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Old 03-03-2005, 10:05 AM   #1
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GF in BP Relationship seeking help!

I am so happy I found this board. I have been searching for a forum where others can share what works/what does not work for individuals in a bi-polar relationship so I am very hopeful as everyone, from what I've read so far, seems very helpful and caring.

Here is my story-I am 39 and I met my BF 11 months ago through an on-line dating site. We both came from unhappy marriages (both divorced when we met) and fell in love. To this day, we are amazed at how compatible we are and both feel such a deep love for one another. I moved in several months ago which is, of course, an adjustment for any couple. What I need is a better foundation to work with dealing with his cycles (which I don't yet understand or recognize). He was upfront with me right away about having BP (he has BP II and I believe has either mixed states or rapid cycling). Although I knew right away, I guess I put it in the back of my mind not knowing what to expect or how bad it could get. At the time, he was not on any meds because he had moved from another state and had not yet established himself with new doctors. Things were "perfect" for the first few months but due to some MAJOR outside stressors beyond his/our control, things began changing and I noticed he wasn't as approachable as he used to be. I think he entered into a depressive state prior to getting on meds (he is taking Lithium, Lexapro and Topamax for severe migraines - all meds he was on before - he has tried many different ones and these are the ones that seem to work the best according to him). Anyways, he has been on them now for nearly 5 months. He came out of his depression (where there was virtually no intimacy) to return to a more level state but this is where I've noticed what appears to be a combination of depression and hypomania and he can go back and forth with the drop of a hat. He is extremely sensitive to this subject which makes it even more difficult for me because I need to get answers on how to better deal with his moods (which I am still trying to figure out). What I've noticed now, even after being on the meds, is that he is still unapproachable alot of the time, denies that he does anything wrong or is responsible for any of his actions, shows little compassion when he's in one of his moods, and can be extremely cold at which time he can swear at me and tell me to get the f--- away, etc.. Since I am an overly sensitive, reactive person, it unfortunately adds fuel to the fire because it is so hard to not take his actions personally - and how do I know it's him or the BP talking? I am working on my own with therapy to help become less reactionary but I need more. He is otherwise a beautiful, caring, kindhearted person who I love with all my heart. I tell him all the time what a strong person he is and for being proud of himself for getting back on track on his own accord. I think I can help by better understanding what to look for, I just don't know where to start. After all this time, I am finally recognizing his triggers but I want to know more about journaling and following cycles as I hear others in this forum talk about. Please help!

What I would like to know from others who have been or are in a BP relationship is:

how do I begin to recognize cycles (and what are they)? by keeping a journal, would that hurt his feelings? how do I approach him when he does not want to discuss it? (denial is big with him) when he gets really down or emotional about something, should I continue to try to keep him "up" (I NEVER tell him to get over it or to look at the bright side, I'm very careful with what I say)

does the constant irritability or being unapproachable ever go away?

does it make sense that he seemed happier when he was not on his meds? he tells me that the meds he's on now are the only ones that did not put him in a "zoned-out" state.

within a few months, he hinted at marriage, talking about little details, asking about where we'd go, etc.. now he does not talk about it at all, although he makes references as to "when we're old" or joking about when we're in rocking chairs. is this normal that they get hot and cold?

Forgive me for posting such a long message. Please have patience with me and for anyone who got this far, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for listening! It's just such a relief that I have finally found a place to share and I promise that I will listen and offer my own advice when I can.

Thank you so much.

 
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Old 03-03-2005, 10:20 AM   #2
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Kahlia25 HB User
Lightbulb Re: GF in BP Relationship seeking help!

Having mixed emotions is what Bi-Polar disorder is ALL about. You said that you moved in pretty soon after you met. It takes awhile to adjust to living with anyone, especially if they have issues. You sound like a very understanding, loving person, which everyone needs. Being Bi-Polar is hard enough but being off your meds is harder. You can become Manic (Have very rapid thoughts and speech, have mood swings, become irritrable or very happy). There is a link called Mental Health Sanctuary.com. They have a lot of people that can help you if you just need to vent or ask questions (besides this forum). They deal with all types of personality disorders and are very good for info. I wish you all the luck in your relationship and am glad that I found this place too!!!!! Kahlia
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I have seen many things BUT the most terrible thing I have ever seen was the lack of compassion for another.....................Kahlia

Last edited by Kahlia25; 03-03-2005 at 10:21 AM.

 
Old 03-03-2005, 12:54 PM   #3
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mudhound HB User
Re: GF in BP Relationship seeking help!

Welcome to the board! Share, vent and ask anything. I'll try to post a little more soon.
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God Bless

Mudhound

 
Old 03-03-2005, 04:54 PM   #4
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jen1008 HB User
Re: GF in BP Relationship seeking help!

Angel,
I can deffinately relate to how you feel, although in my relationship, I'm the one with BP. I also have BPII and have very frequent mixed moods and/or rapid cycling. I can't tell you how to deal with it, as I am the one being dealt with.

As for recognizing cycles, I can tell you that I still have a hard time figuring this out. It is a very debilitating(sp?) part of my illness, because I dont have any control over when it happens. I am learning some of my triggers, and try to keep my husband informed of these, but sometimes, something out of the blue will set me off.

Keeping a mood diary is an excellent idea, maybe you and your hunny can do this together. If he was so upfront with you about his illness, at least he is not in denial that he has this illness. Does he know about this board? Until I found it, there was a lot about being BP that I didnt understand, but everyone here has greatly helped me come to a better understanding about myself. I now know when I'm acting or reacting a certain way, most of the time it is probably because of what state I am in(or my husband is just being a jerk ) Good luck and let me know If I can help anymore, I would definitely like to bounce some ideas and thoughts off you, so I have a better understanding of what my dh(dear husband) is going through, because I now know its not just me.{{{{{HUGS}}}}}
~Jen

p.s. I wish my dh was as proactive as you in learning about BP. Good for you

 
Old 03-04-2005, 07:23 AM   #5
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angelblue65 HB User
Re: GF in BP Relationship seeking help!

Jen,
Thank you so much for your heartfelt words. I think we could help each other alot. I would most definitely be open to anything you would like to bounce off of me and if it's ok, I have some questions as well.

One interesting thing I've learned about myself, being the reactive person that I am, is that it is easy to react because it does not require any work on my part. To stop, I mean really stop, think about what is happening, look inside yourself to see what's going on, (meaning am I reacting to a past issue of my own?), takes WORK. There's this book that's been out for years, called "You can't afford the luxury of a negative thought." And that's what it talks about. But my point is since I know the BP illness will never go away and it's something my BF cannot control, the one thing that CAN change is me-not as a person but in how I react. Then at least maybe I can help so that things don't snowball like they have been.

Anyways, I'm not only new to this forum but new to message boards as a whole so I don't know if there is another way of contacting each other? In the mean time, be well and I look forward to hearing from you.

 
Old 03-04-2005, 05:42 PM   #6
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jen1008 HB User
Re: GF in BP Relationship seeking help!

Angel, (sorry, this is long as heck, bare with me...)

Unfortunately there is no other way we can contact each other except for this right here. It's not so bad as we can get opinions and advice from many different people in similar situations.

I also have a hard time dealing with my reactions, as I can react to the same situation in extremely different ways. If I had a crystal ball telling me which state I am in it would be pretty easy to understand why I am reacting the way I am. As I dont have that comfort I am confined to learning my triggers and signs and trying to guess what state I am in, which is usually pretty evident after the fact.(arguments, withdrawls, etc.) At this point my DH says he just rolls with the punches, takes things as they come and try to talk about it later. As we have only been married 2 years(in 24 days!) and I was just diag. with BPII about 5 months ago, we are learning to deal with this together. He says he always new something wasn't kosher in my head, but couldn't put his finger on it. I didn't believe him for the longest time. I have been dealing with depression and anxiety since I was in grade school, but that was normal when you were a teenager, and then I used to blame it on PMS. When he said he thought I might be bipolar, I basically laughed in his face, because I had a roomate who was typical Type I BP. We were in the military together and one day she just had to leave. She got in her car one night, drove to Arizona, and lived there for about a month, knowing noone, stripping to make some cash to buy drugs and whatnot. Finally when she was coming down she realized oh S***, I'm in the military and went AWOL. She was discharged. How could I be BP? I've never done anything like that before. Well anyways he finally convinced me to see a psych when it became too much for him. Having the diag. makes things a little easier, for us at least, because we are trying to be proactive in my care. Well I do most of the research and talk to him later. (he is in the military so we dont see each other too often). But I think it can go the other way as well. He might be happy that you are trying to find ways to help your relationship. You might want to hold off on some discussion topics until your sure he is in a pretty stable mood. I know I get pretty defensive when I'm hypomanic. "I'm right, everyone else is wrong. I need to do this, why aren't you helping? What, you want to talk about the mood I'm in now, like I said I'm right, YOU are wrong." And when I'm in a mixed mood, watch out, I can go from being on the offensive, to curled up in a ball in my closet crying for hours pretty quick. At these times my husband would be so distraught because he didn't know how, and couldn't help me. I know it scared and hurt him greatly because he cares for me so much, as I'm sure you do about your BF. Hopefully in time he will come to realize that your trying to help him, not hurt him. I'm sorry this is so long, it helps to share some of my story about coping and everything. When I talk about it, I notice new things and see things in a different light. (kind of like when you watch The Sixth Sense for the second time, and the movie is so obvious you can't believe you didn't figure it out sooner) And I hope that it will give you some insight (keeping in mind I'm a girl and he's a guy) to the way your BF is thinking at times. Ok I'm going to stop now, because you are probably bored to tears. Thanks for listening, hope there is something in there that might help.
~Jen

p.s. If I am experiencing the same degree/severity/type of BP as your BF, let him know that Lamictal has worked wonders for me. If he isn't happy with his current meds and If he hasn't tried it yet, have him check with his psych about trying it.

 
Old 03-04-2005, 08:10 PM   #7
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angelblue65 HB User
Re: GF in BP Relationship seeking help!

Hi Jen,
First of all, don't ever apologize for writing whatever is on your mind, however long it may be. As far as I'm concerned, I could read for hours about this because I just want to be informed as much as possible (aside from offering any insight that might help you as well). Besides, I can be very long winded myself! And I congratulate you for seeking help. I can never say that I know what you, my bf, or anyone else with this illness is going through but I do see that it is difficult. My bf was diagnosed in his late teens/early 20's and has bounced from one med to another, finally finding what works. He is very sensitive about it and I try to be respectful about that. It would help so much if we could talk about it more - I can read everything that's out there but to know what he personally goes through would help me (so I know what his triggers are as I am left to guess, etc.). I just started bringing it up again because we have had some real blowouts lately which is extremely upsetting. It seems to help when I write him an e-mail vs. trying to talk to him meaning that he's more receptive. I realize that I can't just wing it anymore. So between hopefully having a talk with him when the time is right, joining this forum, and starting to keep a journal myself will begin a more constructive path. As I started writing this week and recalling our day to day interractions (including the few big arguments we had), writing made me see some of the ridiculous things I reacted to. And once I do, it just perpetuates things. If I understand correctly, people with BP cannot control the things they say when it takes over, so not only did I react to something ridiculous, I then react to the BP talking and it just gets out of control. I at least see that I can do something about it by making some changes of my own so that's my plan right now. Listening to what you had to say - you sound like a very caring person yourself and it sounds like you are trying to do everything you can to manage things. You should feel good about that! From what little you've said so far about yourself, you and my bf seem to experience very similar moods. I wished I had begun a journal earlier but just from paying attention, he seems to either have rapid cycling or mixed states although he did have one depressive episode which lasted about 6 weeks or so. The poor guy has been dealing with so much lately which would be difficult for anyone to get through that I look at him in amazement at how well he handles himself. I try to do what I can as far as make phone calls, research, etc. hopefully without patronizing him. I was an only child and a caretaker of both my parents who became ill early on so juggling a lot comes natural. At the same time, though, I know I can go overboard - it's definitely not my intention to make him think he's incapable of doing things himself. Let me ask you a question - I know you said you were only recently diagnosed but have you dealt with a lot of prejudice or ignorance from other people, organizations, etc.? I am disgusted by how people can immediately switch gears as soon as they find out my BF is BP. He instantly gets treated differently. For example, he had a second knee surgery due to an auto accident a year ago and has been unable to work (before that, he has had only 3 long-term jobs so his work history has been very stable). Right after the second surgery, I had to take him to the emergency room because he developed chemical pneumonia. While I was there waiting to find out how he was, a nurse pulled me aside and warned me to "be careful" and that I was in a tough situation being the girlfriend of someone with BP and kids (he also has custody of his two teenage boys by the way). I was so shocked that I didn't say a word (I would now!). It was as if the message was anyone with BP was incapable of having a relationship. How about instead looking at it that everyone deserves a chance without a label? Because of the financial burden being out of work has placed on him, his Mom encouraged him to apply for SS just temporarily. Now, he went to the office to apply BECAUSE OF HIS AUTO ACCIDENT but because he had to answer honestly about his medical history, a week later he gets a 10-page questionnaire in the mail. I decided to help him fill it out and as we went through it, I noticed a pattern. I finally hinted at what the questions sounded like and he told me this is what happens when people find out you have BP. They just automatically assumed he coudln't work or even get through a day without assistance (cooking, cleaning, paying bills, etc.) and moreorless trying to determine if his BP was the real cause of him being unable to work. He said that people seem to forget he was in an auto accident. I do realize that BP can be debilitating where it does affect some people with daily activities but it should not be assumed either. I'm sorry, I know I just went off on a tangent but I can sympathize with the frustration of others' ignorance.

So I guess it's my turn to apologize for a long winded post so I will close for now. I'd like to run some questions by you another time if that's ok. And again, feel free to ask what you want.

Until then, enjoy your weekend!

 
Old 03-04-2005, 08:16 PM   #8
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angelblue65 HB User
Re: GF in BP Relationship seeking help!

Hi Jen,
First of all, don't ever apologize for writing whatever is on your mind, however long it may be. As far as I'm concerned, I could read for hours about this because I just want to be informed as much as possible (aside from offering any insight that might help you as well). Besides, I can be very long winded myself! And I congratulate you for seeking help. I can never say that I know what you, my bf, or anyone else with this illness is going through but I do see that it is difficult. My bf was diagnosed in his late teens/early 20's and has bounced from one med to another, finally finding what works. He is very sensitive about it and I try to be respectful about that. It would help so much if we could talk about it more - I can read everything that's out there but to know what he personally goes through would help me (so I know what his triggers are as I am left to guess, etc.). I just started bringing it up again because we have had some real blowouts lately which is extremely upsetting. It seems to help when I write him an e-mail vs. trying to talk to him meaning that he's more receptive. I realize that I can't just wing it anymore. So between hopefully having a talk with him when the time is right, joining this forum, and starting to keep a journal myself will begin a more constructive path. As I started writing this week and recalling our day to day interractions (including the few big arguments we had), writing made me see some of the ridiculous things I reacted to. And once I do, it just perpetuates things. If I understand correctly, people with BP cannot control the things they say when it takes over, so not only did I react to something ridiculous, I then react to the BP talking and it just gets out of control. I at least see that I can do something about it by making some changes of my own so that's my plan right now. Listening to what you had to say - you sound like a very caring person yourself and it sounds like you are trying to do everything you can to manage things. You should feel good about that! From what little you've said so far about yourself, you and my bf seem to experience very similar moods. I wished I had begun a journal earlier but just from paying attention, he seems to either have rapid cycling or mixed states although he did have one depressive episode which lasted about 6 weeks or so. The poor guy has been dealing with so much lately which would be difficult for anyone to get through that I look at him in amazement at how well he handles himself. I try to do what I can as far as make phone calls, research, etc. hopefully without patronizing him. I was an only child and a caretaker of both my parents who became ill early on so juggling a lot comes natural. At the same time, though, I know I can go overboard - it's definitely not my intention to make him think he's incapable of doing things himself. Let me ask you a question - I know you said you were only recently diagnosed but have you dealt with a lot of prejudice or ignorance from other people, organizations, etc.? I am disgusted by how people can immediately switch gears as soon as they find out my BF is BP. He instantly gets treated differently. For example, he had a second knee surgery due to an auto accident a year ago and has been unable to work (before that, he has had only 3 long-term jobs so his work history has been very stable). Right after the second surgery, I had to take him to the emergency room because he developed chemical pneumonia. While I was there waiting to find out how he was, a nurse pulled me aside and warned me to "be careful" and that I was in a tough situation being the girlfriend of someone with BP and kids (he also has custody of his two teenage boys by the way). I was so shocked that I didn't say a word (I would now!). It was as if the message was anyone with BP was incapable of having a relationship. How about instead looking at it that everyone deserves a chance without a label? Because of the financial burden being out of work has placed on him, his Mom encouraged him to apply for SS just temporarily. Now, he went to the office to apply BECAUSE OF HIS AUTO ACCIDENT but because he had to answer honestly about his medical history, a week later he gets a 10-page questionnaire in the mail. I decided to help him fill it out and as we went through it, I noticed a pattern. I finally hinted at what the questions sounded like and he told me this is what happens when people find out you have BP. They just automatically assumed he coudln't work or even get through a day without assistance (cooking, cleaning, paying bills, etc.) and moreorless trying to determine if his BP was the real cause of him being unable to work. He said that people seem to forget he was in an auto accident. I do realize that BP can be debilitating where it does affect some people with daily activities but it should not be assumed either. I'm sorry, I know I just went off on a tangent but I can sympathize with the frustration of others' ignorance.

So I guess it's my turn to apologize for a long winded post so I will close for now. I'd like to run some questions by you another time if that's ok. And again, feel free to ask what you want.

Until then, enjoy your weekend!

 
Old 03-05-2005, 05:10 PM   #9
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jen1008 HB User
Re: GF in BP Relationship seeking help!

Hey Angel,
Im sorry I dont have much time today, but as for experiencing prejudice read my I need to vent post. I started a couple of days ago.(I hate the military) It sucks when we are treated like we have a contagious disease. It just goes to show that many people are misinformed about what BP actually is. I'm glad you are learning how to cope and for your sake I hope your BF will learn to cooperate. Talk to you soon
~Jen

 
Old 03-09-2005, 06:23 PM   #10
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angelblue65 HB User
Re: GF in BP Relationship seeking help!

Hey Jen,
I'm sorry I didn't respond sooner. I/we had a very hectic weekend (a problem with one of his sons) and it has been slow getting through it all. But I hope things are well with you and I just wanted to touch base and not lose touch. Let me know when you'd like to shoot me some questions. I've been awfully chatty tonight on the board so I think I'll give everyone a break!

Talk soon

 
Old 04-01-2005, 07:34 PM   #11
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jen1008 HB User
Re: GF in BP Relationship seeking help!

Sorry Angel,
Had a bad beginning of march, and then I was on vacation for almost three weeks and I'm just getting back. I hope your still doing ok. I just wanted to touch base and let you know I'm still here and will be on more and more as I assimilate back into real life.
~Jen

 
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