I felt compelled to talk about dating or living with a spouse who has been diagnosed with bipolar because it comes up a lot in Bipolar Family Support groups.
I’m talking about this because there was a girl who recently posted in one of these groups about feeling upset and unsupported.
She said that when someone posts about the hard times they’re having with their boyfriend or girlfriend, everyone suggests just to run while you can! She went on to say she loves her boyfriend who has bipolar disorder very much. She doesn’t want to run. She wants to make it work and she’s looking for advice on how to cope during his bad days.
My heart went out to her.
I thought what if my stepfather just ran from my mom when she was having one of her depressive and narcotic episodes? If he didn’t stay, I can’t imagine what our lives would have been like. They would have been a mess. There’s something to be said for people like my pops. He saw passed her illness. They were married for 25 years. It was challenging, but they still held hands, talked, and ate dinner together. She passed away 5 years ago. We all miss her more than you can imagine.
Back to the Bipolar Support group. Many different comments started firing up after the girl posted that she felt unsupported. Many said they’re sorry. But one lady spent time on her response, and I want to share it with you.
It said – “It is sad that everyone is telling you to run. I think I know why though. Every man in my family is/was manic bipolar. My grandpa, father, and brother. Since the day I was born I’ve learned how to deal with this manic behavior. In 2018 I ended my marriage, and in 2020 I started dating someone new. This person was manic, bipolar. It one day got pointed out to me by someone we were hanging out with, what a “great job” I do with this man, and how nobody else has ever been “able” to deal with his manic behavior. Then it hit me, I had been choosing to do what I was forced to do my entire life. Put me, my wants, my needs, my feelings in my pocket and tuck it away, because everything revolves around someone else and their behavior, their reactions. Your entire life is solely based on how someone is going to act and what can you do to avoid an episode, or how can you help. In time doing this will damage you. It will cause you to literally not care about or do anything for yourself, and what makes you happy. When you revolve your entire being around someone else’s behavior, you lose who you even are as a person. I never knew this. As I did it my entire life. Now my grandpa, and my dad have passed, my brother and I do not speak, and I ultimately broke up with the BF, and I sit back and realize so so much how damaging their behavior was in my life. Just because I know how to placate a situation and I know how to deal with out of control men, doesn’t mean I should have to. Doesn’t mean I should pick someone over me, doesn’t mean I should tuck my wants and needs away. You don’t realize how damaging dealing with people like that are to you. Now I feel like I push people away constantly, or I test them right off the bat to see how far they will go, and it’s not fair to people that I do that. It’s not fair to me that I do that. I literally have to unlearn all the toxic behaviors and try to let my guard down that I put up. People call me cold, that I don’t have a heart, because I have this hard exterior and literally got to the point that nothing someone says or does will hurt me. Sure, that’s good to be strong, but it’s not good to be cold and heartless. I’m definitely a damaged package. Not blaming other people but blaming myself for adapting to toxicity and placating it so much, that now I don’t even know how to feel anymore. That’s why people are quick to tell you to run. Bipolar never goes away. It’s something you will have to deal with in every situation, for all the days of your life. I obviously believe in loving and supporting people, just don’t lose who you are in doing so. I’m so glad your BF has found a medication that is helping him, and I wish you the best of luck. Just be sure to open your eyes and see what his behavior does to you, before you just accept it for what you “have to deal with”. It will change you, and you won’t even realize it. I think just be careful and remember who you are. Don’t do what I did and forget you’re a person too with legitimate wants and needs.”
The important thing I hope you take away from this is don’t forget who you are and what you need. They can be a part of your world but they don’t need to be your entire world.
Below is a link to books I think would be helpful for you to read or listen to if you’re feeling confused and hurt.
Please feel free to connect with me on IG @ofcoursetheymakemecrazy