boyfriend with bipolar depression
my bf and i have been together for 4 months and i fell for him almost immediately.....he has a problem and i am not so sure he is going to be willing to get help....from all i have read he is bipolar with more downs than ups.......we are going thru the downs at this moment and it hurts me so bad.....just seeing how sad he is hurts my heart so.....i want to just hold him and make it go away but he doesn't want me touching him....i know he loves me, he just doesn't know what is going on except he gets angry and doesn't understand why and not at any one in particular he says just mad. he is a good person and has been good to me except for these moods and he doesn't abuse me during these times just my heart. i must note he is from Mexico and he comes from a strong Catholic back ground and i just don't know how to approach him with this and even if he will seek the medical help he needs. can someone please help me? i want so much to be with him and i want so much to help him and take this pain away from him.......help please! what can i do?
It's very painful to watch someone you care about going through depression when they don't understand what is going on. For Bipolar disorder, even though medications are often necessary, therapy can be equally important - and helpful. If you could find a qualified licensed therapist who is Spanish speaking, maybe you could convince him to go with you to talk to them?
Another possibility to get through to him would be to have him read a book (or website) that clearly explains the symptoms of bipolar disorder. He may recognize his own symptoms in this way, and realize that this is what's going on.
The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide, by David Miklowitz is one book that is good to have, and also good for friends and family to refer to. Another good one is "Why am I still Depressed" by James Phelps.
You can't force anyone to change or to seek help, but you can decide to set a boundary and tell him that you can't continue to stand by helplessly watching him spiral down and you need him to go with you to a therapist - for you. If he feels it's for you, it might not be as hurtful to his ego. In Mexican culture, there is much more negative stigma attached to mental illness. If you put it in terms of something being wrong medically (rather than psychologically), he may be more willing to accept help, from a doctor who has experience with mood disorders. If you go that route, do make sure the doc is qualified to treat bipolar disorder because the medication they choose can make matters worse if they don't know what they are doing.
I wish you the best,
Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist