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?


thanks,
CJ

Ben's Answer:

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

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Mar 24, 2010
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troubled
by: Connie Williams

Ben,
thank you for your help.......i do have a question though.......is it normal (if i can put it that way) for someone with the issues my bf has to go to porn sites and be assumed by beautiful women......its not like he can't be with me intimately whenever he needs to.....i have been told this could be one of bipolar affects also......this really bothers me.......

thanks again ,
CJ

Ben's Answer:

Could be - but hard to say for sure. It is common for people in the manic (elevated mood) state of bipolar disorder to have intensified sex drive, attraction to sex, impulsive sexual encounters, and for some, porn. This would be much less likely during the depressive episodes of bipolar disorder. If he's low energy, depressed, and using porn, it's more likely that this is just a separate issue from his bipolar disorder. Another way to know is to see if he's only attracted to porn during certain mood states, but not during others - so it's not a constant obsession. If it's more of a consistent habit, it may be an addiction.

Mar 23, 2010
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Don't take it personally
by: Ben

I think it is best to not take his behavior, or his unhappiness personally. It has nothing to do with you. And if you take it as a personal rejection, you're likely to just make him feel more guilty and ashamed and depressed. Of course you have to have your limits for how much you're willing to take. You could try telling him that you can only stay with him if he gets some professional help.


Mar 23, 2010
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boyfriend with bipolar depression
by: Connie Williams

its me again......haven't had much luck with this issue thus far.....over the weekend he seemed ok gradually coming out of it only to go right back in it Sunday night...here it is Tuesday and still no talking or anything......i was so frusterated yesterday i told him if he was that unhappuy with me that he had to stay mad all the time for him to just go....he didn't have to stay with me....we just got an appartment together and i told him to take what he paid for and go......but he didn't(yet), part of me wants to think he didn't go because he does love me and wants to be with me another part thinks he just likes tormenting me.....maybe i am wrong for thnking that because he may be in torment himself i just don't know...............what is your opinion on this one?

thanks,
CJ

Mar 18, 2010
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boyfriend with bipolar depression
by: Anonymous

Thank you so much for your advise.....i will try this and hopefully it will work........i will keep you posted and in the mean time pray I can convince him to get help......

forever grateful,
CJ

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