If you’re starting a relationship with someone who has bipolar disorder, don’t think for a moment that a long and happy life together can’t be yours. My wife has bipolar disorder and we’re still going strong.
Here are my seven tips for not just surviving but thriving:
1) Believe them
When I started going out with my future wife she was still undiagnosed. From the off I told her I believed her and that we would get her help together. It was not long before we found an understanding GP and she could get, after a bit of trial and error, medication that suited her. Perhaps more important than any drug, to this day she knows that she is not alone and that I am always there for her.
2) It’s good to talk
I ask her my wife a hundred times a day how she is feeling. (It must be annoying sometimes.) That way I have learned lots about her condition and about how I can be better at helping her when she needs it.
I have discovered that a calm and orderly life is such a help for bipolar sufferers. I was a bit chaotic when we first started going out, and her needing a distinctly non-chaotic nest has been a real benefit for me as well. Win-win. Not that you can’t still let your hair down, but weeks filled mostly with days of peace and tranquility are the ticket.
4) High bad not good
Be careful and not glad when your partner is feeling very “high” (manically energetic). Far from being good, this means they can be very vulnerable and that you need to keep a good eye on them.
5) Face the lows together
It’s horrible when your partner is feeling depressed, but by providing lots of calm and lavishing tons of love on them you can get through it, and that always brings you very close together.
6) Laugh in the face of it all
With all those ups and downs (or “brain fails”, as we call them), you’ve got to laugh sometimes – it helps rob bipolar of some of its potency.
Cuddle each other at every available opportunity. It’s good for you both.
by Gideon Kibblewhite