Sunday, February 15, 2009

Excercise 1: Bipolar Disorder and Your Relationship

Taken from Julie Fast's book, Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder. Excercise 1: Answer the following questions in your journal. 1. How has bipolar disorder affected my relationship as a whole? Bipolar disorder has caused me to not trust my husband when he is in hypomania or neutral mood for fear of his actions when he hits depression or anger/irritability. Bipolar disorder has caused us to enter a cycle:
  • Climactic Episode (Him)
  • Reconciliation (Both)
  • Open Communication (Both)
  • Desire to make an effort (Both)
  • Depression (Him)
  • Resentment & Hopelessness (Her)
  • Makes an Effort (Him)
  • Pandora's Box-Releases bottled hurt (Her)
  • Anger & Depression (Him)
  • Depression (Her)
  • Depression & Irritability (Him)
  • Makes an Effort (Her)
  • Climactic Episode (Him)

2. How has it affected me as a person?

I have become insecure because I cannot rely on support from him and feel like I have no one who appreciates me or helps me get through my own tough times.

I worry about his mood and focus on trying to keep peace.

I am resentful and bitter because the reality that life is not what I had hoped it would be.

I am distant and cope by isolating myself from him and the kids (when he is around) in order to just get through the day without confrontation or disappointment.

I have distanced myself from God.

I am afraid to get too attached to any new ideas or activities because of his changing moods towards things.

3. What is the hardest thing I face daily regarding this illness?

When he arrives home from work depressed and knowing the evening will be spent in silence. Wondering if I should talk to him or if he's going to get mad if I ask him the wrong question or if he is just going to reject me by being distant.

4. What do I want to see change right now?

I would like him to make an effort to bring up his thoughts and begin making a plan to deal better with bipolar instead of me pushing him to do it.

5. What do I need in my own life to find happiness?

I need him to communicate with me daily about what he is dealing with even if it is a good day and even if it is a bad day.

When he is feeling good, I need his support with the daily functions of the house and kids.

6. If things stay as they are, where do I see my relationship in the future?

One of us leaving for good and the kids resenting him and becoming very angry as they reach teenager years.

What I am willing to do:

1. I am willing to learn new techniques to help him get well.

2. I understand that bipolar is an illness and I am willing to work with him instead of blaming him.

3. I agree that I need to makes some lifestyle changes in my own lifestyle to help him stay stable (exercise, journaling, routines, social obligations)

4. I am willing to try the techniques in this book for 6 months and if things are not working or he is not ready, I will reevaluate...but I will give it 6 months (until our Anniversary on August 9)

5. I agree to examine my own behavior in regards to the effect I have on his bipolar symptoms.

6. I understand he is ill and not sick on purpose. I will remind myself of this when I am frustrated with his progress.

What I desire us to do together:

1. Work on bipolar disorder together---as a team.

2. Use the techniques in this book even if they don't work immediately.

3. Agree that big changes will take time.

4. Agree to love each other and strive for our relationship to be healthy and whole.

5. Agree that we can't continue as we are if we want our relationship to survive.

6. Figure out how we can help our kids and communicate with them together.


  1. good for you. i know how hard it is to live with someone with bipolar disorder, and i don't envy you that position.

    i think the hardest for me (other than outright desperate times) is not letting his mood affect me. how can it not?

    it's hard. you're a good woman to give it a go, truly.

  2. Wow. I'd like to just say "I'm sorry you are going through this", but in fact, I could have written much of your post. I just don't know if I could have made things as clear as you did. I know exactly how you feel. And even when things are good, they aren't "right". Sigh...

  3. I am responding to this blog for the first time and I just wanted to let you know that you have described every single part of what I'm going through. This is my 2nd marriage so I'm really having difficulty deciding what to do....

  4. I'm reading your blog for the first time. I like you. I'm stuck in my own bipolar mess and my husband is my biggest support. It's never easy, I assure you, but at least know that there are others out there that understand (me!). I admire you just like I admire my husband for putting up with me.

  5. This is single handedly the most honest post about bpd that I have ever read. I have a husband who has bpd and is currently in a cycle of frustration and anger that is unparalled, at least for a year or so.. you know how it is... I'm in that old familiar and terrified mind set that we get with these fits of rage. This post helped me remember what I am and what I am NOT willing to deal with. I'm scared and upset and feel very alone, but I'm very appreciative of this web site page at this very moment. Peace and Love to all of you.

  6. Great post. My husband too has BPD and I have had to solve all the worlds problems on my own most of the time because of it.
    I too feel sad, lonely, frustrated, hurt, angry, and dispair. Mine will not even get a job...excuse after excuse...Hang in there and thanks for posting.

  7. Helpless.... I feel helpless i truley believe there is something wrong with my husband the cycle u desrcibe is a mirror of wat i have been going through for the past 7 years.. But i get get him to seek help with his moods or behavior i dont know if he is depressed or if its bipolar or if he is a social path.. But it seems like we have dramatic ups and downs in a givin day.. and i feel resentment tword him one minute and pitty and love the next depending on how he is acting how do i convince him to see someone or talk to someone and he does have a family history of mental disorders

  8. Wow!! As I read all of these post... its as if I am reading my thoughts and experiences...crazy how so many people can live the same life because of a disease....I have been married to this man for 23 years...23 years full of pain, heartache and yes, enormous husband was diagnosed 8 years ago and self medicates so his medications do not work as they should. Wish there was a way to have a weekly meeting of all whose lives are harmed by this disease...we all truly need the support.

  9. Thanks so much thus is a great article. But what do you do when infidelity and deception comes in. i can't bare him cheating!

  10. Risky behaviors place you at risk.

    Don't have sex with him. Or never compromise using protection.

    I wouldn't blame Bi Polar.

    Plenty of women and men both suffer with deciet and infedelity who are afflicted with far worse pathologies than bi polar.

    They have the in currable, "Im just a jerk syndrom"

  11. I have the same problems once he want me once he want divorce and I'm pregnant

  12. I just men bdp guy and it scares me that I can't deal with it, but I really like him and this is like a wake up call... Kinda scary

  13. Im going thru the same thing .my boyfriend is in denail over his bipolar.he dissapears for weaks at a time.i cant communicate with him.he blames me for everything wrong in ournrelationship.i read ur post and i felt like its my life with him in the last year and a half.

  14. I believe my husband has bpd. He has been to his doctor whom has prescribed medication, but he refuses to take it. We have been together for 5years and married for 10 months. He know says he cannot be married. Then he says he lives me, but he is confusef with how he feels. Me and tge children have moved out. He says we need to divorce that it is the best for both of us. He calls and texts often through thr day to see how I am doing. Wr see each other daily snd often says that people divorce and remarry all the time. He does text other women and flirt, which is extremely painful. I don't understand why he does this. I do not think he has cheated because we are around each other often andvare on the phone when we aren't together. It is so frustrating! I do not trust him because of his inpredictability. I love him so much, but also resent him. I cannot imagine life without him, but it hurts with him too. I hate having to wait for him to be in the right mood to share lufe and daily experiences with my husband. I wonder if him taking his meds would help.

  15. i was have bpd boy friend, he is cheated on me, tell many worst thing about me after we break up. but he always come to me over and over again and say that he love me. i feel confuse and depress so bad. i never want to understand what my friend say about him. what i know just he is a good person but stuck in this worst situation. after i read this blog it's exactly what my relationship was. i try to support him and always be there for him. but his swing mood is unpredictable, today he want me but tomorrow he will getting bored and break me up. i still love him until now. but i make some mistake and telling the truth what he talking about my friends. so my friends hate him and attack him. i don't understand what must i do. i'm afraid if he will become silly and take some risk. because he was fall before. the last day that i met him. he get many bandage over his hand and his head. he tell that he can't stand for it anymore. Now i never heard about him anymore. he tell me that i can be distraction for him, so i push my self to don't get some contact and communication with him anymore. but i still worry about him. i can't eat, sleep and make me more stress and i worry that i get some psychosomatic syndrome. he never want to take his meds anymore because he think it never help him. because it can't cureable just more better after meds. i hope he want to take some meds again.

  16. I've been looking for a blog like this and I'm so glad I've found it! Thank you all for sharing! I have been married for 32 years, to a man that was diagnosed with bi-polar and adhd when he was about 33 years old. Then we had been married for about 12 years and we have 3 children. They were 10, 9, and 5 at that time. Our marriage has not the an easy one. I had an affair he had 3. Went to see a counselor, which really helped! He was put on medication but would pick and choose when to take it.....( that didn't work ) He had a hard time coming to grips with the fact he had a mental disorder. He thought he could fix it, he thinks he can fix EVERYTHING! We are now 51 and 53. For the last couple of years he's been really bad in manic mode. I keep telling myself he's going through a midlife crisis ( along with everything else ) and I can wait it out. Now he's spending money like crazy. We love each other and would not consider divorce but I am so TIRED. Oh and I did I mention that he is experimenting with his medication because he says "I may not be able to get it one day. I've got to learn to live without it" I cry a lot and feel alone a lot of the time. I guess I just need to be able to say these things to someone who understands! Thanks for listening


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