Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue


Loving a Bipolar Person

posted by Beyond Blue

I joked about the woman in the gospel being bipolar only because I can’t imagine the patience it takes to live with a manic-depression. Anna Bishop, James’s wife (from “Finding Optimism“) has written five outstanding posts on what it’s like to be a passenger on the roller coaster ride of a marriage in which one or both persons are diagnosed as bipolar.
The following post is her fifth and final, called “Loving the Person You Care For.”
The previous four are: “The Depression Dialog,” “Know the Enemy,” “Trigger Unhappy,” and “Keeping Your Mind Together.”

I’ve written a lot about being a carer in my last 4 posts, but in this one I’d like to share with you the book that really saved my own sanity. It is “Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder” by Julie A. Fast and John D. Preston.
In the first few months after James’ diagnosis I read a lot of material to educate myself. The problem was that most of it was factual information on depression and bipolar, but it didn’t tell me how to manage practical things like James’ irritability. The info simply described the symptom without ideas for its management.


From pages 1 to 2: “This book can provide you with the tools you need to be a resource and support for your partner instead of a crisis manager and constant caretaker.” This is exactly what I needed!
The book was written specifically for carers. Julie Fast has bipolar disorder, as does her partner of 10 years, and the result is a book with real insight.
At its heart is the idea of creating a holistic treatment plan.
The first aim is to develop a symptom list that you can use to identify when your partner’s behavior starts to change. Once that has been worked out the second aim is to create a “what works list” to treat those symptoms before they progress to a full blown episode. The third step is to work out what triggers the symptoms in the first place. These are often outside events, situations or behaviors that once modified or eliminated really make your partner far more stable. Once you understand the triggers well, then the goal is to stop the mood swing from starting in the first place. If it does start then the “what works list” comes into play.
Of course this strategy requires recording your partner’s behavior over time e.g. by keeping a journal.
The rest of the book focuses on the needs of the carer. (Obviously your partner achieving greater stability is already a significant help).
The chapter on “Your Emotional Response” starts you on the road of looking after your own needs. It discusses issues like anger, grief, guilt and feeling trapped. For me, it was almost a springboard for seeing a counselor.
The chapters on work, money and sex cover practical issues that cause distress. They were all helpful chapters, but for me the chapter “The Hard Truths” had more impact. This chapter really lays it on the line and forces you to face the reality of your relationship. Are you prepared to stay with your partner if things don’t change? Tough reading.
My favorite chapter is “The Bipolar Conversation”, which teaches you how to avoid pointless fights when you partner is baiting you. The book ends with “Laughter and Joy”, an inspiration to leading a normal life again. From this I learned to structure in happy times in our lives.
A brilliant book. It may be about bipolar, but the application is much wider and relevant to all mood disorders. It would greatly help any carer living with a depressed partner.
Here is the link to the book on Amazon (not an affiliate link).



  • Larry Parker

    The only thing I don’t like about this is that, even if the ways involved are meant to be highly supportive and productive, it still involves treating a spouse with depression somewhat like a child — which, IMHO, is highly destructive to their mental health (and to a marriage in general).
    And let’s not even get into when a well spouse treats their ill spouse like a child in destructive ways (punishments, et al.) …

  • Margaret Balyeat

    AMEN, LARR! since suffering my stroke and being diagnosed as having bipolar II disorder, i’ve been forced to surrender my “adulthood in a myriad of ways. (Living arrangements, finances, etc.) It’s INCREDIBLY difficult to live life as a twelve year old when you’ve spent the last thirty years as a fully-grown (if occasionally irresponsible) grownup. Even knowing that my family is only concerned with my well-being doesn’t take the sting out!

  • Larry Parker

    Interesting you posted that, Margaret.
    Because now that I’ve actually gotten into all five posts in “Finding Optimism” (the site was down most of the day), I progressively liked what Anna had to say less and less.
    I know Anna and James are lovely people, and they mean well and genuinely want to help the online depression community by relating their experiences. But James’ blog is one of the rare depression-oriented blogs I get absolutely nothing out of. (And he and I have scuffled a couple of times online, oh, yes.)
    In particular, the more I read Anna’s message, the more it seemed to be … the way to love someone with bipolar disorder is to **feel sorry for them.**
    Yecch.

  • Mimi

    Reading this post, I can relate. My husband is bi-polar. He was diagnosed as a child according to his mother. We had him re diagnosed about three years ago. He was a drug addict for almost 19 years because of this illness. He still has periods of mania, but is slowly learning how to control them. It is not easy being married to a person with bi-polar because you feel like your constantly walking on egg-shells wondering what is going to trigger them. I do get very frustrated because I feel like I have three children instead of just two, my 11 year old and my 8 year old. I do have concern though that this illness will be passed to my children. I see a lot of the irratic patterns that my husband has in my daughter. The highs and lows which he exhibits, my daughter as well exhibits. Its not easy, but giving up and walking away is not an option either, the best thing I can do is educate and prepare myself to help them. How can I do this without giving my husband that motherly treatment? He’s 36, he’s not a child, but often shows that attitude. Am stressed to the max, I need some advice. Can anyone help?

  • debra brylla

    I am bipolar, I want to be treated the way you’d treat anyone else Yes sometimes i fall into a rut an cry for no reason.Now during the holidays it’s hard. I love christmas an all it stands for >I miss my chrildren so much this time of year.’they both live in different state ,I miss my grand kids Icanot travel well for i am ill,but what i’d like people too know when a bipolar person crys it’s ok our thoughts are runninh about 10 min. ahead of you i know it drives a normal person crazy but somethings you just can’t fix,leave us alone an we will work it out i usulay do .merry christmas too all an happy new year!god bless you an yours

  • Anonymous

    my wife is bipolar takes medication,gets down in the dumps every so. often. you just have to love them thru it.we joke and kidd around all the time whitch helps her.and laugh a lot.ralph

  • Denise

    Hi everyone -HAPPY hOLIDAYS!!
    I was diagonosed w/ bi-polar several years ago. My husband of 24 years was also bi-polar. He did crazy things which I struggled with during our marriage. I finally seperated 2 yrs ago because he refused to continue his medication.It is really sad that alot of people do not take this illness seriously.I do cry more than others and I am depresssed.I miss my husband and my children who live w/ him because they are afraid he will hurt himself.
    Smile everyone!!!Be positive life could be worse.
    Denise

  • Caressia Combs

    I have struggled with being bipolar for more than 23 years. My opinion is that whatever you may think you know, unless, you are bipolar yourself, you cannot truly understand. It’s hard for others to grasp the reality of not being able to control your mood, and especially being unable to work, because of this condition. This disorder is so misunderstood. I always try to explain that the phrases, “What you see is not always what you get and you can’t judge a book by it’s cover,” fits perfectly with bipolar. Basically all we want is love, understanding, not to be judged, someone we can depend on to be there, and to not be treated like we’re crazy people. The one thing I really despise is when someone gives me advice on what will help me; from someone who is not bipolar, and has no clue. Here’s an interesting fact; bipolar sufferers have been found to have creative genius, to have higher than above average I.Q.’s, and to have photographic memories. Many of the most famous poets, writers, painters, etc. were bipolar.

  • PAM BUGGER

    I LIVE BIPOLAR EVERYDAY.I’M STILL ALIVE BECOUSE OF A WONDERFUL MAN WHO I CALL DR.

  • Vicki

    My Brother is Bipolor. His episodes consist of dillusions, panic, fear, hearing voices from satan, depression which he says causes him to cry out to God but he feels the closer he gets to God the more satan will attack him, fatigue and a constant concern about his appearance. His symptoms have progressed. He used to trust me, now he doesn’t. He fears I am his enemy now and I am the last person he has. he won’t confide his episodes to his phyciatrist for fear of being put away. He is a gentle man but I fear that could change and maybe that is my own fear. He is also legally blind so he thinks he see’s things that are not really going on. As an example: If I look behind me he thinks I am having him set up so he withdraws inside himself and doesn’t want to talk about it. I try to go along with him but the less he hears of the situation the better so I keep quiet. I don’t know what to do? Thank God we don’t live together. He lives alone. I fear he may need to be hospitalized. Vicki

  • Robert

    I was diagnosed as a extreme bypolar about 7 years ago at the age of 50. Until that time I had tried many things to overcome some disorder I didn’t understand. First I tried to quit drinking and drugs at 33 but that didn’t seem to help. I also went through two marriages during this time. I decided to become a drug and alcohol counselor but that didn’t help either. At the age of 40 I married again and it has been a difficult time for my wife and three children. That was until I was finally diagnosed. We bought a farm and ranch and along with that we bought two houses. For some reason being around animals has help. I can relate to them better than I can people. When things get bad with me, my wife and kids sent me to the farm! Being an artist I seem to have developed by own “Ghost Ranch”. It seems to give me a very secure place to be and I believe that bipolar need this security. Hope this has helped. Hang in there.

  • Laura

    I have lived with Bi-Polar Disorder most of my life.I am 43 years old now and have a wonderful husband who is ADD and 5 children who are either Bi-Polar, ADD, or both.Can you imagine that!We try very hard to love each other but it is a challenge.I am not severe and do not take medication.Sometimes, it feels as though I am in a whole different realm than most people around me.The wheels in my head are always turning, and I must direct my energy toward creative vices, such as reading, writing, travelling, and sports.At one time, I tried to commit suicide but thank God, I didn’t “succeed”. There is a much greater purpose for my life and I want to help others with the same disorder to realize that we must use our penchant for speed, creativity, energy, and incredible tenacity to our advantage.I would encourage anyone out there who feels like they are hopeless, to live life with the understanding that we are wonderfully different and unique.We have a tough road to travel, but we are overcomers! We were not born “defective,” we were born to lead. Laura

  • PAM BUGGER

    i try ,try and than try.i hate this part of nyself.i do it for attention.no family and very few friends.but,i don’t quit as much as it hurts.god gave me a wonderful docter.he has stood by my side for 10 years now.i know what he dose is to help me.i have a therapist,i can’t stand but the law is if i dont see paul no doctor…as much as i hate him,i respect him so much.i see the change of power in myself.when i don’t see him i’m weak,mean,confused and my worst nightmare.the meds can only do one thing but,finding u is a must .

  • joseph ray

    to robert, laura, pam,(esp pam)
    you have encouraged me to write this comment to thank you 3 in my first steps to admitting this to myself…and god whos stuck by me as i’ve had hard times “by myself” trying to explain the behavior patterns we go thru and the insecurities we have daily…
    god does pair people like the animals on noah ark.. even the behavior abnormalities of humans… so we KNOW what each other is about..(or going thru) the compassion, like jesus, is in all man, no mistake.. but society makes us double-take our own GOOD truths..
    my kids also, adhd and bi-polar, myself,sociopathic and personality disorder from a misunderstood divorce…my folks still together, not yet 50 years, but they will no doubt…(i’m 46)
    this web-site is “A GOOD THING” and i thank God for the encouragement to hang in there and try to help when i can, church they’ve always said is a start… god wisdom, who better?? animals, pets are good responsibilities, they don’t talk back..and love you no matter what..balance(like walking) IS LIFE, I LOVE YOU,and thanks

  • brenda

    We have heard stories of people who are bi-polar and their families but what the bi-polar doesn’t realize is the damage they do to their children. My mother is bi-polar and has been incredibly defensive, abusive, paranoid, angry, suicidal, and many other personalities. Growing up with a bi-polar you cannot ever do anything right, correct or come close to their demands. My older sister left home after school at the age of seventeen and never returned and my younger brother joined the military. My sister and I don’t have bi-polar but very much victims with our own issues. My brother portraits systems (perhaps it’s military I don’t know). My father passed away eighteen years ago and my mother has been dependent on me to be her partner, counselor, and parent through good and bad times more of course bad. My father’s death (prostrate cancer) caused her to spiral into suicidal bouts. She is now handicap (From several strokes) and is totally dependent on me it is very hard to care and love someone who chose not to love or show any indications of loving back. My siblings choose not to partake in her care but I hang in there knowing it is not something my mother chose to become but rather the disease. It is a disease that is only band aided no real cure.

  • Cynderella Greenwell

    I was very suprised when I saw your site, thankful for the stories too. I am diagnosed as “Mood Disorder” , non specific. I guess that means anything goes. What is difficult for me is that I am doing this solo as my husband sits in prison. This is not about him but how the loss of him does not allow me to focus, or get clear, or get well. I am doing TIME also. Hard Time in the free world. Suicide crosses my mind often. To often. I have not seen my cure, my husband for two years and I wonder if he is real anymore. Like my thoughts.
    This void in my life comes with great uncertainties as to my day to day life. How do you, or what do you do when the illness you have is as uncertain as a prison sentence. Parole maybe, is that a good day, It is a life sentence with no repreive, so how do you keep sane when everything else around you is “non specific”.? Life wasn’t meant to be lived alone, dying is all you can do alone.

  • Diana

    I found these comments helpful, my problem is my husband shuts me out it;s only the two of us and I feel all alone, he won’t speak much at all except when absolutelt necesssary and eats a bit, I don’t baby him cause I want him to get out of that bed and do for himself it;s been a week now that he is this way and I just leave him be, I have tried to make conversation and ask him whats wrong and why he is depressed, all i get is “I don’t know” but he does this is not the first time, he never has and won;t seek medical attention for this no counseling either so what am I supposed to do just wait it out? Please help. D

  • susan

    Dear Diana,
    I can totally relate to what you are saying about your husband but mine is in a totally different way. Even though i dont have many answers for you i can tell how my husband treats me in the similar way.
    About 2 months ago i went into a mood of self destruction against myself and i got so far down and would not listen to anyone even him, i began taking control of what i thought was out of control and i controlled the only thing i knew how to do and that was what i ate until it almost costed me my life this past Dec 13th 2007. Now i am seeking help through a phyc. doctor and my consular and they have helped some but not with the problem i feel me and my husband are having and that is no contact of affection what so ever. It is like we are married in name only, and i have made that statement to him several times but he does not believe me when i tell him i want out of this marriage because i have a 6 year old little boy whom he adores and he knows i would rather take my own life than leave my son and that is something that he has always said that if i should choose to leave that he would not let me take my son with him that it would be over my dead body if i took him and also i would never take my son from his daddy which he adores and my husband adores him equally. Both my son and husband play all day while i am left to do the cooking, cleaning etc. whatever needs to be done until i feel like a slave in the marriage. And my doctors have told me to lay around and do nothing because they are all so focused on me gaining weight that they do not want me to do nothing but get fat and lazy and that depresses me even more. So it just seems as if i am on a merry go round full of emotions and most of thoses emotions are not good they just leave me drain, depressed and lonely. So though our situations are different i can understand and i dont have the answers only that i am here and i will listen with an open heart and mind. Rememer you have a friend not only in me but i am sure alot of others in this site as well as the lady whom designed it.
    much love
    susan

  • susan

    LARRY,
    I HAVE BEEN ON THIS SITE FOR APPROXIMATLY 5 DAYS AND ALL I HAVE HEARD YOU SAY ABOUT ANYONE AND ANYTHING IS TOTALLY NEGATIVE. DO YOU NOT HAVE ANYTHING BETTER TO DO THAN BASH PEOPLE AND LIFE AND THEIR ILLNESS? TO UNDERSTAND LOVE AND TRUE EMOTIONS YOU MUST FIRST BE ABLE TO GIVE AND TO RECEIVE LOVE BUT OBVISOULY YOU HAVE NOT GOT A CLUE ABOUT EITHER. BUT IT WOULD MUCH BE APPRECIATED IF YOU WOULD NOT USE THIS SITE FOR THE PURPOSE OF PUTTING PEOPLE DOWN FOR SOME OF US ARE TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THIS ILLNESS AND SEEK HEAP FROM REAL LIFE SITUATIONS AND ARE ON HERE TO HELP OTHERS NOT PUT THEM DOWN AND I FEEL YOU ARE ON HERE TO ATTACK WHOMEVER YOU FEEL THE URGE TO DO SO TODAY. SO PLEASE GIVE IT A REST FOR A DAY OR SO AND GO OUT AND BEAT UP SOMEONE ELSE WHO PROBABLY CAN TAKE IT NOT THESES INNOCENT PEOPLE WHO ARE SEEKING HELP AND THAT BELIEVE IN A HIGHER POWER BECAUSE AS GOD SAYS “HE WANTS US TO REMEMBER THAT THEIR IS NOTHING THAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN TODAY THAT HE AND OTHERS CAN NOT HANDLE AS LONG AS WE HANDLE IT WITH HIM” AND NOT PEOPLE WHO WANT TO STEAL, KILL AND DESTROY THEIR FAITH AND JOY LIKE YOURSELF!!!!!!!!!!
    SUSAN

  • Becca

    I am a firm beliver in God and Jesus , I hold true to ask and you shall receive, Knock and the door shall be open, beleive in God and he will work in you, there are so many more I’ve heard and know this is all true. I have had many mircles in my life to know this , but I have been told I am suffering depression. no lable on me yet only as depressed. I have been for many years now on one trype od med or another for this didorder. I thank God I have very good days sometimes.I don’t have any answers for anyone, don’t seem to be able to help my self. but I can relate to Susan in many ways . However the Phyc Dr. didn’t help me at all, conceller a little, as far as self asteem, but still I wound up in a treatment center two times in 2007. changed my med’s and it helped only a short while. I don’t know if the Dr’s don’t know if it is just depression or bipolor or just what, But I keep praying that God will take care of this problem i have. It is a very sad,very low emotions, don’t have friends , I run them all away from me, my husband doesn’t understand me anymore, and it is a very lonely down life, no oom for happiness. I know how it feels . I want out. I want to laugh again to have my husband back to the way we were,to feel good about myself. to just have a drive to want to do something would be good too. keep me in all your prayers I don’t know where I am headed, I’ve lost my last two jobs because of all this, not much money to go to Dr’s or for med’s now getting harder to cope with it all.
    thanks
    Becca

  • susan

    BECCA
    YOU SOUND LIKE A VERY STRONG BUT YET CONFUSED PERSON AND I DO UNDERSTAND 100% WHAT YOU ARE GOING THROUGH AND I PROBABLY DO NOT HAVE ALL THE ANSWER’S EITHER BUT I DO PRAY ALOT AND I STAY IN MY OWN LITTLE WORLD INSIDE MY MIND ALOT AND I WONDER IF ANYTHING CAN HELP ME OUT OF THIS STATE OF MIND, HOWEVER, I DO BELIEVE THAT FINDING THIS SITE AND BEING ABLE TO TALK TO PEOPLE WHOM I BELIEVE CAN FINALLY RELATE TO HOW I FEEL AND FEEL ALOT LIKE I DO HELPS A WHOLE LOT. THINGS HAVE NOT CHANGED AROUND HERE MY HUSBAND IS STILL STAND OFFISH TOWARDS ME AND MY SON STILL YELL’S AND BACK TALK’S ME EVERY CHANCE HE GETS (HE IS 6 YEARS OLD) AND I FEEL SO ALONE SO MUCH OF THE DAY AND I AM JUST ABOUT TO GET READY AND PACK MY BAGS AND LEAVE AND I DONT KNOW WHERE I WILL GO NOR DO I KNOW WHERE I WILL END UP BUT I DO KNOW I AM NOT MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY ABLE TO DEAL WITH THIS SITUATION MUCH LONGER. YOU SEE I AM NOT ONLY BEEN DIGNOISED WITH BYPOLAR BUT ALSO WITH A COMPULSIVE BEHAVIOR DISORDER AND THEY HAVE TRIED TO MAKE ME START TAKING THE DRUG SEQILL WHICH I BELIEVE MAKES ME CRAZY AND BECOME SOME SORTA ZOBIE AND I DONT LIKE THAT BECAUSE THAT IS NOT MY PERSONALITY AT ALL I ONLY LIKE THAT DRUG WHEN I WANT TO GET SOME SLEEP BECAUSE THE MINUTE YOU TAKE IT YOU WILL BE FAST ASLEEP WITHIN 10 MIN. AND THEY GAVE ME THAT DRUG BECAUSE I HAVE HAD A PROBLEM WITH PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION I ABUSED IT SOMETHING HORRIBLE, I WAS ADDICTED TO XANAX. ADAPECKS AND HYDROCODINE UNTIL AS YOU PROBABLY HAVE ALREADY READ, IT ALMOST KILLED ME WHEN I GOT DOWN TO 98 LBS AND I USE TO WEIGH 187 LBS BUT NOW I AM DOING BETTER I HAVE LEARNED HOW TO EAT AGAIN AND I HAVE GAIN WHAT I THOUGHT WAS 20 POUNDS OR SO BUT ONLY TO BE TOLD BY MY HUSBAND I HAD NOT GAINED THAT MUCH WEIGHT THAT I STILL NEEDED TO GAIN 20 OR 30 POUNDS AND I DONT WANT TO DO THAT BECAUSE I HAVE ISSUE’S WITH BEING FAT BECAUSE WHEN I WAS A SMALL CHILD UP UNTIL MY AGE NOW I HAD BEEN CALLED FAT AND UGLY BY MY DAD AND I HAVE BEEN THROUGH SO MANY DIETS AND SELF HARM TO MY BODY WITH DIET PILLS UNTIL I LET IT GET OUT OF CONTROL THIS PAST OCTOBER AND I BECAME A SURE ENOUGH ANEREXIC OR HOWEVER YOU SPELL IT? BUT I LET MY MIND TAKE OVER MY BODY AND TELL MY MIND THAT I WAS FAT AT EVEN 98 LBS AND I STAND 5 FT 3 IN SO YOU CAN IMAGINE WHAT I LOOKED LIKE AND I STILL CAN NOT CONTROL MY MIND ALL THE WAY IN THAT AREA AND NOW I AM HAVING TROUBLES CONTROLING MY MIND ABOUT THIS LONELINESS BUT I AM SEARCHING EVERY DAY FOR READING MATERIALS AND OTHER THINGS TO SEE IF I AM REALLY THE ONE WHO IS NORMAL AND THEY ARE ALL CRAZY HA/HA/. BUT IN THE MEANTIME I HAVE ENJOYED THIS SITE AND I BELIEVE GOD HAS SENT IT TO ME TO COMMUNICATE WITH OTHERS ABOUT THIS DIRORDER AND ALSO TO HELP ANYONE WHO IS GOING THROUGH IT AS A FRIEND WITH AN OPEN MIND AND WILLING EAR AND THAT IS WHAT I AM DOING. SO IF YOU NEED TO JUST VENT AND TALK YOU CAN RESPOND BECAUSE I CHECK THIS SITE ALL DAY LONG EVERY DAY AND I WANT YOU TO KNOW YOU ARE NOT ALONE AND I UNDERSTAND YOUR WANTING TO JUST GIVE UP BUT DONT!!!! WE ARE ALL HERE FOR YOU AND WE ALL UNDERSTAND YOUR EMOTIONAL ROLLAR COATER YOU ARE RIDING WE ARE ON THE SAME ROLLAR COASTER… SO DONT HESITATE TO TALK WE ARE HERE!!!
    SUSAN

  • Terri

    Sadly — or perhpas appropriately — my job is to help folks like us. Surprise! I can spot the phonies a mile away, especially by phone! It is truly amazing what this insight brings to me… and to my job. Yet few, if any, know.
    No, I’m not a counseller nor anything of the sort. I simply work for a non-profit agency that provides transportation for medical appointments. Yet, I get to hear all the stories. Many go by the wayside as I can spot them (so to speak) a mile away, but we still provide the service if and when we can do so.
    To the guy who started out with “I have cancer and I’m dying” — you’re a liar. No one begins a conversation in such a way. (Hint — don’t call me again; we have folks with real problems.) To the woman who began with “my son cannot receive services from anyone else” — you (and your son) are on notice; we will attempt to provide service until and unless problems arise. You must first attempt to help yourself, and neither of you have done so.
    All cynicysm aside, ask and you shall receive. Deceive and you will not.
    Look within yourself to find the hope and the will to go on. If God means for it to be, you will find it.
    T

  • JudyM

    I can only share from my experience with being Bi-polar myself. I am so grateful to know that I have a decease that can be treated with the proper medication. I suffered years, with alcohol and drugs, in and out of relationships, marriage and a path of destruction. I was depending on people to love me, because I knew nothing about loving me. My bottom with this was my bottom. Today, I have been married for 20 years. I am on meds for my Bi-Polar.When I don’t take them or they get out of balance, people know (husband and others in my life. I have had to learn to be responsible for my decease. I must eat right, take care of myself emotionally, mentally and Spritually. I still get depressed and I still have bad days even with meds. The only difference is today, I have people who love me and by the way, I love me today. Not only my husband. I had to let others into my life. I have to go to support groups and in the beginning to a counselor. My support family loves me inspite of me.( A few family members). This is what I have searched for my entire life. I needed to learn to love me, inspite of my disabilities. Self-pity, for me is a destruction tool for me. I can not afford to allow myself to wallow in it for too long. I know where this force of negative thinking will lead me. I leave myself notes in my house, for encouragement, daily meditation, prayer, smudging and communication with others. It is hard, but I am doing it. God didn’t make no junk, so I refuse to let anyone say that to me or to treat me in disrepect. I am a person with a mental disorder. I am just grateful today, to know that I can get help for it. This disorder is another process on life’s journey. I have a choice, always a choice, to let this disease get me or I will take control of it. I want to live, and to enjoy my life, I am enjoying my life with the help of God and others.

  • Cheryl

    Hello,
    This is my first time on this site. I have been diagnosed as “possible bipolar,” but I believe that I am. I experienced a head injury some years back that attributed to it. Now, as I am going through menopause, the symptoms of the disease are at their max.
    I have gone through the gamet of coping mechanisms. My depression seems to be related to the cyclic change of the menstrual/hormonal cycle. One moment I can be fine, the next…quite irritable and then sinking into depression. Once the full force of the depression hits, it is very difficult to come out of it. It feels like walking off a cliff into an abyss. The depression is a dark, scary and very lonely place. Often, I resort to medicating and staying in the bed until it wears off and I get the strength to “return” to some sort of normal living.
    I have supportive friends, doctor, church, but my immediate family, my husband and son are much less supportive, if any. My son has a diagnosed mental illness, which requires all of his strength and ours too to help him cope. That wears me out. My husband, a person who is less emotionally supportive on a good day, is reclusive. He loves me, I know, but he has no idea how to help me to calm down and relax even though we have been married 30+ years. His hiding out in his world of t.v. and computer alienates me even further. It is then that I feel most unloved, rejected and hopeless.
    I am slowly getting better as now I want to socialize more and try to be healthy by watching what I eat and trying to resume my weekly aerobics class, going to church more and seeing friends. That is very hard to do when I am depressed though. I too have alienated friends and family, and it is such a miserable and desperate feeling when that happens because of all people, we need our friends and family so much.
    Church is a life-saver. Staying connected to God and asking for His help in prayer and bible reading helps me so much. I have to stick with it though, or the depression can steal this away as well.
    Medication for this disease is very hard to pinpoint. I am on an SSRI, which I have been on for years, and it does seem to help, but is not the answer in full. I also take a benzodiazapene for emergency anxiety and sleep. I have tried conventional bipolar medications, but have been so deluged by the side-effects that my health began to sink like a big ship. I had to go off of the last one because the side effects were so bad. I resist starting new treatment now.
    I feel like counseling will help me, and I am considering re-initiating that soon while I am still able to make the decision to do it. I really feel better when someone talks to me and “is on my side” as I have heard others say here.
    A recommendation to those who need pointers: Don’t seclude yourself if at all possible. Try to get out several days a week. Keep in touch with friends. Keep your doctor’s appointments. Fill your mind with positive thoughts. Avoid exposure to violent, depressive, or sad t.v or movies. Try to keep yourself on a schedule of wakng and sleeping, and try to keep that schedule with eating as well. Be good to yourself if possible by treating yourself to an ocassional massage or pedicure, or night out. If you find your mind running in a rut of depressive thinking, try to switch gears and change your thoughts purposefully. Seek out friends who are supportive. Take your medicines, but if they don’t work, talk to your doctor and keeping going back until you find something that does work for you.
    To the person who had the audactiy to judge the “fakes” on this site: I would not wish this mental illness or any other disease on you, but you should be careful how you talk to people, especially the ill, frail, small, old or helpless. You may find yourself in the same shoes someday. Also, I fail to see how “driving” a bus that provides transportation to handicapped people can give you the credentials to speak as one with authority to judge. Save your judgements for your fellow bus drivers.
    To everyone else, thank you for sharing, listening, and have a good day.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment BlkTone

    I have read a lot of posts and decided to share. I am not bipolar however I believe my wife of 12yrs may be. We have 2 kids -17yr old son living at home and a grown daughter out on her own. Everyday is a new day for my wife with no adherence to any conversations or guidance from the day before – this has gone on for about 12yrs and getting worse every month. She is very argumentative and combative if you do not go along with what she says which can also turn violent. She is most comfortable operating without boundaries, being unable to follow others directions. She has been fired from two jobs in the past two years and is currently unemployed. In 4yrs she has accumulated 120K in cc debt. We have lived a comfortable lower middle class lifestyle, no emergency robbing Peter to pay Paul activity. So I can’t imagine what she spent 120K on and she will not tell me. The cc are in her name only so I have no control over her spending. She is willing to fight, argue, break things to get her way – out of safety concerns I usually give in. When creditors began calling the house was a dead give away something was wrong. She has since had to file for bankruptcy which has also put our only joint account (the mortgage) in bankruptcy – although I have never missed a payment. Dayum CHASE!! She has gone to several doctors in past yrs by herself; they prescribe medicine, i.e cymbalta etc. She takes it for a while (turns her into a zombie) then she eventually gets off of them and returns to her old self. This has happened 3 or 4 times in the past 7 yrs. I cannot encourage her to go to continuing seeing the doctor or tell me the diagnosis. I have not been the best hubby, as I sometimes get frustrated with her unwillingness to listen to my suggestions. My job can be stressful and I can be short with her. I try to find the right words to get her to understand but I have been mostly unsuccessful. I have tried it her way doing what she asks and dealing with her how she wants me to, but she moves the target and adds others items to the list everyday. Currently I am numb, I sit and wait for the other shoe to drop – whatever that may be. The call sobbing telling me she lost another job or that she is just not having a very good day – for no reason. I wish I could help her through those but it seems like I never can. She arbitrarily worries herself sick about our 2 children – to the point of being in the bed for two or three days. I tell her, the kids are fine. The son is upstairs playing video games and the daughter is out with her friends enjoying themselves – BUT it does not help. Some days are better than others, while othere days are worse than others.
    Anybody Please Help!!!!!

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