2. Learn How--and When--to Talk
Eric doesn't say much when I'm clutching tissues, crying my eyes out.
And he's hesitant to speak when I'm manic (not that I would let him get
a word in). But when I don't want to get out of bed in the morning, he
reminds me why I need to. And when I'm revved up, he's the voice of
reason telling me why, for example, a spontaneous trip to New York
Anna Bishop, wife of fellow blogger James Bishop (findingoptimism.com) has some wonderful advice for the loved one of a manic depressive on what to say and when:
"When James becomes ill he turns into a different person. I say goodbye to my husband, so to speak, and hello to bipolar James. In a depressive episode he becomes highly irritable and usually itches for a fight. He will often make comments to bait me.
At this point I have two options:
1. Take the bait, have a messy fight, and accelerate his downswing, or
2. Grit my teeth and say, "it's the illness speaking." If I can do that, then I have a much better chance of diffusing the situation. A comment like, "You sound stressed about work - let's talk" has better results and sometimes can even stop the mood swing.