Posted by: Anthony | 2009/07/21


Hey there,

I have recently engaged in a loving relationship with someone with the Bipolar condition. It has been six months now. 95% of the time everything is absolutely fantastic. Then that 5% is like nothing else - and is very destructive and I don' t know how to best tackle the problem.

Every time one assumes they have conquered the challenge and severity of the situation - basically how to handle the situation and the veritable " Fall Out"  - it changes and the ' episode'  has allowed my partner to adapt their response and seemingly attack more vehemently.

I take high-road, it sometimes works. I push and corner them and they attack or close them self off, " shutting down." 

Then it is all over. Until they unfreeze. Even though I am in it for the long-haul, the reason why they are having more frequent episodes is their fear that I will leave them. But they are pushing so hard, it will be as I will have no choice.

So what I am asking is which is the best way to navigate this? Am I to be submissive to avoid the backlash, or tell them that they are hurting me and then leave them? Nothing seems to work.

And how do I remove their paralysis: where they literally physically shut down and yet their mind spins out of control? The paralysis being that they cannot believe we will be together. Quote: I just know I will crush you and destroy ' us'  and you WILL leave me...

He and most of my friends say: RUN FOR THE HILLS. But I am more inclined to think that people can manage this condition if only they tried. Should I seek counseling with him?


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Our expert says:
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Lets see what other readers have to say here. I don't know that there's much broad advice one can give about living with someone with bipolar disorder, as the way the problem affects them and the relationship is generally more individual and specific. Maybe the most productive approach would be, as with any problem that affects both of you, relationship counselling. And ask to see his psychiatrist for advicer based again specifically on how the illness affects him, and how to help him work with his shrink and his medications, to keep it controlled as well as is practical

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: mother | 2009/07/24

I can just add to this. I have a daughter that has bipolar and it is not easy to live with that. The more you try to understand the situation the more they tell you that you don' t understand and are not there when they need you. Yes, not easy, but with the correct medication it' s not so bad. Love and total understanding is what is needed and yes a lot of patience......good luck.

Reply to mother
Posted by: Kay in Gtown | 2009/07/21

I can highly recommend two books that are very helpful for both the bipolar person and their families/partners. They both describe concrete strategies to cope with the disorder and are very positive about the goals and outcomes for the bipolar person, with regard to stability.

I bought both of these from You don' t need them both I don' t think, although that' s up to you, of course. Bipolar disorder definitely requires a manual so that both of you can learn how to catch episodes before they become out of control.
It CAN be done.

" The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide" , What you and your family need to know - by David J Miklowitz, PhD (He' s a psychologist, specialising in bipolar disorder)

" Take charge of Bipolar Disorder" , a four-step plan for you and your loved ones to manage the illness and create lasting stability - by Julie A Fast and John Preston, PsyD
(Both Julie and her partner of 10 years have BP, John is a bipolar disorder specialist)

Hope this helps -

(Ja, I guess I' m not that easy to live with either... )

Reply to Kay in Gtown
Posted by: Geronimo - the last Indian Brave | 2009/07/21

I can empathise with what you are going through - I went through it for 3 and a half years
I thought that I could do it too against all odds but burnt myself out in the process.
every episode had me feeling that I was the one who was doing wrong and hurtful things, jeopardising the relationship
it was like a perpetual game of chess - constantly wlaking on eggs and as you so aptly put it - playing te submissive role at all times to keep the next episode at bay but doing that just adds fuel to the fire and empowers the other person into becoming capable of more lies, manipulation, projection of guilt anger and bitterness.
it is heartbreaking and at the end of the day you would have to decide whether you can go the full hog.. I couldnt - I ran for the hills as fast as I could
al the best to you..

Reply to Geronimo - the last Indian Brave

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