5 Truths About Maintaining a Loving Relationship When You Have Bipolar Disorder

Sep 25, 18 5 Truths About Maintaining a Loving Relationship When You Have Bipolar Disorder
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FROM BPHOPE.COM

BY Andrea Paquette

5 Truths About Maintaining a Loving Relationship When You Have Bipolar Disorder

Having bipolar disorder is challenging when it comes to maintaining healthy relationships, but there is much we can do to encourage the acceptance of ourselves and one another.

I have been in love many times throughout my life and have had a number of long-term relationships. The last one ended after we were together for over five years.

I have learned a lot from these experiences and I am compelled to share my learnings in hopes of reaching those who are either embarking into a new relationship with someone who has bipolar disorder, or for the person living with a mental health condition themselves.

A key feature of having bipolar disorder is the crippling lows of depression, and feeling this way while living with my former boyfriend was common. I often spent days in bed as my energy levels were depleted. He remained bewildered with my behavior and had expressed that perhaps I was just lazy.

Although a tongue-in-cheek comment, I still took it to heart. I assumed that he knew the difference between laziness and depression, but he never read any of the articles that I sent him (which explained this distinction), so unfortunately he actually failed to educate himself.

What would I ask for now if I did it all over again? Since there were times where I barely had the energy to prepare a meal for myself, I would request soup in bed, or something easily prepared.

I also love affection and during my lowest times, I welcome a warm embrace, a massage, or even something as simple as a kiss on the forehead.

I hope to hear one simple question from a partner someday which is, “What do you need from me right now?”

Eventually the depressive episode would pass, but not without hurt feelings for I always felt alone in my darkest struggles.

I am often high-functioning and my ex-boyfriend simply acted as if I did not have a mental health condition at all.

However, there was one particular instance during the beginning of our relationship that stands out to this day. Many years ago, I experienced bouts of psychosis and there was one night where I experienced hallucinations. I had tried a new medication for another ailment and it reacted negatively with my bipolar meds.

My partner did not get nervous, judgmental or uncomfortable, but he did something that I never even thought to do myself, which is to call the crisis line and ask for advice and help. The visual hallucinations subsided, and in that moment, I knew he did love me, but as time went on, he just did not get it—bipolar or me.

What would an ideal relationship look like for those dealing with bipolar, from my experience?

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External Resources

BP Hope

Disability Scoop

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

National Center for PTSD

 

 

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