how to cope with a bipolar spouse

Bipolar is treatable, medications and counseling help a great deal, but theres still things about bipolar disorder that I dont think Ill ever figure out.". The stigma of mental illness can make couples hesitant to look elsewhere for help, but Karp emphasizes that extended family members and trusted friends can all provide invaluable support. Their teenage daughter has also been diagnosed with the disorder. One 45-year-old man endured the false accusations and emotional outbursts of his wife. Mary has never joined a support group — and says she probably could have benefited from one — but she does find support in her friends. He urges people with bipolar partners to remember what he calls the "four Cs": I can't Control it; I didnt Cause it; I can't Cure it. There are hard times in marriage to a bipolar spouse, acknowledges Mary. The mood swings can make your days together sometimes exhilarating and other times frustrating. "Taking care of bipolar disorder is a team effort, involving the two people and a psychiatrist or other mental health professional," she says. Here are some tips for surviving and thriving in your relationship: Breathe. Here are some tips for surviving and thriving in your relationship: Breathe. The pattern of highs and lows varies for each person: For some people, episodes of mania or depression can last for weeks or months, while for others, mood swings are shorter and more frequent. Both parties have to participate in its success, however. But it will rarely be easy, especially if the object of your affection doesn't comply fully with treatment. While she would never speak to a spouse without her patients consent, such open communication empowers both parties to make treatment decisions that lead to a healthier relationship. Control Stress. 1. Here are some tips for coping with a bipolar spouse: 1. Here's What to Do, 9 Signs It's More Serious Than the Common Cold, How Your Period Changes During Your 20s, 30s, and 40s, 12 Anxiety Symptoms That Might Point to a Disorder, Shannen Doherty Reveals Stage 4 Breast Cancer Diagnosis—Here's What It Means, The Best (and Worst) Diets of 2020, According to Experts, 10 Moves for a Cardio Workout at Home—No Equipment Required, These 13 Women Prove Every Body Is a Bikini Body, 20 Things You Should Throw Away for Better Health, Manic Spending Puts Bipolar Patients at Risk for Financial Woes, infrequent sex when their spouses were depressed. All products and services featured are selected by our editors. Dealing with a bipolar spouse can be a very difficult thing, but can be no more difficult than dealing with a non-bipolar spouse, depending on you. Doctors explain how to tell if you have a head cold or something more serious that requires medical attention, such as the flu, strep throat, meningitis, or mono. At home, when her husband’s moods are out of control, Mary acknowledges, “I try to avoid him.”. Feelings of stress, isolation, and rejection are common among those involved with a bipolar patient. Recall your love. Whether you can insert humor into the situation and get a good response is highly individual, but Mary says this tactic works for her. Reading nonverbal cues helps us understand the intentions of others. Credit: Every relationship has its ups and downs, and you have to work at it to make it work. Like diabetics who take insulin or recovering alcoholics who avoid drinking, if you have bipolar disorder, its important to make healthy choices for yourself. Many people with bipolar disorder have happy, successful marriages. All are affected and it is nobody's fault. Taking on the responsibility to care for an adult with a mental illness is … Despite the mood swings, your spouse can tell you what he needs. (GETTY IMAGES)If you're involved with someone with bipolar disorder, the romantic relationship may be exciting, exhausting, and stressful. If you’re married to someone living with bipolar disorder, you already know it’s a rough ride sometimes. Meanwhile, both you and your spouse need to understand that there is nothing sinful or shameful about seeking professional psychological and medical assistance in cases of genuine bipolar disorder. You know that you have got your share of equitable distribution that way.”2. For every individual affected by bipolar disorder there's a partner, spouse, or loved one who is struggling with the same hardships as you. Mary says part of what keeps her sane is her job, for which she occasionally travels. "Spread it around a little bit," he says. I ensure I’m open and honest with my spouse … When a spouse is first diagnosed, the initial response from their partner is usually sympathy––until anger, frustration and even hate arise down the road, according to sociology professor and author David A. Karp, Ph.D. Karp remarks that “caring for someone who has a mental illness can be more draining than caring for someone with cancer.” Despite the fact that her business trips often coincide with times when her husband stops taking his medications, she values her time away. It’s a high point in a bipolar marriage. It is extremely difficult to cope with a spouse who has this disease. This is a perfectly healthy stance to take, according to Karp. Outside support and education can help. "I'm petrified," the actress said when she shared the news that her breast cancer came back. Bipolar disorder can be nearly as traumatic for the partners of those with the disorder as it is for the patients themselves. For the people around someone who has this disorder, emotional shifts like those that are common with BP may seem very unexpected. Today, my plan for a happy marriage is to manage bipolar disorder separately from managing my marriage whenever possible. Managing bipolar disorder starts with proper treatment, including medication and therapy. “If you can keep them on the meds, you’re okay. Coping with Bipolar Spouse Mood Swings. Stay in your living room and still spike your heart rate. You may not always like what you learn, he warns, but keeping surprises to a minimum makes your relationship easier to navigate. Would I want someone to leave me? There may be days and weeks when it is not easy, but communication is essential. Tim eventually broke down emotionally himself, ended the affair, and tried to forget the experience. Tim, 37, tried for three years to sustain a relationship with a woman eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Incorporate ideas, plans, and strategies so that there can be a minimization of harmful effects,” advises Todd. Getting angry because a person has bipolar disorder wont help anything. “The diagnosis made it easier, because you know the reason, but it doesn’t change anything. “Communication during and between mood swings is critical to managing the accompanying stressors,” says Todd. My family and friends know—nobody calls us during that time period. (GETTY IMAGES), How to Care for and Cope With a Bipolar Spouse. Helping Your Husband Get Help Be aware that bipolar disorder is often misdiagnosed. "It brings out very strong negative emotions and feelings of isolation in the partner, who struggles so hard to separate the illness from the patient.". Living with a husband or wife who has bipolar disorder can be difficult. I don’t think so,” she explains. “Every single Friday night he comes home from work, we turn on some music, we sit, and we talk. Ask. By subscribing you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Karp also recommends that anyone who cares for someone struggling with bipolar person find a support group in their area. Practice this skill now below. "Half of me moved on, but half of me will always love her," he says. Caring for someone with a disease can keep you focused on his needs, but you also need your own sources of support. Spouses of BPD sufferers struggle to cope with their partner’s manic or hypomanic (hypomanic is still a form of mania but to a lesser degree) episodes. Coping with your loved one’s mood swings, hyper periods, depression, and possibly violent outbursts is unbelievably hard. The material in this site is intended to be of general informational use and is not intended to constitute medical advice, probable diagnosis, or recommended treatments. “When your spouse is in a stable or more favorable mood, pay close attention to what environmental triggers precipitated and are maintaining the stability. New Orleans resident “Mary” has been married to her husband for 25 years. Offers may be subject to change without notice. "She would cycle between extreme happiness and depression," he says, recalling her paranoia, impulsiveness, and self-destructive insecurity. Mary believes in the commitment she made when she married her husband. If … The stigma of mental illness isn’t just connected with those who are ill, but also to those of us on this journey with them. Manage Your Own Anxiety.“If possible, try to be supportive of your bipolar spouse by Ultimately, Mary’s experience has given her a unique depth of compassion, both for family members whose loved ones have bipolar disorder and for people who live with bipolar disorder. “Have an honest discussion about what is helpful to your spouse when he is in an undesirable mood. And while both his daughter and his wife comply with medication and therapy, neither is symptom-free. She describes her husband as a “rapid cycler” (“On a day to day basis you never know what it’s going to be,” she explains) and says there are many days and weeks when she is tired, frustrated, and wondering why she is still married. These behaviors include: getting sufficient, regular sleep using minimal substances exercising performing simple, daily mood tracking practicing self … Often highly intelligent and very creative, the success and spontaneity of a spouse with Bipolar Disorder may, at times, make things exciting. Mary says she knows the statistics showing higher rates of divorce and abuse in marriages that include one spouse with bipolar disorder. Get Money Now.In a settlement with someone who has bi-polar disorder, Rosenwald Smith recommends taking what you can now: “It is better to take money upfront than to get it over the years. Taking the time to read this article is a first step to acknowledging there may be a problem, and you might need help. Misdiagnosis … Days without sleep—or, conversely, days without getting out of bed. The highs and … Learn also about the things that seem to encourage stability. When things are tough, take a deep breath and step back. That usually gets him back on track. How to Cope With a Bipolar Spouse Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder that is characterized by the periods of time, when person's good mood swings into depression. "Maybe they meet the person when the person is hypomanic, not realizing that mood can change," she says. In a 2005 survey of people with bipolar partners published in Bipolar Disorders, more than half of the participants reported that their partners illness had reduced their socializing, required them to assume more household responsibilities, forced them to take time off of work, and caused financial strain. Take Care of Yourself. After so many years of marriage and successfully raising a daughter together, she has developed a philosophical and compassionate view of her husband and her relationship. Coping with bipolar disorder and the mood swings it brings can be difficult. Cut Through the Crap. Bipolar depression is one of the most difficult diseases with which to cope. While she acknowledges bipolar disorder is difficult, she also notes, "The person I fell in love with is still there. The changes are very fast and they come out of nowhere. Use the soothers to help maintain the mood that both of you are desiring,” advises marriage and family therapist Tracy Todd, PhD, based in Alexandria, Va. Mary has made it clear to her husband that taking his medication is non-negotiable. The secret to a happy and healthy marriage with a Bipolar spouse is simple: An accurate diagnosis, compliance with an effective treatment plan, and both partners getting educated on the disorder and how to … Enforce meds. Making these healthy choices will help you keep your symptoms under control, minimize mood episodes, and take control of your life. I did not marry a disease." In their must-read book, Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner, authors Julie A. Some surprising factors can play a role in the severity of your bipolar symptoms. Learning how to cope with your loved one’s borderline personality disorder can help you create a stronger relationship while taking steps toward recovery. Breathe. All rights reserved. D ealing with a spouse with Bipolar I am married for 15 years to a man whom I always believed had issues. He has come a long way and I have been with him the whole journey. Working with your own therapist may also be a good idea. When things are tough, take a deep breath and step back. A Therapist Answers: How Does COVID-19 Affect People With Mental Illness? The three-time Olympian talks about her depression misdiagnosis, hypersexuality, and current family life. © Copyright 2021 Meredith Corporation. “You know, I married a man for better or for worse. Like many people with bipolar disorder, Tim's girlfriend also struggled with drug and alcohol addiction and got deep into debt—with his credit card. Look for triggers. Often there are specific environmental stressors or soothers — including relationship issues — that influence mood swings. “[I've said before] that I would hate to be in his head — I can’t even imagine how he feels,” she says. But she prefers to see the man she fell in love with, even when his moods are unpredictable. Depressive phases, during which the bipolar partner feels hopeless and sad, can drag a healthy partner down, too. Next Page: Building a team for support [ pagebreak ]Building a team for support Many people enter into relationships with a bipolar person unwittingly, thinking it will be smooth sailing, says Adele Viguera, MD, a psychiatrist at the Cleveland Clinic who works with bipolar couples seeking to start a family. The participants also reported that their sex lives sagged when their partner was in a manic or a depressive phase; three-quarters of the women who were interviewed and 53% of the men complained of infrequent sex when their spouses were depressed.

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