Hi there everyone! I'm dating a wonderful 20 year old girl with Bipolar disorder. She's been doing really well but lately with school and stress, she's been having a pretty tough time. My trouble may be a bit insignificant, but I'm having some problems with one aspect in particular.
I can easily recognize when she's depressed. I think this recognition is a good thing, she seems to respond positively when I understand her feelings. She tells me it helps her feel better when she can vent to an understanding ear. The trouble I've been having is knowing how to speak (literally the tone and volume of my voice) to her when she's depressed. When I speak more quietly or gently than I usually do, she gets upset that I'm talking down to her OR she apologizes to me unrelentingly for what she thinks is "making me upset" (I guess due to my quiet voice she think's she making me upset too). However, if I speak in my normal tone I get the sense that she's upset that I'm not paying attention to her problems. Speaking in my normally happy voice just seems unnatural when my love is crying on the other end.
Im in a down swing right now but when I read you post it made me laugh.
So I have to thank you for that. I never thought I see this topic here.
You have a wonderful quality/sense of compassion that brought you here. Dont ever loose it. You ask a excellent quesiton. I've found in our family 3 females (2 are bipolar) and 1 male, depressed or not body language and voice tone speak very loud. Here's some idea's,
*Try asking her what would help, ask her what you can do
*Make some coffee, tea, coco sit and give your undivided attention, turn off the tv, radio, cell phone. That says there's nothing more imporant than her.
*Just listen, give eye contact, hold her hand
*Give a hug let her know you're listening
*Go out for a walk hand and hand let her talk
*Sometimes just a touch, says I may not understand but I care
I cant speak for others but for me emotional support is extremely
important. I can tell by my husbands body language, actions, eyes and
voice tone when he's being sincere. I wish the best to both of you.
Thanks for the smile.
I agree with Keihn. I have had a partner in the past that always told me to remember my condition about any decision I tried to take (especially when telling him I didn't love him anymore!) and generally talking to me like I never knew my own mind. Which may have been true at times, but I knew I didn't know my own mind and the awful depressions that mean decision making is impossible are so demeaning you don't need someone reminding you in such a direct and patronising way. I think you're doing really well and folks with BP are often cruel with words, frustration I think. Make some easy decisions for her -actions speak louder than words. Like making her breakfast, don't ask if she wants muffin or muesli, just make one and give it to her. Simple things that don't make a point of her depression but ease the symptoms until she comes out of it. I generally tell my husband when I'm not feeling too good, but he can tell anyway - i'm still in bed or lying on the sofa sleeping, because I just can't 'deal' with life being awake.
Haha, thanks so much for the info guys! It is admittedly a pretty minor problem to have. I just figure that if I can help slove the minor problems with myself, it will help ease her mind. Eliminating the problems that I can (usually the minor ones) really help and let us focus on the more major issues. I'm glad that I could add a little levity to this otherwise serious topic!