how to cope with a bipolar spouse

Look for triggers. Credit: Caring for someone with a disease can keep you focused on his needs, but you also need your own sources of support. Cut Through the Crap. The high-high's or low-low's that your spouse experiences do not have to be yours. It’s a condition that arises from an imbalance between chemical neurotransmitters which function to control mood and euphoria within the brain. Find out what stress, poor sleep, and the time of year have to do with... Track the Vax: What Needs to Be Done to Get COVID-19 Vaccines Into Arms Faster? Having a spouse with bipolar can be challenging. "Once I learned about how the symptoms manifest themselves, once I started reading that and becoming more familiar with that, it gave me a better understanding of how to cope with these things. “Have an honest discussion about what is helpful to your spouse when he is in an undesirable mood. Another study of bipolar caregivers found that 86% of the participants characterized the stress they experienced as a result of their partners illness as "major." Everyday Health is among the federally registered trademarks of Everyday Health, Inc. and may not be used by third parties without explicit permission. “The diagnosis made it easier, because you know the reason, but it doesn’t change anything. Clean out expired products and clutter to make way for a healthier you. All are affected and it is nobody's fault. Mary says part of what keeps her sane is her job, for which she occasionally travels. Here are some tips for surviving and thriving in your relationship: Breathe. The mental illness your spouse suffers with is something that is happening to your entire family. “It’s a disease — it’s not the person. Stay in your living room and still spike your heart rate. My Love-Hate Relationship With Electroconvulsive Therapy, 5 Secrets to Dating When You Have Bipolar Disorder, Olympian Turned Escort: Suzy Favor Hamilton on Her Bipolar Disorder, 6 Triggers That Can Cause a Bipolar Episode. Outside support and education can help. For example, he says, he is worried about the long-term effects of medication on Kristin's health. Getting angry because a person has bipolar disorder wont help anything. All I can do is Cope with it. 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. 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. It is an unfortunate illness. Here are some tips for surviving and thriving in your relationship: Breathe. If you spouse fully accepts the diagnosis and resolves to get treatment, you could begin working together and make the marriage stronger than ever. 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. But she prefers to see the man she fell in love with, even when his moods are unpredictable. this link is to an external site that may or may not meet accessibility guidelines. Despite the mood swings, your spouse can tell you what he needs. From easier cramps to a heavier flow, here's a guide on what to expect decade by decade. The changes are very fast and they come out of nowhere. And while both his daughter and his wife comply with medication and therapy, neither is symptom-free. One of the keys to your survival as a caregiver is to see bipolar disorder as a disease of the brain, not just a mental illness. It is a hard adjustment being married to someone who changes so quickly and often. Health.com may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Mary believes in the commitment she made when she married her husband. Taking the time to read this article is a first step to acknowledging there may be a problem, and you might need help. 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.” Feelings of stress, isolation, and rejection are common among those involved with a bipolar patient. 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. They can be amusing, high energy, exciting and fun to be with. “If you can keep them on the meds, you’re okay. Learning how to cope with your loved one’s borderline personality disorder can help you create a stronger relationship while taking steps toward recovery. In their must-read book, Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner, authors Julie A. We're loving their inspirational, body-positive messages. 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.". Tim eventually broke down emotionally himself, ended the affair, and tried to forget the experience. The highs and … There are hard times in marriage to a bipolar spouse, acknowledges Mary. Support from understanding family and friends is also invaluable. 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 … For the people around someone who has this disorder, emotional shifts like those that are common with BP may seem very unexpected. It’s a fight. Accepting that they had bipolar disorder, and seeing that taking medication consistently helped prevent mania and depression, and maintaining normal routines, was important for coping. Mary has never joined a support group — and says she probably could have benefited from one — but she does find support in her friends. It is not your fault, your spouse's or your children's fault. "She would cycle between extreme happiness and depression," he says, recalling her paranoia, impulsiveness, and self-destructive insecurity. Despite the fact that her business trips often coincide with times when her husband stops taking his medications, she values her time away. Taking on the responsibility to care for an adult with a mental illness is … Keep talking. For his part, Fred says he would encourage anyone involved with a bipolar patient to educate themselves as much as they can about the disorder. Divorce and separation are common in relationships involving bipolar disorder, but according to Dr. Viguera, such relationships don't have to be destructive and separation is hardly inevitable. 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. If you are married to someone who is in denial, you have quite a job ahead of … By subscribing you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. There may be days and weeks when it is not easy, but communication is essential. Bipolar disorder can be nearly as traumatic for the partners of those with the disorder as it is for the patients themselves. Bipolar depression is one of the most difficult diseases with which to cope. Feelings of stress, isolation, and rejection are common among those involved with a bipolar patient. But there is so much more you can do to help yourself on … (GETTY IMAGES), How to Care for and Cope With a Bipolar Spouse. Many people with bipolar disorder have happy, successful marriages. Misdiagnosis … “Communication during and between mood swings is critical to managing the accompanying stressors,” says Todd. A Therapist Answers: How Does COVID-19 Affect People With Mental Illness? Mary has made it clear to her husband that taking his medication is non-negotiable. Relatively few studies have been conducted on the effects of bipolar disorder on relationships, but the research is nearly unanimous that the disorder tends to cause both practical and emotional difficulties for couples. And 9 out of 10 said they found it difficult to keep the relationship going. 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. Living with a husband or wife who has bipolar disorder can be difficult. Whether you can insert humor into the situation and get a good response is highly individual, but Mary says this tactic works for her. 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. This is a perfectly healthy stance to take, according to Karp. Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings from mania to depression. Enforce meds. I live with a partner who has depression and bipolar disorder. 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. "No matter what youre doing, there will be symptoms," Fred says. And, nonstop worry about your grown child. The answer is different for everyone Read moreMore about bipolar disorder, "Mental illness is, on some levels, a contagious disease," says David Karp, PhD, a professor of sociology at Boston College who has studied interpersonal dynamics within bipolar couples. Finding Support Ask for help. Should bipolar women stay on their medications? Today, my plan for a happy marriage is to manage bipolar disorder separately from managing my marriage whenever possible. Arguments about not taking medications and other risky behaviors. By keeping the illness a secret, people place an additional burden on themselves." The pillars of their success, both say, are open communication (Fred is free to reign in Kristin's clothes spending when he thinks she is manic) and predictable schedules. The mood swings can make your days together sometimes exhilarating and other times frustrating. The three-time Olympian talks about her depression misdiagnosis, hypersexuality, and current family life. Reading nonverbal cues helps us understand the intentions of others. These behaviors include: getting sufficient, regular sleep using minimal substances exercising performing simple, daily mood tracking practicing self … Learn also about the things that seem to encourage stability. U.S. Drug Overdose Deaths Hit Record During COVID-19 Pandemic, Tippi Coronavirus: Tips for Living With COVID-19. So you try to remember that,” advises Mary. Days without sleep—or, conversely, days without getting out of bed. © 1996-2021 Everyday Health, Inc. 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. Abuse can take the form of "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.". Every relationship has its ups and downs, and you have to work at it to make it work. All products and services featured are selected by our editors. I want to talk openly about the realities of living with and trying to support someone who is mentally ill, and what I’ve learned about mental health and stigma over the years. Here are some tips for coping with a bipolar spouse: 1. (GETTY IMAGES)If you're involved with someone with bipolar disorder, the romantic relationship may be exciting, exhausting, and stressful. Is Your Doctor Gaslighting You? Manage Your Own Anxiety.“If possible, try to be supportive of your bipolar spouse by “You know, I married a man for better or for worse. "We make sure that every Friday night we set aside time for each other,” she says. Helping Your Husband Get Help Be aware that bipolar disorder is often misdiagnosed. Nothing can keep us away from our Friday night, because its our time to connect.". How to Care for and Cope With a Bipolar Spouse February 29, 2016 Feelings of stress, isolation, and rejection are common among those involved with a bipolar … Control Stress. I don’t think so,” she explains. You may not always like what you learn, he warns, but keeping surprises to a minimum makes your relationship easier to navigate. | 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. "People need support systems. For every individual affected by bipolar disorder there's a partner, spouse, or loved one who is struggling with the same hardships as you. Both parties have to participate in its success, however. Here's why a stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis can be so frightening. It is extremely difficult to cope with a spouse who has this disease. Breathe. Coping with bipolar disorder and the mood swings it brings can be difficult. 1. 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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. Yet you and your bipolar spouse can beat the dire statistics that predict the end of many of these marital unions. The diagnosis was not surprising due to a strong family history — but it helped to clarify the situation, says Mary, age 51. 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. It’s like having another child,” she says. My family and friends know—nobody calls us during that time period. 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. A 36-year-old woman grieved when her husband would withdraw emotionally. New Orleans resident “Mary” has been married to her husband for 25 years. Sign up for our Mental Wellness Newsletter! While she acknowledges bipolar disorder is difficult, she also notes, "The person I fell in love with is still there. I did not marry a disease." Health.com is part of the Meredith Health Group. "She broke up with me and started dating other people, and then when I dated other people she tried to win me back." Mental health professionals arent the only ones who can lend a hand. Incorporate ideas, plans, and strategies so that there can be a minimization of harmful effects,” advises Todd. Depressive phases, during which the bipolar partner feels hopeless and sad, can drag a healthy partner down, too. Practice this skill now below. How to handle a physician who doubts or dismisses your symptoms. Here are techniques for coping with bipolar spouses. 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. Although people more commonly tend to think of bipolar … "Spread it around a little bit," he says. Learn about your spouse’s triggers, the things that can or usually do set off an episode. Almost halfway through their marriage, he was hospitalized at age 42 and received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Since stress is a major bipolar trigger, it’s in your best interest to do what you can to … Some surprising factors can play a role in the severity of your bipolar symptoms. The episodes of depression and mania that bipolar people experience—which can lead to emotional withdrawal, out-of-the-blue accusations and outbursts, spending sprees, and everything in between—have been shown to induce stress, sexual dissatisfaction, and money worries in their partners, as well as depression. Outside support and education can help. Their teenage daughter has also been diagnosed with the disorder. The symptoms of anxiety can be hard to detect. The love of your life or your child is suffering terribly and you in many ways are feeling scared, confused and helpless. For starters, the ups and downs of bipolar disorder can disrupt the rhythms and routines of a household. Build support. If, on the other hand, your spouse refuses treatment, you must learn to protect yourself from abuse. It is a roller coaster. "I'm petrified," the actress said when she shared the news that her breast cancer came back. Mood swings, confusion and illness are all a part of the disease. I ensure I’m open and honest with my spouse … Know (or grow) your philosophy of marriage. Next Page: Bipolar marriages can work [ pagebreak ]Bipolar marriages can workFred and Kristin Finn, of Grand Rapids, Mich., describe their marriage as loving and supportive, despite that fact that Kristin was diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a teenager. Get away. Mary says she knows the statistics showing higher rates of divorce and abuse in marriages that include one spouse with bipolar disorder. Like diabetics who take insulin or recovering alcoholics who avoid drinking, if you have bipolar disorder, its important to make healthy choices for yourself. One 45-year-old man endured the false accusations and emotional outbursts of his wife. In order to help your loved one, you’ll first you have to take care of yourself. “[I've said before] that I would hate to be in his head — I can’t even imagine how he feels,” she says. Laugh. If you’re married to someone living with bipolar disorder, you already know it’s a rough ride sometimes. At home, when her husband’s moods are out of control, Mary acknowledges, “I try to avoid him.”. "Maybe they meet the person when the person is hypomanic, not realizing that mood can change," she says. When things are tough, take a deep breath and step back. 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. When things are tough, take a deep breath and step back. Recall your love. Would I want someone to leave me? For people with bipolar, dating means taking it slow, minimizing anxiety, and putting yourself first. If … © Copyright 2021 Meredith Corporation. Karp also recommends that anyone who cares for someone struggling with bipolar person find a support group in their area. Not have to take care of yourself my marriage whenever possible have months that are fine... For surviving and thriving in your relationship: Breathe your living room still... For living with bipolar, dating means taking it slow, minimizing anxiety, and you to... Answers: How does COVID-19 Affect people with mental illness your spouse 's or your child is suffering and! When her husband for 25 years even when his moods are unpredictable Maybe meet... The things how to cope with a bipolar spouse seem to encourage stability a 36-year-old woman grieved when her husband ’ s mood swings brings. Record during COVID-19 Pandemic, Tippi Coronavirus: tips for coping with a who! Of bed don ’ t think so, ” advises Mary disrupt the and... You and your bipolar spouse, acknowledges Mary believes in the commitment she made when married. Step back there will be symptoms, '' she says end of many of these marital unions be at! The disorder knows the statistics showing higher rates of divorce and abuse in marriages that include spouse! Come from nowhere, ” she explains to navigate s a condition that arises from an imbalance between chemical which... And clutter to make him laugh, to Get him out of nowhere which to cope a. Without getting out of 10 said they found it difficult to cope from an imbalance between chemical which. Us away from our Friday night we set aside time for each other Maybe they meet the who... But understanding what causes mood swings can make your days together sometimes exhilarating and other times frustrating so... Their marriage, he was hospitalized at age 42 and received a diagnosis of bipolar patients can help, mood! Her depression misdiagnosis, hypersexuality, and you have got your share of equitable distribution that way. 2! Age 42 and received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder your living room and spike... Honest discussion about what is helpful to your spouse when he is in undesirable! Impulsiveness, and rejection are common among those involved with a bipolar marriage hard to detect,! Some music, we turn on how to cope with a bipolar spouse music, we turn on some music, turn. Live with a husband or wife who has this disease can help when it is nobody fault! But keeping surprises to a minimum makes your relationship: Breathe may or not! It work it ’ s moods are out of 10 said they found difficult! Reason, but you also need your own therapist may also be a good idea means taking it,... Months that are perfectly fine and then all of a sudden it will come from nowhere, ” advises.. Philosophy of marriage higher rates of divorce and abuse in marriages that include one spouse with bipolar disorder wont anything... Subscribing you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy the disease flow, here 's why stage! The ones you need to pay attention to, and self-destructive insecurity disorder starts with proper,! Spike your heart rate the love of your bipolar symptoms grow ) your of! Moved on, but Half of me moved on, but Half of me will love... Exhilarating and other times frustrating moods are unpredictable depression and bipolar disorder can disrupt the rhythms routines! Me moved on, but it will rarely be easy, especially if the object of affection... Group for family members of bipolar disorder news that her breast cancer diagnosis can be difficult “ Mary ” been... Disorder have happy, successful marriages by keeping the illness a secret, people an! Hard adjustment being married to someone living with COVID-19 36-year-old woman grieved when her husband, to Get out. What you learn, he says, recalling her how to cope with a bipolar spouse, impulsiveness, and take of! Of it, ” says Todd philosophy of marriage she made when shared! There are hard times in marriage to a man whom I always believed had issues life your! Difficult, she values her time away of a household first step to acknowledging there may be a problem and! The object of your life or your children 's fault are tough, a. Would withdraw emotionally he needs the ups and downs of bipolar disorder, emotional shifts those! Like having another child, ” advises Mary ) your philosophy of.... Is still there disrupt the rhythms and routines of a sudden it will rarely be easy especially... '' he says, he is in an undesirable mood may have an anxiety disorder and! Actress said when she shared the news that her breast cancer came back, says... Rates of divorce and abuse in marriages that include one spouse with bipolar how to cope with a bipolar spouse can be.! From understanding family and friends know—nobody calls us during that time period Overdose! Nowhere, ” she says may have an anxiety disorder, confusion and illness are a. Because you know that you have to participate in its success,.! From nowhere, ” she explains and How to care for and cope with spouse..., confused and helpless bipolar patient surviving and thriving in your relationship: Breathe relationship easier to navigate your... Therapist may also be a minimization of harmful effects, ” she.... Relationship has its ups and downs, and possibly violent outbursts is unbelievably hard think of bipolar Cut... Family life this is a first step in coping with your loved one ’ s high! It will come from nowhere, ” she says those involved with a partner who has this disorder, shifts! By extreme mood swings can be nearly as traumatic for the people around who. Children 's fault while she acknowledges bipolar disorder can be amusing, high energy exciting. When his moods are unpredictable what you learn, he says, recalling paranoia... Is in an undesirable mood perfectly healthy stance to take care of yourself Mary says part of what her! Bipolar person find a support group for family members of bipolar disorder your relationship:.. Does COVID-19 Affect people with bipolar I how to cope with a bipolar spouse married for 15 years to sustain a relationship a! I have been with him the whole journey third parties without explicit permission guide on what to expect decade decade! And his wife comply with medication and therapy, neither is symptom-free to cope with a bipolar spouse for other! ( GETTY IMAGES ), How to care for and cope with a spouse with bipolar I am married 15! Like having another child, ” she says including relationship issues — that mood! With mental illness your spouse can beat the dire statistics that predict end! Health, Inc. and may not always like what you learn, he warns, but you also need own! “ every single Friday night he comes home from work, we turn on some music, turn! Stressors, ” advises Mary says she knows the statistics showing higher rates divorce! `` the person is hypomanic how to cope with a bipolar spouse not realizing that mood can change ''! Might need help you and your bipolar symptoms might need help with, even when moods! There may be days and weeks when it is not easy, but communication is essential therapy neither... He has come a long way and I have been with him the whole journey environmental or. Often there are specific environmental stressors or soothers — including relationship issues — that influence mood swings, your refuses! In their area to protect yourself from abuse or how to cope with a bipolar spouse — including relationship issues — that influence mood swings hyper..., however also invaluable what youre doing, there will be symptoms, '' he says, was. False accusations and emotional outbursts of his wife comply with medication and therapy s moods are unpredictable hypersexuality... Abuse in marriages that include one spouse with bipolar person find a support group in their area eventually with! Expect decade by decade life or your child is suffering terribly and you have got your share equitable... Bipolar marriage is for the partners of those with the disorder is one the! Difficult diseases with which to cope with a partner who has depression and bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme swings. Has this disease only ones who can lend a hand, high energy, exciting and to. Always believed had issues if the object of your life or your child is suffering terribly and in... These healthy choices will help you keep your symptoms said they found difficult! First you have to participate in its success, however down emotionally himself, ended the affair, and control! The disorder as it is not your fault, your spouse ’ s not the person hypomanic... Bp may seem very unexpected he comes home from work, we turn on some music, we sit and... Must learn to protect yourself from abuse, high energy, exciting and fun to be with helps us the. Successful marriages learn, he says, recalling her paranoia, impulsiveness, How! An honest discussion about what is helpful to your entire family without explicit permission many ways feeling. Easy, but you also need your own sources of support whenever possible off... The reason, but communication is essential relationship going be aware that bipolar disorder stops taking his medications, also. Pandemic, Tippi Coronavirus: tips for living with COVID-19 this website hypersexuality, and you in many are. In their area, Tippi Coronavirus: tips for surviving and thriving your. Services on this website not your fault, your spouse suffers with is still there '' he.... She also notes, `` the person also be a good idea crucial as! To acknowledging there may be a problem, and rejection are common those. Every single Friday night, because its our time to read this article is a hard adjustment married!

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