(Closed) Bi-polar disorder…any experiences/advice?! (long)

posted 6 years ago in Relationships
Post # 3
Member
390 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

Does he drop into a depressive state afterwards? I have a friend who droppe into a depressive state recently and attemped sucide and was found and is alive in an institution until they believe she is not a threat to herself or others. Also, medication isnt going to end these things right away and its going to be a long hard road. Now you said your seeing a counsuler with him i would recommend him going to a psychatrist because they are the only ones who can diagnose and write persriptions for meds.

Post # 5
Member
7808 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2010

I don’t see how you can get a proper dx and treatment without a qualified psychiatrist.  If it is bipolar, it has to be treated with meds as well as therapy.

Post # 6
Member
726 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

He needs to seek a counselor himself. Are you sure that him withdrawing and wanting to be alone all the time are his manic phases? Those tend to be symptoms of the depression phase but every case presents differently. 

My mom has bipolar and I grew up with it everyday of my life so I’ve definitely got some experiences on that aspect and I just did a presentation on it today. It’s tough and the caregiver (which it sounds like you are) of the person with bipolar has an increased risk for depression themselves. Studies have also shown that when the caregiver is stressed/depressed the person with bipolar is less compliant with treatment. One thing that I’ve learned with my mom is to always take care of myself. Most caregivers tend to be very selfless, always wanting to focus on the person with the illness and forget about themselves which causes a whole new world of problems. I’ve learned where my point is that I can’t take any more, at least for that day and I need to come back to her later. (like when she’s manic and going 1000 miles/hr) 

Also, when they are depressed they are at risk for suicide, but most suicide cases take place in the manic phase because they have the energy to complete the suicide as well as the impulsive urge to commit suicide may strike them and they act on it b/c impulsivity is a sign of mania. But it is always important to pay attention to suicidal urges

If you ever want to talk, just PM me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 7
Member
753 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

That doesn’t really sound like “mania” to me…if anything a depressive state, maybe…

when he comes back around, seek a second opinion. Don’t try to diagnose him yourself because things like bipolar or borderline, or mental disorders in general are ridiculously hard to diagnose. That’s why psychiatrists go to school for like, 10+ years. The human brain is complex. Very tricky, and often symptoms of disoders overlap. 

Post # 8
Member
726 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@imageeksowhat:  Just wanted to tell you I “like” your post and agree 100% ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 9
Member
429 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I grew up with a mentally ill mother and sister. A bunch of things:

1. Sounds more like MDD (Major Depressive Disorder), not be bipolar. Bipolar is major swings back and forth from extreme highs (going 10000 miles an hour) to extreme lows within a rapid period. Long periods of depression (as in, weeks) are associated with MDD, not bipolar. 

Anyway, like imageeksowhat said, we cannot diagnose him. He needs to get to a mental health professional for proper treatment, whether it’s MDD or bipolar. By that I mean a PSYCHOLOGIST or PSYCHIATRIST, not a counselor. What your boyfriend has is very serious and he needs medical care. 

2. Not going to lie. It’s really rough living with with individuals when they are in their depressed state. My dad, and even us kids, put up with a lot- hospitalizations, self-harm, my mom locking herself in her room for days without a sound. It was scary.  We kids sometimes lived in fear of my mom blowing up at nothing and going to her room for days, feeling like we were the ones who did something terrible and drove her to that state. 

But it’s not insurmountable. We had two loving parents and my mom has been doing really well the last 10 years. We were never in danger. My mom did a lot for my dad too- it’s not like it was a one-way street where he always gave and she always took. 

3. Living with someone with depression or bipolar disorder takes an enormous deal of love and patience. My sister’s boyfriend, whom she wanted to marry, just broke up with her because he saw what living with smeone with MDD and taking care of them meant and he couldn’t do it. (She understood- better to find out now than 5 or 10 years down the road). 

I don’t know if you belive in living together before marriage, but if you do, I would advocate going through a few years together before getting married. Seeing what really is involved, and if you can handle it as his caregiver, will help you decide if you can be there for him for the rest of your lives. It can get really, really bad. Knowing that and knowing how to handle it- with the help of a good psychologist for yourself and a lot of family and friend support- can help better prepare you.

4. Like your counselor said, it can be a lifelong battle. If it’s an inherited condition, not triggered by a life event like a death of a family or PTSD, then it’s something your boyfriend wil probably struggle with for the rest of your life. Depression can change over teh course of years. You can’t really judge someone’s depression based on a few episodes. Someone who has mild depression can go through a few years where things get really bad/suicidal. Likewise, someone who has had some really rough battles can improve, like my mom has done over the past ten or so years. She’s not on medication right now and hasn’t had an episode in over a decade! 

5. You keep talking about your boyfriend controlling himself, and being rational by not pushing away the only person who is there for him. People with depression/bipolar CANNOT control themselves. They physically do not have the ability to do things- their brains and body are literally depressed, to the point of not being able to function at times. They are NOT THEMSELVES when they are in a major depressive episodes. They are not rational when in this state- thinking “oh this person cares for me, I should be nice to her!.” Otherwise, they would also say “I need to eat and walk around and brush my teeth, that’s important for health!” Which they don’t- they just want to be alone and away from everything and do not have rational thoughts about life.They say things and do things they would never say under normal situations. They sometimes cannot function, they cannot take care of themselves, they do not operate normally. They do not care about themselves or things they normally care about- their children, their job, their spouse. This is NOT how they truly feel, this is what happens when they go through an episode. The caretaker cannot take it personally when the depressed person pushes them away, says they want to leave, says they want to die. They have to distance what the person says during an episode with what the person really feels normally. 

This doesn’t mean depressed indiviudals can’t fight their illness and do what they can to manage it. This could mean getting out of a trigger environment, getting on meds, seeing a psychologist, etc. Taking those steps are victories that should be applauded. But if someone is in an episode, curled up in bed for two days and won’t eat, he/she is not in a position to ‘take control’ of the disease. He/she just needs to get through that episode, which is a victory in and of itself. 

6. Depression is a very, very, very real. It seems you understand this, but I think it’s worth emphasizing. It’s not a choice. It’s not laziness or weakness in character. No one wants to live that way. I have so much empathy for people who struggle with depression because I have seen first-hand from my mom how completely debilitating it is. However, with lots of support and medical care it can be managed better than just trying to handle it on your own. 

I don’t want to scare you off, I just want to be honest. I wouldn’t change anything about my family, even though some times were really tough. I am so thankful for my mom and my sister and am so glad to have them in my lives just the way they are. 

Post # 10
Member
7808 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2010

There is such a thing as bipolar 2, which is less severe and presents mainly as depression.  It never gets to true mania, rather hypomania which can present as irritability.  It can be fast or slow cycling.

In any case, he needs to be evaluated by a psychiatrist.  This is all about brain chemistry.

Post # 11
Member
9483 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2012

@sassy411:  I was diagnosed with bipolar type II.  It sucks.

OP, I am here if you need to ask any questions.  PM me whenever needed.  =)

Post # 13
Member
220 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

I had a bipolar SO for 5 years (age 22-27). We got engaged when I was 25. Like you, when he was good, life was great, but when he was having an episode, it was torture. I ended up breaking off the engagement once he came after me with a knife during one of his episodes. I tried breaking up with him a bunch of times, but he’d always threaten suicide and I’d be forced to stay in the relationship. It was something that was always in the back of my mind and I could never predict when he would turn. His problem, like a lot of people who are bipolar, was that his meds would work and he would feel great and then think he didn’t need meds and would go off them. I’ll be honest, when I finally was able to break it off (I had to wait until he was staying with his parents, he ended up attempting suicide) I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I completely understand what you are going through. Please feel free to send me a PM with any specific questions or for any other reason. He needs to be in therapy and on meds 100% of the time.

 

Post # 15
Member
3220 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2012

I think you’re so strong for getting counseling for yourself and learning how to better manage his issues from your end of the relationship, and I think it’s really smart to set a limit for yourself.  There comes a point when you might just be enabling him to keep on this path if you keep letting him leave you and allowing him to come back?  I absolutely cannot say what I would do in this situation but I wish you the best of luck and hope he seeks counseling and gets the right help!

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