I'm bipolar - how do I support my boyfriend?

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My boyfriend has supported me the past year and he's really struggling. I'm struggling with how bipolar has cost me a year of my life in hospital, my job which I worked my ass off at university to get a first class degree for, and now I'm worried it may cost me my boyfriend.

There's lots of information about how partners support bipolar but what things can I do to help my boyfriend cope? I really want this to work and I know it has to be a joint effort.

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  • Posted

    Hi Karen,what a rubbish year you've had so i'm guessing the light is only just beginining  to appear for you again ? If it is it's now that you start to understand what you've put the person closest to you through and then the guilt can start taking hold.My husband says the best thing i did over a year ago now was to stick with taking medications top alcohol ,he could see i was better on meds although it did take some tweeking and i had to agree to keep regular appts with my gp.For someone with bi-polar this is very regimented and hasn't been easy to comply with at times, however i have my husband's trust,respect and friendship back and for me now that's priceless.I sincerely wish you well for the future   
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  • Posted

    Hi Karen. First of all I would sit down and talk. Being on the other side of things I can't emphasise enough how important that is. We so often feel left in the dark not having a clue what to do for the best to help our loved ones.Does he understand about bi-polar? Have you ever sat and discussed it where he can ask quesions? You may have already done that so do you know your triggers, does he? Have you ever told him what you would like him to do for you or the things that help ? Also discuss the things that dont help as he may think hes doing the right thing when in fact its the opposite. Maybe you could have a what works list so he is prepared when you have an episode. Can he recognise when you are starting an episode? Is there anything he can do to reduce it, such as remove/ lessen stressful situations for you ? Does he know who to contact if you have a particularly bad episode?Has he got people who can support him through an episode.?Is there anything you can do together like sports, if that helps you, finding ways to end the day together quietly so you can hopefully get some sleep if thats a problem, Does he understand your medication and potential effects of it?Anything like this will help him,just involve him as much as possible. If he's been with you a year I'm sure he will want to do as much as he can to help you. It may be that you've gone through this with him but so often these little things get missed and believe me it would have been so helpful to have had this type of dialogue. I hope that's been of some help. I wish you both well.
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    • Posted

      Thank you for this; he has done a lot of research. I think the key problem is understanding bipolar for me as an individual. So I like your idea of a what-works list and vice versa. It's definitely something I'm going to put together. I always go weightlifting and the gym and he often comes with me. Thanks!
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    • Posted

      Thats the key thing I think, what works for you as an individual. Researching the illness is essential when you're with someone with bi-polar but it is so generalised and at times ,well I thought so, confusing.Everyone is unique and their experience is such an individual thing that those 1:1 talks have to happen so you can really work together and support each other. You sound very positive,I'm sure you'll both come through it.
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  • Posted

    I know how you feel in many ways. I lost my career due to bipolar and it was a very good one. (The loss of my career also meant loss of my home too, but long story). Anyway, my boyfriend has anxeity and social phobias. So he too has issues. We have decided that, when I am strong I 'take over' most things. (Like cooking etc.,) when he is feeling strong, he does. There is in my mind no other way, since we do not know from day to day how things will go. Sometimes we are both okay, when we are not both okay, we are just easy on each other and on ourselves. Some days, my just taking a shower is my goal. Some days him just talking things out helps. Its tough but we do it day by day, as today is all we have. 
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    • Posted

      This whole someone takes over thing may be perfect for me. My boyfriend suffers from depression, insomnia, and anxiety. I like the idea of one person taking over things more, or just being the strong one while they can be. I think the only issue with this is how uncoordinated our moods are, but I definitely want to support him more than I feel I have been able to. Thank you.
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  • Posted

    When I am able, and that is not too often, we go for long walks together. Something about walking in pleasant surroundings is so soothing for us both.
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