- 4 years ago
- Wedding: September 2014
TL;DR: I am having trouble being supportive of my friend with Bipolar Disorder who ends up in the hospital at least once a year, and needs constant attention and support from friends and family. I would like to get someone else’s perspective to see how I can be more understanding of the disorder and how to be a good friend without being an enabler.
I am having a very hard time dealing with a friend of mine. I have tried to research a little more about the disease, but I still do not know much about it. I am trying me best to be there for her, but it is so difficult.
She had her first “episode” (not sure what to call it) probably 6 years ago. She was on vacation with a friend, they made the terrible choice of taking drugs and she just started acting ‘off.’ She winded up in the hospital after she came back home becuase she tried to jump out of a moving vehicle. When I visited her in the hospital she was lika a zombie. They diagnosed her with Bipolar (I can’t remember for sure if she already had this diagnosis actually, but this is when I found out about it). After she was released from the hospital she was paranoid. She wouldn’t talk if airplanes were around, she would watch the news and think they were talking about her. It was really scary for me. It took several months, but she finally got back to normal.
She has continued to have these episodes probably once a year about since then. She winds up in the hospital for a few weeks or longer depending on how she’s doing. Then she comes out and isn’t able to work for a couple of months after that. Finally, she slowly starts working and gets into her routine until the next episode.
I understand that she did not choose to be Bipolar and that living with this must be incredibly difficult. But, it is hard to be a supportive friend to her sometimes. She expects everyone to drop whatever they are doing anytime she is in the hopsital or has recently left. She calls the 10 or so closest family and friends every day, sometimes multiple times a day. She gets worried if someone doesn’t answer.
Her bf of 5 years, a really nice guy, is struggling to stay with her. Her last episode occured on her birthday. She was upset that one of her sisters didn’t text her to say happy birthday. She was also drinking which is a trigger for episodes. She tried to kill herself by overdosing on pills.
He has told her that he’s not sure if he can be with her anymore, which led her to a screaming/crying fit at the hospital. They had to give her shots to sedate her. She thinks her bf is being selfish and doesn’t care about her or understand what she’s going through. He has been supporting them for 5 years. He pays the bills, bought their cars, and holds everything down. He has visited her in the hospital, he has gone to therapy sessions with her. But, she doesn’t see how hard it is for him to support her through all of this. She only thinks about herself when she’s in tese episodes.
I feel bad for her bf and I feel terrible for her, because I know she will be terribly heartbroken if they do break up. But, I understand that for him its hard to know that every year 4 months of his time will be dedicated to hospital visits, and dealing with her when she gets out as she takes months to get back to normal.
I do feel sorry for her, but I also feel that taking care of her can be a burden. I hate that if I don’t have time to call her on the phone one day she assumes I don’t care about her. I hate that she expects everyone to drop everything to visit her in the hospital and then when she gets out. And even though this is probably very wrong of me to feel, I hate how lazy she seems about all of this. She only works part time in the first place and she acts like its so difficult to work 20 hours a week. She constantly complains about how stressed she is. I know that I am not being very understanding of how Bipolar effects her, which is why I’m posting this. I need help to see how she is feeling.
Sometimes I feel like a terrible friend and that I should spend more time trying to help, other times I feel like my life would be better without her. Does anyone have any advice for me on how to better understand and be a friend to someone with Bipolar Disorder? Also, I want to add in that I know everyone who is Bipolar is not that same and I really don’t mean to offend anyone with this post. I am coming from a place of trying to understand my friend so I don’t end up resenting her.
Thanks for any advice/comments/suggestions/etc.