Married to someone with bipolar disorder is not easy. However, that does not mean that you cannot enjoy your marriage with your bipolar partner. Get to know the basics and what to do when you marry someone with bipolar disorder.
People who walk on earth have their weaknesses. For some, it is bipolar disorder.
If your partner has been diagnosed with this disease, you need to learn how to deal with it.
Before looking for ways to live with a partner who has bipolar disorder, you need to realize in advance that your partner will experience fluctuating and drastic mood swings.
Besides, it would be best if you learned more about bipolar disorder to recognize the symptoms.
It will help you determine the right attitude, help, and support when your partner exhibits specific symptoms during the days you spend together.
There are broadly two types of episodes that people with bipolar disorder experience. These episodes are manic (rising phase) and depression (descending phase). If your partner has bipolar disorder, notice these two mood swings.
When experiencing a manic episode, your partner will appear very excited, energetic, and sputter.
Meanwhile, when your partner enters a depressive episode, he or she will look sorrowful, lethargic, quickly tired, and hopeless.
When experiencing mood swings, some people with bipolar disorder can return to normal mood before entering another episode.
However, some experience very rapid mood swings without any normal phase.
Some people with bipolar disorder can experience both manic and depressive episodes. He will feel very energetic, but at the same time, feel very sad. This symptom is also known as a mixed period.
Couples can experience these bipolar symptoms at any time. They are usually triggered by stress.
So, you should be able to prepare yourself to face your partner if these symptoms recur any time.
Apart from that, you can help your partner avoid stress to reduce the frequency of symptom recurrence so that your partner can live their daily life normally.
How to Deal With a Bipolar Partner
Bipolar disorder treatment is long-term.
Apart from undergoing treatment from a mental health specialist, people with bipolar disorder also need regular psychotherapy given by a psychologist or psychotherapist.
Besides these two types of treatment, there are also ways to increase the treatment efficacy if your partner adopts a healthy lifestyle.
The existence of a partner as a caregiver will also affect the recovery of people with bipolar disorder.
So, what can you do when your partner has bipolar disorder?
The answers are limitless. You can do so much for your partner to help improve his or her condition.
However, these are 4 basics you need to do:
#1. Understanding bipolar disorder
To provide support and determine your attitude when dealing with your partner who shows symptoms of bipolar disorder, you need to recognize and understand this disease more deeply.
Your scope of understanding can be these basic questions:
- What are the symptoms that usually appear?
- How long are the manic and depression periods?
- What causes the episodes?
- How effective is the current treatment to overcome the symptoms your partner experiences?
By understanding the disease, you will be well-prepared when your partner is experiencing specific symptoms.
Your preparation can affect how you can help and support your partner. In the end, it can have an impactful healing process.
#2. Figure out what triggers the symptoms and how to avoid mood swings
The symptoms can occur at any time. However, several things can trigger these symptoms to recur.
You can observe and find any factors that can make your partner relapse. This way, you can avoid those factors and help your partner live more comfortably.
You can also study your partner’s mood swings so that you can recognize their patterns and symptoms.
Knowing these patterns will help you identify the signs early and be better prepared for your partner’s mood swings or even prevent the episodes.
When done correctly, it helps reduce the frequency of bipolar episodes that your partner experiences.
In the long run, your partner will need less and less medication if they have fewer episodes within a certain period.
As a result, your partner will feel more secured, balanced, happier, and contented. Isn’t that the goal we all want as a partner?
#3. Show boundless affection
It may sound cheesy, but love and affection from you as a life partner has healing power.
People with bipolar disorder often do not get enough love and affection from their surroundings.
Due to bipolar, your partner may experience episodes of self-destructive. It leads them to become negative, hard to handle, and not fun to be around.
For some friends and family members, bipolar disorder can be challenging, depressing, stressful, and even considered a burden.
This is why people with bipolar are often left aside in the family, which eventually worsens their conditions.
Bipolar is a mental illness, and not even your partner wants that.
It is not his or her fault.
It is a situation where both of you have to work together. Sometimes, it takes more from you as a non-bipolar partner to work harder on the relationship.
Don’t get tired of giving your love and attention at any time, especially when your partner has a depressive episode.
Show affection, care, and love so that they feel loved and valued. Thus, they will have the motivation and enthusiasm to recover.
Avoid leaving your partner alone during the most challenging times. It will only make the depression more severe and worsen the situation.
#4. Seek support for yourself
Being married to a partner with bipolar will unconsciously make you continuously focus on their condition and stability.
Partners of people with bipolar disorder often ignore their needs, both physically and mentally.
It happens because non-bipolar partners will become anxious about the upcoming episode.
However, the mania-depression phases are unpredictable. It is essential for you to not dwell in the anxiety.
To avoid that, take care of your own mental and physical health.
To ensure that you can help your partner when he or she is experiencing episodes, you need to be fit mentally.
You need to stay healthy and strong when facing your partner’s ups and downs with him.
Try to occasionally free your mind to your closest family members or friends who can help you get excited again.
If necessary, find and join a support group for family members or caregivers for people with bipolar disorder.
They will help you overcome the stress and gather new insights about the disease.
Married With Bipolar Sufferers? Prepare These ‘Care Package’
You may have heard that 90% of bipolar marriages end in divorce. However, the source of this statistic remains unknown.
This article mentioned that the original was cited from an unreferenced article on Psychology Today.
What it means is that you can ignore that depressing statistic and prevent any future projections you may have created at the back of your mind.
Bipolar marriages can survive, and they do.
Understand these 4 points to learn how to deal with a bipolar partner so that your relationship can be as enjoyable, romantic, and lovely as others’.
#1. Strengthen yourself to live life with your partner
Living an unexpected life due to the unpredictable behavior of bipolar with many ups and downs is challenging.
Some people I know said that being married to bipolar makes you unavailable to plan things in the future as no stability is guaranteed.
A study in 2005 found that bipolar symptoms could affect their daily lives and household routines.
It will naturally affect the stability of the relationship and the pace of your household.
One week your partner is stable and reliable, and for the next week, he is hospitalized.
To continue the marriage and survive, you need to equip yourself with all strength you can get and patient in dealing with your partner when the symptoms appear.
You can educate yourself by managing emotions, stress management, effective communication, even learn from your partner’s doctor or therapist.
However, it is essential to mention that no stability is forever.
Even if you’re in a typical marriage with a partner whose mental health is impeccable, there is still no guarantee that you will not face any problem.
Every marriage has its issues. You need to bear patience and be stronger for yourself, your partner, and your relationship.
#2. Keep an eye on the treatment schedule
Your partner may be feeling too happy. Hence, he or she forgets to take the medications.
Some people with bipolar may also think that they should stop the medication because they’re feeling great and that they feel nothing is wrong with them.
This is the sign you need to take into account. When your partner does not take the prescription, you need to speak up.
Your partner needs to keep taking the medication even though he or she is feeling better.
Do not stop or alter the amount of medicine without consulting the health professional.
Remind your partner to take medicine regularly and help take notes of side effects or behavioral changes during the medication.
#3. Be empathetic
Empathy is needed to increase patience and understand your partner’s condition. The trick is to put yourself in his or her position.
No one wants to be born with a mental illness. It is not anybody’s choice.
People with bipolar suffer more than ordinary people. I’ve had someone came to me and said that “I am tired of myself, but I can’t run away.” Most of the time, this person will try to sleep it off because he is tired of being depressed, not productive, pessimistic, and always has to take medications.
They are already stressed with their mental conditions, and putting more pressure on their shoulders is unwise.
Be understanding and empathetic with their situation. Help your partner in any way you can. Get in touch with their side of the family and talk to them. Get involved in a doctor’s appointment and ask how you can lessen your partner’s stress and how you can protect yourself from being dragged down.
#4. Become a supportive caregiver
You are married to your partner. Naturally, you are the closest caregiver. You are expected to provide support.
Accept the situation, respect the condition. Provide your partner with positive motivation. If both of you are religious, you can ask for help from a religious figure about handling stress and managing issues in marriages.
Yes, you have to pay extra attention to your partner and not leave them alone, especially when a breakdown is taking place.
If you need support, ask someone to be in charge of your partner and get yourself some relief. You don’t have to be there 24/7. Nobody can do that. No, not even you.
Good caregivers know their limits. If you think you’re about to explode, take a break and change shift. Make yourself happy and content. When your patience is back, and you have a clearer mind, get back to your partner, and offer help.
The Bottom Line
Having a relationship and living a married life with a partner who has bipolar disorder is not easy. The extreme mood swings can take happen anytime, anywhere, leaving the couple devastated and hopeless.
Every marriage comes with its problems. They come and go. If you decide to end the relationship because of the nonexistent stability with your partner, remember that no one can guarantee what happens in the future.
People with bipolar can have a successful life, career, and family. But they need extraordinary support. And that should first come from their loved ones.