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    Old 12-14-2003, 07:00 AM   #1
    madlyinlove
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    Unhappy My Boyfriend is BP, How do I help him through this illness.?

    [FONT=Comic Sans MS][COLOR=Red] Hi I am so glad to have found this site. My Boyfriend is Bi Polar. He was diagnoised with it just over a year ago, and although he is on medication and sees his doctors, naturally he is still affected with this illness. His family do not help or support him much, and do not bother to make sure that he takes his morning medication, and instead of praises they constantly tell him how sucessful he could have been if only he did this that and the other.!

    My question is, and I would be forever greatful to all who can help me with this, How can I help my Boyfriend through this illness.?

    I Love him desperately, and know in my heart that he feels the same way towards me, but needless to say his BP does cause upsets and sadness in our relationship. One day he is madly in love with me, and the next day he won't even give me a kiss, hug, or even a smile.? We know in our hearts that we were meant for each other, and do want to get married and have children, because in everything else we are a perfect match, but he feels that he is worthless and not good enough for me, and has told me that he has even thought about ending our relationship because of it. He also told me that it is commen for him to drive away the woman in past relationships, but that he really does not want to loose me, because I am the one for him.

    I love this man hopelessly and I want to be able to help him and support him through each day, so that we can start to build a life together, but I have never known anyone with Bipolar before and do not know what to do when he goes into one of his mood swings.? People say to be supportive and loving which I do as much as possible, but what else can I do to help him.? What am I suppose to do when he becomes angry or depressed with me.? Due to the BP, he has been in debt but came out of it. He lives with a family member, so he could recover financially, but he hates it and often says to me how he wants to rent a house so that we can move in together and start our own life. He looks at homes and gets the info, but does not make an attempt to rent a house. Although this is his idea, he often blames me because he feels pressured into finding a house, even though I have not made any comments on the subject.

    How do I act, what am I suppose to say.? I want him to know that I will always be there for him, but I don't want him to feel that I pity him or feel sorry for him, as he does not deserve to be degraded like that. I don't want to smother him yet I don't know what to do.?

    He is the most wonderfulest, kind, loving, caring and sincerest man I have ever had the priviledge to meet, and honour to love and I just want to be by his side loving him and caring for him, without making him feel abnormal.

    Please if anyone has the time to comment on this, I would be most appreciative. I look through websites, on Bipolar yet I can not find any that is specifically directed to help people who love a Bipolar person.? If you are married or dating someone who is BP and have any suggesting please do write them to me, for I do so want to be able to be there for my Boyfriend. Thank you most kindly for any and all help.

     
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    Old 12-14-2003, 02:02 PM   #2
    magnolia
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    Re: My Boyfriend is BP, How do I help him through this illness.?

    Why does he have to be reminded to take his meds? Encourage him to develop the mindset that he will be on his meds for the rest of his life, that the bipolarity is due to a chemical imbalance (not his fault), no different from having to take meds for a heart problem or high blood pressure. Encourage him to discuss with his doctors the other issues in his life as well as the mood episodes that he is still experiencing. Sometimes the hardest part about becoming stabilized on meds is learning what behaviors are "normal" and which behavioral responses have become such a "abnormal" habit because of so many years of doing the same thing over and over. So sometimes we have to learn new behaviors and new coping skills. Perhaps you can help him with this as well?

     
    Old 12-15-2003, 08:19 AM   #3
    thickman
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    Re: My Boyfriend is BP, How do I help him through this illness.?

    Sounds like things are in reasonable control. You seem to have a decent grip on it.

    I am BP, my girlfriend always asks me what SHE SHOULD DO... I have no idea... So I won't be of much help in this thread...

    It sounds like you already have done what needs be! You are caring, supporting, loving... So long you know when his moods SWITCH you do not take it personal, cause it is controllable type of deal...

    Anyways... Hang in there, someone is bound to post more valuable information

     
    Old 12-15-2003, 11:01 AM   #4
    H2OEng
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    Re: My Boyfriend is BP, How do I help him through this illness.?

    My wife is bp, been married 5 years. She was actually diagnosed a year or so after we were married but all the signs were there when we were dating. Over the past 7-8 years Iíve lived through her mania, the depression and the ups and downs in between. One thing you need to understand is that each bp person is different; some do well on certain meds while others donít. Itís all trial and error to find the right medication that will work for your boyfriend. Weíre still trying to find the right combination for my wife after 5 years.

    The one thing you need to really think about is the impact that this disease will have on both you and the relationship in the long run. I promise that there will be some bad times. What would you do if you walk in the bathroom and find him on the floor bleeding from both wrists, how about finding him in bed with Ĺ the medicine cabinet empty and heís barely breathing, even worse, getting a phone call from the local hospital informing you that your husband attempted suicide again and things donít look like he will make it. Iíve lived all of this and more. The stress that will be put on you at times seems almost unbearable.

    Now donít get me wrong, not everything is bad, my wife and I have also spent some wonderful times together. With my wife it comes in cycles, each spring she get really depressed, suicidal, etc, etc. When she gets like this there is no question as to whatís going to happen, off to stabilization she goes.

    The question you should ask yourself is how much do you really love him, how far are you willing to go in the bad times. You will need to be the strong one in the relationship; you will have to put your foot down from time to time. Iím sure that you will come off as a real ***** at times but sometimes you donít have any choice. Trust me; Iíve been called every name in the book by my wife at one time or the other.

    Both of you will be spending time in counseling, together and probably separate. You will be heavily involved in his treatment. You will need to know as much about this as his doctors, you will need to know the warning signs, the drugs, the effects of the drugs and on and on. Then you get to the insurance mess, know and understand your rights under HIPPA. Don't let the doctors, the insurance company or the disease control you or your relationship. Once youíre married itís no longer ďHisĒ disease, itís ďOurĒ disease. It's going to effect you just as much as it does your boyfriend.

    The relationship will be a continual work in progress, much more so than compared to a typical relationship. Try living together for a while just to test the water. Spell things out with your boyfriend before you get married. Donít wait till after your married to discuss things such as who will be responsible for the finances (better be you from what Iíve experienced), children (itís genetic so itís possible that a future child my also be bp), etc.

    Hope this helps some, good luck with it.

     
    Old 12-17-2003, 06:03 AM   #5
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    Re: My Boyfriend is BP, How do I help him through this illness.?

    I can not thank all of you enough for all your kind help and advice. It means a lot to me to learn as much about Bi Polar, effects of the illness and the effects of a relationship with a BP, as much as possible.

    In reply to MAGNOLIA:, My boyfriend suffers from short term memory, which is why he sometimes forgets to take his medication. He is pretty good and remembers the evening lot but mornings are abit hectic to get through for him which is why he forgets.

    In reply to THICKMAN:, thank you kindly for you friendly words. I do try my hardest to to be as caring, loving and supportive as much as possible. I really do love this man MORE than life itself. And at times, when he is suffering from this illness, it just hurts me that I can not do more to help him through it.? He is such a wonderful man in everyway.

    In reply to HoosieBj: Thank you for letting me know about the emotional side of things. I know it will be hard to develope a thick skin, but I will try my hardest. I admit to being rather sensitive and do take things to heart at the best of times, but some how it does not upset me if my boyfriend gets cranky or mad at me. I know it is not the 'real' him that is talking to me that way for he is a very sensitive, caring and understanding man. I just do not know how to respond sometimes.? Do I be quiet and let him have his 'spell' (I do this most as I am not a fighter by nature.) or go ahead and argue with him, or do I just verbally acknowledge straight to him that I know he is in a mood.? I don't want to make him feel like a child being naughty, I don't want to do worse and make his mood swing badder by arguing with him. But I don't want to be continually passive and make him feel guilty because he is in a mood and I'm not.? This is what is confusing me so greatly.? I do have a LOT to learn still about Bi Polars and I will definately be taking your advice and learning as much as I can.

    In response to H20Eng:, You really told me the indepth version of loving and living with a bi polar and I am very greatful for your help. Thank you for taking the time to answer my query. I know that I have a LOT to learn about bi polar still, but am a very willing pupil. I DO love my Boyfriend a tremendous amount. That is the trouble. I love him too deeply to walk away from him and say sorry your illness is too much for me to handle. I know that it will be very difficult for me as our relationship progresses, especially if I have to deal with situations as you have described with your wife, I'm not going to pretend that I can handle it, in fact I am scared like crazy to think that something like that could happen to the man of my dreams. More so to know that BP is genetic.? Especially as we recently found out that a close family member of mine is Schizaphrenic..? My god, our poor child.? A Schizaphrenic-Bi Polar.?

    My head tells me to run, but my heart wins the argument and says to stay with him and love him and support him as much as possible. As you say, there are bad times, but there are also good times too to be shared too. And the times that have been good with us together is so far outweighing the bad times to come.

    Please may I ask, you say that each BP is different with cycles and all, how long do these cycles last for.? I live in another town from my Boyfriend, and I was suppose to go down in the next month to be with him, but he has told me not too as he is in a mild cycle due to change of medication. He says he is aggressive and irritable and does not want to hurt or upset me while he is like this. But I wonder how long this cycle will last for.? Is it days, weeks, months.? God I hope its not years.? I could not bear to be apart from him that long.? I havent been with him for 3 weeks, and it is making me miserable, not hearing him, seeing him, touching him. He has not written or spoken to me much during this time apart and I miss him so much. I am thinking of moving to his town so that we can at least see more of each other before becoming married. As like you suggested living together to test the waters. The longest we have been together under one roof was a few weeks, and although it went beautifully, he did have a few days where his behaviour changed towards me.? Of course not only it is from the effects of BP, but his family do not approve of me much which also causes a lot of extra stress to him. They can see the change in him, how he is much happier, more possitive, more secure in himself when he is with me. He sets himself goals, and works hard to acomplish them. And sadly, they do not like that, because they like having him feeling low and useless, to help make them feel better about themselves. I know that is cruel to say about his family and I do apologise greatly for sounding so rude, as I do not like to belittle any person. I just worry so about my Boyfriend, because I don't like seeing him hurt emotionally as he does.

    Lets just say if I could I would gladly transfer his Bi Polar to me, so that he could live a life of happiness, and peace. I just love him that badly.

    Sorry, I'm feeling rather emotional myself tonight, but its nice to be able to let your feelings out openly and know that there are kind and caring people out there who are willing to spend a few minutes to encourage and support a stranger. Thank heavens for wonderful people like all of you.!

     
    Old 12-17-2003, 06:14 AM   #6
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    Re: My Boyfriend is BP, How do I help him through this illness.?

    May I add some very practical thoughts?

    Get all the education you can in order to get the highest paying job you can. There may be many times that you are the only bread-winner in the family.

    If you're ever offered two jobs, take the one with the best mental health insurance benefits.

    Become very involved in his treatment. Include yourself in some visits to his psychiatrist. Make sure you are listed by your boyfriend as a person who can have medical information about him. (The new HIPAA Privacy Law will prevent any medical people from discussing his illness with you otherwise)

    Read, and find a local support group (someone mentioned them earlier)

    Keep a journal of his moods. It will be easier once you are married/under one roof. And very valuable to his doctor.

    And don't ever forget how much you love him today when the times are quite bleak ahead...

     
    Old 12-17-2003, 04:43 PM   #7
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    Re: My Boyfriend is BP, How do I help him through this illness.?

    Most everything with bp people is individualized, how often they cycle, how they act when they are mantic or depressed, how the drugs affect them, etc. It will take you a little time to figure your boyfriend out.

    Up until this year my wife would cycle about once a year. Over the course of the summer and into the fall she is on a gradual incline, she peaks into her mania around Xmus then slides into depression through the winter and into the spring. I usually have to place her in stabilization for a few weeks in May-June. She gets out and is pretty stable for a month or so and then starts over on the up swing.

    You will see people that rapid cycle (from a few hours to a day or so) and then others who rarely cycle due to their meds. Everybody is different.

    As far as how you act towards your boyfriend, thatís a good question. I donít baby my wife. She knows that she has a disease and she must take on some of the responsibilities that go with it. Thatís not to say that I donít keep an eye on her in regards to how she is acting, her meds and her doctors appointments. You can tell when they are manic, depressed, on their way up and down. I respond to her differently based on where sheís at on the scale. When she is depressed or manic I am very firm; I donít leave anything open for interpretation. If I say itís time to go to the hospital then thatís final, Iím not asking her, Iím telling her. I try not to argue with her, if she starts yelling I walk away. You will need to watch for violent tendencies, especially when heís manic. My wife will snap in a minute when sheís manic. Iíve been hit, kicked, threaten with a knife, even had her pull a loaded 44 on me when she was manic a few years ago.

    As Ruth noted, things can get expensive with this. In an average month I drop $800 on copays for meds and doctors appointments. My insurance is very good when it comes to medical issues but the mental portion is not that great. It costs me $2000 for my copay when she goes in for stabilization, which is at least once a year. She is not able to work anymore, partly due to being bp as well as other medical problems. I'm not sure how things are down under but here in the states you have to be ďdisabledĒ for at least 12 months before you are able to file for disability, then it takes forever to go through the approval process for disability benefits. If youíre lucky you get approved after you appeal your first denial. I managed to get her approved on the first try but it still took about 8 months to get approved (this is on top of her not working for almost 2 years prior to filing).

    A couple pieces of advise; donít let the name calling, yelling or other tendencies of your boyfriend get to you when heís manic, you better have some thick skin; you handle all bills, money and general finances around the house, watch any joint credit cards and checking accounts like a hawk, fair warning, most people who are bi polar tend to spend major amounts of money when they are manic (my wife blew $8000 in less than 2 weeks a few years back, she couldnít even account for most of it when I found out a few weeks later); donít have any firearms in the house, if you do make sure they are locked up (all of mine are in a gun safe that only I have the key for); try to get power of attorney over him once you get married, this can make things much easier when it comes to medical issues; and most importantly learn as much as you can about the disease and your insurance benefits. The more you know the better off both of you will be.

     
    Old 12-22-2003, 06:53 PM   #8
    MzKimberly1973
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    Re: My Boyfriend is BP, How do I help him through this illness.?

    Hi there:

    My name is Kimberly. I wrote because it is amazing how similar our situations are. I fell madly in love with my boyfriend who happens to be bipolar a few months ago, but I had never dealt with bipolar disorder and had no clue about it. He also lives in another town, which is very difficult because I can't see him very often. He is manic right now, crazy manic. Getting into all sorts of trouble, been thrown in 2 mental hospitals by the police, physically grabbing his parents when they try to help. He is totally out of control right now, but all I remember is the man i fell in love with. I know he is in there somewhere. The difference is that my boyfriend refuses to take meds right now and may refuse to take them even when he comes out of the manic episode. You are lucky that your's at least takes meds. It could be so much worse... anyway I just wanted you to know that you are not alone,

    Kimberly

     
    Old 12-22-2003, 08:54 PM   #9
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    Re: My Boyfriend is BP, How do I help him through this illness.?

    (hi, I have never posted here before, but I have Cyclothymia and I have a family member who has BP-1)

    There is a great book about BP that I love. It is called Bipolar Disorder; A Guide For Patients and Families and it is written by Francis Mark Mondimore. I found it in a bookstore a few years ago and as far as I know it is still in print (although you may have better luck finding it on-line).

    This book explains everything about Bipolar and includes tips and advice for people who aren't BP but that have a BP person in their lives.

    Even though I am cyclothymic and not full BP my husband learned a lot about me and how to help me through my mood swings by reading this book.... and I learned a lot on how to just "be there" for my family member who is BP.

    I hope that this book can help other folks as much as it helped me and my family.

    ~Wittesea

     
    Old 12-23-2003, 07:59 PM   #10
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    Wink Re: My Boyfriend is BP, How do I help him through this illness.?

    Hello madlyinlove,
    Needless to say, it sounds as if you care about your boyfriend very much. In fact, not being an analyst or being in your shoes, but it already sounds like your heart is in the right place re: his disorder. The one final step may be finding ways you can verbalize your feelings to him, so that he will know. This may in turn help his state of mind.
    For example you could try to state to him essentially what you stated to us in your initial post. (Hopefully there is no great lack of communication in the relationship).

     
    Old 12-26-2003, 05:24 AM   #11
    madlyinlove
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    Unhappy Re: My Boyfriend is BP, How do I help him through this illness.?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by todder
    Hello madlyinlove,
    Needless to say, it sounds as if you care about your boyfriend very much. In fact, not being an analyst or being in your shoes, but it already sounds like your heart is in the right place re: his disorder. The one final step may be finding ways you can verbalize your feelings to him, so that he will know. This may in turn help his state of mind.
    For example you could try to state to him essentially what you stated to us in your initial post. (Hopefully there is no great lack of communication in the relationship).

    Hello todder,
    Thank you for your comments. I do love this man so very deeply. There is nothing I wouldnt do for him, because I know that we were meant to be together.
    Unfortunately at the moment, there IS a great lack of communication in our relationship, which is why this is so difficult for me to get through. He lives in another town from me, which is a 2 day drive, or 2 hour flight. Since I have returned home at the beginning of this month, My Boyfriend has not emailed me, or talked to me on the phone. Only one phone call, where he told me that he was thinking of ending our relationship, but didn't want to because he loved me.(he was also alone, depressed, drinking and smoking which he stopped doing 2 years ago, which also had me very worried during this phone call) And he has sent me one email to tell me that he is cycling slightly and doesn't want me to return to him in January like I was suppose to do.

    I email every single day telling him that I love him, and how wonderful he makes me feel. I tell him that I will always be there for him supporting him, and loving him forever, but he does not answer me, and it is breaking my heart. I don't know what is happening now, as I tried to ring him, but I only get his answering machine. I leave messagers but he does not reply to them.
    I don't know what I'm suppose to do anymore now.? Is our love over with.? Doesn't he want me anymore.? He is just going through such a bad cycle that its preventing him from contacting me in anyway.?
    I continue to email him every day, but I admit that I'm starting to feel like a nuisence to him, like a stalker.? Its been a month since we've had any contact with each other, and I do not know how much longer I have to wait to hear from him again.? I love him so, badly that it is killing me inside to him ingnore me like this, because I don't know what I did wrong.?

    This was the worse Christmas ever. It was suppose to be our first one since we been dating, and he didn't even call or email me to say merry christmas. It hurted so, but I try to be strong about it, because I know that its his Bipolar causing him to act this way. I just don't know what to do anymore.?


     
    Old 12-26-2003, 05:44 AM   #12
    madlyinlove
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    Question Re: My Boyfriend is BP, How do I help him through this illness.?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MzKimberly1973
    Hi there:

    My name is Kimberly. I wrote because it is amazing how similar our situations are. I fell madly in love with my boyfriend who happens to be bipolar a few months ago, but I had never dealt with bipolar disorder and had no clue about it. He also lives in another town, which is very difficult because I can't see him very often. He is manic right now, crazy manic. Getting into all sorts of trouble, been thrown in 2 mental hospitals by the police, physically grabbing his parents when they try to help. He is totally out of control right now, but all I remember is the man i fell in love with. I know he is in there somewhere. The difference is that my boyfriend refuses to take meds right now and may refuse to take them even when he comes out of the manic episode. You are lucky that your's at least takes meds. It could be so much worse... anyway I just wanted you to know that you are not alone,

    Kimberly
    Hi Kimberly, its lovely to meet someone who is in the same situation as I am in. I also met my boyfriend a few months ago too. We clicked immediately together and he would email me 3 to 4 times each day. He is very romantic, and so tender and loving. Only when he goes into a depression or cycles, does everything change. My boyfriend is cycling right now which means that he has not spoken or emailed me in nearly a month. It is already hard and stressful when you are unable to see your boyfriend everyday, but when you dont even receive calls or emails, it is very lonely and depressing.

    How are you finding comucating with your Boyfriend, Kimberly.? Does he call you or email you regularly, or like mine when he is in a mood swing, does he ignore you completely.? I do hope that your Boyfriend is doing better, and that he does start to realize that he needs to take his medication to get better.?

    I have been crying contantly because I receive no contact from my boyfriend. I guess sometimes I am an overemotional person, when it comes to the people that I love the most. My head tells me that I deserve better treatment than this, that I should leave him and find someone else. But my heart is always winning and like you, all I can remember is the wonderful man that I fell in love with, and no matter what heartship comes our way, he will always be the ONLY man that I will always be madly in love with.

    Best of luck and I hope to be able to see you around here again for an update on how you are doing.! Merry Christmas


     
    Old 12-26-2003, 05:47 AM   #13
    HoosierBj
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    Re: My Boyfriend is BP, How do I help him through this illness.?

    During my more severe depressions it was all I could do to find the energy to get up and eat a piece of bread. A needs of a relationship can feel really overwhelming when the chemical imbalance has you on the downside.

    Please keep in mind that your boyfriends depression has absolutely NOTHING to do with his feelings for you. As women we're designed to interpret withdrawal as a lack of feeling.
    Not in this case!

    If he IS taking his meds properly it sounds like he needs to be encouraged to go back for some "tweaking". And, this is going to sound strange but you can actually add to his load when he is severly depressed with too many indications of concern. He doesn't have the energy or ability to respond, but knows that he should be able to. During a depression it is NOT a choice he making to not see you. It is an outcome of his chemical imbalance.

    Can you find some support near you? I am positive that there are bipolars and their families, AND their girlfriends nearby who (along with us of course) can kind of shore you up until things get better.

    And, that's the one guarantee you have - depression will not always be there... and it will be back....

     
    Old 12-27-2003, 12:59 AM   #14
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    Re: My Boyfriend is BP, How do I help him through this illness.?

    madlyinlove,
    HoosierBJ has a very good point, perhaps your BF is almost completely overwhelmed right now. Maybe he is even in the hospital and thus cannot read your emails. It sounds like all you can do is wait. The only other thing I can think of is that earlier you mentioned that he might feel at this point that he is "not good enough for you", but even in that case, since you say he has not contacted you, it seems like you may have to wait it out, if you can. Remember to also take care of yourself, you are not responsible for his disorder. Maybe there is counseling in your area for relatives, etc. of the mentally ill?

     
    Old 12-27-2003, 05:37 AM   #15
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    Re: My Boyfriend is BP, How do I help him through this illness.?

    All I can say is Bless you all for helping me through all this. I know I wouldn't be able to go through this alone if it weren't for all you lovely people on this board.! I can not thank you enough for your support.

    HoosierBJ, you were right. Women, at least this woman, was designed to think that withdrawal of feeling is rejection. I have only ever had one other past relationship before my Boyfriend with BP, and that person made sure I experienced a LOT of rejection.!

    When my Boyfriend and I got to know each other, I guess you could say he over spoilt me with affections, and now to not receive any at all,?...well naturally I would think the worst of it.!

    You know, never would I have thought that I could actually be adding to his stress by showing my concern so much.? I never thought of it that way before.? Thank you for pointing that out to me.

    Todder, thank you too for your support. I just worry so about my Boyfriend.? I have never been so deeply in love with a man before I meet him. I just want him to know how much I care for him so. And that he is not alone, for I'll always be there for him, no matter how long I have to wait for him.

    You are right too in saying that I need to take care of myself too. I admit that it has been weeks, since I've had proper sleep, as I am awake most of the night thinking about him. Worrying about him, missing him dreadfully.

    I've been trying to find some local support groups around where I live but so far to no avail.? I will keep on looking though.

    I remember the one phone call we had after I returned home, (the one I've mentioned before where he wanted to break up, because he felt worthless, which is absolute poppycock.! lol) and even though he was depressed, and somewhat reserved when he spoke to me....no matter how bad his mood disorder was affecting him as he talked, when we said goodnight, he still managed to say, "I Love You, Sweetie.!". It should have made me realise that even though he does not contact me now, that he does still love me.

    Two things I should mention, which I haven't because I was a little shy writing my problems so openly for everyone to see before, but My Boyfriend was married before. His 'ex' had hurt him very badly emotionally, which affected our relationship when we started getting to know each other. I'm sure that he is scared of getting hurted and used again, which is probably adding more to his stress and problems with his BP.? He has been seperated from her for over 2 years now, and he has gone for a divorce, but it won't be finalized for another 4 months yet. Maybe that is upsetting him also because he can not give me the home and relationship that we both want straight away.? Although I don't mind, for I love him and just want to be with him no matter what.

    Another thing to mention also, is that he is a father of 3 gorgeous little children. They and I have bonded completely and would happily accept me as their new mummy. The eldest even kept asking me when her Daddy and I were going to get married.! My Boyfriend loves his children very deeply and has worked so very hard to have full custody of them. Maybe he is also scared that if he moves out of his relatives house and go into rent so that we could be together, if things didn't work out for us, and we did split up, then he would not be able to manage on his own, and loose custody of them.?

    I love him so desperately, whoever said that love hurts was correct, I never have felt so much pain in my heart from loving one man before in my life.! It is bad pain when we are apart but wonderful pain when I am in his arms.
    Love is very complicated, more so when the one you love is Bipolar..!


     
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