsible for our own boundaries and she and I became friends when we were really young. I know all the psycho babble that says i should have been able to take care of myself. But really, she'd call incessantly and demand to know why I wasn't calling her...she just drained me one too many times. The decision to "take space" was mutual...but then it became a permanent situation. I was frankly totally relieved to let her out of my life. I still love her believe it or not, and I still care about what happens to her, but I don't ever want to subject myself to someone else's demanding and needy behavior that way again.
I am not trying to say things that are inflammatory but I need to say my piece too and there doesn't seem to be anywhere safe to say this stuff. Maybe in therapy--but even my therapists have supported me in letting go of this relationship. And as to the comments about "people just leaving without a trace" I don't buy it. I get that it can feel that way (esp when there is not honest dialogue about the other person's needs), but there were so many problems and signs within our relationship that it was one-sided, and there was no room for me to ever have needs or problems too. It was always about her being the designated patient. So I can see that it might feel like a sudden shock but if a person has healthy boundaries (bipolar or not), I think it should be evident to both people that things are not working.
I thank you for reading, anyone who might still be doing so. I have not known where to go with this. It seems like dredging things up with my ex-friend (in order to apologize or explain) would only make it worse and leave me open to more and more criticism, which I frankly have no interest in hearing.
Thank you for reading, again.
Take care all.

Natasha Tracy
October, 2 2010 at 7:55 am

Hi Emily,
Obviously everyone and every friendship is different. For me, there really was nothing wrong and then disappearance. Without doubt, in one case my friend was under a lot of stress, some of it due to my illness. But this was not frequent. And I _was_ there for her. I would have done anything for her. You may think it's impossible for people to disappear without reason or explanation, but I know that they can.
Certainly sick people are difficult to support through hard times, but then, so is anyone else. Someone going through a divorce. Someone who suffers a death. Someone who is a victim of a crime. Someone who was hit by a car. And so on, and so forth. Sometimes people can handle that support, and sometimes they can't.
I can't comment on your situation specifically, obviously, every situation is different and sometimes a break is needed. This does not mean however, that some people treat us unfairly just due to a diagnosis.
- Natasha

John1039
November, 29 2010 at 1:36 am

Very nice site! is it yours too

Margaret Callahan
July, 23 2011 at 5:49 pm

When I had my first manic episode, most of my friends dumped me. For some reason, it still hurts so many years later. I have trouble making friends because I fear that eventually I will tell the new friend my secret, and they will run! My best friend who was also bipolar died almost five years ago. I have four close friends (one far away) who are supportive. I feel bad for all the people on this who posted about lost friends and loved ones. However, we have a strenghth, others do not possess. We also are more compassionate and understanding of the "not so average," "not so perfect" person, which is truly everyone! I reconnected on a social network with a former best friend who dumped me, and when I confronted her through writing, her response was simply, "we did not know about THOSE things then," meaning BPD. No apology, nothing. I have been nice to her, writing her, here and there, but am ashamed of myself for being a phony. She doesn't deserve my time or my kindness. I don't think I should be rude to her, but I want to unfriend her. What do you think?

Betsey
October, 4 2011 at 8:04 am

Hello Theda, I am bi-polar and I have been very happily married for over 26 years. My husband and I have had our difficult periods due to various scenarios bi-polar or not, but we love each other so very much. We have two beautiful children that we are very proud of, and lots of friends. First of all Borderline Personality Disorder is not "very similar" to Bi-Polar disorder. They are two separate mental illnesses. It sounds like you just married the wrong person, and now you are lashing out to hurt people that are diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder. You are exactly the kind of person that keeps the negative sterotype flourishing. I sincerely hope that you did not raise children to believe the same negative thought patterns you have. If anyone sounds like they are "all about themselves" and "dragging people into hell" it you. Grow up and get a life.

Lesley
March, 12 2012 at 6:23 am

My daughter has bipolar. She refuses to take medication. She has very bad periods where she gets aggresive and mean. She tells people I abused her physically when she was little, I didn't. She was spoiled and always wanted her own way and if she didn't get it she would get angry. In fact truth be known she was verbally abusive to me and used to behave badly, staying out all night, disappearing for days, going on long trips by bus, all around age 14. We didn't know what was wrong with her until she had her daughter and she was hospitalized form months. She was diagnozed as shizophrenic and then later on as bipolar. Life has been hectic to say the least, my husband and I helped raise our granddaughter. My husband passed away in 2007 and for the most part my daughter has been sweet and supportive, but lately, the last few months she's been all over the place, saying awful things about me etc. She is having surgery right now. She keeps saying no-one loves her, everyone hates her etc. but she is mean to people. She is even talking about going to court because her daughter won't let her take her two daughters by herself. In 2007 there was an incident when my daughter took her granddaughter somewhere and the granddaughter ended up getting apprehended by Social Services and my daughter ended up in hospital for several weeks. She just doesn't get it. She refuses to take medication. She lives in fear that Drs and family are just waiting to get her locked up in the "Bing Bing Parlour". I feel so sad and helpless, it's almost as if I lost my daughter many years ago. I don't know what to do. I tell her all the time I love her. It's just that we are afraid to let her have the girls, aged 11 and 3, by herself as we never know what she's going to do. We know she wouldn't intentionally hurt them, but things happen and Social Services could step in and apprehend them again.

Natasha Tracy
March, 12 2012 at 9:02 am

Hi Lesley,
I'm sorry to hear you are in such a tough spot. You aren't the only one, many people can identify with your situation.
What I might say is that being a mother is a lot of work, of course, you know that, but maybe your daughter hasn't learned that lesson yet. And being a mother means doing things you don't want to do, and maybe she hasn't learned that lesson yet either. It seems to me like her kids would be a good reason for her to get help, and if she did, you might trust her more to be with the children.
Seeing as there has already been one bad incident involving social services, it seems to me that you are doing the right thing trying to avoid another. Your daughter has to show that she's _working_ to avoid another as well. What is her plan? How is she actively avoiding it? These are questions for her to answer. If she has no plan, how can she be trusted not to let these things happen again?
Unfortunately, people who refuse treatment often hear the voice of their illness louder than the voices of those around them. There is nothing you can do about this. But I believe that protecting the children in the situation is the right thing to do even if that isn't the priority for your daughter.
I hope that helps.
- Natasha

Prudence Thrasher
March, 12 2012 at 9:18 am

Before I was diagnosied with bipolar, I felt terrible all the time. Unfortuantly I turned to alchol as a "comfort." At this point, I began losing my friends and family. My sister is the only one who has stuck by me. I lost a marriage of 17 years, but most painful, my youngest son has not spoken to me in over 10 years. He just can't see that I was a sick mom, not a bad one. Some people are willing to accept and understand our illness, and some are not. Will that ever change? I don't know.
I attend a meeting DRA which is Dual Recovery Anomous. I am accepted there because everyone there has a mental illness, I have made friends there.
I have been sober 10 years.

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