Bipolar Disorder Community
Bipolar and emotional detachment
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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 and emotional detachment

I have been seeing a guy for almost a year.  In the few months of seeing one another, he had extreme mood swings.  He would have complete melt downs and even get violent at times.  He would drink and drink and run away or do ridiculous things.  I later found out he was being treated for depression/bi-polar and this was what caused his mood swings.  He recently decided he was going to go off of his medication.  In the beginning, he had terrible mood swings and would go for days without talking to me.  He got a bit better as he weaned off of the medication.  However, now if anything gets in his way or he has to deal with a stressful situation, he will completely breakdown, completely detaching himself from me and his friends.  In the past when he does this, he will apologize and somehow try to make it up to me.  He will tell me he loves me, but then weeks later will change his mind or do weird things like randomly hook up with his ex or something completely manic, again later apologizing.  I feel like I am completely trapped because I love him to death and when he’s doing well he can be the sweetest and kindest person.  He causes me extreme amounts of stress and has brought on my own depression.  What should I do?
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8 Comments Post a Comment
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952564_tn?1268372247
First off, he needs to get in to see his psychiatrist and start a new treatment. Just because his past treatment was not working does not mean other treatment won't help him. Bipolar is an extremely complex medical condition that sometimes takes years to find a treatment that works properly. There are over 400 medicine combination, plus talk therapy with a psychologist or therapist who specializes in bipolar is important.

There is no cure for bipolar, and he will have it for the rest of his life. If this is someone you are really serious about, you are going to be the support person for a person living with a chronic condition. Bipolar is a biochemical illness of the brain and nervous system, and it effects the part of the brain that regulates moods. Even with proper treatment, bipolar is not that easy to live with both within yourself and for everyone around you.

So, I would recommend he go back to see his doctor and be ready for what comes. Ultimately, he may not choose treatment right now, and that's hard. So also check out NAMI who help friends and family of the mentally ill with support groups and services.
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1311328_tn?1273669292
He needs an evaluation, to be re-assessed and treated. Medication can vary and it is too difficult to judge Your whole future off just one medication. Many people go through numerous medications throughout their life to find the right one.
This can be treated if he is on the right medication, it could always happen again at some stage of his life but for now we deal with everything happening at the moment and take it one step at a time.
You may benefit from doing some research on Bipolar disorder, it may help you to understand more. It must be difficult living with someone with a mental health illness is difficult so you do need to be aware of that before making the choice to continue to support him
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you both for your posts.  I completely agree he needs further evaluation and needs to see his doctor.  He missed my birthday party the other evening and called to say he wasn't feeling well and wasn't going to be able to make it.  He was very apologetic, but you can imagine how this would make you feel.  Since that day, he has not called or responded to my texts or calls.  We didn't even get in an arguement, as I told him simply I hope he felt better.  I am stuck between a rock and hard place.  I want to help him get better, but I can't even get in touch with him.  Do I continue to text and call, only to have him not answer.  No doubt he'll eventually turn around and act like nothing was wrong or that he was just going through a difficult time.  It's very hard for someone to love you one day and the next to act like you are a complete stranger to them.  I am hurting.
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952564_tn?1268372247
I'm gussing he is laying in a dark room under a blanket in utter depressed choas right now. Any chance you could have a family member check on him if you do not have access to his house? I know that sounds silly, but having been super depressed before, sometimes just having anyone suddenly there can help. It may not seem like it at the time, like maybe he'll get mad, but it will at least show him that people care and are thinking about him.

The worst thing in the world is to be depressed and to look at all of  your friends and family and wonder if any of them would even notice or care if something happened to you. It is a dark and lonely place.

Also, if he's manic and out on a binge, then I'm not sure what you can do.
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1311328_tn?1273669292
I can understand how difficult it must be and how hard. I think You need to worry about Your own health as well, you should put yourself first because if You're not well how are You meant to support Him'....
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi everyone,

I've come across this forum in hopes to maybe gather some insights on how to deal with a bipolar. My boyfriend's situation is kinda different from what I've read so far. He admits to being bipolar, is in psychotherapy and medications, and though he does have mood swings he seems effectively avoid "big" episodes like banging the doors or retreating to mountains. In fact, he seems to "hate" it. He seems to equate "drama" with emotions, affection etc. He projects that he is being rational, and seems to do tons of work and with results right on target but, sadly, the steel industry isn't kind to him. He seems to profit from trading and making financial bets however. I guess his unmatched ability to absorb knowledge and information, to perform work, his discipline and his natural instinct "do something useful" is his way of managing his "irrational behavior". Still his career seems to move unsteadily, which partly contributes, or maybe even matches his moods.

But one can see that something is "not normal" with him. Staple in his personality is his constant cynicism and complaints about everything. Also his sense of detachment. His jarring humor and behavior. his kind of bipolarity is such that for each step towards closeness or intimacy he matches it with layers of irony and sarcasm. But it's mostly his ironic, and detached self that manifests. From inappropriate emotional responses (insensitive, rude, offensive) to complete contempt for emotional connection, believing it is "mediocre and fabricated". I don't know if it's deliberate, or if his brain wirings make him not capable of being vulnerable and intimately connecting with someone.He seems to be aware of it, that he occasionally turns into an *******. He also hates being sentimental, and hardly has memories of our dates or how long we've met.

He does show affection in rare occasions though. Well, affection bordering on lust. If he does care, he does things that are mostly instrumental and purposeful, and not of the emotional kind. For instance, moving me to a new city, buying me the things I need. Sometimes he would give me "useful" gifts like upgrading my computer, even if its the least i need.

What ticks him off or makes him upset is if i would occasionally ask for "recognition" or attention. Like, if I bring to his attention my concerns, or if I admit my feelings (e.g., "i'm upset about ____" ) he dismisses it and says i'm either living in a soap opera or he doesn't understand how i could be emotional. I guess my question is, is a bipolar's emotional capacity to care, show concern, always minimal? Will it always be difficult for them to show emotional vulnerability, mainly because it doesn't register in their brains? Sometimes i feel the need to talk things out with him, in a mature way with no joking around or being offensive, but i get the feeling it'll end up with him feeling "pressured" to provide for my emotional needs. When that happens he becomes angry, withdrawn, and may possibly break up with me again. It is funny that he finds complicated what seems normal for people in an intimate relationship - to have a basic, consistent emotional connection. He is, in fact, complicating it with layers of irony. Then again maybe that is is staple response to intimacy.

So I've been patient with him, believing that there's still room for growth and for "love" to develop. Sometimes I go along with his wry humor and give him a dose of his own medicine. I felt maybe if i convey my concerns in an ironic fashion he'd "get it". But whether he'll do anything about it, well, that remains to be seen. I also understand and accept that there is no consistency in our relationship or his behavior (sometimes he wants to connect, sometimes he doesn't, sometimes he wants to connect but its superficial, etc) for that matter. He can choose to move on anytime. Sometimes I do ask myself if it's worth hanging around and buying time, if the relationship is worth working/fighting for, or if i'm just afraid to admit that I'm overcompensating for the emotional lack in our relationship and move on. Yes it's true, there's more to the mood swings, like some deeply entrenched aberration in his emotional make-up. I am constantly trying to deal with that, and I was wondering how i can communicate effectively with him, in hopes that he'd stop alienating himself and find some emotional connection with me. How can i convince him that an emotional connection in an intimate relationship need not be complicated?

I welcome any insight, suggestion, or comment from the floor.
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Avatar_f_tn
"How can i convince him that an emotional connection in an intimate relationship need not be complicated?

I welcome any insight, suggestion, or comment from the floor. "

Oh, man, I sympathize with you.  My husband and I have had at least twelve years of trying to work out a relationship with our now-grown son, to say nothing of the 20 or so years of childhood and youth that preceded his diagnosis of bipolar type II (and even that is in flux now).

This is an extremely difficult condition for those who do not have it to understand.  The thing about mood disorders is that they exist somewhat, though not entirely, independently of what is going on in your world.  One way to say it is that you and your S.O. may be in the same room--but you are NOT necessarily watching the same movie at any given time.

Your emotional relationship with this lovable, charming man is necessarily going to be complicated.  I would advise participating on this board to help you understand the thoughts and problems of bipolar patients themselves as they are expressed here. It would also be useful to read as much as you can, including "An Unquiet Mind' by Kay Redfield Jamison.

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Avatar_m_tn
Hello, there is another disease that often occurs co morbidly (at the same time) with bipolars that is common and is hard to separate from bipolar. Its called Boderline Personality Disorder, something to think about (you can look it up here probably). Also, just because he's on meds doesn't mean he's on the right ones-no harm in seeing a different doc. 900mg of lithium has always done the trick for me. It saved my life.
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