Loving a person who is Bipolar?
Hi My name is nick. I am a 20 year old final year university student who fell in love with a person who has Bipolar disease. Ive read some articles about how to handle persons with bipolar. She was recently diagnosed with the disease and now uses medication to control her symptoms. I love this girl with my whole heart and i will support her with everything Ive got.. Are there any guidelines you can provide me with to help her on her road to recovery?? Some articles say that you should let them just be themselves and that there isn't anything you can do; some say you can use methods to build their self respect and boost their self esteem??
This is quite new to me and I want to learn what to do and what not to do?? some information about the disease will also be appreciated!!
I'll be so thankful if you can provide me with the necessary information!!
The best thing you can do for any person is to love them as they are, unconditionally. But living with a person who has Bipolar Disorder can be very intense. One of the best things you can do is to educate yourself - not just from one source or one perspective - but as many angles as possible. There are many good books available. This website has a lot of information that you should read too. One important thing you can do as her partner, if she will permit you, is to support and encourage her to do whatever self-care routines she does to keep herself healthy. It's important that you don't come across as controlling or manipulative. You can't force another person to change or to do anything they don't want to do. You can't be the one who is responsible for her well-being. She still has to do the work. You just need to respect her needs and limitations, and be gently supportive. If she does things that are harmful to herself (and the relationship), like drinking or using drugs, or staying out late, then you have a right to tell her you can't live with that behavior. If you tolerate a lot of reckless behavior, you simply enable her to abuse herself and you. It's a fine line between being too controlling, and being accepting.
Seeing a therapist together, or separately can be a very good thing. Going to a support group for families of bipolar people, can be another great resource.
Like any relationship, you need to grow together, and learn what is helpful to her, and what is not.
If she goes through a rough spell, has intense negative emotions, it may have nothing to do with you - so learn to not take things personally.
The best way to learn this is from her - rather than from a book.
I also suggest she fill out, and give you a copy of the Bipolar Safety Plan worksheet:
It's a useful tool to refer to at critical times.