Post # 1
I need some advice…
My future sister in law/maid of honor has bipolar disorder — she is in denial. She was on medications which made her feel horrible and now refuses to believe she has anything wrong with her which is typical symptoms of bipolar disorder. I had asked her to be my maid of honor, she even purchased her dress.. all at that time she was not experiencing any bipolar symptoms.. NOW, she is hypomanic & tells me she can’t be my maid of honor. She hates me now! For no apparent reason! The only thing my fiance, his mother & I could think of is that she is jealous of the relationship I have with her mother (my mother in law). Everyone knows she is my maid of honor. And I am stuck on what to say to everyone! I am hopeful she realizes she does have bipolar disorder & can seek the help she needs prior to the wedding ( we tried but she thinks she isn’t “crazy” & that we all are ). My fiance feels that she should just not be in our wedding at all, start telling everyone she is really upset with her life (not getting into schools, got laid off from her job, etc which is the truth). But I’m worried that she WILL be okay by then and be so hurt that she wasn’t able to be in it & forever hold a grudge.
I need some advice.. Should I wait it out til a month before our wedding? If she continues to act bipolar then she’s out of the bridal party as she wished or comes to her senses and wants to take part as she was SO enthusiastic to be the maid of honor.. Or should I begin telling everyone now that she will no longer be the maid of honor & I can have another bridesmaid step up to be maid of honor?
I feel so awful & selfish that I am dwelling on this so much. I want her to get the help she needs but she won’t listen. I guess I shouldn’t worry about something I can’t change.. but it’s difficult.
Post # 3
Just remember that no matter what this is YOUR day. Nobody will ever change that as long as you don’t let them. I think if you have a serious talk with her explaining your points as to WHY you chose her in the first place she may snap back into reality. I’m actually having this problem with my maid of honor I selected and my wedding isn’t for a year and a half. But I was kind of obligated to select her and luckily my best friend is already married so she is my Matron of Honor. I’m sorry that you have this crappy situation and I hope it works itself out for you in the best way possible and your Future Sister-In-Law takes the time to realize this!
Post # 4
You have my empathy – I’m in a similar spot with a bridesmaid, I posted about it just the other day. It would be silly of me to offer you advice since Im having a hard enough time myself – but go with your gut. You can still be understanding of her illness without letting it drag you down too. Perhaps hold off on “MOH” designation until the last minute and just have bridesmaids…I don’t have a Maid/Matron of Honor, and instead, each of the girls has taken responsibility for a part of planning she enjoys. Its worked out swimmingly. Good luck!!!
Post # 5
I think your Fiance is right:let her off the hook. Even if she’s properly medicated and feeling better by then, it may still be too much for her to handle. Too many people, too much attention and she may stress out about acting “right” in front of everyone.
A lot of people with bipolar disorder have a hard time recognizing that while they are not “crazy” per se, they are NOT normal. I can say this because I have Bridal Party II. Judging by the description of your future SIL, I’d say she’s likely got Bridal Party I, which unmedicated is really, really bad. For everyone, but especially her.
I had a first cousin who suffered from BPI and he was the best man at my other cousin’s wedding. He was on Lithium and other prescription drugs, plus he was drinking and smoking pot that night. He was the life of the party and we were all laughing (out of ignorance of the disease, I realize now) until we jokingly said we wanted to throw the obnoxious DJ into the pool because he was playing such crappy music. My cousin got up and was actually going to it! We had to physically restrain him. There were a few other sketchy incidents-the wedding wasn’t ruined but there were some stressful moments.
The thing is, you are not selfish and you should not feel bad for no longer wanting her as Maid/Matron of Honor. She’s family but she’s better off as a guest. That’s my opinion, but I know what it’s like to say yes to something and then realize that I’m not recognizing my limitations. I am totally on the right medications but I still have to be careful about what kind of situations I put myself in and to minimize stress as much as possible. By The Way, you would never know to meet me what kind of turmoil and obsessive thoughts are constantly churning in my pretty little head:)
I didn’t mean to run on, but I just wanted to give you my thoughts and experiences. I hope too she gets on medication but again, even if she gets on an even keel, too much stress could set her off again. At the worst time possible. Do not feel bad and do not worry that she “hates” you. She’s having an episode which has nothing to do with you. Again, listen to your Fiance and just tell people she is just too overwhelmed right now. Which is true. Good luck-this is a really hard thing to deal with.
Post # 6
First of all, I’m so sorry that you and your future in-laws are having to deal with this situation. Bipolar disorder sucks, and it’s particularly hard when the illness makes you think that you don’t need treatment.
I think you should start mobilizing alternative plans with your other bridesmaids, who are hopefully your besties and thus women of good sense, discretion and “team spirit.” Don’t go into a ton of detail, but explain to them that “Sheila is having some personal problems, and we’re not sure yet if she’s going to be up to being Maid/Matron of Honor. Please don’t mention this to her, but if you and the other girls can be aware of the situation, and that someone else may need to take the lead if you guys decide that you want to host any shower or bachelorette things.” (Good manners naturally states that you don’t assume that they have to do that stuff.)
And then you wait to decide until you need to order your programs, or until something *really* forces a permanent decision.
Again, I’m so sorry that this is going on. I hope she gets the help that she needs. But it’s totally fair of you to make plans to insulate your special event from the fallout of whatever personal problems she may be having.
Post # 7
‘act bipolar’ wait is this something she is formally diagnosed with? or is this one of those things where you all just say she is? im type 2 bipolar so im a little curious as to what u meant by that.
if you’re not comfortable having her in the bridal party, let it be known. just seems like you are making this issue bigger than it has to be. she’ll bounce back eventually, she may be angry now but that can fade.
Post # 8
Ok first off this is a mental illness- she is not just acting out! It is a chemical imbalance in her brain which she can’t control. Seeking help is also hindered by this chemical imbalance so please be nice and cut her some slack. I find it extremely disrespectful to say she is jealous of you. Her emotions are out of control due to the chemical imbalance- the same way people with depression are more prone to immense feelings of sadness- your poor Future Sister-In-Law is having an overload of emotions that she can not control- most of which are not real (as in she may be expressing anger but not really be angry).
And please posters for the love of god stop calling people crazy- it is a really hurtful label.
Forget about your wedding because in the scheme of things that should be soooo low on the list of priorities right now. As a family you need to get your Future Sister-In-Law the help she needs even if for now all that is is being supportive. i suggest educating yourself on this diseaase so you can have a better understanding of the hardship your FSIlis facing.
If you dump her from your wedding party over this then yes I believe you are being selfish. You asked her to be your Maid/Matron of Honor because of who she and part of who she is is bi-polar. You can’t pick and choose and only want her in your life when she is 100% well. Well you can but that wouldn’t make you a very good friend and family member.
Good luck and I hope your Future Sister-In-Law gets more stable soon.
Post # 9
What @j_jaye said.
I don’t have Bipolar, I have a multitude of other things but I’m already feeling that there are people who only want to be in my wedding or even be my friend when I’m 100 per cent well and I have to say, it’s really counterproductive to my illness. And since she doesn’t have a great deal of insight into her illness right now, she is bound to take it really personally if you kick her out of the wedding.
Post # 10
@j_jaye: I suspect that this is a really sensitive topic for you, so please understand that I’m not trying to be hurtful with my response. But I don’t think that the PP was being disrespectful or selfish. As someone with a bipolar family member, I know how natural it is to try to “make sense” of your ill loved one’s words and actions, which may (or may not) be caused by the illness. (Sometimes people are sick. Other times they’re just acting in an inconsiderate or jerky fashion, just like neurotypical folks sometimes do.) It can be tough when dealing with some people to tell what is the illness and what is personality. I presume that the sudden change in feeling IS due to the illness and not due to any logical sequence of events, but again, I don’t think that OP’s reaction of trying to figure out what could have motivated this is uncommon. Ultimately not fruitful, but not uncommon.
Secondly — again, as someone with a bipolar family member — you can love that person so very very much and want them to get help, but unless they’re a danger to themselves or others, they have to seek treatment voluntarily. Even if OP postponed her wedding (quit her job, sold her dog, whatever) to devote herself to her FSIL’s mental health, there’s no guarantee that Future Sister-In-Law would be moved. People who deal with chronic illnesses, mental or physical, know that they and their loved ones can’t put their lives on hold. If FSIl was stable, I would imagine that she would want OP to continue with the plans for her special day. Not to mention that OP is obviously very concerned about her FSIL’s mental health. She can plan a wedding, assist her new family in dealing with the bipolar situation, AND as part of that process, try to plan out what to do with the places where those two situations intersect. None of that is selfish, disrespectful or even terribly self-centered, IMO.
Post # 11
Thank you all for the advice. Other bridesmaids are supportive and sweet ladies, as is my Maid/Matron of Honor. They would totally understand. But I wouldn’t tell them her diagnosis. That’s not for me to tell.
To answers your questions she was diagnosed with bipolar Disorder. So her “acting bipolar” I meant exhibiting signs of it. Bc just a few months ago she was fine.
And as far as the jealousy statement. I failed to mention. Prior to all this, she told me she had been jealous of the relationship I had with her mom. So that’s why we thought that was the issue that now may have escalated to these feelings. I know she doesn’t hate me. It just can be difficult to cope with.. As I’m sure she feels awful.
And to clear this up we have not called her crazy. She herself had said “I’m not crazy! You guys are!” when it was suggested she see her psychiatrist.
I apologize if I offended anyone. That was not my intention. I hope this post helped clarify some questions/responses.
Post # 12
@village_skeptic: I never said they should put their lives on hold. i was just commenting that a decision over whether to keep her as Maid/Matron of Honor should be low on the list of priorities at the moment.
I didn’t have a problem with anything you wrote. Infact it was full of good advice. I think I was reacting to @Jessy727: and the OP’s posts. Their severe lack of empathy and understanding of mental illness just got me riled up. Especially lines like this
“If she continues to act bipolar then she’s out of the bridal party as she wished or comes to her senses and wants to take part as she was SO enthusiastic to be the maid of honor..”
I work closely with people with mental illness and it is so frustrating how people just assume that sufferers can control things or get a bit of medication and everything will be peachy. If only it was that simple.
It would so refreshing to actually open up a post like this and have a poster asking My Bridesmaid or Best Man is bi-polar What can I do to be supportive of her because she is my friend and I love her and can’t imagine my wedding without her!
Post # 13
Also my Maid/Matron of Honor is the one who stated she no longer wants to be in the wedding. 3 weeks ago she was happy and looking forward to it. I want her in the wedding! But my fear is if I say okay that’s fine you don’t have to be in It and then she changes her mind wanting to be in it after i already have another bridesmaid be it or i can just not have a Maid/Matron of Honor. I guess I can just wait it out. I hope she does change her mind, and want to be in the wedding.
And I have been reading up on it but it’s a lot more difficult to deal with when it’s someone you love. I understand entirely she can not control how she feels and I do know she feels awful inside bc she’s very open about that right now.
Post # 14
And by open I mean through networking sites. She is not talking to any of her family nor I. I tried talking with her calmly, but she doesn’t want to talk. And reason why I’m not asking about for advice on what I should say to her is bc her parents talked with a psychiatrist already and he said to let her be til she is no longer feeling this way and is willing to talk with us or go in to see him on her own.
Post # 15
I am sorry, I know how difficult it can be to deal with a family member who has this disorder and also plan a wedding. You have to remind her, and yourself, that it is the disease, not her, that is causing the craziness (so you can agree with her when she says she is not crazy but let her know she will feel better with help). I am sure there are different medications which may be an opition if she gets sick with what she had before. I know exercise helped my family member stay healthy, so encourage healthy behaviors if you can. Otherwise, know that everyone has their limits and you should still have your special day – which is about you and your Fiance. You may just need to lower your expectations, if you think she can say least get into the dress and stand next to you you might not need to make a big deal out of it to her, and find someone to cover her responsibilities.
Post # 16
I’m not bipolar, but I have super severe Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression. If I’m not medicated- I’m not functioning. Meds are IMPORTANT.
Neuochemically, she needs medicated to function, or she won’t improve.
I think that you should wait it out for a little longer, but also have a “back up plan” ready. If it gets too close to the wedding, and she’s still acting like this- consider getting a new Maid/Matron of Honor. Also remember that bipolar individuals DO cycle between manic and depressive. Don’t tell yourself that if she’s being rational the month before the wedding, that ON the wedding she’ll be perfectly fine.
I’m not posting this to discriminate against anyone with a mental illness. It’s just really important to account for all possibilities.