Bipolar Disorder Community
Bipolar Relationships
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Bipolar Disorder is also known as "Manic Depressive Disorder". This forum is for questions and support for people with, or for loved ones of people with Bipolar Disorder. The forum covers topics ranging from Aggressive Behavior, Affect on friends and Family, Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Appetite Changes, Chronic Pain, Denial, Depression, Difficulty Concentrating, Euphoria, Guilt, Manic Depression, Medications, Mood Swings, Poor Judgment, and Sleep Disorders

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Bipolar Relationships

This might be a stupid question. But for those who have bipolar (like me) how are you able to have relationships. Me I have never been in one or in love, Just lust when those manic days hit and this cause me to try for a relationship for all the wrong reasons. So how are you able to do it.
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604331_tn?1220102810
I sympathise with you my friend I am 47 years old have had countless boyfriends and am incapable of having a loving relationship because im so insecure i ruin everything wish you were here so i could give you a big hug x I dont have a problem with men falling in love with me i just seem to mess it up when there isnt anything wrong . maybe im so aware that im different that i dont believe that someone could love me for who i am. I have bi polar trigiminal neuralgia and severe muscle spasms in back 2 gifted daughters  and my son is 18 profoundly brain damaged blind and epeleptic but i have been there for him for 18 years and im so worn out that i sometimes wish i could end it all but for the love of my son David i carry on but im exhausted lots of love to you my friend R os xxx
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Avatar_f_tn
Being bi-polar makes it really hard on a relationship. If you could get stable and not have ups and downs, it would surely make it easier. I was not diagnosed until late in life. Why I didn't completely break before I don't know. I was in my 40's. I can look back and see things I did that had I went to a doctor, I would have been diagnosed way before that. I went through quite a few relationships. I have been with my husband now, for near 21 yrs. now. Our 19 anniversary just past. I drank a lot for a few years, and actually think that got me through a lot of it in the first few years. I had a big episode about 10 years ago, which is when I found I was bi-polar. My husband told me he nearly left me. He said he thought about it, but then realized I needed him more than ever. I did. If I had not been blessed with a loving man with a dedicated heart, that had a deep love for me, I would have lost him. I don't know about others that have made it through a relationship, but I can say I met the right man that stuck beside me. I have been blessed.

I think we have a fear that we will do something wrong and get our hearts broke because inside we don't want someone to get that close. That is one thing we can control. So, we don't put feeling into the relationship or will find a reason to detach by doing something, or just breaking it off. I had a friend that I cared about like a sister. I would get an overwhelming feeling that I was going to do something to loose that friendship. I lost it. Everyone said it was her, but I don't know. I always wonder. I went to her when I knew our closeness was in trouble and asked her if I did something wrong that I didn't realize what I did. She said no, but our friendship stopped. It hurt me so bad that I haven't bothered to have any friend that I am close to anymore. I have some aquaintances, but no one close. It must be me. I guess bi-polar ups and downs are going to affect our relationships one way or the other. We don't want to say hey, I'm bi-polar, so excuse me if I offend you. People that aren't, mostly think we are crazy people and don't want to be around. Either way it is going to affect that relationship. It is like this, there are plenty of moody people that aren't bi-polar, and ones that feel superior, so we are not actually all that bad. They are just loosey people. We do have a actual diagnosed problem. They have no excuse. I try to control myself as much as I can around my husband. I do my crying, and try to get my depression out when he is at work or say I don't feel good and go to bed. I get hit with those short tempered, I don't care moods and I try to control them, but that gets me in trouble. He knows I can't help it, and it will pass, and I can say, I'm sorry just let me get through this and I will be okay. That wouldn't work in new relationships though. I guess we all wonder why us.
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301447_tn?1284331357
thanks so much for your responses. It has been truly helpful.
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212753_tn?1275076711
I have been married 23 years to my hubby as of this month on the 18th.
I was definatly bi polar when we married but we didnt kn ow there was a name for it. LOL
Hubby was the one who told me to get help and he would stick by me throught thick and thin.( and he has.) but if I didnt get help he was going to leave. So I really ,truly, love him so I got help.
Its been a wild ride that isnt over yet.Every day is a new adventure.
Love Venora
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Avatar_f_tn
I don't think I honestly will be able to maintain a relationship - I have been mostly single the last 10 yrs of my life - and when I have dated, my choices have been less then stellar . I'm wondering now that I know my behaviours and *own* them, will I have more success?  
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561706_tn?1333950874
I have had several good relationships with good men. Although I left two of them in impulsive tamtrums.  Looking back I was irritable and easily angered - symptoms of bipolar which I wasn't being treated for. I was married to a man who worked in the mental health field and loved me very much. But he was a very angry person and with my sensitivity I couldn't take it.  I also don't think my depression wasn't well controlled. I'm very insecure relationship-wise right now, but deep inside I know I have something to offer, despite my illness.
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607502_tn?1288251140
Its an interesting question - My wife did not know I was bipolar when we married because I was in denial and for 10 years we have known each other and 6 years of marriage everything was fine, I was under control and everything was normal - sure I had lots of energy all the time (hypomanic is my default state) and things hard to run to my routine and sure I was irritable and often easy to anger but that wasnt the bipolar I had been told about right?

Sure.  Then a year ago along comes circumstances and suddenly shes living with someone who is not only full tilt manic he's full tilt psychotic manic.  Things get better with medication and acceptance and now my life is back to normal most days however its not is it fellow bipolars..

My wife has borne a lot of this, partners do but you can hold down a relationship - the big key we have found is you must be open and honest about everything because there are 2 of you in the relationship not 1 - a lot of bipolar's I have met in various groups and counselling are on the selfish or self obsessed side, this isnt a bad thing because most of us just plain do not realise we are like that - if you look at your world you find all these structures you have in place to cope and survive and when those get messed with its a bad thing and so you become a bit selfish at times.

To make our relationship work we have had to work had on communication, my wife has read everything she can find on bipolar and we have had to work with the behaviours nor against them - as a partner she would say she has had to realise that I dont react to things like she does, little things can become big things very fast but I also have had to realise that little things don't need to be big things.

Its a 2 way street but believe me there are people out there who will love you for who you are, bipolar and all, make sure you are being true to yourself and understand yourself and keep at it - insecurity and lack of self confidence are common to us all, but you can find the right person.

Trust me being open and honest works because after 10 years its damn hard to admit to someone you love that you have tried to kill yourself before.. thats a hard pill for someone to swallow and i think most bipolar sufferers here who have been thru long periods of depression and major events will tell you that it can be just the tip of the iceberg.

Hang in there, find some positive people to talk to and trust in yourself - the most important thing I do every day is look in the mirror and remind myself I am a good person - its a little thing but you would be surprised how much it can help some days to look at the positive things in your life.
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Avatar_f_tn
Don't give up on having a relationship, they can work even with bipolar.  It does take a special kind of person to put up with us but there are patient and understanding people out there - and to look on the positive side we are a pretty quirky and interesting group!

Always be honest and true to yourself.

All the best.
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Thanks again to all of those who replied. I am even surprised that those who responded been in relationships for a long, long time. Even though in my manic phase I will make myself not to give in temptation and make myself well. Even though it is hard. Although the meds are not working right now I will not give up until I get the right ones so I can focus. I will not let this illness rule me, I will rule it.:)
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I just broke up a relationship two days ago of three years. We were going to move in together. He is ex military and very .....orderly as well as demanding, and overly positive. He is the boyfriend who finally brought me to the doctor to see if I could be "fixed" cause there was something wrong. But in the meantime, after being diagnosed, taking pills, joining this forum, buying books, doing all that I can, he doesn't think I am fighting it as hard as I can....and that this disorder is taking up too much room in our relationship. Then my I got told that my son meets alot of criteria for juvenile bipolar disorder so imagine him living with the two of us....so I was left depleted....thinking I will never get anyone again....this guy really didn't do much for my self esteem...he was so critical. I love him though.

Secondly, an old boyfriend....like when I was 18 and living on my own...or rather with him....contacted me recently....god love the Facebook eh...anyway..I took my chance and asked him how I was with him.....and his answer was that I was always extreme in my highs or lows but I was always supportive of him.....and in his eyes a sweetheart....so to try and get and get someone because they will be lucky...isn't that sweet? So I guess I can....i am very scared though....cause even my marriage was torn apart by this disorder and a manic phase.
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301447_tn?1284331357
Yes it do get difficult mainly because of the fact I do have trust issues, and I never been in love.
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553995_tn?1332022440
Hi everyone, I've been reading your posts and can identify with all that is said.  Meds that stabalize me have me bland.  When I am stable, such as now, the slightest wrong med for the other illness I have FM, can set off terrible intolerance in me.  

Zyrtec sent me into a wild manic phase that had me intensely verbal, and physically assertive. Thank God it only lasted three days.  

My husband spins not knowing what is the condition and what is me.  The answer, the condition is me.  Its me that has it.  If I'm intolerant, he gets nasty back.  I try to explain, it just explodes out of me, when he frustrates me, and he feels it isn't necessary. It isn't necessary, but it is what happens.  I don't like it.  But fighting back doesn't help.  I ask he understand.  I have a double whammy with the Fibromyalgia and bi polar illness.  Some days, weeks, I am cranky just because I'm sick of feeling sick.  

I like the manic phase too but the crash is the pits.  The problem with the manic phase is the plans I make like committing to doing a painting, then depression hits and it takes so long for me to pick up a paint brush. I lose people that way.  I do not want to do commissions anymore because of it and pain.

Follow through is my most difficult problem.  I cannot plan dinners, unless its for that day.

Effexor had me depressed for two years and with a headache.

Thanks for the thread





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Avatar_f_tn
I've been in two serious relationships.  Both of my partners were also bipolar. The first relationship ended after 8 years because he was abusive.  The relationship I am in now is one of understanding, communication, respect and love.  It can happen!
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301447_tn?1284331357
Thanks for sharing all your experiences with me. :)
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539694_tn?1298833732
It is possible to have relationships if you are bipolar or your partner is. Personally im only 19 so dont have decades of experience to speak of but over the last 5 years i have found it very hard to have any serious relationships. Bipolar doesnt just make you feel like **** it completely warps your perceptions and sense of reality and everything even your own thoughts seem to be going against you in every way.. you just need to remember things are slipping back.

If you feel like your worthless and wont ever have a relationship those thoughts will pass they always do with time, even if they come back they always pass. Have you ever told anyone you like that you are bipolar to see if they understand?
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i agree with bulldozer! it does take a very special person 2 deal with us. my husband has stayed with me thru drug addiction, bi-polar, depression, and we meet when i was 6 months preg and all alone. let me put it to u  this way when u meet the right one, and he sticks around no matter what, at least u know he loves u 4 u! ok just take it slow =)
                                                                                        *mare~bear*
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610665_tn?1237851648
Hi!
I have Bipolar also and fortunately for me I have a wonderful husband who has stood by through some pretty rough times.. I was first diagnosed when I had an episode and left him and soon after ended up in hospital... I have two beautiful children and I will never forget how it made them feel seeing me crazy and then ending up in hospital.  
I honestly believe you will one day meet the right person and they will love you for you. One thing you need to remember is that you are not "Bipolar" you are you!!! Bipolar is just a condition that you live with... and so you will live and share your life with someone one day and when the time is right.
One of our struggles is our intimacy, I don't have a sex drive, although I love him and want him and need him when it comes to it I feel tired and depressed and no energy which is weird because I really want to make love to him and often think about it but as I said doing it is just too hard....(I'm constantly thinking but I don't know what it is that I am thinking-go figure)  I'm attracted to him so I believe it is my condition (bipolar) so If anyone has an answer to that issue for me I would love to hear from them... Having Bipolar as part of your life is hard work but just like anything in your life you must work at it and never give up no matter what!!!!  My advice is to not tell someone that your interested in that you live with Bipolar and you make sure that you take your time and go slow and give a little bit more of yourself each time and when your ready, If the person really really likes you they will also live with you and Bipolar... I really feel for you and for everyone who lives with this condition may it be the person diagnosed or caring for. All I know is that we all need to talk about it more, support each other and ask lots of questions to truly understand this condition.
Take care xxx
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Avatar_f_tn
my flatmate has bipolar she is very up and down each day can be very different,
at first when she told me she had it i hadnt a clue what it was and never really thought much about it,then she started to change from the person i new and seen many times before into a stranger right infront of my eyes.
then thats when i realised that i had to read up on this bipolar disorder if we were to remain friends and carry on living together,so i went on the net and read everything about it i could find,im also doing a mini coarse witch only takes up 5mins of my time eachday,im really glad i started this as i understand my friend more and more everyday and the more i understand then its not such a big deal it is and always will be a big or even the main thing in our 2 lives,
the way i look at it is she has this disorder its not her fault. i new her a long time before she told me she had it.
if anything its made us closer,ive still got alot more to find out about it but while i am finding out all i can do is be understanding and a bit patient at times,
because shes worth it and she dose give alot back to me in return when she can and i can see that.
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553995_tn?1332022440
Where can I find this mini course.  I'm bi polar and understand myself but I have a sister in law who is bi polar, not on the correct meds and very destructful to people around her.  She lashes out in paranoia, reads and rips up the families mail, suffocates my brother who still loves her dearly, and has alienates her children who are all between the ages of 19 and 24 and leaving the home, gladly. Every holiday she ruins the occasion by causing a scene.  I had Christmas by my home last year and asked my Brother if he would see if she would like to stay home.  Thinking maybe it is too much for her, maybe that is why she looses it, EVERY TIME.  She was glad to, she prefers to be by herself.  I do to, but she more so because she refuses to see a dr. and get on anything but Zoloft.  

Sorry, Started to vent....This has been for 17 years, I miss who she was.  
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I Honestly beleive from my experience and perhaps it is where I am from, but no course will have the answers to bipolar! For example "phtartist" you said you have the condition also and understand it but are trying to understand it for your sister in law?? I believe that once she has truly excepted the fact she has bipolar then she will want to really get help.
It is certainly a hard condition to except and I know myself that at times I question whether I really have this or not and as soon as I am I find myself going down a bad road again. I need to remind myself that and look at what is important and why I have been given this condition and how I can help others to help them selves. It is really hard to watch someone that your really care about in denial or out of control but you know what if your also suffering from this I suggest you make sure you are free from any stress and concentrate on being well and if this means you need to exclude her from family gatherings then so be it, I know I sound harsh ! I honestly believe when we are ready to be helped we can and will be helped.... I hope this helps anyone who feels that they are beating themselves against a brick wall. One of the hardest parts of living with Bipolar is you never know what mood you will wake up in and the constant brain overload, each day you take one step at a time and do the best you can, remind yourself that there is so much to live for and wouldn't it be rewarding to accomplish something even if it were to be minor. I woke up this morning and felt like ****, thought about staying in bed all day and felt if anyone was to bother me I would do something horrible, I talked to myself and went through what else I could do and came up with put the washing on, go for a walk with the dog and if the family wants to come then great if not I'm still going... Then I hit a brick wall then what do I do? Well I am choosing to not go back into bed and waste and give into this condition because I have two children who need me and you know what scares me a real lot??? That one day they may suffer from this condition and I won't be able to help them unless they are able to help themselves too... That will brake my heart and I possibly could go backwards myself. As you can see I ramble a lot but hey it helps me....
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549637_tn?1316709428
Hi.  I haven't been diagnosed with bi polar but I do have sever depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder and other mental illness symptoms/problems.  I struggled with relationships for years and then I finally married my best friend who knew how screwed up I am and still wanted to make a life with me.  We are going on 15 years of marriage and it hasn't been all a cake walk but It is more good than bad and he is a wonderful man.  I believe there is someone out there for everyone and you can make it work if it's what you want.  Good Luck and God bless
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553995_tn?1332022440
I like when someone knows what they're talking about and cuts all the **** out.  

What you wrote me is exactly correct.  I guess, for me it is hard to see my brother and everyone else walk around her on eggshells.  She feels closest to me but close to her is six feet away with caution.  I get that.  

She did get treatment once, put herself in a mental hospital.  I went every day to their home and took care of their four kids.  Now, off proper meds, on Zoloft, she knows she is sick, she is not in denial she is bi polar. Her GP told her to see a psychiatrist for the right meds and therapy but she is afraid  to face the sexual abuse of her childhood in therapy, so she won't go.  I'm the only one who knows this. She swore me to secrecy.

Were not all the same, that is why I was interested in the mini course.

My cycles were not rapid for years. Just recently I noticed what you pointed out. I wake up not knowing what state I will be in.  I find I hate quickly, then feel warm and fuzzy an hour later.  That I would say is very fast cycling.  
Does stress bring on different forms of bi polar illness?  I was level for three years.



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Completely agree with you - I really worry when I see courses that promote having all the answers, it irritates me almost as much as the "healers" who claim you can cure bipolar if you follow their special diet/herbal plan/meditation routine.  You cant get all the answers from a book and no one can cure bipolar.

Don't get me wrong there's nothing wrong with yoga, herbalists or anything else that works to help you but if ANYONE offers you a cure for bipolar run away - chances are theyre motivated by money and praying on people's gullibility.

Yes it takes a special person to live with bipolar but its also a 2 way street - I have to understand my wife is dealing with a lot as much as she has had to learn I am not always as much in control as I wish - right now my wife's father is dying of cancer and thats a hard thing for both of us but relationships are like that and they take work.

After years of counselling and knowing other mentally ill people I thing there are some simple relationship dont's - stay away from people who want to fix you, stay away from people who are more interested in the disease than the person, if someone seems too good to be true be carefull as often they can be and most of all be open, honest and yourself with people - I have a friend of mine who has BPII who hid it from her boyfriend until after they married and I watched it destroy the marriage - he didnt mind the disease but he could not get over her lying to him for 6 years - honesty is the only policy.

If someone cannot love you for what you are then to be frank from where I sit theyre not someone you want in your life.
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553995_tn?1332022440
I'm learning so much wisdom from both of you.  I've been alone in this illness since I was told I had it back in 1995.  I blamed it on alcohol withdrawel and the dr. not taking that into consideration.  Since then I have been on a roller coaster of meds some helping, some irritating, some depressing me.  Any new Psy. that I went to, who expressed that I was bi polar, I would beg to throw away my records and start from scratch since I was sober for awhile, years at times.

Long story, probably a familiar one, after recently reading in depth and accepting that the symptoms fit and its not just the switching of meds  but that the meds don't work, I am bi polar.  Which one, ?.  Does it matter ?  I knew I was because I was given Topamax for migraines and it is the most stable I have been in a long time.  Inside me.  I worked forever to know what a calm feeling felt like.  That in itself, was stressful.

I was thinking of you the minute I woke up this morning BP13.  I awoke and thought what are my inside like this morning.  I am pretty good today.  Yesterday I was cranky (a kind word) like you I ignored it and moved forward going out with my husband. I was kind biting my tongue and trying my best to be appropriate.  I hit my knee awful hard on a thick branch of a bush, which sent pain shock throughout my body. This I handled, even my husband laughing as he asked if I was alright. I was OK.  Later I showed him my leg through my pants and asked how he could laugh.  It was funny was his response.  I was in a better frame of mind by then.

I was fine until I was stagnant in the evening and I also felt his boredom.  I think I will start to write down these triggers.

Monkeyc, I read many of your comments prior to coming into this community, that is why I tried to connect here.  Thank you for your contributions.

Would you please answer my question that I asked in a previous post,  it is: Does stress bring on different forms of bi polar illness?  I was level for three years.

To explain - I have constant pain from FM, and my daughter is getting married in 4 weeks.

I feel the fright and flight feeling ofter and anxiety is often.  I know there is nothing to fear logically but my mind fights me on this logic.

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Hi Phtartist,
I can only answer what i know from my experience and that is stress for me triggers me off and I can become unwell.  I must remind myself when times are stressful that It will be alright and what is the worse thing that can happen (is it really worth stressing over) enjoy it instead and take it in as slowly as you need to, if I feel like I am going to become out of control, I will stop and talk to myself and calm myself down... I have made some real big changes to my life over the years and some involved family members who I have had to let go of and  focus on what is best now for my direct family, which is my husband and 2 kids.  I put so much stress on my marriage consistently complaining, blaming and going on about my family probs to my husband to the point it all got to him and he felt that I did not care about us and focused more on my issues with them.........
I look back  and I enjoy my life now than back then, I was so up and down and never knew what was wrong with me, When I had my daughter I ended up in hospital for months after, (psychotic episode)  which they put down to post natal depression psychosis. Once I became more stable they allowed my daughter to stay with me whilst in hospital... Eventually when we got out I had mood swings and so on but it wasn't till my daughter was 6 did I then have another psychotic episode which she witnessed along with my son who was 4yrs old at the time, I woke up in the hospital and felt my world had turned upside down and everyone else were wrong and mean.  That was when I was diagnosed with Bipolar..... Lucky for me I had been seeing a psychiatrist since I was 18 for depression and I continue to see her still... The funny thing is she never diagnosed me in all that time of seeing her and I felt cheated because how can a doctor who has only met me for such a short time be able to say "yep this is what you have" and my own Doc could not??? Because My Doc never saw that side to me and I have only had two psychotic episodes... But she always said to me in our sessions together that I am an extreme person, their is no middle for me, I am either one or the other, I never understood what she meant until now!!! Bipolar (one extreme to the other)  I now that she worked very careful with me and still does. I guess that is why she is the psychiatrist and I am the patient... I have learn' t how to control my bipolar and it is to make sure I am not stressed out and when I find I am, I need to stop and take in some breathing space from what ever it is that is making me feel this way, I must not blame anyone as I control how It effects me.  I know that I have really hurt people along the way and I would love to do  "my name is Earl" and write a list of all the people I have hurt or been really mean to and say "Sorry"  I reckon I would feel much lighter.... I Don't have answers for anyone and we are all different and what works for me may not work for the next person, I get that.. But I enjoy being positive and I know it helps me to stay focused and even though I wake up most mornings not wanting to do anything, I need to think of something even if its minor, I need to keep active as much as it is hard and I need to have a purpose....
My Job is such a challenge for me and I know that it is also a huge part of me staying well, I know it is important to be honest and what I wrote about meeting someone and not letting them know at first that you live with bipolar I still agree with that because there will come a time when that is needed to be said and that time is between those two people, not telling someone and marrying them is just plain crazy and certainly not going to work... But you know what??? Not one person at my work knows that I have this condition and I feel that there is no need to let them know, because if I do I know I will fall into a horrible place and start to use my condition as an excuse for not being the best I can.... I am also scared of peoples reaction and whether they will still talk to me the same or will I get the sack.... silly hey?

Well I am sure your daughters wedding will be lovely,this is a beautiful time for you all.. Stressful I am sure too. stay cool  and what ever the day brings whether it brings everything you planned or some surprises even hiccups make sure you enjoy every moment and remember this is her day!!!! Your very lucky to have a daughter who is getting married and she is lucky to have a mother like you who is their for her....

Take care
bp13 xxxx
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Today I woke up and felt loving.  I have something to look forward to, it is my birthday, I love my birthday.  

I could not wait to get on Medhelp to read either yours or Monkey's response today. Many of your words hit me where I needed to hold me up and keep me bright.

I do live in my life now and work hard to live in the day.  I must not be doing a very good job of  living in the day.  I always say acceptance is the key.  I accept the bi polar diagnosis, I accept that I am a recovering alcoholic, for a grateful 15 years, I accept that I have Fibromyalgia, with distain. What has me so damned stressed is the disappointment of how I have let myself morph into how I am today.  Maybe despite those odds, I could have still been a model, but my activity was stolen from me. I'm having trouble accepting me. I'm ashamed of what I'm presenting at the wedding.  I could care less if the whisper is "oh my she is chunky" . The ones that love me don't care and understand, the ones that would say that I would not do tea with anyway. LOL

I think I need to see a therapist again.  These are issues to work out seriously with a mind doctor.

There is a Father Martin that does a series of "Chalk Talks"  and one of them is "Detach with Love".  This talk helped me detach from my family many years ago. I had to cut the perverbial umbilical cord because I was too dependant upon their opinions and demands.  Same as you they were affecting my husband and I by affecting me.

With the FM I have become so ill that I had to break away even further. Due to the illness I became mentally worse.  Physically I could not perform visiting rituals. Even though very difficult due to others balking.   These things all worked to free me from the bondage of others.  Christmas is still a tough one.  My sister in law has been asking me to do it, I'm the lesser of two evils, here.  We are the only one's in the family with houses.

It may sound strange but all these contributed to my learning more about me, than if I remained attached.  They facilitated my freedom.

Well, I think I will treasure the certain phrases that you wrote me today and print them for in my studio. They will remain private, simply the phrases, next to some manic paintings, LOL  hahaha.
Thank you.  
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Stress is a contributor to me, its what brought my BP back to the surface - My Psych likens it to a bottle, it can only hold so much liquid before it over flows : often people live with an amount of stress in their lives which is fine but add in some more stressors and things cascade.

I ran naturally hypomanic so I was always on a bit of a manic edge, the problem is I work in a high stress environment and job and that means Iam surrounded by long work hours and stressful situations which I really enjoy.  Until things build up.  In my case it was massive workload, a major project, travel and a wife with a father who was diagnosed with terminal cancer while i was a long way away - those things built up and bam im full tilt manic.

IMHO Stress management is very very very important for BP sufferers - its the number one coping skill to learn because its key to coping with things before they get to the stage where you need drugs - I have a psychologist who drew me a diagram sort of like this looking at how most patients she saw coped with stress and loads :

*Normal ability to cope
*
*
* Impaired ability to cope but can cope within normal frameworks
*
*
* Alcohol
*
*
* Drugs (diazepam etc)
*
*
* Hospitalisation
*
*
* Suicide.

Thats very simple but what she was saying is its important to catch it at the coping within framework stage and that means catch the stress levels when they can be dealt with by your own learned skills - many BP's have things they do for releasing tension or things they can do : it might be taking a walk or listening to a song (i like comfortably numb for that) or it might be any number of things : for a suprising number apparently masturbation can be very effective (especially where hypersexuality is a symptom) but whatever the key is changing the things that are going on by modifiying the behaviour before you need to move onto other things - Alcohol tends to be first and its bad for BP's due to the propensity to addiction not to mention its a depressant - And if you are on Lithium like I am its something to be very carefully watched.

Diazepam is actually not a bad drug, its not as addictive as the medical community like to make out but it is habit forming and its a crutch - I take benzo's as needed fo anxiety and temaz for sleep when needed - the best thing is to get to the point whre you can learn coping skills without them.  I trust the hospitalisation and other option are self explanatory but I will say that at least in Australia there's nothing wrong with admitting you cant cope and need a break for a while but then again we have a free or mostly free healthcare system.

Stress is part of BP and I believe and have seen things over the years in my life and others than if you are BP and undiagnosed stress in high enough doses can bring i to the fore.

Sorry for the long post.

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I have been with my husband for 10 years now and we have 3 kids.  I only have episodes when big events happen in my life.  He understands and is obviously the more stable one, which is what I need.  I am mainly normal with a little mania which he accepts and then a few crashes here and there.  It took a while for him to understand what was going on with me.  He kept wondering why I wasn't like any one else for a few years.  And just recently when I got back on meds and the therapist told him point blank that I will always be this way and always have to be on meds, did he really accept that I am bipolar.  
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Very Helpful, and appreciated.  

It needed to be the length it was, it was not too long.
I have to look up IMHO stress management. Thanks also for that info.

Here in the U.S. once you are sick, even when your better, the cloud always hangs over you.  A simple thing like someone actually does **** you off, is interpreted as its not them, its you losing it again.  Your screwed for life.  You're even treated as if your intelligence has lessened. I'm freakin depressed people, not stupid!  Thank God my Dr.s regard me as an intelligent woman and respect my word and information, verbatim.

I'm off to look up IMHO, thanks again Monkeyc



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Facing childhood sexual abuse is hard.  I have recently (after being nagged by husband and friends) started the journey of addressing the extreme sexual, physical and mental abuse i dealt with as a child.  It is so dang scary but I am doing it.

Also, I totally agree with what you said to Monkeyc when you said: "Here in the U.S. once you are sick, even when your better, the cloud always hangs over you.  A simple thing like someone actually does **** you off, is interpreted as its not them, its you losing it again.  Your screwed for life.  You're even treated as if your intelligence has lessened. I'm freakin depressed people, not stupid! "

I am going through that right now, it's like others around me won't allow me to get better and just have normal bad days or just feel angry like a normal person does once in a while!
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Some people use us to make themselves guilt free.

When someone with me is a completely frustrating person and I have a problem with them, I've had them cop an attitude with me and tell me its not them, its me having a bad day.  I'm told my thinking is off.  

I am intelligent enough to step back, think it through, maybe even discuss the altercation with another neutral party.  I've done this enough to know that I have not lost my mind, literally.  I'm just being used as a scape goat for other people's short comings.

My best defense is no defense.

  I tell people if they need to feel better by making me seem like my mind isn't working correctly, they need to look at themselves..

The original issues are not important.  People will always try to disarm us with verbal attacks at our  abilities.  People are weak, they need someone weaker to make them feel stronger.

Think like this next time people are around you acting as if you are the fly on the wall.
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Hi!
I Remember when I was Diagnosed with Bipolar and wanted to know as much as possible about it and almost tried to see if perhaps they had the diagnosis wrong.
What really annoyed me was a site like this certainly was not accessible and I came across some site (can't remember the name) but wanted money for the course and it claimed to know how to help people who had the condition or cared for someone with.. Stupid me prov my email address so for ages I continued to receive emails hassling me to buy this coarse that they could download for me and send it by email....
Now to me I felt why should I pay for something that claims to help me when one of the conditions of bipolar is spending money and spiraling into sprees...
I also wondered how could someone prey on the vulnerable (which I was) and if they knew how to help why not just do that? Let me make my own mind up to work out if the help was any good.. I could go on and on but I won't.

Anyway I know for me I enjoy reading other peoples ways of coping and what they go through as this helps me to understand this more and more..

I am really sorry to hear that your Father in law is going through this cancer, I know if this was happening to me I would not know how to cope....
Take care
bp13 xxx
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Simple answer is I am not coping, The reality is (and I am sure others out there are the same) that Im not good at dealing with other people being over emotional now - i shut down and thats hard on a wife so you try to be there but emotionally youre not if you see what I mean - its a hard thing because Ive found I do not control it, it just is.

Im just trying to stay sane and out of hospital right now and stop myself giving some of her family the mouthful they so deserve - it takes adults to really point out how mature small children are sometimes.

Every day is another day.  Thats my mantra in the end.
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Your comments are right on in so many ways - you help a lot of people.  

I know about the emotional thing - avoid it like the plague, myself.

I have been thinking about one thing a lot since diagnosis - since I have suffered with this in some way since childhood, been medicated for 20 years (half of my life) for depression instead of bi-polar, do I know what "personality" I have - what if the personality after treatment makes me someone I can't stand?  Is that stupid?  Since being on Lamactical for awhile, I am somber - quiet, people REALLY get on my nerves easy.

Has anyone had an identity crisis?  I wonder since I don't know this stuff, and also, how will I be able to trust my attractions to anyone or even know what interest I (the real me) will have?

BP is weird.
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After I got out of hospital I changed big time!
I was so scared of being my normal self (what is that anyway) and I became very quiet..
It has been 3years now since I have been in hospital and it is only now that I have come out of my shell. I am taking Valpro and zoloft... I too was diagnosed with depression for years and was only on zoloft...

Sometimes I stop and ask myself if I have wiped out the real me and If I will ever be able to cope without these meds.

Last year My doc and I tried to ween me off the valpro to see how I would go and all was ok for the first week or so and then I felt so much anxiety and decided to not come off it.  I hate the fact I am putting on so much weight due to the meds and I feel it slows me down..

I use to be ok chatting with people and meeting new people but now I become anxious and I feel I almost come across as a weird sort to other people.

I would love to come off  the valpro one day! I wonder if I am addicted to it psychologically and that is why I become anxious.... (who knows)

I often feel and friends have said to me that I have changed and that I am a lot more quieter than before, but my husband feels that I have become more stable and not so impulsive... I certainly miss my loud days but not the impact it had on my life.

Identity crisis? Yes, I fight with myself about who I really am and if these meds have taken over my personality...
One day you will be able to trust your attractions but you need to make sure that you are in a good place and trust the people around you that now you and your behavior and take some time out for you, don't concentrate on finding someone special, concentrate on what makes you feel special and start to enjoy the things you like to do or once like doing... The hardest part to that is doing it... yes BP is weird.

Take care
bp13 xxx
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I was once asked , because I raised a question about not coping when someone else is going through tough times... especially the ones who are close to me. I wanted to know why my daughter does not accept that I may be feeling sick (cold/flu/headache,etc) but my son is the opposite he will make sure I am ok and will put a blanky on me and get me drink (so adorable) yet my daughter will demand more of me than normal..
Someone asked me if it was because in her eyes I am very important to her and she needs to know and see that I am ok and by demanding more from me rather than allowing me to rest and get better it assures her little mind that I will be here and nothing is wrong... Does this make sense?
So this made me think about it and I realised  that I too am similar, I need to know that the people I care about will still be here and they are ok and as soon as they are not I find I make matters worse by almost to the extreme of pushing them away...

You both will get through this and it sounds to me that your partner is a very special person and understands you quiet well... vice versa.  

Take care
bp13 xxx
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Thank you so much!  Boy, somedays, I feel like a (my therapist says to quit saying this...) a NUT JOB!  It's been very much a relief to get the diagnosis finally, and also, scary.  I actually had a "friend" tell me that he thought the whole depression thing was just a pity party, and he didn't think that I had real issues because I was a typically upbeat person.  I told him - YEAH, because you only are ALLOWED to see me in the manic side - that sides WONDERFUL!  Needless to say, we don't talk much anymore.

I am the same way about not coping well with someone else going through hard times.  My sister was having some pity parties (she is the typical Middle Child - Marsha Marsha Marsha [Brady Bunch] type), and I just told her I couldn't deal with her things right now.  She was furious, but I decided that it's time to be a little selfish and take care of myself.

Yeah, I don't really look for anyone in a relationship.  I don't think I am anywhere ready for that - plus my REAL friends tell me that they will smack me if I get involved with anyone.. LOL.  I am trying to focus on things I have always wanted to do and figure out "who" I am and enjoy my kids and just be blessed by getting help.  PLUS, in the past, I have had a hard time letting go of past relationships - my exes say I am the best ex-girlfriend in the world - stay friends, etc. (not hard when you don't invest a lot of yourself into it...).

Anyway, I am RELIEVED that I have my diagnosis.  Dealing with the "quietness" I am experiencing - it's a lot different.  People around me are confused because I am not the jibber jabber of the manic person - they think I am mad..   One of my real friends told me the other day that he couldn't remember sitting and watching a movie with me without me talking talking talking or getting up and doing stuff the entire time.  I like the quiet (except for that wonderfully constant noise in my head - audio commentating or songs) that I have now.

Thanks again for the insight.  

:)
Rach
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My psychologist hates the word normal - I tell her I don't feel normal and she asks me to define normal and I have not yet ever been able to because normal is what works for you.

Coping skills vary, I know from where I sit I have good times and bad times and its often related to stress in my life.  Often its hard to see it coming and then when it hits you find yourself in the middle of a mess.

My wife and I have learned a lot along the way and one of the major things I cling to is the basic lesson any psych or therapist should tell you upon diagnosis - "Be true to yourself" - if you can be honest with yourself about who you are and how you feel every day then you can face just about anything I have found.

RE: Cowgirlnerd - Isnt Diagnosis a wonderful relief !  That moment of having an answer, of realising that you are not just 'Crazy' but that there is a reason for why you feel the way you feel is amazing - suddenly you have permission to admit to yourself that you are what you are inside.  Its a funny thing to have that and yes the drugs make such a difference - right before I had to finally admit i was Bipolar (couldnt run from it anymore) i was seriously manic, i had been cycling rapidly for months sometimes daily and sometimes more often and my mania was approaching pyschoses at times - I was terrifyingly paranoid and I know about jibber jabber trust me.  I was ironically working massive hours and achieving like no toomorow because I had all this energy..

I actually started Lithium and things did not change much, I have diverticulitis among other stomach and bowel issues and it turned out I was not absorbing so I was manic all the time.  Then I went and had surgery and 8 weeks leave.  I came back calm and in control and people didn't know what to think - It was so much fun.

Im glad to read what you wrote, Its how I feel most days though I cant kill the noise in my head, I still have the messy thoughts a lot but Ive learned to work with them and its not a problem as long as I sleep - I found my brain too flat when the meds killed all the thoughts in my head and decided with my psych that if thats healthy im staying a little unhealthy for now.
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It was a relief - it's so funny, and my friends don't understand that comment.  They are like, OMG, arent you TERRIFIED!?!?  I have told them, terrifying is not knowing why you do things you are doing, can't stop doing them, and feeling like a degenerate  because you can hear the things you do and say and can't stop it.

I told a friend of mine recently that it was kind of like the movie "Fight Club" with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton.  Through the WHOLE MOVIE, you don't realize that those 2 people are the same person and at the end, when you see that they are, you say, "OH, that makes sense why he did/saw those things!"  Not to say that I was violent or anything, but it's like watching 2 different people at times, and think - good grief, what is "she" thinking!  

Yep, the meds are like turning on a light for me.  I am going toward the 200mg mark on Lamicital, and the pdoc is looking at the addition of an antidepressant, but has to get me stabilized on the the Lamacital first, he says.  

My mania was at the psychotic stage over the last year.  I lost one of my best friends to suicide and it just sent me spinning.  I honestly don't think I slept for 3 months - my eyes were closed a lot, but didn't sleep.  I was already in a manic episode, but that really did me in.  

It's weird to talk to my family though.  They are a very much "pick yourself up by the boot straps" kind of Southern family, and since my diagnosis, my Mom seems to distance herself from me.  Like she's to blame.  I know that my genetics and upbringing are a part of my bipolar - and I understand with my boys that I don't want to harm them from mistakes I have made (hopefully), so I understand her but it hurts a little.  ....ok, a lot.  She's always like, "Honey, just raise your hand and praise Jesus, for all you have and don't let the devil come into your heart with those bad feelings!"  That makes you feel good - now I have the devil in me!  Whatever.  

Anyway, thank you for your insight.  After reading the blogs on here, yours is one of my favorites.  You are so honest in your words.

Rach
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Thank you all for your comments. You guys are the best
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I've had two long term relationships one lasted 3.5 years and the other
I'm in now about 8-9 months.
Its possible to have a relationship with bipolar
you just need to find someone who accepts you for you.
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When were you able to know you found that person and trust them enough to open up to you?  Sorry if I am being personal.
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ok well recently I met a guy who is VERY easygoing and logical in his thoughts...
How did I know I ofund the right person?????
You can never really be 100% certain
But a sign that your in the right direction is when you care about the other person's welfare enought to compromise...and that your goal in the relationship is not entire based on what you want but also fulfilling what they want
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I've been diagnosed with schizophrenia and am not entirely socially competent and have had abuse that makes it really difficult to form a real relationship as well as form feelings for someone and have only really had one long term relationship.  It happened entirely against all odds as well because she was pissed enough to hate me although she tends to hate people easily after I found out later and she also has the same problems there when forming relationships but in a different form.  I've been on a few dates before but they never went anywhere.  I miss some social cues such as ones that are supposed to show you a person is interested in you so it comes across to me like no one is interested in me which as you can imagine is probably like wtf when you go from that to them wanting your number for example.  I don't know how to describe how it is when you love someone.  I don't believe love is an emotion and people rather mistake an emotional high for it a lot of times because I'm emotionally numb but still can love someone.  I think maybe it has to do with the amount you care about a person such as if you're willing to give or risk your life or personal security for them.
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It's also hard even for "normal" people to form an everlasting relationship that lasts as a forever marriage because it's like only 0.01% of the people out there will work that way for you and everyone else.  Just look at how many divorces there are these days now that human rights have advanced since the past.
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Well, I am bipolar and my partner has schizophrenia which severely affects his social functioning, and against the odds we are making the relationship work. He shares many of the problems you experience, but despite this has he helped me more than he will ever know. So don't write a relationship off, you just need someone who understands you and accepts you for who you are, and there is someone out there just like that, so don't give up!!
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Thanks for the encouragement, I knew that was true with what you said, it's just going to take a while.
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I think the thing about relationships is if you try to force yourself to find someone you never will. You just have to live your life and let nature take it's course. The right person comes along when you are not looking for them. It is sort of like boiling water. If you stand there and stare at the pot, it never seems to happen.
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I am 23 and was diagnosed a few years ago. I absolutely understand the fear of telling someone you like that you have Bipolar Disorder, to be honest before I was diagnosed I think knowing that some guy I liked had Bipolar Disorder would influence my decision about being in a relationship with someone.

I kind of liked this one guy last year and over the summer I started acting "funny"; sending overemotional emails that weren't really reflective of how I thought/felt. I have an awesome family and they quickly noticed I wasn't acting myself; I was in hospital and my medication was changed (which was fantastic!). Probably too soon afterwards, I told him about the diagnosis and things quickly dissolved. I think if I were just acting like myself things would have played out very differently.

When I was first diagnosed I thought that this was a death sentence to a life of singledom but I find my strength in God. Honestly, 1 Peter 2:7 is a verse that came to mind the other night "give all your cares to Him because he cares for you". I want to be in a healthy relationship one day and I trust God with my life. I saw a counsellor a couple of years ago as well and she said that as soon as I was seriously dating someone that I could just bring him in and she could explain a little bit about the disorder and how to deal with it. I have a fantastic doctor and really good friends and family so I think whomever I end up with will have support to know if I am acting weird or off.  
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it's hard to come to terms with something that I mistook for a quirky and moody personality.
I have always been very energetic, and used to blame my lows on boredom.
The energy became less and it came in bouts as time went by.

Last year I quit drinking as it was only causing trouble in my life. It was then that I realised, I'm still feeling very bad, and I'm not hung over.
I actually felt depressed, tired, drained and physically ill.
felt so bad, I thought I had a disease like cancer.

This concerned me as I always viewed myself as an energetic person.
After numerous visits to my GP and tests, etc, the doctor mentioned that I may have to start medication for anxiety.
I saw a psychiatrist, who diagnosed me with BP.
I must say, my quality of life and my relationships have vastly improved.
Still have that feeling of 'what's it all for', but we are still tweaking the meds.
It was really strange for me to realise that all my past behaviours, linked up to BP.
I wish I was diagnosed earlier.
It would have saved a lot of friendships, and embarassment.
I am with a wonderful man, he is understanding, I just feel it is so unfair to him, that he's married to me having BP, I feel bad that I didn't figure it out before we got married so that he could have made a more informed decision
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Well, you say that if you knew earlier that he could have made a more informed decision. But that's not how love works. If you love someone for real, then it really doesn't matter if you have an illness. What if you did have cancer? Would that have been more or less fair? We live the life we are given and the people we have are who we need to make it through, and they're the ones who need us, too. It's a circle.

So, it is better to be greatful for your husband than to regret that he's not with someone without BP. I know I am greatful for my husband. I'm just glad I have someone who can stand my craziness. :)
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Thank you Xila. Your words have helped me a lot.

I didn't know I had a condition, I always blamed it on circumstances. Then one day, when I realised i couldn't have asked for a better life,.. But I was still depressed.

And my happy self disagreed with my unhappy self. So much so that I would have x2 different opinions about the same thing from one moment to the next.
That's when I realised something was up, and linked all my highs and lows.

My life was very unstable, we moved house alot, my parents divorcing and remarrying, changing schools every year (because of all the moving around), new friends all the time.
After school I travelled, moved here, moved there, moved jobs - so I couldn't really see a pattern amidst all the commotion.
I also never really had friends long enough that they would notice (I think) The one or 2 that did notice, were quickly discarded from my friends list - as "they are just being mean and my paranoia was perfectly reasonable"

Thank you, writing to you has given me insight on why I never noticed a pattern before.
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Well, it makes sense that you wouldn't notice because bipolar peole tend to jump around a lot. The second I thought I was too good for a job (grandiosity) because I was a genius, and geniuses don't work retail, I would quit. Or, other similar reasons. I jumped from job to job, then I would say, "I'm not a job hopper. I had every good reason to leave that job." >.> Everyone labeled me as irresponsible, even though at the same time I attended school and was never late and had straight As. (Of course I would always drop 1 class every semester, it never failed, so it was there, too.) So people would say I was lazy. No one ever thought to say, maybe something else is going on here. Never.

So, don't feel bad. I was suicidal and everything and somehow I made it through. I think a lot of us never caught it sooner. And all of my ex-friends I had them for 10 years or more, (ex because I finally came to realize what horrible and abusive people they really were, and not due to me being paranoid.)
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yes im the same way..when im high i can talk the talk..when i come down there wanting me,,but i chicken out..bipolar and relationships wont work wile im not medicated..but if someone is in one already it does ok i guess is what i heard..
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This is a real light bulb era for me!
If anyone would care to share examples of behaviours that you have displayed, please do?
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I understand that it's difficult being with someone who is suffering from Bi-Polar disorder, especially if they are not taking their medications, seeing their psychiatrist and doing the proper maintenance that is required for the disorder.
I have been diagnosed with Bi-polar disorder and borderline personality disorder for five years, since I was 18. I work for Addictons and Mental Health so I understand these comments concerning this disorder from both perspectives but I have recently been in a situation that I haven't encountered, personly, and would like some imput.

I have been with my boyfriend for two years now. We work together and deal with similar situations. He is not Bipolar but he does deal with Depression, anxiety and OCD. He is also seven years older than me (I know, there's alot of factors going against this relationship to begin with) and has recently said to me that he needs space because he cannot deal with my Bi-polar. We are still together, and he tell me he loves me all the time, but he would just like us to see each other less outside of work. I appreciate him being honest with me, as we have been very close and honest throughout our relationship seeing how we both have mental health issues, but it leaves me wondering... If he can't deal with my Bi-polar disorder now, should I even remain in the relationship? He said that if I didn't have this disorder that "I would be perfect for him and would have no complaints". But now he wonders that if the costs out weigh the benefits of our relationship, the costs referring to my conditions.

This conversation stemmed from a rare arguement we had this weekend, where he got so messed up at a party that I had to say something, which eventually just turned into an episode.

What makes the situation even more difficult is that he does have several substance abuse and self medicating problems (I know, ironic as we both work in the Addiction Services and Mental health field) and suffers from periodic bouts of severe anxiety and depression. He also does not take his medication and has not seen help for the past year.

Normally, I would completely understand him wanting space: we work together, have similar friends and my condition can be frustrating when I have low moments. But we have never had a fight or argument before this (I understand that arguments and fights are healthy, but it's almost eerie how we get along). I haven't had a manic incident in over a year, besides this weekend, as I seek help and taking my medication regularly as well as balance it with exercise and diet. No one actually knows of my conditions except for family, my boss and my boyfriend, as my manic episodes have been few and far between and I would rather not dicuss this with family members.

I'm suspecting he may be putting his issues and anxieties that he has onto myself but I don't want to come to that conclusion until I am certain (that is why I would like some feedback). I have had boyfriends leave me before due to my conditions but at those times, it was understandable. I was young, not taking my medication regularly (trust me, it makes a difference) and was having manic and low moments regularly. I have made alot of progress from 3-4 years ago and grown personally able to be on my own comfortably.

If I could get some feedback, that would be greatly appreciated. I guess what I am asking for feedback on is should I give him space or just let him go? If he can't deal with my Bi-Polar disorder now, what would be the point of continuing a serious relationship as he will continue to become discouraged with my conditions and just leave and be hurt. Typically I would speak with friends about relationship situations but they do not know of my conditions and after reading previous posts made, I think this would be a great forum to express my concerns. Let me know!

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