My girlfriend was verbally (and sometimes physically, but not sexually) abused by both her father and brother. Her mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and wouldn't do anything while my girlfriend was being abused. As a result, my girlfriend has some emotional instabilities, which I'm trying to identify and hopefully help her with.
From the sticky Bipolar post, she experiences 10 out of the 16 Maniac symptoms and 9 out of the 14 Depression symptoms. I also read about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and those symptoms seem to match better with my girlfriend's personality instabilities. For example, when she first met my family she thought they were the greatest people on Earth--she was always VERY happy to see them and would always make sure she said Hi to them, told them they looked good, etc. But at some point or another, each of my family members has "wronged" her, though to me it just seemed normal that sometimes people aren't their best all the time, but to her it's as if they're doing it on purpose and want to cause her harm. Just as one of the BPD symptoms describres, she suddently shifts "from idealization (great admiration and love) to devaluation (intense anger and dislike)." And it's VERY difficult for her to forgive, and even forget--sometimes I'm amazed at how she remembers every "bad" thing everyone has done to her.
However, she does not have an eating disorder, nor a drug addiction, nor self-destructive tendencies (though when she felt really down, she said she'd rather be dead). But she does have anxiety/panic attacks and OCDs. So do you think she has BPD, or maybe a "light" BPD? What can I do to help?
We've been dating for almost two years now, and it's been quite rough sometimes. I've tried to break up with her many times before during her irrational peaks (not realizing she probably has a disorder), but then the next day she's a lot better, and even explains how her behavior stems from her childhood, etc. Then I feel that I can't leave her because she's such a good person (when she's not being irrational), and it breaks my heart to even think that I could let such a delicate person walk alone on this Earth. We've had so many dreams of the future (nice house, kids, happiness...), I just can't leave her--yet it's very stressful and painful to me when something weird happens and she overreacts. During our worst times I find myself wishing I was with a normal person, which triggers my "break-up" mode.
I want to help her, but at the same time we're both poor college students and I'm sure therapies are very expensive. What can I do? Any good books my girlfriend and I can read together? By the way, she still lives with her parents, which is part of the problem--they're constantly harrassing her and confusing her mind. She's trying to move out, but it's very difficult as appartments are costly.
Welcome to the board. Does your college have a student health office where you could go for at least an initial consultation and perhaps a referral? Another suggestion would be to google NAMI and read their website to see if they have a chapter located in your town. They offer support groups and are a wealth of information for a variety of disorders. They are a valuable resource. There are a number of good books on the market. One that many people recommend is "The BiPolar Disorder Survival Guide" by David J. Miklowitz. You could probably find it at your local library. These are just a couple ideas to get you going. I'm sure others will have some other suggestions for you. Good luck in your research. tsohl
I've never heard it called "light" Bipolar before, but you may be referring to cyclothymia which is the mildest form of Bipolar Disorder.
I have Type I Bipolar - the most severe - while my sister has cyclothymia & has never had any treatment (and of course refuses to consider that she has a mood disorder).
btw, "BPD" usually refers to Borderline Personality Disorder and since some "BP's" have BOTH (sorry to say), I wanted to be sure you knew the difference with using the abbreviations here!!!
I just wanted to write a short post to let you know that your girlfriends behaviour sounds like me exactly. I suffered with modd swings from the age of 19 (now 28) and after initally being diagnosed with major depressive disorder, this was changed to bipolar 2 with rapid cycling a few weeks ago.
Her uni should be able to point her in the way of the correct lines to get the appropriate help.
Maybe you can get your girlfriend to read through some of the threads on this board, and maybe she would like to post with any questions she might have. This can be a great place to find information from people who've "been there" and have seen great progress in their lives. Good luck to you both. tsohl
Hey Greyangel, my name is Alex I am tired06's husband. The first thing you need to do is figure out wether or not you truly love this woman or are you just hanging around because you are afraid how she would react to you leaving.
If you decide that you really love her than I suggest that you learn patience, while she may act erational and it just makes you feel bad. I asure you once the storm has passed she feels ten times worse. The fact that you feel the way you do when she has her episodes, she probably senses it and it prolongs the agony.
There are plenty of free & low cost clinics you may have to spend sometime searching but that is the price you have to pay. Remenber this person requires alot of attention and needs to be assured that no matter what, things will always work out. This requires alot of commitment from you and if your having the feelings tat you are having now think how you are going to feel when you guys actually live together because there is no cure for this, all the doctors can do is try to control it belive me I know.
My advise to you is simple if you are going to stay do what you got to do as a man if that level of commitment is not something you are willing to give for what ever reason break it off sooner rather than later.
Thank you very much, Alex, your comments were very helpful. Figuring out whether I truly love her or not is something extremely difficult. I'm very confused. We're broken up before, but we get back together shortly after--I just feel horrible leaving her, knowing that she'd have to go through this crazy world alone. Things become great once we get back together, but then they begin to deteriorate with time, and once again, we break up. It's like a cycle. I think this is even affecting me physically--I'm going through a lot of stomach acid pain. I'm in graduate school and there's quite a bit of stress involved with that, so the added stress of my girlfriend's behavior makes it worse.
I will get the book "stop walking on eggshells, taking your life back when someone you care about has BPD" as suggested by someone and hope that I can find some help there.
i have somthing very similar to that. I loved (and pretty much idolised) my boyfriend. untill one day he said somthing, ( a joke in fact) that made me have a compleat change of feelings towards him. it actually scared me alot, and i would do everything just to feel the same towards him, but i couldn;t. I'm still with him and the feelings of love are slowly coming back, but it was a very strange experience for me. Could this be borderine personality disorder? Or bp?
Oh my God, you could be talking about me, even though I hesitate to share many things about myself. I'll skip the details, but my boyfriend - now my fiance - had a terrible time -and extreme elations - the first two years we were together. He was still with his wife when we met and I kept rejecting him until finally I gave in. I had had so many boyfriends, most of whom could not deal with my moods (I was not diagnosed yet) or my alcohol abuse (I am a binge drinker when I get unstable) and I was tired of looking for that long time perfect relationship so I took what I thought was good and what I could get, which was him. The first three months were great - except that he was not divorced and his ex wanted him back desperately. I found out I was pregnant by him and boy was he confused. He saw an old high school buddy and began using heroin. Besides sharing needles with two people who I thought probably had AIDS, I am pretty sure he had had sex -oral or whatever - with the girl who was part of his heroin threesome. Keep in mind, i hadn't even known him a year yet. I was so hurt - I just told him to get lost and swam the summer away instead - big belly and all, I just talked to people and told them the truth about what was going on. I was surprised there were so many good listeners out there. His family did not like me obviously b/c I ruined his marriage and they loved his wife dearly (sometimes more than him). But one day, he was so high I thought he was going to die. I took him to the ER and drove to his family's house. It's five years later and even though I don't hold the grudges I used to for them loving her so much and resenting me, I still have problems.
I felt so stable during my pregnancy - they say that the hormones released during pregnancy can correct some people's emotions or make them more unstable. I couldn't deal with him, so I got angry - took away his keys the apartment and locked him out when he was using and encouraged him to get treatment. He did and has been off heroin now for about 4 1/2 years. After my daughter was born (which he was their for and sober) I was OK for about 3 months. Thought I could drink again and did and was actually OK for about 4 weeks. Then the binging - and nastiness - and old grudges - never able to let go of the past - set in. And the fact is, I wanted to hold the grudges. Joe stood by me, despite relapsing himself (which made me so angry I drank even more, threw things, and when I drank and he was high I pushed him and he punched me. After about a year and a half, he went back to his wife (for about 3 or 5 days - I can't remember now it's been too long and who cares anyway) because he couldn't deal with my moods, alcohol abuse etc. When we are sober, we do not even consider physical violence, since it is not in his nature. It is in mine, since I was physically abused as a child. To combat this urge to hit, I work out and it does help.
Anyway, I'm telling you this b/c it seems like you are at a stage in your relationship where she can go either way. I finally went to a pdoc and was diagnosed bipolar 1 1/2 ago. I was put on medication and it has helped a lot. Exercise helps. Therapy helps. Sitting down and dismissing old grudges by telling people that she CAN communicate to what upset her and expressing her feelings helps. I am naturally an expressive person and when I don't express myself I have a tendency to want to escape or be nasty, become irrability, blame and everyone groans when it happens. It's no good for anyone to feel this way. Please tell her that when she experiences these bad emotions, it will take a toll on her health and all relationships.
Joe always offers to come with me when I go for counseling and med management, we've gone to NA (Narcotics Anonymous_ together ) I tell him he doesn't have to but if he wants to I can.
There is so much hope. I still have such bad days but b/c of treatment I have hope, which I never had before. Some days, I still hate my father, but I am strong enough to express how I feel (some days to him, some days to my counselor) how I really feel about him. I have an illness. It is not my fault, each day I work on it. Despite all the troubles and terrible problems we had in the past, we managed to hang on to the good memories and like magnets, always stuck together (not to be tacky).
If you truly love her and want to build a future together, make an appointment (if she resists medication and a shrink, go to an LSW - Licensed Social Worker or any other one you can find that's not too expensive). I really hate to say it, but she really needs to be ready to accept that she is tired of all these bad feelings and is at the end of her rope- and that she needs to change the way she thinks and retrain her brain. If I were you I wouldn't make any demands (that always made it worse for me b/c I'd do just the opposite of what everyone wanted me to do or demanded of me) but I would feel good about myself, set an example, tell her that no one is out to hurt her but people just aren't themselves sometimes. Baby steps. Who said to read the book about BPD? Get some more and keep them around. Tell her a story about someone who you knew that went through the same thing. I am sorry this is so long but in a motherly sort of way I want to spare you both the pain Joe and I have put each other through, only to have a beautiful, loving, attentive and sweet daughter, a great sex life (after six years) AND acceptance of things. You see, sometimes these situations can have a happy ending.
Last edited by ronniesteers; 10-24-2006 at 11:10 AM.