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How To Deal With My Bipolar Wife

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How To Deal With A Bipolar Family Member

How I Help My Bipolar Spouse Manage Mania

This article was co-authored by Trudi Griffin, LPC, MS. Trudi Griffin is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Wisconsin specializing in Addictions and Mental Health. She provides therapy to people who struggle with addictions, mental health, and trauma in community health settings and private practice. She received her MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marquette University in 2011.There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 83% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 322,428 times.

Having a family member with bipolar disorder can be a challenge and takes patience and compassion. In coping with a family members bipolar disorder, it is important to support your family member, take care of yourself physically and emotionally, and educate yourself about bipolar disorder.

Constructive Things To Try Before Saying Goodbye

There are several things you can try to preserve the relationship.

First, remember why youre in the relationship. You probably got involved with this person and picked this person because there are lots of things that you like and love about this person, said Dr. Saltz.

She suggested educating yourself about bipolar disorder to better understand the condition. It also helps to learn to recognize signs of depression or hypomania so that you can advise your partner to talk with their healthcare provider if needed.

Dr. Saltz also recommended encouraging your partner to continue treatment and taking any prescribed medications.

Sometimes, when people have been stable for a while, theyre sort of like, Oh, I dont think I need any of this anymore. Usually thats a bad idea, she said.

Dr. Alex Dimitriu, founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine, said that you can also support your partner by offering gentle, nonjudgmental supervision and guidance and encouraging healthy behaviors.

These behaviors include:

Additionally, he suggested that your partner identify three trusted people to check in with if theyre feeling off.

Let those people then provide an average sort of score, and say, Hey, yeah. You are a little hot-headed, or you are a little down, or whatever they may offer, he said.

What Would You Like To Share With Others Who Find Themselves In The Same Situation

Kyle: Just being open and honest with your loved ones and those around you.

Megan: Devastated doesnt even describe the despair and pain that I felt after my manic episode and my psychotic social media posts. So many people in my life at that time, in my social circle, that I trusted and thought were my closest friends abandoned me. They didnt try to understand, be forgiving, and compassionate for me. And that was devastating. But it turns out that was actually the biggest blessing because it showed me who was a true, solid friend. Its so important for people with mental health illnesses to have a strong support system.

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If youd like to follow Megans mental health journey, check out:

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How To Love Someone With Bipolar Disorder: A Helpful Guide

Can a bipolar person love someone? Absolutely. Can someone with bipolar disorder have a normal relationship? With work from both you and your partner, yes. When someone you love has bipolar disorder, their symptoms can be overwhelming at times. But it is possible to work past this mental health condition in your relationship. Although we provide drug and alcohol detox in Boca, we also work with those people who struggle with mental illness and are sharing some tips on dealing with a loved one who has bipolar disorder.

We All Think Our Exes Are Bi

Bipolar, Bipolar disorder and Husband wife on Pinterest

When I met my husband, I took everything he said at face value. I did not know what a troubled soul he was. Four years into our marriage, he told me that he had been depressed and suicidal all of his adult life. His brother was bipolar as was his father. Thus began the slow, agonizing spiral toward divorce for Deborah Marshall-Watts, 53, a government benefits counselor residing in Irving, Texas.

Dealing with a bi-polar spouse makes the difficult divorce process infinitely more harrowing, says Gayle Rosenwald Smith, a family law attorney and co-author of the book, What Every Woman Should Know About Divorce and Custody: How to Keep the Kids, the Cash, and Your Sanity. And it lengthens the time it takes to get divorced: It can take forever.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, bi-polar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a serious medical illness that causes shifts in a persons mood, energy, and ability to function. Bi-polar disorder causes dramatic mood swings from overly high and/or irritable to sad and hopeless and then back again, often with periods of normal mood in between.

Mood Swings, Money Trouble & Mania

Commonly, a person learns that his or her spouse is bi-polar over the course of several years of marriage, and there may or may not be a diagnosis, explains Jennifer Coleman, a licensed professional counselor with Rosen Law Firm with offices in Raleigh, Charlotte, Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Bi-Polar + Kids?

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Coping With The Difficulties And Looking After Yourself

There is a lot of confusion about what bipolar disorder is, despite the fact that approximately 2.6% of the population is diagnosed with the condition. To anyone on the outside, they may have very little idea of the severity of the condition and, if youre the partner of someone with bipolar disorder, your family and friends may fail to have any real understanding of what youre going through.

Because of this, and because of the stigma which has long been associated with mental illness, being the partner of someone who has bipolar disorder can be an extremely lonely place to be. Coping with your loved ones mood swings, hyper periods, depression, and possibly violent outbursts is unbelievably hard. Although people more commonly tend to think of bipolar disorder in terms of “highs” and “lows,” there is a range of other symptoms which people with this condition may display and which, as their partner, you are responsible for helping them through.

Coping with the “highs”

Bipolar disorder is categorised into:

Bipolar 1 characterised by extreme manic episodes which can potentially last for weeks. It can be diagnosed in the absence of a depressive episode.

Bipolar 2 characterised by more “rapid cycling” and should include at least one depressive period of two weeks or longer.

Coping with the “lows”

Dealing with the threat of suicide

Being on the receiving end of anger and frustration

Psychotic episodes

Non-adherence to medication and self-medication

Care for yourself

Understand That Medication Might Not Help Them

Treatment is often accompanied by medication, but it may not be effective for everyone. In fact, medication is used to mitigate symptoms, not remove them entirely. Keep your expectations realistic. Your loved one may require a combination of our medical and mental health treatment in Boca in order to see results.

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Shock Betrayal And The Incomprehensible

The participants marital life took a dramatic turn the first time their spouse became ill. They were not prepared for their spouses significant behavioural changes as none of them previously knew about the illness. When asked about how they felt when they first got to know about the illness, most of the participants reported feeling shocked when they first saw their spouse experiencing a manic/depressive episode. Many seemed unable to comprehend what is happening while many felt betrayed at the hands of their in-laws or their husband. They did not understand what was happening, or what to do.

Participant 1:

I got really upset because all of this was very sudden and I had no such thought in my mind.

He had all this even before marriage and I got to know about it afterwards. When I got to know I used to cry a lot, thinking that someone should have taken us into confidence. And I love my husband a lot, and he also really loves me so I kept thinking that at least he should have shared this with me.

Participant 2:

I was really shocked, I was unable to understand what was going on .I was in great shock and used to stay really sad.

Participant 3:

I felt betrayed, betrayal it is isnt it? So betrayal it was we also had a fight over it, I fought a lot I really felt like someone had deceived me big time. I felt really bad then, I got really sad and my mom too.

Tell Us More About The Circumstances Around Finally Being Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder

My Life with a Bipolar Spouse

Megan: I was diagnosed April 7, 2018 in jail. A mental health professional came to my cell and held up her phone which had my Facebook profile pulled up, and she said: You have bipolar I disorder. We are transferring you out of jail to a mental health facility. She had researched my past because I had a successful business, lots of friendsbut had gotten arrested three times in one month and had never been arrested before. They were looking at me like, this girl has no previous record, and then she gets arrested three times in a month?! So, they started doing research on me. They called my family, got in touch with my psychiatrist, who had diagnosed me with depression, and looked through my social media.

BP is often misdiagnosed with depressionand while depression is serious, its very different from bipolar disorder. You cant take the same meds for depression if you have BP. A few years earlier, I was put on an SSRI, which if you have BP can be extremely dangerous. Two months after taking them, I had my first manic episode. It crept up slowly, but surely. I became more and more manic and my family, close friends, Kyle, no one understood why I was acting the way I was.

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Committed To Care Not Running Away

Experts agree that a relationship frayed or fractured by the fallout of mood swings cant really be repaired until the ill person commits to recovery.

In order to have a healthy relationship, you have to take care of yourself, says clinical psychologist Cynthia G. Last, PhD, author of When Someone You Love is Bipolar: Help and Support for You and Your Partner . Its not your fault that youve got the illness, but it is your responsibility to take care of it.

Mamdouh El-Adl lays out three steps to mending relationships. First is getting treatment, with medication as the cornerstone upholding therapy and lifestyle changes. Second, those involved with the ill person should also learn about bipolar. Third, once a stable mood state is achieved, issues in the relationship must be resolved, perhaps in counseling.

It is a long-standing process, he says, and requires a lot of work.

During their separation, Barbara and Gary began seeing a couples counselor weekly. In the year before they reunited, they tested the waters by going on datesgradually learning to trust that things had gotten better, as Gary puts it. Still, it was hard when both of them were depressed.

At times we felt almost hostile toward each other, he says.

The only thing that could keep us going was knowing from experience that we would feel different later, he adds.

Ways To Help Your Bipolar Loved One Cope

Depression and bipolar disorder are often family diseases.

Everyone sharing a kitchen and a bathroom is affected. In fact, in his book Understanding Depression, J. Raymond DePaulo Jr., M.D., writes that depression has a much greater impact on marital life than rheumatoid arthritis or cardiac illness. One study found that only severe forms of cancer affected a family as adversely as depression or bipolar disorder.

My manic depression could have easily wrecked my marriage and my relationships with my two children. Instead, we emerged as a tighter, stronger unit. How? Here are eight ways Eric, my husband, helped me cope tips for families on how, exactly, to hang in there with a loved one who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Read Also: How To Tell If You Have Postpartum Depression

Creating A Support Plan

Creating a support plan is a useful way for someone to learn how to help their partner with bipolar disorder. This might include planning activities, making a list of useful contacts such as a trusted relative or a therapist and making adjustments to daily routine.

Having a support plan in place reassures both partners that they will know how to respond to a very high or low period.

Kyle What Was Your Take On What Was Going On At The Time

How to cope with a bipolar spouse

Kyle: I felt like I had zero control of her situation, period. When she was in that deep depression, I didnt know she was bipolar, that was never even a thought. I encouraged her to listen to the nurse practitioner. I just figured that shed studied this in school, that this was her profession, so I thought that this was the best option for Megan. It was really challenging watching her struggle, to not be able to really help.

Megan: I just want to add that you really did alleviate the situation, because you really stepped up during that time and did all the grocery shopping, all the laundry. He took care of our dog, he paid all the bills, he went to work. He did literally everything to step up to help me and be there for me. And he didnt put any pressure on me at all.

Any of the times Ive ever been depressed, hes always been very supportive. He didnt ask me, whats wrong with you. Or why cant I do this or that? Hes been so respectful. And Im so grateful to have a husband like that, to support me and be there for me. He doesnt understand what depression feels likebut hes witnessed me not being able to shower, not being able to get off the couch, being in the same clothes Ive worn for five days in a row. And while he doesnt know what I feel, he understands that the struggle I deal with is real. And I just really appreciate him so much, because it takes a really strong partner to be with someone whos struggling with mental illness.

Also Check: How To Cure Schizophrenia Permanently

Let Betterhelp Be There For You

Whether you’re living through a relationship with someone who has bipolar anger or you are the one whose illness is negatively impacting your relationship, help is always there. You are not alone in your struggles. For every individual affected by bipolar disorder there’s a partner, spouse, or loved one who is struggling with the same hardships as you.

Taking the time to read this article is a first step to acknowledging there may be a problem, and you might need help. Bipolar disorder is challenging, and it can be extremely taxing on the afflicted and the people around them. It’s important to seek professional help. Licensed therapists at BetterHelp can counsel you through your difficulties, without you ever having to step foot into an office. It may feel you’ll never see the light at the end of the tunnel, but know you’re not alone. All you need is to take the first step toward help, as so many others have. Support groups and group counseling is also worth considering. Hearing about similar experiences may make you feel less alone, and will help you decide is BetterHelp is something you’ll want to try.

Watch For Triggers And Behavior Changes

Watch for clues or telltales of changes in your partners mood or frame of mind. As a partner or loved one, you are in the best position to recognize the signs and help him or her identify and understand them. Keep a notebook and chart moods and episodes to identify a pattern your partner can use during his journey back to wellness.

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Ignorance Isnt Always Bliss

Part of the condition of being bipolar involves something called anosognosia. This comes from the Greek, and means without disease knowledge.

Now here is the frustrating and tricky part where bipolar marriage and marital conflict are concerned. The partner cant get why their bipolar spouse tends to deny the very existence of a diagnosis that, in other mood states, they would admit readily.

It looks like defensiveness, stubbornness, arrogancefill in the blank.

But in reality, while this anosognosia can have many different components, a brain deficit in the prefrontal cortex is often a large factor. They cant help not knowing in that moment what they already know.

On the other hand, some people in treatment for Bipolar Disorder gratefully welcome the structure and incremental gains in their quality of life and a better bipolar marriage.

Bipolar Disorder is an intimidating medical condition because it dictates the very contours and terrain of your life.

Managing Bipolar Disorder is a spousal team effort. While some people respond miraculously well to certain medications and treatment regimes, like everything else with bipolar your mileage will vary.

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