Could my partner have Bipolar?

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Hi, I'm aware that Bipolar requires a professional diganosis but I am  struggling to get my boyfriend to consider seeing a doctor at the moment. He has suffered with depression and social anxiety for years but this has now led me to thinking he may have bipolar. I know two people who have this condition but it presents itself in very different ways for both of them so not sure if my boyfriend fits the symptoms?

He has low mood much of the time at the moment, feelings of low self worth, little interest in doing things he enjoys, not eating well, not wanting to see people, poor sleep routine, no interest in sex

Other times he can be okay, feeling good about the day ahead, laughing, joking etc and some times very good, singing, being very productive etc (rare at the  moment) but I wouldn't say ever manic.

He can be quite manipulative and often make me feel that things are my fault. He expects my mood to be in sync with his so if he is happy he is annoyed if I am not. (This may occur when he has had a low mood and been not very nice to me, snappy etc)

He has low tolerance to stress so gets very annoyed/angry about stuff especially things he can't really change for example not liking his boss. Often he has quit jobs in the past because he didn't like the management, thought people were dishonest etc which has put us under financial strain.

He is not very good with money handling, much better these days but when we got togther he has been in debt, maxed out credit cards etc.

He has very definate thoughts about stuff, some negative and some positive, for example buying a lottery ticket and being dissapointed he didnt win because he really thought he might (people describe him as an eternal optimist) or bad stuff  currently we have been discussin having children but he thinks that because he is older (44) and works with children with disabilities that the baby will be disabled. 

He is very intelligent but often overthinks things. He is a pefectionist and gets annoyed with others who don't keep to his high standards.

He has had a few significant traumatic events happen in his life (not sure if that would have an impact) he has also used drugs recreationally in the past and had a daily cannisbis smoking habit for many years, although this stopped a few years ago. He also used to play sport (Rugby league) every week for most of his life but stopped this a few years ago and says he struggles not having an outlet for his adrehalin anymore.

Any thoughts on whether these are bipolar type behaviours would be appreciated.

Thankyou, frustrated girlfriend!

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9 Replies

  • Posted

    Oh my.

    No wonder you are frustrated.

    I will tell you what I think, but please be aware I have only experience of life to guide me, no medical qualifications.

    He sounds very very difficult to live with.Have you ever thought he may have a personality disorder?

    It is totally up to him to get help for himself. He is an adult. You are not responsible for his behaviour. Good luck

     

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    • Posted

      Thanks for taking the time to reply. I'm not really sure what a personality disorder is but I'll do a little research. I think when you spend a lot of time with someone your judgement gets clouded and for me I begin to doubt myself and think maybe I'm making a big deal out of something small or I'm expecting too much or maybe it's my behaviour that's wrong. I'm certainly not perfect but I do think that he needs some help. I'm getting him to change Drs to mine which is a smaller practice so he can see the same person each time and build up a good doctor patient relationship which might help.
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    • Posted

      That's a really good idea. Have a look at the Mind website. I think a personality disorder is where there is a fundamental difficulty underneath, which causes problems, and then you get irritabilty, anger, frustration, anxiety and depression as a result. I have a little experience of this as my youngest daughter has recently been diagnosed with this along with her anxiety & depression. It sounds frightening, but it's really a very clumsy definition and varies greatly! 

      He sounds very depressed. Would he take any medication do you think? It would be good to enable him to get back to sport again.

      My husband is a very intelligent perfectionist, over thinking person too, so I can appreciate your difficulties. It is SO frustrating! We have been married for over 25 years and I have learnt to detach myself a certain amount for self- preservation. This enables the whole family to function rather than be dragged into a huge morass of negative emotions.

      I have been learning to meditate over the past year and it really helps me. Ultimately he seeks help in his own time and I have learnt patience, but it's not easy.

      You have to give your love and suggestions and then look after yourself. If you feel meditation might help you/ and / or both of you (my husband would never dream of trying it) you might find this book useful. It comes with  a CD of guided meditations. It's called 'Mindfulness, finding peace in a frantic world' by Mark Williams and Danny Penman. It is a fascinating book, explaining that over time, mindfulness, brings long term changes in mood and well-being. It shows through solid factual scientific studies that brain patterns can actually be changed. It has been demonstrated on brain scanning at Oxford University where Mark Williams is a professor. The book suggests an 8 week programme which you can follow. It is very good if you are new to the whole mindfulness thing. It might not be your thing at all, but.................I have to tell you, it may help at least one of you.

      I had to think for a while before replying to you because your difficulties rang so many bells for me! Good luck. Let me know how you're doing

       

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    • Posted

      Thanks so much for your advice. I'll look at the Ming website. He does appear to be depressed but then other times seems fine. I try not to do many tasks with him such as decorating, diy as he always complains that I don't do things well enough and always thinks he's right. He doesn't talk to anyone about his thoughts so no one can ever tell him he is wrong! Where as I like to bounce things off other people. We have discussed meditation. Tried guided sleep ones which seem to work well for him but then he says they wake him up at the end. He says mindfulness won't work for him
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    • Posted

      Sorry I meant mind, not Ming! Mindfulness won't work as he says his mind races and he can't focus on it. His pestered me to let him join a gym a while ago as he said that's what would help him but he hasn't been for ages and claims it's not his fault as he doesn't get the time! Also bought an expensive mountain bike but hardly rides it! I think we need to do excerise together and stick to a plan, encourage each other.
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  • Posted

    It sounds like he doesn't try to help himself much! He's the only one who can get himself in a better place, so if he won't accept your ideas & suggestions you have to leave him to find his own.

    Most important you must pursue your own ideas for yourself, not for him, and if he doesn't want to join you that's up to him.

    Mindfulness will work for everyone but only if they sit down quietly for 10 mins twice a day with no music, no TV, no outside distractions every day for 4 weeks. That will give you enough time to see what mindfulness is, and once you've practised it believe me you will not want to give it up!

    You will learn to 'watch' your mind up to its' old tricks. You may see that the mind has a running commentary that goes something like this: ' This won't work, nothing works, I'm useless, everything is terrible, waste of time, useless crackpot idea from people who have never had a problem, people who do not understand, stupid, won't work, nothing works......'

    You see? That's how the old mind grumbles on, keeping you stuck.......until you stop listening. You learn that you are not the thoughts. Don't attach any feeling to the thoughts, just watch them. 

    But they're sneaky! They'll sneak back in!

    So you keep at it. 10 mins twice a day for 4 weeks. If you can do that for 4 weeks I can guarantee that you will do it for another 4 weeks, and if you do that, you will be changing the neural pathways of your mind. Permanently. The negative thought patterns become less ingrained, and gradually you will meet with less resistance and it becomes easier.

    We resist help because it is easier to stay cocooned in our helpless state. But we're not helpless. Anyone can sit still for 10 mins, watching their breathing, twice a day for 4 weeks.

    Anyone. If they want to.........

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  • Posted

    Hello again

    I'm certainly going to try mindfullness myself. I have looked into it before. I'm just confused about what I'm supposed to be thinking about in that time, I find it really hard to think about nothing!. If it works for me he might be more inclined to do it.

    Thanks, Jenny

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  • Posted

    Sorry I don't mean to sound so negative about your partner! I'm sure he's lovely! yes, try the mindfulness meditation. You can't make your mind think of nothing, I've tried!  Minds are designed to think. All you can hope to do is learn to watch the thoughts. To start with you may only just get a few seconds out of 10 minutes where you realise you are aware of your breathing and not engaged in mental combat! I've just done my 20 mins now, and I only managed about 3 mins of 'the gap'. 'The gap' is the space between the thoughts. I've been doing it for 1 year now, but as they say, you are always a beginner! I've just made it part of my routine. I have a cushion on the floor in the kitchen where I sit while the rice is cooking or the kettle is boiling.

    I really hope you both start to feel better soon. Do you like walking? x

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  • Posted

    Hi, I've had heard some really good things about mindfulness and think it would be useful for me too as I suffer from panic attacks. If it works for me then I think he will be more inclined to try it. My partner says he's going to make a Drs appointment today so Hopefully this will move things forward. I just don't want the Dr to say it's depression and leave it at that as I think there is more to it. He has been better these past few days and I have suggested we set some goals for the year ahead such as do more exercise, 'date days' etc and he has agreed to this. It's just the high/low mood swing I find hard as when he is down I often come into the list of stress causing factors, he'll say I nag him all the time! But then when he's feeling okay he says lots of nice things to me which is confusing. He complains of being tired all the time and seems to think this is because he is so busy all the time but really in comparison to other people he's not that busy at all.
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