Maintaining Friendships And Relationships With Bipolar Disorder

An extremely difficult aspect of living with Bipolar Disorder is keeping friendships and relationships in the long-term. The swings that we experience are not only destructive to ourselves but to those we are closest to. Preserving relationships with the people we care most about requires sacrifice, effort, and understanding from all of the involved parties. The following is a foundation for building an approach to keeping these relationships intact. Much of the advice I provide is distilled to a bare bones approach that I feel anyone can adapt to their lifestyle. Mental illness is a personal experience like no other, thus it requires a personalized management style.

*Educating Both Parties
The first step is to build a foundation of knowledge for both parties. The Bipolar person should wait until they are as level as they can be to prevent perceived slights from exploding.

– Bipolar: As a Bipolar, we need to understand how a loved one perceives us while unwell. Are they afraid, uncomfortable, pained? After you level off, you will need to initiate the steps to repair the breach.

– Normal: A Bipolar that is in an unwell period is perceiving life through a twisted lens. We react to things in ways that make no sense to anyone but us. The person that you know and love is in there. It may take days or months, but under normal circumstances they will return when in balance.

*Preservation Strategy
On a regular basis, we the Bipolar are left watching the ashes of our personal lives drifting through our fingers. The actions we take while unwell always have greater repercussions through every aspect of our lives. Thus, we should strive to minimize the damage of the flame once it ignites.

– Bipolar: Always remind yourself to hear what you are being told. Try to prevent their statements from running away in your mind. “I can’t give you ten bucks.” Doesn’t mean anything more than that though it can easily get to ‘That person won’t give me ten bucks because they don’t love, respect, or care about me. So fuck that mother fucker too!’ And now you’re in a hostile mentality ripe for torching that friendship.

– Normal: Be aware that any action or statement you make could get blown out of proportion in the Bipolar’s mind. However, that does not mean that you are to be a doormat or a victim. When dealing with someone who is unwell, keep your statements short and to the point. If their reaction seems out of sync with what is going on, it is quite likely the Disorder twisted it out of proportion. Stay calm and even. If you cannot, leave the conflict. Step away with something like, “I’m not sure if you are unwell or not, but I do not feel this conversation is constructive. We will talk about it tomorrow.” By doing so, you are not providing fuel to make the situation worse.

*Forgiveness Is All Important
There is no more powerful action than forgiveness. That does NOT mean you should allow yourself to ever be a victim or doormat. Mental illness is not an excuse to treat other people like shit. Yes, we periodically do treat other people terribly, but that does not make it right or acceptable.

– Bipolar: Be aware that everyone has certain boundaries that cannot be crossed. In the event that you do, you may very well lose that person or drive them away for good. Should that time come there is not a whole lot you will be able to do. Avoid letting feelings of resentment, anger, or abandonment build. Forgive them. Tell them you understand and let them go. Why? By doing so you are not reinforcing the unwell you in their mind. They are seeing you are a rational, reasonable, understanding person. Their thoughts in the coming days won’t be about whatever lunacy you were going through at the time, but be focused more on their last, rational interaction with you.

– Normal: Not everyone can handle being around the mentally unwell when they are. You need to identify your limits so you know what is entirely out of bounds. This will help the Bipolar person as well since they may be able to recognize it as a boundary. At some point in time, I took to looking behind a person’s actions for motivation before making a judgment. The same thing will help when deciding whether or not to forgive a Bipolar person their slights against you.

For example: I’ve been through approximately 25 jobs in the last 15 years or so. While I was with my second ex-Fiancee, I was still without diagnosis. I continued to lose jobs on a regular basis. Instead of coming clean about it, I lied about why I kept losing jobs to her. Now on the surface, one can just look at it and go “okay you lied several times, you’re a shithead.” and in large part I’d agree. However, I lied because I knew I had difficulties holding a job and was trying to turn it around. I knew it would affect her clinical depression and I did not want her to be so mad at me that I could not help her get through it. Was it right? No. Would I have handled it that way if I was well? No. Was it what my unwell brain told me was the best approach? Yep.

There are very few simple, clear cut reasons with a Bipolar thought process. If they do not cross your limits, its better to forgive them if you don‘t understand the thought process they are relating to you.

*Repairing Breaches
To the people that have experienced the pain of losing someone close to them because of their actions, you might find it hard to believe that there is a silver-lining. Going back, apologizing, and repairing the breaches between you and the people you care about can greatly strengthen your relationships. In addition, it will help separate the people that can handle your unwellness from those that can’t. You will have to take the step forward though. Embrace whatever humility you have to approach the people you wounded to ask forgiveness.

When I put this idea forward, the first response I usually get is “Why should I apologize! I’m the one with the mental illness!” I understand your frustration. This is not about mental illness, this is about showing remorse for hurting someone you care about. The approach I typically use is as follows:

‘I apologize for (insert action here) and the effect it had on you. I was in an unwell Bipolar cycle at the time so I was not myself. And I want you to understand, this is not an excuse but a reason. I acknowledge what I did, I know it was not the right thing to do, and to be honest, there’s a better than good chance I’ll probably end up doing something just as stupid in the future. That’s life with Bipolar Disorder. If you want to forgive me, that’s your choice. If not, I understand that too. If I can make it right, I will.’

And then I give the person space to think if they need it. Sometimes it takes a few minutes, sometimes it takes a few weeks, very rarely do they ever disappear for good.

*A Final Thought
The people in your life that can accept the bullshit we put them through and forgive you are your most valuable allies in your battle for wellness. If they are a person you can trust, their word becomes invaluable while you are unwell. They can be an anchor to what reality actually is. In my case, if I am acting severely out of my mind and someone points it out to me, rather than go out and about and cause the chaos that will come with being unwell; I hole up and ride it out until it passes. Once I rebalance, I get back on the path of whatever it is I was doing. By doing so, I help minimize damage and shorten my unwell periods. The more fuel shoveled in the furnace of mind the longer I’m going to burn, right?

Don’t hesitate to bring the people you love and care about in your world if you are Bipolar. They already know your different facets. They may not like, agree, or desire the unwell you. But there is a person in there that they value and love, otherwise they wouldn’t be putting up with our bullshit. In most cases, the person they love is the well person we are struggling so hard to get to with the therapy, doctors, medication, exercises, and more.

More information is available in my article “Effectively Managing A Bipolar Relationship”.

“This is my other side,
I’m not only a Dark One,
As I have a pulsing heart,
For all who care.”

– “The Dark One” Darkseed


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367 Responses to Maintaining Friendships And Relationships With Bipolar Disorder

  1. Saachi Khanna says:

    This article has really helped me a lot, in terms of being with my closest friend who is bipolar. Although, she didn’t tell me about it, i got to know it through another friend who has bipolar, to be honest, i feel , bipolar people have a great deal to offer to this world. I researched quite a lot, to stop “messing around with her head”, and in turn got to learn so much , that today i’m surprised when people just say “Oh, you’re mad, you have bipolar”. In fact i believe that you all are the ones who see reality as no one else can. I really appreciate all those who come out with it, and not keep it inside you. There are people who care. I’m there to listen to all that you have to say, and i would love to know your experiences too.

    • Grimm says:

      Thank you for the feedback. I’m glad you found the piece informative. We certainly do end up seeing the world differently- but it’s not always a positive thing nor should anyone be made to think that way. If you have any specific questions, by all means ask and I’ll see if I can provide answers.

      • Rach says:

        Fabulous article. I myself have bipolar 2, finally diagnosed properly after being treated for major depression for 14 years. Not fun! I am doing great on my new meds (it’s been 2 years now) and I think I mostly recognise when I’m unwell. The hypomanias were the hardest for me to recognise, but I am getting there.

        My question however is actually about my brother. I just wanted to give you a bit if background that I do have some understanding of what happens to him. He has bipolar 1. He is currently completely manic. It is due to a very stressful time, we’ve just lost our father, so I’ve been expecting something to happen because of the extreme grief. (I know I’m not great at the moment, but so far still holding onto the threads). What the issue here is though is that he is completely oblivious/denying the fact that he is unwell. He has been fighting and screaming abuse at my other 3 siblings for 2 days now. You can only imagine how my ‘perfect lady’ of a mother is coping with this in her house. (They r all living there at the moment, partners in tow, thank goodness I live nearby and can get away!) It has been extreme , he’s even written a letter tonight laying out in very logical order what everyone did wrong to him. I have tried as hard as I can to gently and softly help him but when I suggested that the bipolar might be affecting him at the moment and maybe he just needed a break and breather, he went off the deep end at me and said he was perfectly rational, just as u would expect him to say I guess, but is now going ballistic that there is nothing wrong with him. He’s obviously not recognising what’s happening to him. We have the funeral in just 2 days time and he’s now uncontactable and I’m really scared. Can you suggest anything at all please?

        • Dennis says:

          Hey there. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m glad you’re doing well on your new meds. One thing you’ll find with the hypomania is that there are times that you will miss the very slight escalation until you’re already there. The thing I did was identify symptoms I have most often when I’m hypomanic and only hypomanic and look for those. The big ones are arrogance, sped thoughts/talking, and not sleeping more than four hours a night but never feeling tired. If I’m getting hypomanic I almost always experience at least one of them and it’s so drastically different from my normal state of mind I know something is fucked up.

          As to your brother- that’s a much harder question. If he isn’t responding to rationality and with such a serious trigger of losing your father; he may be headed for a hospitalization.

          I think I would call your psych, explain the situation to them; and see what they would advise. If your brother is threatening violence on himself or any of the others, definitely get the authorities involved. I know there are “emergency” mood stabilizers that can help force a de-escalation; but I’m pretty sure they are an injection and are really only done in a clinical setting.

          Frankly, from my perspective and the limited information you gave, it seems pretty likely he’s going to need to be hospitalized- but I’m not a doctor or therapist. Definitely contact a professional and get their opinion. I’m pretty sure you’re out of the realm of novice management with his present mania though. Sooner would be better, before he has time to do something he’ll forever regret.

          My sympathies for your loss.

          • Rach says:

            Thankyou for replying so fast! That never seems to happen on websites. I really appreciate it.
            I think that you have actually confirmed what I felt already. He nearly went for my sister and other brother yesterday but said he wouldn’t because he didn’t want them messed up for the funeral. I guess I was holding onto that glimmer of hope that he still had some sort of control, but maybe that’s not enough. You see, when I’ve gotton bad I’ve never been capable of holding back, not at a person mind you, (maybe that’s the difference) but I’ve smashed up myself and the poor walls several times in my fits. I can’t stop. So I thought by him stopping he may have been ok.
            I’ll try and find him today. Prior to me expressing that I felt he was unwell he promised that I could contact him, so hopefully that still stands and I’ll see what I can do.
            Thankyou again for your recommendations. This has all been so helpful.
            Thankyou for your kind words regarding our loss too. I never knew how hard it could be.

        • Dennis says:

          Replying to your latest message here as WordPress has a comment tree limit.

          It’s important not to fall into the trap of thinking that the way you experience the Disorder is relevant to the way others do. We are bound by many symptoms; but our responses are often very individual. He may be holding back now, but from your description it sounds like the right trigger is probably going to send him over a very nasty edge. So yeah; as I said I would probably talk to your psych and ask about a course of action from him before anyone gets hurt and your brother winds up in jail. I would also be very careful about finding/confronting him. If he doesn’t think he’s in a cycle then his mind could paint you as an enemy. Do what you can to get ahold of a medical professional and ask them what you should do before you do anything. The type of cycle you’re describing isn’t the kind of place where an amateur/novice should be.

          And you’re welcome on the prompt reply. I hate making people wait on me so I always strive to be on time, answer emails/comments same day if possible, and other such things. Just a personal quirk I suppose.

          What you describe in your comment about yourself is pretty normal actually. Most mentally ill people (I saw one figure from NAMI that put it at like 95% or so) are going to hurt themselves before anyone else. 95% doesn’t seem like a “correct” number; but I imagine the number is pretty high. People just think it’s more common for mentally ill people to hurt others because of movies, the news, and so on. For every one Hannibal Lecter or school shooting; there’s probably a thousand suffering in silence and taking it out on themselves.

          The fact that your brother is making threats though is definitely red flag, get medical professionals involved behavior.

    • Martha says:

      I wish there was more like you , in the world , thank you for taking the time to UNDERSTAND

  2. Abby850 says:

    Very helpful. I’m romanticly interested on a bipolar person and it’s hard to understand if his attitude towards me changes because of his state or because he’s no longer interested. I often question my actions and feel I might have done or said something wrong, or become mad at this person, but this helped me understand how to handle myself. Reading “we” instead of “them” made me feel confident about the information in this article because I know the advices come from a bipolar person, not a “specialist”. Thank you.

  3. DannyBoy says:

    Thanks for publishing this. I am not bipolar, but I have a female close friend who is. Maybe you can offer some insight for me. During “normal times”, I seem to get mixed signals that she wants our relationship to be romantic. During unwell times, she seems repulsed by me. Is this characteristic of bipolar disorder, or just her. No idea what to think.

  4. Jay says:

    thank you for posting this information it’s helps understand abit of what I’m going through ATM. although I’m finding it hard to understand why my partner seems to be balanced and functional and very clear most of the time he is also very sweet and loving, and we are like the best of friends most of the time, and then out if the blue he will start picking on me and it feels like absolutely everything I do is not good enough for him and then I’ll get upset and he will say I’m sorry but then he will be at it again 5 mins later. and goes on and on and we just don’t see eye to eye as much as I support his bipolar he just doesn’t listen to me. he seems to have to always be in the write and always has something nasty to say and I winder if the person I love is still in there and deep inside can he hear me. and then when he’s fine were great. it’s hurtful and I don’t no what to do.

    • Grimm says:

      Hello there. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      It sounds like your man needs to work on some of his own coping and managing techniques. I would suggest a few sessions with a counselor to work on management techniques or mutually consulting with his doctor about the situation. If he’s on meds and his behavior towards you (or in general) has been getting worse; then he may need a med adjustment. People get resistant to psych meds over time so they periodically need adjusted or even changed if he’s at a max dosage.

      I think I would sit down with him at a time when he was feeling well and balanced and discuss that his darker moodiness is having an affect on the relationship and your own well-being. And then discuss options the two of you can explore to get things back to a healthier state for both of you.

      Since my information is limited to what you posted; I believe that consulting with a professional who can explore the situation deeper can help the two of you get to the root cause and bring back the man you fell in love with. The man you love is still in there- he just seems to be sick at the moment. I think the sooner you guys can address it; the better.

      EDIT: Your partner can seem to be balanced and “well” and then not because Bipolar Disorder operates in a spectrum. Sometimes the person can be well and fine; other times they can be vicious or suicidal; or they can be anywhere in between. There’s not always a tangible rhyme or reason to it. It’s just how the Disorder works.

      • Jay says:

        thank you for your advice, I tend to agree.
        He is medicated although I don’t think enough it’s just enough to take the edge off the depression but doesn’t seem to be doing much for the mania. that’s when he is the worst. he has been well and balanced for around 6 months and now I’ll for around 4 weeks. do you know roughly how long the cycles tend to last? And what you recommend is the best approach while he is I’ll.

        • Dennis says:

          Bipolar Disorder is primarily medicated with two types of meds- an antidepressant and a mood stabilizer. If the mood stabilizer is not working well, the antidepressant can cause the person to escalate into mania and stay up there for longer periods. I would speculate this is why your BF has been getting worse. He -needs- to get in touch with his doctor and get a medication adjustment asap if that’s the case. This needs to be handled immediately. Get him to call today.

          Cycle length can last any length of time from a couple days to months at a time. It all depends on the person, the stresses they are under, and what’s driving the unwell period. A cycle driven by incorrect medication can last until the meds are fixed and can be worse than what they normally experience; hence the need to handle the situation with urgency and get it fixed -now-.

          The best way to handle it is to not take the bait and not give him ammunition to argue with. If he starts trying to instigate just say “You’re unwell and you’re being very mean. I’m not going to argue with you.” And then don’t.

          If he picks at what you’re doing or how you’re doing something- “You’re free to do it yourself if you don’t like how I did it.” And again, don’t argue.

          The reason that we’re not arguing is that there is no point to it. It’s not an engagement you can ever “win” and serves no actual purpose. The mean-type instigation and picking are just his unwell brain being unwell.

          Now, being understanding and supportive does have its limits. If he ever starts being abusive or you ever feel threatened don’t hesitate to get authorities involved. Believe me they are used to dealing with mentally unwell people.

          Only you can decide where your lines are that cannot be crossed. Personally- I’ve been punched in the face on three different occasions in the past two years by a severely unwell person I was trying to help. But that’s where my line is. Anything past taking a swing at me warrants self-defense and authorities. Not that I’m advocating that approach for you; only demonstrating that though I can deal with a lot of shit there is a line drawn in the sand that cannot be crossed.

          You need to figure out where yours is if you haven’t.

          And you need to get him to call his doctor. Have him ask them to get him in as soon as possible; he’s having problems with his psych meds. They should treat it as a borderline emergency situation. From what you described, it sounds like he’s pretty mild compared to how an incorrect dosage can impact us in general. However that can change- thus the problem needs addressed immediately.

          • Jay says:

            What your saying is so true, I’ve mentioned to him befour that feel that he is a little unmedicated he said if I was on any more meds that he would be a zombie. he is on lexipro 10 mg and valproate 1000 mg he used to be on 2000 mg but dropped it he has seemed fine on these dosages for a while. But ATM anything and everything is annoying him and upsetting him , it’s like he pretends to be nice but u can see he’s not being genuine . he also has aspergers with his bipolar but o er time I’ve been able to separate the to. he only takes meds for bipolar and this is not helping he also used to see a coin Ellet every few weeks but hasn’t seen her for awhile now as he said he was sick of doctors and meds. he knows he can’t stop taking them but I think he would rather leave things how they are as he’s tierd of trying. I know where my limits are and so does he so hopefully he doesn’t cross the line . I just want the best for him and to help balance him and his life also our family life .

          • Dennis says:

            Hm. I can’t directly reply to your latest comment. Is it alright if I send you a direct email? Is the address you registered under a legit address?

  5. Jay says:

    Absolutely you can email me. yep it is a legit address. Thank you.

  6. Pingback: Maintaining Friendships And Relationships With Bipolar Disorder | Bipolar Manifesto | My Year To Thrive

  7. Charles says:

    My wife of two years is bipolar, but that never really sank in until recently. I thought our relationship was in trouble because of me, but after a serious breakdown last week things have become much clearer. Our sex life has never been good, and I used to think she’s just not attracted to me. I made the effort to see if I could do things like we used to when we first got together. She loves karaoke, going to the movies, so I decided to take her out more. We had a blast. We went to her favorite restaurant, saw the movie she had wanted to see, I bought her roses and sang her a love song at karaoke (which was terrifying for me lol), and then we went cruising around town just listening to music. She was in the mood for country, which I hate, but after a few songs I began to enjoy it and sing along. We came to a stop light, I leaned over to kiss her, and I swear if she wasn’t buckled in she would have fallen out of the car. The woman I love recoiled when I tried to kiss her. I began to realize that things had been that way for a long time. When ever I try to hold her or kiss her, she flinches and tries to get away. She has been married before, and her ex husband was abusive, but I have never struck her. I don’t yell when we fight, though I do get angry, but we hardly ever fight. We get along so well, we can still sit and talk for hours about nothing at all, or just enjoy each others company in silence. But she cannot show me affection.
    When we got home I told her, not in an angry or accusatory way, that when she tells me she loves me I don’t believe her. I cried, and she stood there and made excuses. She told me she does love me, she just isn’t interested in having any intimacy with me. We talked for a few hours, neither one of us getting angry, just talking things out. She said some very hurtful things, and I told her things can’t continue this way. The next morning she told me she had made an appointment to see a councilor and that she felt that she needs medication. I began researching bipolar disorder, and I began to understand things. I feel stupid, so very stupid, for not listening to her in the first place. I’m hopeful that we can work things out, but at the same time I feel that I’ve already prepared myself for when she leaves. I don’t know whether to crawl in a hole and howl in pain or rejoice that I can move on with my life without her if it comes to that. I need to talk to someone, but I don’t know anyone who could understand what we’re going through.

  8. J says:

    Wow, this site is so helpful. I have not had anyone to talk to about this. And actually I didn’t know what other people would think about it so I keep it to myself.

    Anywho about 4 months ago I met a guy whom was the embodiment of everything I could ever imagine as the perfect fit. At first he started out just commenting on my art and sharing his. That then progressed to long chat sessions about the art world, which eventually led to phone convo and video chats.
    Everything was amazing, he had amazing humor and a laugh just as infectious as mines.

    We have lived in the same city for years and gone to the same college and never crossed paths. Anyways we continued to talk and about two months in he said he was “manic-depressive” and didn’t seem at all afraid about talking about it. Ironically I am a pysch major in grad school lol. Anyways, I have read about it, but never became involved with it in depth. But because of my background with people I didn’t let that change the feelings I had for him.

    Before you knew it we were talking long hrs everyday as night turned to day, he revealed secrets so did I. But I also noticed he didn’t get much sleep. He was telling me about how he had attempted suicide in the past, and how he was deeply lonely, he had lost his job out of college and for reason unexplained unable to find “gainful employment.” Since 2010? Someone as talented and well equiped with degrees seemed they should have a job by now. I didn’t question it as I was afraid it would cause instability.

    However it was obvious by his Facebook stats that he was troubled by his supposeded pursuits for employment. Right around this time, I told him I would help him get a job at the corp. I work for. He seemed excited. He would tell me how he thanked the powers that be for me and so fourth. It honestly seems the day that expressed to him how I felt about him and how much joy be brought into my life, that was the moment life took a turn.

    About three weeks ago, he started to become distant. Those messages sent to his cell took hours for him to reply to, when usually he would reply within minutes. He spends hours on end on facebook posting things and laughing with people in a seemingly normal manner, but if I inbox him he will not answer me, Somtimes for days after I’ve sent messages. When he does reply or answer the phone, it seems like he is distant, not interested in me anymore. But disconnected person is on facebook posting and having conversation on their wall.

    Each day I would send messages and tell him I am not upset about him needing space, I loved him deeply and I would be here when he is ready. He reads messages no reply. Now if I post on his wall under the thousands of batman post, strangely he’ll reply. He then had supposedly two family memebers die at once, he then went out of town for a week, at this point he was very distant. But, what I found was he was lying because when he sent messages to me from Facebook, his location was at places in town. I didn’t say anything, because I didn’t want to send him I deeper. But I was more than annoyed by the fact that he wa lying.

    He has been with his parents now for nearly a month. He supposedly is coming to get his stuff and move back home. He continues to be most likely unlike the person I found love and comfort in, the person who was so happy to have found me. The person I love. Today he sent me a message thay says ” j you are not the one for me.” And I said if that is where you are I will respect that, but I asked him how do you know that for sure and he said, ” because all the beautiful words you wrote, I don’t feel the same.” He then goes on to tell me ” I don’t need him, I don’t need anyone.” And shortly after he posted a stat that said ” Somtimes we see what me need to in people- but Somtimes what we see is not really there.”

    That hurt like hell. This is a person whom I have shared my life with. A person is has been loving and affectionate, and now they have progressively become this perosn who doesn’t even seem to want me around. I didn’t show my emotion, I simply wrote. ” I am not sure what this all means, but I am sure right now this is your reality. I love you enough to respect you and go away if that is what you want; but know that I will always love you. No hard feelings, goodbye”

    I’m afraid, is it possible the person I met is not the real person, the person who shared all their darkest secrets and happiest moments. The person whom has friends that have been around for years and don’t know he is bipolar, he told me all this. But it seems like it has doomed me to being pushed away. Is there a such thing as coming on to strong with a bipolar? Is it possible that the real person is the one I have interacted with for the longest part. The one who is withdrawn and indifferent.

    Mind you, when he lost his job In 2010 he lost his insurance and is and has been since unmedicated.

  9. Jenny says:

    Ah thank you so much for such an informative article. I’m bipolar. I have been for 13 years. I am fairly well controlled and have managed to just about hold down a career for the same length of time. I am just coming out of a hypo manic episode. The first, in about 2 years. And it was a huge shock. I wasn’t ready for it.. But who ever is? My boyfriend who has been so amazingly supportive through a large variety of serious health problems that I’ve had in our 1 and half years together has been hit so hard by this episode. He’s now depressed and unfortunately I think struggling to separate the woman he knows from the bipolar condition. So I’m better, and all I can do is give him the time and space to get over the shock. I have promised him that I will always communicate with him, and be honest. I’ve encouraged him to feel free to speak to my mum who is amazing with me when im unwell. Fortunately I can articulate this now I’m well. It’s so important to talk about it, never to allow shadows to lurk in the corners of the partners mind. And most importantly not only is it important for the partner to be able to decide if they can live with it, but also for the sufferer to recognise that they deserve someone in their life that can and is willing to try, to understand and to see YOU.. Not the illness.

    • Grimm says:

      Sounds like you have a very good handle on your own management practices, Jenny. I think he’ll be able to push through it. Relationships with Bipolars are often a teeter-totter affair. The well person props up and helps the unwell person when they’re unbalanced; and then the Bipolar does the same for the normally well partner so they can recover from the emotional and mental toll that an unwell period can have.

      And you are very right, communication is of the utmost importance; moreso than even in normal relationships.

  10. Paul says:

    I wanted to thank you for your informative article and feedback to others who are going through rough patches with the loved ones in their lives.
    I found this posting while looking for books about bi-polar relationships. A little over 3 weeks ago my gf kind of picked a fight with me when she broke plans without even a text. I really regret it today, but we got into a passive aggressive argument when all I simply wanted her to do was say she should have texted me when she decided to leave me waiting at home for her to come over for dinner. 3 hrs later, after she went out with her friends to eat instead, it somehow got turned around into me being the jerk, and being in my little world when i was upset about her actions. Fact is, I’ve been really patient with her because I know about the bi-polar, ADHD, and PTSD from her past and I truly do love this girl.
    The night went pretty miserably as she just remained distant and stuck in a mood when all I wanted to do was let it go and be able to enjoy her company. I even made her a 2nd dinner, because I was hungry after falling asleep on the couch waiting till 1130. But for the first time I was pretty angry, though I didn’t snap at her or raise my voice once I realized she couldn’t be empathetic about the situation.
    What I regret now, is that I didn’t put it together that she was going through something. We’ve only been dating for 7 or 8 months, and I never really educated myself too too much on the disorder. The last time I was home though, I did go see Silver Linings Playbook with her, as she explained, she is the female version of the Bradley Cooper character. It kinda intimidated me, but it was like her favorite movie, and I was happy to make her happy by seeing it with her when I was visiting home for a few days during the winter.
    Fact is, for a long time I thought I might be a bit bi-polar. I think everyone is a little bit, we all cycle around. Of course now I realize my brain operates in a much more practical way then some of us out there who struggle with this disease every day. I’ve been reading up on it and am going to the library when I finish this post to get some books actually.

    But what I regret is that the following day we were supposed to go to a BB game and when it started to drizzle I decided to just not let her know we weren’t gonna go. I figured she would call me after work and I could say, “it kinda sucks when people flake out- now hopefully you can understand how I felt”. But no call, and I stayed angry about it. The next couple days I texted her in the mornings and a few times throughout the day to check in and nothing. No reply, nothing. So I gave her her space because I thought she would come around sooner than later and frankly I didn’t want to deal with that angry person.
    This blew up in my face though when a couple days later she called me and very emotionlessly broke things off. I was floored, and caught completely off-guard, that was the last thing I wanted. My stubbornness now torments me.

    About a month prior to this, she had become beligerent and hung up on me and it took her a couple days to come around and apologize and ask for my forgiveness which I immediately gave her and reassured her I would be there. At the time I was working in another state, which went on for a couple months. She visited a few times but was a bit distant (very tired or in the zone most of the trip) and would leave me notes saying how patient and amazing I treat her through all the way she acts. “I don’t know why I act this way. I don’t like it, and I’m so lucky to have such a patient and thoughtful person in my life. I’m so lucky”. I have subsequently learned from some posts and writings that when bipolar individuals say things like “you deserve better from me”, it can be a warning sign of something to come.
    I guess I thought that this situation would work itself out similarly, and in a day or two she would snap out of it and realize her coldness- but I was dead wrong.

    She put me off for a week before meeting face to face and giving me all my stuff back. I definitely went into that f2f scarred and confused, with a lot of questions that subsequently never got answered. I really thought that when we would see each other in person she would snap out of it and realize that what we had was worth holding onto, that I was worth holding onto (as insecure as that sounds, I am a pretty practical person and I couldn’t do the math here, I really just thought it was a simple miscommunication. Maybe she broke up with me so I didn’t break up with her? Which I wouldn’t have done. I just don’t know.)
    I definitely wanted to breach the subject of her mental illnesses effecting her judgement, but everytime I even tried to go anywhere near there (and I never really did get to go there in the convo) I couldn’t get 2 sentences out without her cutting me off and reacting very coldly towards me. It became very obvious that this conversation was going to be about me when all the questions I had were about her. (I did apologize and say i didn’t care about being right or wrong though. I was not aggressive in anyway.)
    I couldn’t understand how we made it through all that time apart and then within a week of being home and just a few days removed from very real and public displays of affection on her part she could say she didn’t miss me, and that she had been thinking about this for awhile. It was like she lacked empathy for anything, and what really scared me is I felt like she was a completely different person than the girl I know and love.
    When we parted ways, she did give me a big hug and tell me she loved me too, but it felt like it was forced. Like something you tell someone just to get rid of them. I had wanted to read her a letter she wrote me a month ago, one that I had kept and read a bunch of times. Basically saying that she was so lucky to be with someone as understanding and committed to working on ‘us’. For some stupid reason, I thought it would remind her of the committment we had made to one another, and maybe snap her out of it. Because in my mind, 2 loving people don’t break up over a little bump in the road like this, not after being apart for the better part of 3 months and talking everyday.
    This is where our f2f pretty much ended as she stormed off furious that I would try and read her her own letter. Furious. I had really thought the note would anchor her back to that person and the way she had felt just a few weeks earlier, I thought even if I couldn’t get through to her– maybe HER OWN WORDS could penetrate the wall she was putting up. but instead it just angered her and pushed her away. So basically, I couldn’t communicate with her at all, and it hurt.
    I don’t know nearly enough about the disease, but I am fairly certain now she was becoming somewhat manic, posting 10 things a day on FB, and taking on new responsibilities and jobs and perhaps me being thrust back into her life after a few months away was too much for her. I can see that now. I can see how her new found motivation to get back in shape, which I was encouraging may have made her possibly go off her meds or something (to lose weight) or simply pushed her towards becoming even more manic and heading towards an episode.
    It just tears me up, because half of the posts I see online, are people in long term relationships telling people getting into similar situations to run for their lives and move on- because it never gets better. I have left her alone for the past 2 weeks (no calls/no texts/ nothing) and 50/50 she went to see her psychiatrist in that time. But I really don’t know how long I can keep myself from reaching out to her.
    In past relationships when things started to slip I knew I had to act sooner than later if I wanted to save it. But with her, I almost feel like the longer I wait, the more likely she will be more stable when we finally do speak again. Or maybe she will one day just have a change of heart and contact me. And I want to speak again, even if she can’t be with me or with anyone right now, I want her to be a part of my life, if just a friend for now or whatever. But from past experience I know that with most people the longer you wait the less chance of reconcilliation.
    I do feel though that I want to write her, in a week or so after her birthday (on Sunday), and express the things I couldn’t a few weeks ago. after I read up on bipolar romance a bit more of course. But I am torn, because my usual feeling is that women want what they can’t have- and if you chill them out it will make them want you back. This is the kind of backwards thinking that got me into this in the first place though.

    Wow, I just realized how much I wrote….. Therapeutic, but more than a little dramatic. I’m just really confused as to what I should do if I decide I really want her in my life. Do I write her? Do I leave her be? How do I find that person again? How do I tell her that I can accept her, not just the person she is when she is treating me amazing and very pleasant to be around? When you love someone, you love their flaws as well. I just don’t want go a few weeks time waiting it out and then find out she randomly/impulsively jumped into a new relationship because she felt lonely and thought I moved on (she moved back in with her parents so I am not too worried about her hurting herself thankfully). At the same time if I reach out and she is still in that state I know it will push her farther away. I don’t know if when I collect my thoughts and write her if I should mention the bipolar bit, or just ask if we can be friendly and hang out drama free sometime. I’m just really lost, and looking for answers that I don’t think anyone can give me. For right now though, I am gonna stop writing and go to the library for further insight. If you could give me any advice or words of wisdom I’d be very much indebted to you because I really have nobody to talk to about this. I don’t think any of my friends or family would understand why I could possibly want to try and work things out with someone who hurt me in such a seemingly irrational way. But I hate looking backwards at things and need to get my head on straight and look forwards again- with or without her.
    Thanks for listening….. I wrote too much.

    • Grimm says:

      Hello, Paul. First of all- you didn’t write too much. It’s good to have as much information as possible from a person about their situation and their partner before trying to provide any meaningful advice.

      I’d like to quickly correct one misconception that is likely causing a lot of difficulties in your decision making process. The idea that “everyone is a little Bipolar” is as accurate as suggesting that someone can be “a little pregnant”. You either are, or you are not. Contrary to popular opinion, Bipolar Disorder is more than just having massive mood fluctuations. Part of the diagnostic criteria is that the person must travel into an extreme and stay there for at least a week at a time. When I have a hypomanic period- it can last for months.

      So immediately- we’ve already got the problem where she got unbalanced and you moved to immediately patch that up. The problem is that she’s going to be in that unwell state of mind until she crashes out of it. Could be weeks. Could be months. It could have already ended. It all depends on the person, the extremity of the unwell period, and any other catalysts such as medication changes.

      It absolutely sucks to be hurt by someone who is mentally ill and in an unwell period. But it is important to understand that when that person is unwell, they are not who they normally are. The analogy I use is Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde. You may know, love, and be loved by Dr. Jeckyl- but Mr. Hyde may hate your fucking guts, he may not love you, he may not care whether you live or die (in rare extremes). The point is- Mr. Hyde isn’t going to give a rat’s ass how you feel. Therefore, there is no point in trying to patch things up or make them better while the person is unwell. You can try to minimize the damage but that’s about as good as you’re going to get.

      But your feelings and needs are important and should be addressed. You can shelf them and come back to them when she’s well. No, it’s not an easy thing to do. It’s pretty difficult to not get pissed off when you have someone you love screaming in your face that you’re a cock sucking faggot- but reacting with anger is just going to drive them further into instability. When this occurs, I usually respond with indifference or humor. Like “yeah, but at least I make good money at the truck stops and from Senators!” because the person is expecting anger and it jars their thought processes to have to decipher what I’m talking about which can serve as a much needed break in their furious thought processes.

      As to the point about the people that told you to run- I can’t say I blame them. There are a lot of Bipolar people who have little to no control over themselves or even want to. My general rule of thumb is that I will attempt to be there for someone so long as they are trying to help themselves. If they just want to wallow in their own shit, well that’s on them.

      I would definitely recommend educating yourself thoroughly on Bipolar relationships and how to manage them; because there are things you should do to ensure her unwellness doesn’t screw you both. Just an example off the top of my head- I would never get a joint bank account or co-sign things. They may be sweet and wonderful when they’re lucid; but when they’re not you may find yourself with an unexpected loan to pay off or maxed out credit cards.

      As to what to do about the current situation. Once she re-balances, she should return to being the woman you knew and loved up until this recent episode. So I would do one of the following.

      1. Try and call or see her. Just say something simple like, “Look, you’ve been severely mentally unwell the past couple of weeks. I want you to know that I recognize and understand that. I know you broke up with me- but I’d like for you to come talk to me when you’ve re-balanced.”

      If she won’t talk to you and you’re on decent terms with her parents, then…

      2. I would contact her parents and just ask them to let her know I would really like to talk to her once she balances back out.

      Open communication between as many parties as possible is going to be most beneficial for your girl and her well-being. I would highly advise you look into relationship strategies as well so you guys can establish limits and hopefully build a better trust that will help ground her mind more.

      And finally, you need to ensure that you’re mentally strong enough to deal with this as well. I don’t know if you have any mental/emotional problems yourself; but it’s really easy for mentally ill people to pull each other into unwellness by feeding one another negative feelings and thoughts.

      If you have any questions or thoughts, you can feel free to continue the convo here or just email me if you’d prefer to discuss it that way.

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Paul, I couldnt help but reply to your post. I really feel for you, you’ve been through a tough time. I am a 35 year old bipolar lady..posted above ^ and currently well but just recently come out of a hypomanic episode… So my mind is fresh in the memory of being ill but the insight into how to make life easier after it is fresh too!
      Firstly, your lady is with friends and family, she has support if she is unwell. It’s very hard to want to help and want to be there for someone but they have to allow you in. You understandably want answers, but she is clealy not ready or willing to give them.
      You HAVE to take care of yourself first, I know this is going to be difficult, but leave her be for now. Prioritise your life, your health, your mind. Reach out to friends and family, talk about it but make a point of going and doing things you enjoy. You have to approach woman with mental health problems as a woman first, then address the illness.
      Even without the illness, woman can behave badly. Bipolar is not an excuse to trample over someones heart. I often find myself snapping the head off my mum, boyfriend or best friend.. but in the end I always fix it, I acknowledge and own the mistakes I made. You never mentioned how old your friend is and yes quite often maturity is the healing link to a bipolar blow out! At the moment whether your girlfirend is unwell and unable to connect with you in that way or genuinely wishing to end the relationship.. my advice would be the same. Leave it be, at least a month, focus on you and your happiness then if you really with to send her an email in a month or 2 offering nothing but the hand of friendship. And if you do connect again ensure that while its important to be kind and aware, you also matter too, and deserve to be treated kindly, honestly and with compassion. Your happiness and stability is just as important as hers. Trust that if this split has come out of a bipolar episode that she will realise it and reach out again.

  11. Paul says:

    Hey, I just wanted to thank the 2 of you for replying to my long-winded post from earlier today. It really meant a lot to me to get a little bit of feedback and know that there are people out there who can empathize and want to offer guidance in such a confusing time for me.

    I just got in from a softball game and had a couple drinks so I’m gonna reread your posts in the morning so I can REALLY digest what you had to say. But I did read quite a bit at the library today about mania, hypomania, denial, hyperactivity and a myriad of other unwell states and I found that educating myself was very therapeutic as well.
    BTW, i like the way you put that Dennis- “unwell”, being unwell or in an unwell state.
    I want to also make sure I didn’t offend in anyway when I said I feel like everyone is a bit bipolar. I’m sorry if I did, that was not my intent. I myself do suffer from adult ADHD (to address one of your questions) and have been on and off small doses of amphetamines (10-20 mgs of salt amphetamines) for the past couple years to help my concentration while finishing my masters. In the midst of a semester, I often feel like it allows me to be a bit more manic- and that helps me tackle multiple tasks at once. For me, other than the fact that it inhibits me to smoke more and eat less- it really helps me be productive. At the same time, I can sometimes get wrapped up in what I am doing and get pulled into my work or tasks. Of course, when I would finish my semester all burned out I would sometimes get depressed and feel I acted too proud and neglected people I was trying to move on from.
    Basically, I would finish my plate so to speak- and then when I would finally have free time to be able to enjoy my accomplishments, I would feel lonely. That is how my previous relationship ended about a year ago, although, I knew that relationship wouldn’t work out for other reasons… I still cared for her emmensely too. And even though I was the one to break up with that ex, I still feel like I broke up with her for the right reasons (she was 4 years older than me and was on a different life schedule than what I could give her). It was only after the semester when I could reflect that I became depressed about things, perhaps because I was lonely. (I have subsequently weened myself off of amphetamines over the winter, so all the dopamine bouncing around my head is natural right now haha)
    Of course, when I met my most recent ex, I felt like it all made sense and that everything in previous relationships had happened for a reason.
    She had just moved back home from Baltimore, and yeah I was just fully getting over the lull that followed my previous relationship. She told me she loved me within a months time, and we were like peas and carrots. Looking back now, i wonder if when we first dated then she may have been ‘unwell’ and perhaps now she is in her normal state. It’s so confusing, and of course being away from one another for the better part of the winter you lose your bearings a bit.

    The point I am trying to make is, I do have my own slight mental cycling that I go through as well. Whether it be do to ADHD, or whatever, I do myself have slightly exagerated ups and downs. And from my reading I have seen a few times that ADHD and bipolar have some similar symptoms at times. Usually, my downs are when I am looking backwards at things i regret and my highs when I am working hard and trying to move forward. But it is in no way to the extent of the things I have read about bipolar individuals, and in no way on the same level of my ex. In fact, I felt like I had a role reversal when dating her because she herself established very early on that she was the one of us with mental disorders (ADHD, BP, PTSD, and several concussions that couldn’t have helped things either).
    She had been admitted to the hospital twice, had to give up drinking (AA) after poor judgement choices and hypersexuality that it percipitated. But she was a first nighter and in July she will have been sober for 3 years. In retrospect I really respect and was proud of her for that, I know being sober gave her strength. And I truly never worried about her and alcohol after knowing her for a few weeks, it was the last thing in my mind.
    To supply a little bit more info that Dennis and jenny alluded to in your replies: I am 30 and she will actually be turning 26 tomorrow. She has had some really dark times in her past, but I am hoping living at home and the absence of alcohol will help her through harder times as she faces them.

    Someone mentioned not co-signing on CC’s or anything. Funny thing is the day before she picked the fight with me I had just signed her up for a gym membership with me on my CC. One of the reason’s I was so upset with her that night is because after I took her out for sushi (post gym)- she had told me she wanted to make me a 5 course meal the next day because she wanted to do something REALLY nice for me. Instead she blew me off for friends, picked a fight, and subsequently broke up with me.
    I would have to think that if someone said, “I was thinking about this for awhile (breaking up), i was just trying to give it my best shot”- they would not have asked me to put up a good amount of cash for a yearly gym membership if they were gonna break up the next day or week. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

    It will definitely be difficult to keep my distance from her, especially with it being her birthday on Sunday, but I am going to spend the weekend with my brother and parents for mothers day in Pennsylvania, so that will surely make it easier to keep myself from reaching out. A month or two though, that will be rough.
    As for her parents, I don’t have a bad relationship with them but I don’t have a close relationship either. I think they DO know that I am a good person who loves their daughter very much though. Even though she would always be at odds with them, I always thought she was being harsh on them, so maybe they do recognize a break in her psyche.
    I was thinking, maybe I can just plan to drop off a simple gift for her sometime next week when I know she is at work or something and that would give me a risk free opportunity to have a quick convo with her mom. So I can communicate to her at least, my intention to be their for her if she comes out of it. And since I don’t really know if she wants to talk to me now anyway, I’m sure I could get some feedback from mom.

    Best case scenario for me being that mom acknowledges that she is ‘unwell’, and worst case scenario being that she has no idea what I am talking about. Either way it gives me a chance perhaps to get some more insight and fill in some of the blanks I have in the back of my mind.

    I had thought about talking to her friend, but the last thing i want to do is have the girl think I am stalking her or reigning in on her life if she doesn’t want me around. And frankly, parents have much better judgement about what to share and what not to share with their children, especially after seeing their child get committed twice.

    Dennis and Jenny, thank you again. being able to write down some of my thoughts has been really good for me. And having some insight into how people tick when they are ‘unwell’ is more insightful then you could ever imagine. You definitely helped me today, and if for just a day I feel ALOT better than yesterday. A LOT less helpless. I feel like I can look forward on how to go navigate this road instead of punishing myself looking backwards as much. And words can’t readily express how healthy that is for my own mental health and outlook. I won’t lie, I probably will post again sometime soon or drop an email in the future if that is alright. And I will most definitely post any good news that comes about in the coming season if god chooses to bless me with it. In the meantime, i have 3 books to peruse over the weekend to educate myself. The one thing I do know, is that if it is meant to be and I find myself with this person again, even just as friends, I care about them enough to want to be able to help them be the healthiest and happiest person they can be.
    Thank you both again and have a fantastic weekend.

    You Rock.

    • Grimm says:

      Hey Paul. First let me start by saying- not offended at all by the “everyone is a little Bipolar thing”. It’s just a common misconception I run into that can do a lot of harm to understanding what a Bipolar loved one is experiencing. The problem is that “normal” minded people are trying to equate Bipolar actions to just moody, typical actions when, in fact, Bipolar thought processes are far more extreme. Like.. “I saw a commercial about a kid and his parent that reminded me of my kid I haven’t seen in years and think I’m going to go kill myself now” extreme. There’s really no equivalent to that sort of thinking in a normal person.

      I can’t know for sure without really knowing your lady- but I’d say it’s more likely that the swing she is experiencing now is an unwell time and not her normal baseline. Once you educate yourself more on the Disorder’s specific mechanics you can look back at the time you spent together and see if there were any indicators of manic behavior (like lack of sleep/tiredness, hypersexuality, irrational/uncalled for anger/rages, etc.). If she was unwell in an escalated state then there will be symptoms.

      I would also point something about the difference in advice from what Jenny and I gave about contact. Jenny appears to have a pretty good handle on how to manage her mental wellness. A lot of us, however, do not. With Bipolars, after an unwell period they will normally rubberband and go the other direction for a little while. So when she crashes she’ll probably fall into a “oh fuck I ruined it” thought process. I feel like taking just a single proactive will just plant a seed in her mind that she will be able to latch onto- that you knew she was unwell and will be there when she returns to her baseline.

      I wouldn’t worry too much about the yearly membership either. I’m pretty sure you guys will end up getting to use them. But yeah, by all means take in her input and requests with the same attention you’d give any other partner, but don’t spend what you can’t afford and always be prepared to eat a loss- because you’ll probably have them.

      I also would probably contact her friend if you can. If they’ve been friends for awhile, they will be pretty familiar with her unwellness. You can just tell the person something like, “I know she has plenty of mental stuff going on and I think she was severely unwell when she broke up with me. I want to give her the space she needs but I also want her to know that I’m trying to understand. I would really appreciate if you could tell her I’d love to talk to her to again when she rebalances.”

      Another correction I just noticed- “if she comes out of it.” No “if”- when she comes out of it. The adage “What goes up must come down” is very applicable to Bipolars. She will eventually return to her baseline. Might take some time though. Again, judging by the sharp change in her demeanor she is most likely unwell at the moment.

      Dwelling is never a good thing for anyone’s mentality. The more you try to combat that in yourself the better off you’ll be. Glad to hear you got yourself weaned off the stuff you were doing to cope and get through.

      It sounds like her plan for a 5-course meal was a typical Bipolar symptom in making grandiose plans but not being able to follow through on them. (And you may be able to relate to this with having ADHD.) You get a great, fantastic idea in your head and then “click”- it’s gone. The one event that stands out in my life most like that is when I decided to learn bass guitar- which was a whole three hours of consideration after never being interested in learning an instrument before. So I dropped 450 dollars on a bass and amplifier I bought from my neighbor, picked it up twice, then didn’t touch it again until I sold it to my brother.

      Just on and off. I kind of get that impression from her “major plans for dinner” and then “blowing it off”.

      Anyway, feel free to email or post. I try and check things pretty regularly. You’re very welcome for the assistance. And don’t be afraid to try and reach out to her friends or family to at least let them know you want to be around for her when she’ll allow it. I realize that isn’t the kind of thing a person would “normally” do in a relationship scenario- but Bipolar relationships aren’t normal and they can’t be treated that way if you want it to be successful.

      • Jenny says:

        Thank you Dennis for the positive comments, while I do have a fairly good handle on my condition now, I haven’t for many many years. I have been divorced and initiated and sustained a couple of 2 year estrangement from my mother, a long term estrangement from my family and have lost a variety of friends because of my bipolar over the last 10 years.
        It was actually the death of my extremely premature baby son that seemed to transform how i approached my condition. i had a nervous breakdown which was not an episode but caused by an obviously horrific life event. My recovery in grief, and counselling helped me approach bipolar differently. I have an amazingly healthy handle on grief and loss.. Which is possibly what your picking up from me..Which in turn helps my bipolar..
        I’m coming out of an horrendously destructive episode in which I almost destroyed my relationship, career and relations with my family in one fell swoop! My need to damage control and repair is high at the moment. I also wonder if my need to manage so vigilantly is also a symptom of my condition! 🙂 I’m at the present just full of empathy and awareness for the caregiver.. Which is why I feel Paul should firstly focus on himself.
        This is the first time in my life I have ever conversed with anyone in my position. I am essentially the ‘only bipolar in the village’ in my life. It has helped, and given me great insight too. I am pretty well managed and medicated, I lost my thyroid to thyroid cancer due to long term lithium treatment.. Which I’m still on. One thing I do know is that it is nice to speak to people who are a little like me! Thanks again.

  12. Rick says:

    First, I sympathize with all of you who have gone through the trauma of loving someone with these mental issues. I appreciate all of you relating your experiences so that others can learn and benefit from your experiences and ultimately, become a better partner. Knowledge is power.

    I dated a woman who is exactly text book to what has been described here. She was honest with me and told me after 2 dates or so that she was in depression, but never said bi-polar that i remember. I was ignorant and had no idea what depression or bi polar meant. She may as well have said she was from the planet Krypton or Vulcan for all I knew then. When she was well, she was funny, brilliant, talented and brought out the best in me. Older people would smile at us when we were out, and some would approach us saying they had been like us, perhaps 40 years or more earlier. I thought I had hit the jackpot after having gone through many meaningless relationships or dates. I desperately tried to nurture this relationship as I wanted it to be the final stop for the both us. I wanted us to be that older couple 40 years later or more.

    She would initiate fights with me, manufacturing a cause where none existed. I was gentle with her, trying to guide her, all to no avail.Eventually,I did become resentful. Sadly, her family also had similar issues and were of no help. Her mom even told me if i was smart, I would run screaming into the night. when i called it quits, they however blamed me and still do to this day. I dearly loved her but when i had my head repeated ripped off and was carrying it under my arm, I decided i needed to take care of myself first.

    Our relationship was akin to swimming in a toxic soup. I didn’t want our relationship to degrade any further. I thought it best for the both of us if I left, which i did. I was expecting this woman to act in a rational way, when in fact, she herself wasn’t capable of thinking rationally. I don’t know if it’s true, but was told after I left, the bottom dropped out for her which added to my guilt. After reading what Grimm and Paul and the others have said, I realize that I could have done much more such as educate myself on this condition. Maybe people can learn from all the posts. I still think however that if you are being damaged or hurt by your partner, you are not in the position to help the other person. As mentioned here, it’s best to perhaps give them space.

    • Grimm says:

      Hello, Rick. Your story is an all too common one for relationships with people with mental illness. It is not an easy road by any stretch of the imagination and all too often folks don’t quite realize what they are walking into. I don’t really blame them, and you definitely shouldn’t blame yourself. Mental illness is pretty misunderstood in general.

      And you are absolutely right in that you need to be in a strong place mentally to deal with it. You cannot let a mentally unwell person run wild over you because it can completely destroy both partners’ lives. Ideally, in a well managed relationship, the unwell party can trust the well party to say “Hey. You’re getting unwell. We need to take actions to mitigate the damage.” The well party can provide a much needed anchor to reality that can reduce or even eliminate the damage we normally do to our relationships and lives.

      Unfortunately, that leap is hard for some of us who’ve spent our lives alone in our minds, dealing with the chaos on our own terms.

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Rick. I know it was a difficult decision for you. She probably knew that too.

    • LIDDIA says:

      WELL reading through theese stories , i dont know where to start i moved to another place , gave up my job social stucture. and buiss, to be with a man i thought was my soul mate. i[i still do] however when moveing to this new village . i moved in with him and we were building our relationship and very in love. [nd still are or at least i am] he started a job [ coming back from australia] and the cracks started to appear within our relationship. he would ring and say sorry working late tonight and oh im working this weekend, etc.. in the circle of freinds / WORK ENVIROMENT he was mixing in . was a woman with bipolar, she and i i thought had become freinds. Untill one day when i called in with my husbands lunch. she was sat at the same table as him . and flirting and lol. and [as i was freinds with her and trusted her, i thought nothing of it. but then after a few minutes of being in the room i noticed just one look between them [ and her manic way of trying to hide the association / relatonship and something just clicked and i thought wow, [now i know. that im right. my gut feeling had come to fruition. i befreinded this person and had opened my heart and home etc to our freindship. but cannot trust any more. and my marriage i thought was going to be. wonderful and now its all in the toilet . sure we all have choices . but TRUST LOYALTY. .are at the top of my list in any relationship.. and thats not what i have left any more. and im just getting on with my life , [the worse thing you can do is chase your man or shadows. but i was told this bipolar person is chaseing my soon to be ex husband all over the place. and even drives behind him when hes going to work . and when he leaves work [ well that relationship is doomed down the toilet before it starts. [ and yet the saddest thing of all is that they both cant tell me the TRUTH, [WHICH IS IMPORTANT TO ME, and my only question is is this the normal pattern of behaviour. [for bipolar to chase / OR ALMOST STALK, THEIR LOVER. and his wife. because its a wo www;.moment; that ; [i will never get my head round. ] and i am sure their are other woman who have simular story to tell. wish peace love and happiness and [hope] to all;;; Thats all we can hope for within our hearts [ although mine will always be broken.

      • Dennis says:

        Normal isn’t the right word for someone who does that while severely unwell. That’s some major red flag behavior. I’m sure you guys have an equivalent of a restraining order of some sort down there- you should seek one and cite her Bipolar instability and stalkerish behavior as the reason. She may need some sort of intervention before she hurts herself or someone else.

        I really urge you to do this immediately before something bad can happen. If she’s that far dissociated from reality who knows where the bottom of that hole actually is.

        I am very sorry to hear that you gave up so much for a guy that didn’t live up to your expectations. Hopefully you’ll be able to get a fresh start and put a similar quality life back together for yourself in the near future.


        • Bevo says:

          Dennis, here is the update on my stalker.

          I sent a letter to the “stalker” via certified mail and demanded that she cease and desist in all attempts to contacting me. Instead of heeding my request, she started to call the security desk at my apartment building and told them it is a welfare check. I already notified the leasing office and security desk of her attempts of contacting me.

          I was referred to a police officer who did a background check on this individual.

          Here’s a list of her crimes.

          1) Making a terrorist threat
          2) Felony forgery – she stole someone’s checkbook and went to the bank where the victim worked (bank teller) and tried to cash the check.
          3) Racketeering
          4) Cyberstalking through the phone
          5) Harassment
          6) Stalking
          7) Phone harassment – separate charge
          8) Identity theft
          9) Stealing from the elderly

          I was told that the certified letter is a step to showing constant harassment as well as the log of previous calls.

          The other BP individual has finally realized that she has to curtail her contacting me at work and only can contact me in the case of a dire emergency or once a week between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.

          She has decided to seek additional psychological therapy so that she can deal with her mental issues. I agreed to that.

          I will keep you posted and again thank you for the link.

          • Dennis says:

            Well, good to hear there’s progress on at least one front. Hopefully it won’t take anything serious before you’re able to insulate yourself from the toxic one. Thank you for the update. I hope everything works out as well as it can.

          • bevo says:

            Somehow the stalker got hold of my new phone number. She sent me a text saying that I am buzzard bait. She sent me another text saying your mama cow.

            If the courts won’t do anything about her I will. She is way beyond bi-polar. She thinks that laws, rules, requests and regulations does not apply to her. I will keep you posted.

          • Dennis says:

            You would definitely be best off taking that information to the cops. Inferring you’re buzzard bait is a threat on your person so they should be able to do something about it.

  13. Rick says:

    I have added these website which also show cardiometabolic risks, citing correlation between heart disease and stroke and long term use of certain medication like . It is recommended one should get exercise, not smoke, and eat a proper balanced diet. Studies have shown that a diet rich in omega 3 oils found in fish can also be helpful.The four drugs in the study—Zyprexa (olanzapine), Risperdal (risperidone) Seroquel (quetiapine) and Abilify (aripiprazole have been cited.

    These drugs have an impact on triglycerides in the blood.

    I hope this information and these inks will help those afflicted live a healthier and happy life

  14. Rick says:

    Hello Grimm,

    Thank you for the comments, and to Jenny and J for sharing their insight. One thing I wanted to point out was the fact that with my girlfriend, I attempted to take a more holistic approach to her disorder in addition to the medication and therapy she was on. I believe she had suffered abuse in various forms when she was younger too . The holistic approach was rather simple. Diet and exercise in addition to physical activity.

    She loved going to the batting cages as she had played softball when growing up. We also would often go to the driving range and hit a couple bucket of balls. To liven things up, we tried to tag the shielded and caged cart which retrieves the balls. They told me everyone did that, and i had thought we were unique .chuckles.

    This approach gave what ever aggressive tendencies she might be feeling during an unwell period an acceptable release, while also giving her physical exercise. After a light lunch, we were both good to go. I also was able to enjoy her more, as she seemed more herself. I think the exercise route may also be a good approach as well, for those that don’t have a physical issue that might prevent that.

    This approach seemed to alleviate some of her worst symptoms, but didn’t make the problem go away. I think taking control of your disorder and not letting it control you is the way to go, and it seems people here have a handle on that.

  15. Jenny says:

    Thank you Rick, I agree. A healthy diet and excercise is crucial to maintaining good mental health. I use to run 50 miles a week though.. Which was excessive! So everything in moderation. My psychiatrist was concerned I was running myself into a manic episode! The truth was I was already in it! I do love to run though and if excercise is not obsessed about and the person does try a variety of persuits.. Great!
    Interestingly enough I stopped drinking caffeine soft drinks 2 weeks ago. I use to drink 2 litres of diet cola a day! I stopped because I started to suspect it was keeping me in a heightened state of anxiety and agitation. It has really helped quitting!

  16. Grimm says:

    @Jenny: I’m sorry for your loss. I’ve noticed that many of us need to have some sort of crisis that allows us to hit rock bottom to finally throw away our notions on what we think works and embrace just getting better. Even if you’re still struggling now, I can tell by your mentality and advice that your mind is in the right place to push towards recovery. As you might imagine, I spend quite a bit of time talking to people like you and I. What they say between the lines often provides an unique narrative about their mental state and coping capabilities. It seems your grief was the catalyst you needed.

    Don’t hesitate to reach out if you want to talk or ask any other specific questions. Going through this crap seemingly “alone” is pretty difficult. I’d venture to guess that there are more Bipolars where you live; they just may not be diagnosed or realize it. I think it was NAMI that said 1 in 64 people fall in the Bipolar spectrum. People just don’t talk about it.

    I’m on lithium too. I’d sacrifice my thyroid for it. I can’t imagine going back to how unstable I used to be. Speaking of which- why are you still on lithium if you’re still having these massive destructive unwell periods? Any reason you haven’t tried anything else? A mood stab is supposed to keep you from reaching that extreme- if it doesn’t then it’s not working.

    @Rick: Physical exertion is a great way to work out some of the energy. When I was manic, I used to life weights until my various body parts just gave out- which probably wasn’t all that healthy but yeah. I feel it was a better choice than beating the shit out of someone.

    I know a lot of people beat the drum for holistic/natural approaches; but I don’t put a great focus on it. Psych medication is supposed to eliminate mood swings altogether. If a person can get their mood swings into a manageable state with a holistic approach; that’s awesome. The problem is that there is really nothing keeping that person from reaching an extreme again like medication does. When you’re on a good mood stabilizer, it’s like you hit a ceiling and your brain just won’t advance farther. Same deal with an antidepressant and the lower end.

    I’m not saying everyone should jump on the med train. Just that a natural/holistic approach is going to guarantee a severe unwell period down the road when the right catalyst comes along. Something will push that person into extremes and there won’t be a “safety net” there to keep them from screaming into unwellness.

    • Jenny says:

      Thanks Dennis, I’m on 600mg of lithium, and currently 50mg of seroquel. I am meant to be on 25 mg but I boost it quite a bit when I notice I’m getting ill. The reason I know I’m getting ill usually is because I have major anxiety kicking in first, nightmares, no sleep and agitation just for starters. I don’t always spot it though. My psychiatrist trusts me to spot it, and I work in medicine so I’m more aware. My last 5 episodes were caused by medication in some way.
      The last one in April was clarithromycin which is an antibiotic for pneumonia which I had. But it interacts with seroquel and I have recently found out it can cause manic episodes. I also had a lithium induced psychosis 5 years ago because my lithium was too high, a full manic episode induced by an antidepressant, one by a contraceptive pill, and one by being given a steroid!
      Outwith those times my tolerance to stress has been pretty good, and my current medication has kept me stable otherwise.
      I absolutely agree with what you said about Lithium being worth the thyroid! I’m walking proof! I stayed on it but having worked alone well for about 9 years it needed some help from seroquel to keep me steady!

      • Grimm says:

        Aye, at present I’m on 900 mg of lithium carbonate. I still sometimes have very minor escalations but they are manageable so I haven’t asked to increase to 1200 even though I’m still under the appropriate blood therapeutic level. I’m probably also 2-3 times bigger than you too hence the dosage to medicate an elephant. (I’m 6’4″ and about 350 LOL) I take citalopram as well for the depression.

        My manic symptoms are pretty clear as well when I start going up. I get obnoxiously arrogant, I can’t string together thoughts correctly, and I can’t sleep longer than three hours a night but am never tired. If those things start coming up then I start paying more attention to my own mood swings.

        And a support group can be pretty helpful if you find a good one. If it turns out to be a crappy one, don’t let it turn you off to them. I’ve seen good ones that were valuable places of neutrality for people and others where everyone seemed to be in an ass-pat-fest to excuse their actions yet do nothing to change them.

        You might want to check the website to see if they have any sponsored groups in your area (if you’re in the US). If you’re not, there may be consumer groups wherever you live that sponsor some as well.

    • Jenny says:

      Ps. Thanks coming on here really has helped 🙂 and if I think of any questions I will definitely ask! I have found a local support group.. Coming on here has definitely been a catalyst for me wanting to give the group a try.

  17. Rick says:


    You have more experience that I do as an observer. Forgive me if i made it sound like a holistic approach was better. As Jenny mentioned the exercise regimen worked for her. I should clarify that with my girlfriend at the time, it seemed like a conglomeration of things seemed to help, such as proper medication and Physician care, good diet, proper sleep at regular times and of course physical activities as tolerated. I do know the medications in the proper doses were crucial. I know in her case though, it seemed to be a delicate balancing act. Hopefully your experiences and that of others in clinical trials can help create better medications and dosage rates.

    @ Jenny. The caffeine is bad even if you are not bipolar. I had to practically give up coffee as it had an adverse effect on my sleeping patterns, not to mention staining my favorite joe camel mug, lol. Hopefully you noticed an improvement without the caffeine and sugar. Thank again for the insight and info, to the both of you.

  18. Jennifer Johnson says:

    It strikes me that so many – perhaps even the vast majority – of the posts here are from loved ones of the person with bipolar disorder. That is my situation. Five years ago, after a long depression, my fiance was given an antidepressant that triggered a mania. The story is so familiar I don’t even need to give the details. It destroyed our relationship. It destroyed his life. It sent me into a 2-year depression myself as I tried and tried – read and read – researched and researched – did everything I could to find answers that could only come from him.

    I know he is bipolar. I understand the anatomy and physiology. I read personal blogs to understand the personal and relate to the interpersonal. I know how horrible this illness is, and how hard it is to manage, and how it hurts those closest to the unwell person the most. I know all of this in my head. My heart, however, still cries. It’s been five years and I love him, I miss him, and I wish I could create a way to fix what is so badly broken I know it can never be fixed.

    It has taken five years of sporadic attempts to communicate that were mostly me listening to endless diatribe rants against anyone and everyone in his life without any ability to relate to me, our relationship, or what happened that destroyed everything, but recently we did have a successful email exchange. It took five years, but he apologized, told me he loved me, explained that losing our relationship was the worst part of his illness, and said that he still loves me. I wrote him back. I told him I know he was sick, told him I loved him, too, that I still do, that I wish things were different.
    … Then he disappeared again. I haven’t heard from him for a month.

    I know he is not completely well. He lives with his parents. He has managed to keep a job for a few months, but can’t pay basic bills (like car or phone payments) to have a level of independence. He is safe – thank God he is safe. I guess after five years that’s the best I can really say for his life – he is safe, cared for, sheltered, fed, and monitored. He resents the hell out of his family – but that’s the illness talking, who resents the people who pay all your bills when you can’t pay them yourself?

    I will never get over him; he is my soul mate. I love him – I love HIM! But, I f-n hate this illness. I know he hasn’t offered this, but since I know he still loves me I can’t help but think about this, but I lived with the depression part of the illness for two years, and then the mania hit. I remember the fear, anxiety, frustration… and energy – so much energy to try to help, fix, encourage, support, love…. through the depression. I remember when he told me about her, he also told me he planned to move in with her, that she was the love of his life. I remember the sound of my heart breaking and my life shattering. And, I remember wondering what was wrong with me that I let this happen, that I was hurt by this guy – instead of being pissed off and saying good riddance. I remember thinking I can’t trust anyone in my life because I can’t trust myself to make good choices about people.

    It has been five years, and I think I am broken because I can’t let go and move on. I’m not a kid, and this isn’t my first relationship. I am a smart, competent professional. I see every horrible thing about this illness. I know I don’t want the obligation and responsibility of this illness. If anything, I know I am lucky that I have every reason to move on without hurting him because it is not my fault – if we try to get back together and I decide I can’t do this, then I am the one who is hurting him. Yet, I had to be the one who held on to hope when he was hopeless, I did it for so long, I don’t know how to let go of the hope now. Do I have a hero complex to try to fix this guy? Or, is he really the love of my life that I will never get over? We wrote back and forth. It was a lot like when he was well, and we could connect. It felt so good.

    I know I don’t really have a choice here – he disappeared, again. He is making the choice for both of us. But, does it ever get easier? When someone you love is sick, and you understand that illness, is it ever really possible to let go and move on with your life??? When you know he still loves you, when you know someday he might get his life together (or you hope to God he does), how do you move on and not be there for him when he’s ready to be there for you?

    That’s the image I can’t let go of: someday he shows up, in person, in my life, tells me how hard he’s worked and how the medication keeps him stable, and how he’s rebuilding, and say he wants me to be part of that rebuilding process. What do I say? How do I look at him and say I’ve moved on? How do I ever say that to the man I still want to spend my life with?

    What’s that great quote? “Everything is alright in the end. If it’s not all right, it’s not the end.”
    Sometimes, I wish I didn’t believe this.

    • Grimm says:

      Hello, Jennifer. Thank you for sharing such deeply personal sentiments. It’s an excellent insight into what the loved ones of the mentally ill go through. You’re definitely right in that many of the posts from visitors are from the loved ones of people with Bipolar Disorder and Depression. I would say that 90% of the people I talk to through my website and email are loved ones as opposed to people who are Bipolar.

      I realize that you may have been speaking rhetorically in your post just to vent.

      I actually do understand how you feel to an extent. I had strong feelings for a woman who is severely mentally ill. And then when all was said and done; she winded up leaving and accusing me of not loving her. It was weird because it was the first opportunity I had to feel those kinds of emotions while being on a decent medication. So I felt sorrow, anger, and confusion where I normally would have just felt rage and/or mind-numbing depression. Very new. Anyway.

      Your guy is lacking his epiphany. The moment in his life where he realizes how broken he is after hitting rock-bottom. A lot of us never realize just how fucked up our mental processes are because we have nothing to compare it to. We may know the diagnosis, read about it, strive to understand it that way, and never realize just how different we are because it’s been years since we had “normal” thought processes.

      As corny as it will probably sound- I mourn for you and your situation. You’ve been through a lot because of his mental illness and you are still able to not blame him directly for it. That’s pretty amazing actually and is a strong credit to your character.

      He is unfortunately making stupid decisions tainted by the Disorder- but they are ultimately still his decisions. It’s still a choice to shove someone away that cares about you. I don’t think you need to necessarily “try to move on”- just live your life and pursue the existence you want. Either he’ll wander back in later or you’ll meet someone who you click with on a similarly deep level. I’m not suggesting you’ll ever “replace” him. Just that there are a lot of people in the world and there’s bound to be at least one or two more you can experience deep feelings for.

      And I know you have your image in your mind- but here’s another. What if he never shows up? what if he never has his epiphany and is able to get himself well? It’s one thing to dedicate your life to someone and see them through sickness if they’re trying to get well themselves. It’s quite another to let yourself be dragged into the hurricane and pulled under.

      You’re a good woman and you deserve to be happy. You’ve shouldered more of the burden than is your fair share.

  19. Bevo says:

    I came here trying to find an answer as to why bi-polar people annoy people and what I read did not provide a real solution to this age old question. I tried those 5 steps and that did not solve the problem.

    I know two bi-polar people and I have developed a lack of sympathy for both parties. One person was “coached” by her friends on how to obtain disability benefits. This person lays upon her lazy rear and all she does is call me all of the time. If I don’t answer, she is blowing up my phone with text messages. I turn off my cellphone at work. When I try to check on my messages during my lunch hour, my voice mail is full of B.S. messages from her.

    I have repeatedly told her to stop calling me at work. I have told her to stop calling me at all hours of the night. She refuses to listen. A few weeks ago, she text me and said her t.v. died, what should she do. She called me after having an angioplasty (her fault) and complained about suffering extreme pain. Her brother is a physician. But she calls me for medical advice. I told her to call 9-11 and go back to the hospital. I told her that she may have a blood clot that dislodged during the procedure. I was right.

    She was released to a rehab center for P.T. One night, she went to a patient’s room and called me not only from her two cell phones, but the patient’s phone as well at the same time. I was on a phone interview for a job and my call was cut off.

    I could write an encyclopedia on her abuse. I cannot change phone numbers because I have a relative with Alzheimer’s and my phone number is tattooed on their body.

    The other bi-polar party calls me at work as well. This one, refuses to clean up after herself, she refuses to take out the trash, there are gnats, roaches and other insects running around and the gnats have infiltrated other residents apartments. This person calls and says she has run out of food and she is over 500 lbs. Requests regarding calls at work is ignored.

    Neither party wants to exercise. Party 1 – is diabetic and claims that she was told that she will sweat out her insulin if she is in the sun or exercise. That is bullcrap. The other party just eat.

    Both parties know no boundaries. I wish there was some realistic rhetoric on how to deal with these two people instead of reading suggestions on coddling people.

    • Grimm says:

      Hello there. Thanks for taking the time to post with a very real problem. Unlike a lot of information you have probably read, I don’t advocate being a doormat or victim. Information like what I provide in this article is typically based on trying to make things work with someone who is attempting to help themselves. I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve had contact me and want me to ass-pat their shitty behavior so they can continue to make excuses to treat other people like crap.

      Both of the women you described take and take and take because people allow them to. Stop allowing it. If they won’t honor a reasonable request, then take the next step. Tell them both to quit contacting you altogether- and if they persist you will move forward with legal options for harassment. I did a bit of poking around and it appears that there are phone service providers that will block calls from specific numbers if you request it. So I would contact my provider and see if they can provide you such a service so you can still be good with the person with Alzheimer’s in your life.

      Now- I can already foresee angry emails or responses from others that don’t get it. So I’m going to better explain this point of view now in the hopes of not getting mired in that bullshit. Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness. Mental illness is mostly not rational. Thus, rationality does not always work with the mentally ill. You either own the Disorder or it owns you. And neither of the women you described seems to care about being well. It often takes a very serious shock in life- hitting rock bottom, for example- before the person realizes that they need to change their own life.

      By cutting these two women out of your life you may help contribute to that realization. They have to be held accountable for their decisions otherwise they’ll never realize they are making the wrong ones. But I don’t suspect that either of those women actually give a shit about you at all from a friendship standpoint. There have been plenty of times I’ve been shitty to my friends while I was unwell and ended up having to ask forgiveness after I leveled off. That’s because I actually gave a shit about them and their feelings.

      The two you describe seem more like emotional vampires, looking for attention. They’re just using the Disorder as a shield and excuse for their shitty behavior. Not everyone can or wants to be helped. These kinds of people will pull you under the waves with them if you let them. Thus, you have to take care of you first.

  20. Jenny says:

    I am dumbfounded as to why you would even ask for help on a page which is in support of people who actually wish to maintain the important relationships in their lives that are affected by bipolar. Your tone suggests complete disdain for both friends. To suggest an angioplasty is someone’s fault is ludicrous. If you actually desire assistance in maintaining these friendships it would make sense to post here, but don’t criticise the people here that do. Bipolar or a loved one of someone with bipolar the people that post here have a commitment to trying to understand the condition and improve the relationships when hit by the hard times. But from where I stand this post is a rant. If these friendships hold nothing of value to you then end them. Speaking as someone who is bipolar I can assure you I would not want someone who has such venom for me crusading as a friend. I have a career, I’m a uk size 8 and I only annoy I love a little bit.. It’s not an occupation.

    • Grimm says:

      Jenny- I definitely understand your frustration but you must realize that for every one person like you or I who tries to minimize the damage our illness does to the people we care about; there are a LOT of people who simply don’t give a shit. The problems that Bevo brings up are common ones for a well person in a friendship/relationship with the Disorder who has a damaging personality as well.

      From the tone and what they said in their post- I sincerely doubt this was an overnight occurrence but rather the affect of a long drawn out period. That is unfortunately pretty common.

      Anyway; this is definitely the right place to post and ask about such subject matter. I aim to provide meaningful support to people like Bevo in addition to those like you and I; whoever needs it. Only through open discussion and respect can stigma be dissolved.

    • Bevo says:

      Yes, I have developed total contempt for these two women. What I find distasteful is your comment about my asking questions regarding people who use their illness to get over. My phone carrier does not block calls and the call rejection app I have will block the call but they can leave a message on my voice mail.

      My question, which you claim is insulting is what me and thousands of others are asking regarding this same experience.

      The diabetic one is now using other people’s cell phones and landlines to call me at work. I have contacted the police only to be told to change my number, which I can’t due to my relative that has Alzheimer’s.

      I harbor no feelings against people who are Bi-Polar as long as they are trying to help/better themselves. I admire and respect those individuals highly.

      The diabetic was coached by her friends on how to obtain a disability check. This person always has used people to get her way. I am not the only one that has dropped this hot potato.

      What I have a major problem with is the ones that won’t help themselves or steal positive energy even from the devil.

      • Dennis says:

        Well, if blocking the number isn’t working you can go the route of a Restraining Order. If she contacts you at all after that then you have legal legs to stand on. Her repeatedly calling you does constitute legal Harassment which is covered by a restraining order.

        Here is a link with a good write up of the information related to it and how to get one. You’ll have to look up the specifics for your state though.

        • Bevo says:


          I had to change my phone number. It seems to me that both women do not know the meaning of DO NOT EVER CALL ME AGAIN.

          1) The Diabetic – Last Tuesday, she called me at work 4 times from two different numbers and text me 7 times from a third number. Then she calls a friend of mine wondering why I won’t answer the phone or return her calls.

          2) The other individual – called me at work and I did not answer the phone. She sent a text from her Yahoo account and demanded to know why I did not answer the phone or tell her where I was. Then she wanted me to take off work to go to the store to buy her some food. I don’t think so.

          So now I have to take off work to have my old phone number removed and have a new one tattooed.

    • Bevo says:

      Jenny, what do you call a person who lays in bed all day watching Madea DVDs, fantasizing about have a sexual relationship with Tyler Perry, who does not exercise and follow a low cholesterol diet?

      The self-induced angioplasties are of her own doing.

      BTW, bothering people via phone all day long.

      • Dennis says:

        Jenny already bowed out of this conversation. You’re attempting to argue an entirely different point of view. The problem is that there are those of us who work our asses off to not be the two women that have caused you so much grief. So it’s very easy to take things personally even while they are not.

        Both of you are right in your own ways. I know I spend a good portion of my time with folks telling them how to insulate themselves from toxic people who use their mental illness as an excuse. So yeah, not really worth continuing to argue about.

        Regardless. For what it’s worth- I am sorry and do sympathize with your situation. I’m assuming the restraining order route was a no go if you had to change your number?

  21. Jenny says:

    I apologise for stating this was not the place to post the comment. But I am sick and tired of stigma and being labeled as part of a collective by people who don’t wish to understand. There was not a single redeeming mention about either of these two friends and I as I have said previously bad behaviour that’s consistent like this is no excuse for someone to be doormat. I took this very personally. Which was wrong but I have just come off a nightshift taking care of others and saving lives and it hit a very raw nerve. Where do we get the balance of open expression and discrimination? We are not all the same. Anyway- your blog. Apologies to you Dennis.

    • Grimm says:

      No worries, Jenny. Your opinions are just as valid and I do understand where you’re coming from. Bevo’s post didn’t strike me as one of ignorance really- rather of someone who’s been there for awhile but has finally been worn down.

      I personally don’t feel there should be lines between open discussion/discrimination. Because you can’t change perceptions by saying “you can’t say that”. People will just harbor the same negative thoughts without openly expressing them. Not that I think Bevo falls in that camp of people.

      Stigma and being lumped in bothers a lot of people but it’s something I have a difficult time with personally. Hatred and dickitry are just part of human existence in general. People have been struggling against Anti-Semitism for thousands of years and that’s still plenty rampant in civilized parts of the world.

      I don’t think it’s possible or reasonable to get everyone on the same page. It’s a lot more feasible to change the way you feel about those statements. Frankly, there’s a ton more behind this train of thought. Maybe I’ll do that for my next blog post.

      Anyway- you relax and enjoy your downtime, Jenny! 🙂

  22. Cheynne says:

    Hi! I have been laying here this morning reading all of your posts from this month. I try to learn as much as I possibly can about the disorder. My boyfriend and I have been together for over a year, during this time he had threatened to break up with me several times and actually did back in September. He moved out and got his own place while I was gone. I called him when I got home and we met and he explained that he just needed his space. Later that week he told me that he never wanted to see me again. I can’t remember how long we didn’t see each other, but maybe a week or so. He eventually moved back in my apartment in October.
    Things were pretty good for a while, I mean there were still episodes of cycling bad behavior toward me but not too bad. Well a few weeks ago I started noticing something where he seemed to be going a little deeper than the hypomanic state. I call it his”dark place”. His face seems to change and it usually gets bad when this happens. I have seen it several times over a period of time. I just try to give him space when he gets like this. Well, I went to my mom and dad’s on Mother’s day and when I got home that night all of his things were gone. No note, no nothing! Just gone!! I had a feeling that day that when I got home he would be gone! I was right!! Uggh!! I was so heart broken and devastated. I cried and went immediately into panic mode!! I called him several times and text him a few times with no response. It was awful. The pain was so bad that I couldn’t sleep all night and I had to reschedule my appointments for the next day! I waited to hear from him but nothing. So, Wednesday I sent him an email asking that he please explain. I just wanted closure and that it was okay because I could be happy with or without him in my life, but I just wanted to know. This is what he wrote back; Dear, I am a big fat coward, but not a cheater!!!! Coward, cause I knew I couldn’t leave you in ur presence,breaking ur heart in tears! It was one of the hardest desicions in my life! But, I need do that for the best of us!
    I realized, that I got some social,financial and personality issues that avoid to be myself. And those issues made become someone bitter and frustrated with myself and the ones around me! It wasn’t fare for you, be taking all that crap from me every day, so I promise myself to stopped ones and for all. You go ahead live ur live as u please, don’t have to tell me or honor our agreement anymore! But, please don’t make the same mistakes from the past picking the wrong guys!!!!! Look for someone who have high moral values, care, and love for you!!! There is no rush to go out with guys, that only will offer u sex! Any one out there is up for that, specially with pretty woman like you!! You won’t find those at cosmos or any other club! But church. Oh, well hope you the best as you deserve! Always gonna be in my heart as the most caring and loving woman that I have ever been!!
    Now English is his second language so that is the reason for some typos. I did email him back and told him that he was not a coward and that I still respected him and I will honor his wishes. The next day I was going to need some help doing a job on Saturday. I didn’t want to ask him and I had tried every other avenue and ended up having to ask. Well, to my surprise he did help me last Saturday then he took me out for lunch and we went back to my place. We spent the day and night together, he left that Sunday afternoon, but came back later to help me pick up a bed and put it together. I haven’t seen him since.. I text him around Tuesday and asked if he could have dinner with me some time this week and we decided on Friday, Well, I sent him an email on Thursday to meet me at 7 on Friday, but I didn’t hear back from him. I called him and text him on Friday to make sure. He text me back on Friday evening and said that he could not meet me because he was going to Atlanta the next day and would be gone for a week for training for his work and would’t be back til next Friday. That was it. I told him to have fun and I would too. Truth is I am crushed! I remember just the week before he told me that he was so glad to have someone in his life that was so supportive! It really is so crushing to go through this! I miss him terribly, but I am giving him his space and just concentrating on working and bettering myself, inside and outside! I don’t cry over him, although I do find myself tearing up at times. I do lots and lots and lots of research on bipolar disorder and have tried to learn as much as possible about. I feel like I could write a book about it from all the knowledge that I have acquired! I love this guy more than anyone could imagine. I just don’t usually take a lot of crap from guys for an extended period of time, but usually don’t love like this either. I had to change some what to help control his behavior and for some reason I did not mind! So, unlike me! If this isn’t love I don’t know what it is!
    I think I just wrote a mini book right here!! LOL!!
    On a serious note though, I have to admit that I do pray that he comes back. I just am not sure what to do right now and what to do if he does come around again. I feel pretty confident that he will.
    Thanks in advance for your input! Happy Memorial Weekend!

    • Grimm says:

      Hey there. Thanks for taking the time to share what you did.

      I can identify a lot with his sentiments. When my last engagement came apart, I swore I wouldn’t enter another relationship until I had what was going on in my brain under control. And it was about four years before I did. It sucks watching the damage you to do the people you love once you start rebalancing; because you know it’s entirely by your hand no matter how much someone tries to convince us it’s “not your fault”.

      Anyway. I think once he gets back, I would have a discussion with him. Tell him that you love him and want to be his partner, but he has to treat you like a partner and extend trust to you. You’ll want to point out that being with someone entails dealing with the pleasant and unpleasant parts of that person.

      Remind him you’re a grown woman and are perfectly capable of deciding who you want to be with. That it’s not fair for him to make decisions for the both of you; such as leaving to “save your feelings”. You should also point out that you can be a valuable asset in pointing out when he is unstable since you’ll be able to see it more clearly than he may be able to.

      Of course, I’m not a seer- but I imagine this is something you two will work through. Whatever he’s doing now for treating the Disorder clearly isn’t working though. So he should definitely get in to see a doctor.

      Most of us are used to dealing with the shit in our minds on our own. We’re the ones that are always there in the darkest times, we watch the ashes of our lives float in the wind, and we often remember the pain in the eyes of the people we care about. I know I do. So it’s probably going to take some convincing to make him realize how serious you are about loving him and working with him on this. It’s hard for the well version of us to hold something beautiful and delicate because we know eventually the unwell version of us will tear apart or crush it.


      • Nina says:

        Thank you for your insight! I found out this weekend that he lied to me about going out of town. By some kind of fluke I found out where he lives. I saw his motorcycle and truck. I couldn’t believe it! Well he told me Friday that he was going to Atlanta for some job training and wouldn’t be back until the following Friday. I thought that it was odd because of the holiday weekend, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. thought that since his truck and motorcycle were there he must have either went with someone else or flew. I went home, but something kept nagging me about it. So, for some reason I decided to drive back there late that night just to see what my conscience was trying to tell me. Low and behold his truck was not there. It was a quarter til 12 and I know that he has to be at work at 7. So, now what. Has he been seeing someone, is he seeing someone? Seems like it! I don’t have proof, but I am so hurt. I just want a Bipolars’ perspective. You are the only ones who have the understanding as to what is going on here. I have a lot of time and research invested in this guy. Not to mention that I am in love with him. I want to hate him right now because I am so hurt, but I can’t. Now I wonder if he will come back. I hear all the advice about run away and never look back. All the heartache they cause. So, everyone runs out of their lives, then what? Man, this is a tough place to be in. I am beside myself!! I just want the pain to go away! I feel nauseated right now! Sleeping a few hours and waking up with him not there. Missing him, wanting to hate him, wondering if he is with someone!!! Uggh!! Goodness, there are so many guys that are hitting on me trying to get me to go out with them and I could care less!! I have went out with a couple different guys, but I just can’t get past what I feel for my ex!! I have never had this to happen. I am the one who breaks it off with someone after a while of putting up with jealousy and trying to be controlled. I know I am a people pleaser and always seem to make the wrong decisions when it comes to men! I just don’t usually get so emotionally attached, or fall in love! After all is said and done there is no doubt that I love him.
        Question is should I just leave him be and when he crashes he will come around? Do bipolars want what they can’t have also? Does no contact work like in other relationships? Goodness, so many questions!! Sorry!! Just hurting right now!!

        • Grimm says:

          Hey Cheynne. No worries on the different ID thing.

          A few things stand out to me.

          1. Through a fluke you found out where he is now living? Or did you put in some effort to find out? I ask because it seems a bit too coincidental and is important for my next point.

          2. You need to confront him about it and ask him what’s up. The work training with a holiday in the week isn’t that out of the ordinary. Companies tend to schedule those things whenever is most convenient for them. Major companies usually only look at Christmas and Thanksgiving (since they are such family-oriented holidays) as the only ones not to intrude on. At least in my experience. At any rate- it’s also perfectly possible he had a friend house-sit, drive him and pick him up from the airport, and use his truck while he was gone. Which is what I would have done if in that circumstances so I didn’t leave my house empty for a week. But you’ll only know that if you actually ask him face to face.

          I do agree with you that he probably lied about it; based on the fact that companies typically don’t go “hey you’re going to another city in three days for training”. They usually have this crap organized way in advance so he would have known about it weeks/months ago. I would be hesitant to jump to a solid conclusion until I confronted him and talked to him directly about it.

          3. Bipolar Disorder aside. Have you considered that maybe he’s just not as into you as you are into him? From a lot of what you said- it seems like he’s been trying to distance himself and gently let you down for awhile now. The question becomes why did he come to help you when you needed it and agreed to see you and such- because humans are stupid. Even if it can save months of heartache and pain, they usually won’t just come out and say “I’m sorry but I’m really not into you. I don’t want to pursue a relationship.” He may have viewed it as helping a friend out while you viewed it as much more. That’s the vibe I’m getting from your narrative anyway.

          4. To answer your questions. What we do post crash is dependent on the individual. Many of us will just shake our heads and note another disaster in our lives; others will try and patch things up. In regards to your no contact/want what they can’t have tactic- I feel that approach is incredibly manipulative and counterproductive. If he wanted to be with you, he would be. Meanwhile, if it doesn’t work, you’re just going to sit around stewing and getting more upset when he doesn’t come around instead of just dealing with it and moving on.

          It blows to have a deep, unrequited love. I nursed one for years myself, before my spine and testicles grew in. But I think the Disorder is playing less of a role here than you probably think. Bipolar Disorder creates irrationality out of mostly rational circumstances. But the stuff he’s been doing isn’t irrational for someone who isn’t in love but cares about the other person. You view it as irrational because it’s causing chaos for your heart and mind. But it’s really not out of the ordinary for well-minded people to do he exact same things in the same position.

          If he had such deep feelings for you- he wouldn’t be as absent as he has been. If he wanted you in his life- he wouldn’t have brushed you off on a moment’s notice.

          That’s just my opinion anyway.

  23. Cheynne says:

    Oops, I just realized I used my other pin name on my second post! My apologies!

  24. Cheynne says:

    You are probably right. Thanks for your honesty.

    • Grimm says:

      I may be wrong, but that’s the impression I get.

      You’re welcome for the perspective and for what it’s worth- I sympathize greatly.

      • Jennifer Johnson says:

        First: Thanks, Grimm, for your reply to my post a few weeks back. I will try to remember your advice about the epiphany to fully recognize and respond to the disorder. My ex and I have emailed a few times since my post. While he is able to write and communicate better than he has been in many years, he is not taking his disorder into account as he talks about planning his life. He recognizes he must change some things, but can’t create a plan for it – just that it will magically happen. I have mistaken hypomania for health in the past. Perhaps I can remember the epiphany that you describe as a guide post for if he is well, or if he is cycling.

        I write this on Cheynne’s post because I definitely see a comparison. As I read her first post I thought: “Wow! I would give anything to have the kind of closure she had!” Sure, it does appear her ex lied to her. But, he did write, describe feelings, talk about their relationship, wish her well, and returned when she really needed him. It made so much sense to me that you didn’t read this as being part of his bipolar disorder. I would have been like Cheynne. I would have thought of the disorder first as the guiding factor.

        Cheynne, it pains me to say this, but I think Grimm is right that he wants out of the relationship. He cares about you, but can’t do it. Maybe that is because of his illness and he doesn’t want to hurt you. Maybe he is using the illness as an excuse. But, he is giving your a thoughtful, coherent statement and you have to trust it.

        It took 5 years for me to recently get hat kind of statement. I have spent several weeks trying to process why, when the man I love has finally returned and told me he loves me, am I not reeling with joy. Why does it feel like closure to me when I know he is testing the waters for a new beginning? I am going to think about Grimm’s thought about an epiphany because I think he just gave me mine. He can say how he feels and what he wants – and that does feel good to me. But, without a cohesive plan that includes how to care for himself, his mental health, it is nothing more than a validation that what we had was real. Without a clear and proactive understanding that his mental health care is critical to him and us, then it is a closure – not an opening.

        I am not sure I have helped Cheynne at all. But, than you for your post. The juxtaposition helped me. And, thanks, Grimm, for the epiphany.

        • Grimm says:

          Your ex might not realize that he needs to take the Disorder into account for planning his future, unfortunately. It’s difficult because many don’t realize that you can’t just do things the way normal people do and expect to get decent results. That’s why I will often beat the drum on “You’re different and it’s okay to be different.” because a lot of people can’t accept it.

          Jennifer, you may want to suggest Cognitive Therapy to your ex. Cognitive Therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on self-management techniques and integrating mental illness management into one’s life. If you convince your ex that he needs to build on these skills, then I would suggest it or even look into books about it. It’s not incredibly difficult stuff to learn intellectually. It’s just getting used to applying it that’s the difficult part which is the big benefit of a therapist. I did cognitive therapy for about a year and a half or so and I learned a lot of management skills that I will be using the rest of my life.

          • tsblnk says:

            I am sorry. If you have only known him one month. I’d say run like hell. There is no reason why you have to put up with that level of pain and emotional abuse with someone you really… don’t know.

            I have had a run around with a bipolar FRIEND that practically scarred me and now I have to deal with my decision to allow him in my social life (there are very interconnected circles and reasons why this is right) while still dealing with the emotional aftermath.

            If I had known at the beginning…it probably would have turned out the same but boy is it still painful and difficult to let go of that beginning rush that seemed so real… that he said was not mutual friendship adoration when I know that it was.

          • Grimm says:

            A perfectly valid opinion and point of view.

  25. Mike says:

    It was cool reading this. Made me want to share an experience I had.

    The relationship that had the most severe impact in my life was with a girl who no doubt-ably was bipolar or possibly even schizophrenic. She made the step in two periods of my life to get involved with me. She had a bad reputation but in meeting her and also knowing some family troubles in her past that I sympathized with, I put my trust in her. The first time around I always proceeded cautiously even though she would tell me she wanted to be much more than just a friend (or friend with benefits) to me, I always kept some armor on. She would not show up on dates, keep a very strangely private life, flip out on me, and what i know for sure today engage herself in other relationships (one with a boyfriend she said she ended it with but never fully did). This go around I eventually just moved on with the possible thought of her being bipolar or more so just immature and needing to grow up still. Long story short more recently, she would reach out to me again telling me she never lost feelings, coming up with reasons for why she acted the way she did, and furthermore confirming a certainly that she wanted to be with me and would do anything to make things work and do things the right way. I, having real feelings for this girl, from remembering the good times forgot all the bad times and again put all my trust in her, worst than the first time. However being 100% honest with her and real, telling her she shouldn’t do it if she wasn’t being serious as we could just be friends and not end up hurt. She said she was sure and although a few weeks really seemed like it was true. Howverer as time came closer to the holiday season another person completely (a nasty, selfish, miserable person, unreliable) would come out of her more often and often until she would basically tell me she can’t make it work, and because of a BS reason I knew was a lie. I would then find out that all this time, again, she was still with her boyfriend, still doing the same thing with many guys . I ripped her apart for this as having all the truth exposed in front of my eyes and also by people who knew what she was doing, felt like a knife in my heart, and no matter how lucky i know I am not to have ended up with her still hurts. She would try to reach out to me one more time, I would say to leave me alone and stop and then a very short time after that she would get engaged.

    In any case (and sorry for the long sob story) this brings me to a point in this write up that I always thought to myself “There is no more powerful action than forgiveness. That does NOT mean you should allow yourself to ever be a victim or doormat. Mental illness is not an excuse to treat other people like shit. Yes, we periodically do treat other people terribly, but that does not make it right or acceptable.”

    I know there are people out there that suffer from being bipolar or schizophrenic but they make the steps to get help and do whats best not to hurt people. The others that continue to run over people and use people without remorse are horrible people regardless of whats out of their control. I personally believe any way nothing is completely out of ones control. I happily admit I talk to a therapist for the things that bring me down or effect me not to let it effect others. A therapist who agrees people can change but need to make the effort.

    The worst part about my specific situation is that the girl is friends with someone in my family and unfortunately continues to do so. So its kind of unavoidable that I will have to see this person again. The person in my family who knows her knows what happened but having a previous long friendship with the person I guess feels sympathy or just accepts it of her, even though she has been a bad friend to my family member as well. Sort of something i will just have to forget and just deal with.

    Its just a shame how badly bridges were burned and can’t be repaired because of the way this person couldn’t control themselves. Nobodies perfect, nor me , nor anyone, but life is to short to choose to do things the way this person did and Unfortunately will keep doing. Some have yet to realize what they’re dealing with.

    • Grimm says:

      Your post has many typical points of the kind of thing that we Bipolars end up doing to people. It’s unfortunate but it’s probably going to take something pretty severe for her to realize how screwed her mind and actions are.

      Thanks for sharing your story. You are absolutely right in that sometimes you just have to cut the cords and let a person go who is steeping your life in chaos.

  26. Katherine Cornelius says:

    Grimm, thanks for your insights. I’ve learned a lot about the bipolar mind here. I’m mom to a 35 year old bipolar daughter. She was diagnosed about 4 years ago after a breakdown. In hindsight, it had been coming for quite a long time but we were not an informed family and just thought she had a lot on her plate, and that was why she was acting the way she was. She did receive counselling and medication but decided that her triggers were environmental, and that she was now more knowledgeable and could manage her surroundings so she could stay level. Her home is peaceful and light; she structures her days so there is a good routine; she has a loving supportive husband who is also pretty savvy about her condition. In the last eight months, she has included regular fitness into her week, and is as much a hardbody as I’ve ever seen. All’s well … not. Something happened last week. She says she was standing at her kitchen sink when she had an “epiphany” and everything came together. She didn’t tell ME that, but she did tell her sister and her friend about it many, many times. They told me it was hard to get a word in edgewise; she was caught up in the revelation and her insight. The insight? She felt the need to tell me in an email: What’s wrong with her is ME. I’m a complete narcissist, she says, and she sent me parrish miller’s article on narcissistic mothers to read. She also told me to not contact her, her children or her husband EVER again, that she would not be reading or answering anything that came from me. I was shocked and as you can imagine, hurt. When we asked her husband if she was okay, he indicated that although “extreme”, her mind seems clear and he supports her in this action. I will wait and see, unfortunately. I did send her a text in the hope she would read it. I told her I would respect her wishes, that I love her and will miss her, but would not contact her again. And now I wait … I’m really not sure what to expect next. She lives across the country, but the distance hasn’t prevented regular morning coffee conversations about what’s whatever, until now. It’s such a loss, and while I understand the illness, it’s hard not to feel the pain of the anger that’s been sent my way. I go through what feels like mourning when I lose her. Any suggestions on where to go from here? Thanks for your insight.

    • Grimm says:

      Hello, Katherine. I sympathize with you because of the painful action your daughter has taken. I feel that your statement that you actually do feel hurt that she’s likely way off base. Of course, I don’t particularly know you or your history with your daughter. But, based on dealing with a friend’s mother who actually is a narcissist or psychopath, she wouldn’t have given a shit if her kid did shove her off. I make this statement because I’ve dealt with a number of different people since launching this website; and it’s impossible for me to get a truly accurate picture of the entire situation without a lot of in-depth discussion.

      Her epiphany sounds like standard manic thinking. Best thing you can do is just be patient and take a step back. Her husband doesn’t have a good understanding of the Disorder if thinks she can be “extreme but clear”. Clarity in our extremities is one of the reasons we can do so much damage to our lives. As an example, when I was 18 I moved to California from Ohio because someone offered me a bus ticket. I had no money, no job, no plan; nothing. But it was the best goddamn idea I ever had! Because I was manic and that’s how mania works. To make a long story short- I assure you it was not the best goddamn idea I ever had.

      The problem is that if you try and contact her you’re just going to push her further into her delusion of whatever negative behavior she thinks you are exhibiting. You have to be patient and let her come back down. I think I would wait 2 or 3 months and try sending another email or phone call. And just keep repeating that process.

      My guess is that she will eventually mentally crash on her own, figure out what’s she’s done, and try and seek forgiveness later on. On the other hand, I feel it’s important to periodically continue to try reach out because she may be the type of person to fall into a guilty silence once she realizes her actions.

      What is clear is that she is not managing the Disorder as well as she probably thinks she is, otherwise she never would have reached this extreme. Her and her husband may intellectually “know” the Disorder, but it doesn’t sound like they understand it and the way it affects thinking very well. What is more unfortunate is that since she thinks she manages it well, she’s probably not taking any steps to minimize this particular unwell period. So it’s hard telling how far her mind is going to end up going.

      I suspect that you will eventually end up with a phone call and a tearful apology in the future thought. After that occurs, then you should take the time to sort out your hurt and grievance with her choice. Trying to do it now and argue about it will just alienate her further and push her further into her manic cycle. I’m not suggesting to not be hurt or to ‘get over it’; just that now isn’t the time to engage on the matter because you can’t win a rational argument with someone who is not of rational mind. You’ll just wind up doing more damage to both of you.

      It sounds like your daughter needs to be medicated. Deciding to remove one’s mother from their life is a pretty major decision to make (assuming there’s no valid reasons for it). So assuming there’s no valid reasons, to me it seems like the product of a fairly severe ill mind.

      Bear in mind, I am just a mental patient with an opinion. The course of action and thought processes are my best estimations based on experience and what I’ve learned about the Disorder on my own. It may go that way, it may not. If you find another opinion that fits better for you; pursue away. What is clear to me is that her self-management techniques aren’t working worth a crap. So when you do finally get back in amicable contact with her, urge to speak to her doctor about a mood stabilizer to prevent escalations like this again.

  27. Emily says:

    About a month ago, my best friend and her fiancé introduced me to her fiancé’s cousin. I was a bit weary, seeing as though it was a blind date, but we hit it off rather well and he had asked me for my number. The next couple of days he was very, very persistent in wanting to see me and take me on a date. So I gave in. He took me bowling, and it was easily the best date I had ever been on. I felt comfortable right off the bat, and we were both fully enjoying ourselves. After the first date, he had consistently asked to see me almost every evening. He had expressed to me that he has never been treated the way I treat him (kindness and compliments, and telling him how excited I was to be spending time with him). He was very happy with my attitude towards him, and continued to pursue me. But one day out of the blue (that we had planned to spend together), and when I contacted him that day, he was rather irritable with me. He cancelled our plans due to his mood, said some pretty hurtful things to me, and about five hours later, texted me saying, “I’m sorry, I think I may be bipolar”. I proceeded to tell him it was okay, and that I had forgiven him. He told me it was not okay, and that he felt terrible for canceling our plans for that day. I said to not worry about it, that we can reschedule, and he agreed. But ever since then, it’s been about a week and a half, he’s been very nasty to me. He had agreed to have me come over to his house to relax with him. Before I got there, he shot me a text that said something along the lines of, “I just want a friend tonight. I don’t want the physical contact. I’m in a ‘blah’ mood”. I arrived at his house, and instead if greeting me with a hug and a few kisses per usual, he stood there and looked at me. He wouldn’t even reciprocate a smile. We went into his bedroom and I awkwardly sat on his bed, and he laid down, and said, “You can, you know, come lay by me”… So I did, and he wrapped his arms around me and held my hands and played with my hair. But still no kisses, like I was used to. Later on, after this strange behavior, we went outside because I wanted a smoke, and he asked me what was on my mind. I made a comment that it bothered me that he acted as if he didn’t want to kiss me. Then he told me it was because he is not on the market for a girlfriend, and he had no direction with this little relationship we had going on. I expressed how confused I was, because he had taken me on dates, and whenever we were together, we acted as if we were dating for years. He would hold my hand wherever we went, kiss me on impulse, and enjoy our time together. But now he’s nasty, very nasty to me. He won’t contact me for days, and if I try talking to him, I’m automatically agitating him, and he has to reinforce the fact that he doesn’t want a girlfriend. He lectures me on my behavior and tells me how irrational I am when I ask to spend time with him. Even after not talking for four days, he tells me I’m impatient and needy. His responses are out of sync with mine when we discuss the matter. He’s very hurtful now. I scrolled all the way back to when we first started texting and dating, and I swear, he sounds like two different people. I’m so hurt and confused, and I’m racking my brain trying to figure out what it is that I’ve said or done to make him act out of spite towards me. No matter what I say or do, including giving him days of space without contact, isn’t good enough for him.

    His cousin told me that he also believes, lets call him David, is bipolar. My friend that is engaged to his cousin is also bipolar, thinks that David is bipolar. It’s breaking my heart, because from the start I had gotten the impression that he had strong feelings for me. And now, because of this possible bipolar disorder, he wants nothing to do with me. I believe that if he truly is bipolar, I met him in his manic stage, and he was happy and took me on expensive dates, and wanted to talk to me constantly. Does anyone else think he could be bipolar?

    • Grimm says:

      Yes, it sounds like very stereotypical Bipolar behavior and he’s in a depressive cycle now.

      I would have a conversation with him. I would tell him, you’re moods are clearly different and you think you’re Bipolar. Are you willing to see a doctor and do something about it? If you want some help and someone to talk; I’m willing to do what I can so long as you are willing to help yourself. I care a lot about you but I will not be treated badly because of it. (Change to fit your own needs/circumstances/feelings.) I would also try and recruit all these other people that know and care about him to try and get through to him.

      Now- I would be hesitant to completely write him off. Yes, being involved with a Bipolar person can be extremely tough and extremely painful. But I think the depression is clouding his emotions at the moment. I agree that he was probably manic when the two of you first met; however I don’t know if that’s because he was manic beforehand or if your date and the immediate chemistry kicked it off. If it’s the latter, then that means there was some genuine, deep feelings there that were significant enough that they were able to kick off an unwell period.

      Bipolar mood swings typically start somewhere. And I suspect that the two of you meeting and hitting it off may have been the catalyst that kicked that manic period into motion. One thing you can look at is how he acted on the first date compared to the second. On the first date, he would have been relatively mild and subsequent ones he would’ve acted stronger/more irrationally/whatever as the cycle continued.


  28. Emily says:

    And not only all of that, but now be denies having feelings for me. Even though he had actually told me, “I like you, Emily. I like you a lot. You are amazing and unbelievable. I will continue to treat you like the mind-blowing, awesome, amazing girl that you are”… he tells me now that I’ve misinterpreted those statements, and I’m wrong for thinking he’d wanted a relationship with me. He’s in his late twenties. Wouldn’t you say that acting that way is a bit immature (if he is not bipolar)? I am just so confused, and hurt, and humiliated, and slightly angry. I know that if he is bipolar, there is some explanation to his behavior, and I will have to be more patient with him. But it’s up to him to go for help. I can’t push him to, else he will push me away for good. And I definitely don’t like that, seeing as though how much I seem to like this man. Thank you in advance for any advice.

    • Grimm says:

      I would chalk it up to being Bipolar for the time being. When you’re Bipolar, your brain tricks you into thinking things that you don’t actually believe. So we are in a constant war with our brains because we can’t always trust what it’s telling us and we may not always figure out when our brains are being a piece of shit.

      You have every right to feel the way you do. Yes, you can understand that a person may have a mental health issue. You can also stop and say, “regardless of your mental problems, you cannot treat me this way.” You have to- because a mentally unwell Bipolar is interpreting reality incorrectly. You have to introduce hard limits that will demonstrate to them that certain behavior is unacceptable, because it’s very easy for their mind to just go “fuck it, I’ll do whatever”.

      And that’s the biggest mistake I see people in your position make. “Maybe if I just love them enough or am patient enough or try to nudge them onto the right path…” No. You’ll be waiting for years. They have to understand that their wellness is up to them.

      If I were in your shoes- this is exactly what I would say.

      “I know exactly what you told me. ‘I like you, Emily. I like you a lot. You are amazing and unbelievable. I will continue to treat you like the mind-blowing, awesome, amazing girl that you are.” These were your words exactly. If you don’t feel that way, that’s one thing. But don’t tell me what I heard and did not hear. It’s clear to me, it’s clear to you, it’s clear to the people you care about that you have something going on in your mind that needs taken care of. I like you a lot and I’d be willing to help you on your path; but you need to be the one to pursue a healthy state of mind. And regardless of your state of mind, I will not let you treat me badly or without respect. I can’t force you to do what you don’t want to do. You need to make a choice to continue to live with these foul moods and instability; or do something about it.”

      And then hold him to it.

  29. Emily says:

    Thank you both for the advice, I really appreciate it. I do plan on having a heart-to-heart with him when he is out of his depressive state. I’ll ask him if he plans on going to a doctor (not exactly in those words, though I do have quite some time to think about my wording because who knows when he will be approachable), and if he does not plan on seeking help, I will no longer pursue him, as hard as it will be. It’s not worth going through the heartache, especially if he thinks that I’m the problem here.

    Thank you, once again, for your advice. I’ll just leave him be until he feels well enough to talk with me.

    • tsblnk says:

      Take good care of yourself. *You* And don’t wait too long for his other self to reappear. It might not ever come back. Focus on you.

  30. Jeff says:

    Dennis and everyone who has commented, Thank you.

    I would like to address a slightly different aspect of relationships that challenge many “normals” and “bipolars” – How to respond to the more subtle states of bi-polar unwellness.

    I have been fortunate, I have generally responded well to treatment for over 15 years. However, I suspect that for most people, responding well is not the same thing as not having any symptoms. The rest of my comments are based on my personal experience. I suspect it is not uncommon.

    Especially when well-treated, my bipolar symptoms are extensions of otherwise normal and appropriate feelings and perceptions. “Normal and appropriate…just a little more so…” > My friend is out of town and something neat is happening that I would like to share. So, I am a little dissappointed…but for the whole weekend, not just while I am making my plans on Friday. > The person I work with did a lazy job on a project. So, I am angry…but I tell him so in a mean way or I fire off an email and copy an inappropriate person. > I go on a date and really enjoy it. So, I want to say thank you to her…but I send a big bunch of flowers, a ten-screen text message, an e-mail, or all of them.

    In each case, the intent is normal…but the action is just a little over the top. Enough to be harmful, but not always enough to be recognized as out of character. Over time these can be especially hurtful in friendships or partnerships. A recent example: I have a long-time, very close female friend. We each have partners but we both agree that in other circumstances the relationship could have gone in another direction. Several times over the years I have said things that made us uncomfortable – still appropriate – but crossing over that line. The first time I did this, I nearly lost a dear friend of 5 years.

    • Grimm says:

      Hello, Jeff. You’re absolutely right and I’m surprised I hadn’t thought to talk about that aspect of the Disorder yet. I actually have the same problem but I’ve always attached it to the High-Functioning Autistic side of my brain. I’ve always had broken social processes so would commonly take similar actions to what you’re describing because I don’t function very well in the gray areas that comprise a majority of human interactions. So I do the same sorts of things and overstep boundaries from time to time. I spent a lot of time studying typical interactions though and really worked on fixing my social processes from an autistic point of view. But I do still sometimes go a bit too far because my brain just tells me “Hey, that’s a great idea!” Annnnnd it’s really not.

      The good thing about understanding it is you can always get the people you’re close to on-board. So with your female friend for example; you could always explain that it is never your intention to overstep any bounds but being Bipolar you periodically misjudge where the bounds are. So if you overstep them, she should just tell you point blank that “hey, you’re going a bit too far here” instead of letting it become an awkward situation that could potentially end a dear friendship again.

      Thanks for your insight, Jeff.

  31. Jenny says:

    Hi Jeff, oh I so get where you’re coming from here! Being relatively stable for 13 years yet still having those personality characteristics/ bipolar personailty that creates a little bit of chaos in personal relationships that are not necessarily moments of illness but reactions that seem way off the normality of the general population!
    You should talk with your friend more at length about this. It may help her. I have no doubt you genuinely care for your friend and your friendship is strong as you have been friends for 5 years. She will be recognising this behaviour in you.. and shes still in your life. My family and friends recognise those moments in me too and have learned over time to assist in the grounding me. It does help as you get older I think – I see a bit difference in how I react at 35 to how I reacted even at 30.
    Bear in mind also that even ‘normal’ people have moments of frustration and extreme reaction. We may not be unwell as such but when you live with a mood disorder and spend a long time focusing on how to keep your mood stable, you can sometimes lose perspective too. some reactions you have and even the actions you take are just genuine human reactions, but people who have been battling to stabilise their moods for years are hard on themselves and overanalyse every mood and moment for fear of signs that an episode is coming. I recognise myself doing that anyway.

    • Grimm says:

      You’re definitely right, Jenny. I have often found myself doing the same thing because I just didn’t have normal emotional patterns since I was a child. But as you pointed out; the drastic ones are very identifiable by the people that know you. I always encourage people to let the people they can trust in on how these things work because they often have a clearer perspective than we do about our own mentality. So yeah, you’re not alone in that or over-analyzing yourself.

  32. MattOtown says:

    Wow…I wish I would have found this site 3 months ago. All of the same type of stories as mine. My wife left me after 8 months of being married after being diagnosed with major depression…she told me she thought she had manic depression and needed to do something about it. She lost 20 lbs in a month, started being way more social, and unintentionally sneaky…and I came home one night after work and everything she owned was gone…without any warning. I saw her a week later and she looked like she was on drugs and talking funny. Dyed her hair orange and then brown…from blonde her whole life. And was completely emotionless towards me like it wasn’t a big deal. She was very self-inflated..and it was “all about her” and we just simply rushed into getting married…after living together for the past three years. It has been 3 months now and she doesn’t reply back to any texts or messages and is slowly blocking everyone out of her life. The strange thing is that she told before this happened that she thought she was manic depressive which caused her to seek treatment…but was diagnosed with major depression. I’m devastated and now going to be divorced because of it. I spend almost every moment i’m awake, and not at work, trying to educate myself on it and try and figure out when she might crash…and if she will ever come back to reconcile. It’s truly one of the worst feelings I have ever had before. IT’s definitely genetic…her Mom is an introvert hoarder alcoholic that is just nasty…and blames not being able to work on getting pregnant with her daughter(my wife). I believe her lack of accepting the disorder caused my wife’s parents; bitter divorce. Good thing my wife moved back in with her Mom…the good news is that her stepsister confirmed that was she was moving in with her Dad and stepmom…who actually care for her. All I can do is just pray. I can’t even bring this up in mediation bc I don’t want her disorder to publicize on her medical records with filing legal documents while unstable…because she is one semester away from graduating with a molecular and microbiology degree with the intentions of a career in pharmacy. Florida is strict with handling medicine and I don’t want my name attached to the possibility of this ruining the career she has worked so hard on. I miss her so much and am trying everything I can to hold onto who she was before the meds. The last civil convo I had with her via text, she admitted that she did indeed stop taking the meds altogether. The doctor gave her Lexapro or Citalopran (can’t remember) and an ADHD med called Strattera…of which she had a bad reaction to an ADHD med a long time ago. She stopped the Strattera right away but kept on the antidepressant for 2 months before stopping… I also noticed that she had a very heavy period 3 days before she switched and her period is irregular. I think she is on Yaz. She apparently is taking a 4 hour/5 day a week summer class, doing data entry at a local college 6 hours a day/5 days a week…and teaching dance classes…it’s almost like she defaulted back ten years in age to a time when there was little stress with the dance thing…infact, after she apparently graduates in december with her huge science degree…she is planning on going for her masters in choreography. I’m not kidding. …again, it’s in God’s hands but I’ve literally done everything I can and I definitely understand that I can’t talk to her right now because it is just pushing her further away.
    Any advice? I gave a detailed list of things I saw, heard, felt to her pdoc… useless right now since “nothing is wrong” with her. And I reached out to a few people that will actually talk to me and let them know that she is unwell, whether they believe me or not, that I understand what is going on and not to be afraid to talk to me. …how people don’t see that something is wrong makes me feel like my life is in the twilight zone…he life is going lightning fast and mine is going slow as shit anchored by pain. I’m going to a therapist, working alot, going on alot of trips, smothering myself with family and friends, drinking alot…but not driving and not everyday, and…honestly, as much as I want to let go, I’m never going to let go of this or her. I’ll see her again one day. Yea…this has definitely drove me crazy. Don’t get me wrong, I will be fine eventually regardless of the outcome….but it has definitely aged me.

    • Grimm says:

      That is a hell of a ride man; and unfortunately fairly typical for Bipolars. Her being diagnosed Major Depressive and being assigned antidepressants is what rocketed her into this unwellness. A Bipolar person HAS to be on a mood stabilizer as well otherwise the antidepressants just shoot their mind into the atmosphere and that’s where it stays. Her quitting the medication is actually a good thing in this case because she would never crash so long as she was on an antidepressant.

      I think she will eventually level off, crash, and realize the extent of the damage she’s done to her life and yours. The woman that you knew during the three years (or however many into the past) you lived together is a much clearer idea of the woman she actually is.

      I realize she probably doesn’t want to talk to you; so about your only recourse is try to get ahold of anyone that you can that she trusts who accepts that she is severely unwell. She really needs to get in to see a doctor and get a mood stab in her system. That’s the only thing that’s going to help her. Someone needs to make her doctor aware of what’s going on with her and what she’s been doing so she can get the help she needs.

      I’m going to go out on a limb and guess the masters in choreography thing is probably a byproduct of her mental illness. Bad, nonsensical decisions are typical and I don’t particularly put a lot of stock in that one since she is so clearly unstable.

      If she can get a mood stab in her system, she’ll probably crash out of it. If you can think of a way to get her convinced she needs to do it; that’s the route you need to go.

      Good luck man. Write anytime.

    • Jenny says:

      Ah I feel for you Matt. I believe it was university that triggered the first full blown manic psychosis for me. Initially the doctors just kept pushing up the antidepressants but it just made me worse. I was put on lithium and was stable within 2 weeks. I think a mood stabiliser is probably the answer for your wife. She needs a good doctor and she needs to stick with treatment. It’s so hard being the supporter, especially when the one you support turns on you. Take care of yourself and push for the friendship element of your relationship to continue if you can slowly and gently.

  33. MattOtown says:

    Thank you for your quick replies 🙂 I’m not really sure what to think right now…I’m just giving her space, have been talking to several doctors and therapists and pharmacists to learn about the illness and try to keep them all updated to see if it will escalade or crash… I have informed all of the right people however she has either isolated herself from them since she left me or they are just being their for her…and feel awful because of the unexplained divorce, but are not reaching out to me when I try to reach out to them…but I have and do tell them about the disorder…whether they believe me or not… even though she is the one that told me she thought that’s what she had. QUESTION; Since she told me that and actually went to get treatment, do you think she had a manic episode before? And since she went to get medicine recognizing it was coming, do you think that herself, underlying the mania, is strong enough to do it again once the mania ends?

    For what it’s worth, I was just recently the bestman in my bestfriend’s wedding…and my friend was joking around about calling the wedding off to his fiance…and she was so nervous… I felt as though I needed to make sure she knew that I didn’t regret getting married and felt as though we did it for all the right reasons. And to be honest, even if she knew she was bipolar before we got married, it wouldn’t have changed my mind. I figure I had to say that, as it is relevant to this site and everyone is so negative on the other sites with all of these worse case scenarios… I accept this is going on and have learned alot about myself as well as mental illness from this. I also feel like it is easy for people to tell me to walk away… and I can say from someone that has everything material, money, great family, and friends, that when she left I felt like I lost everything. But I never lost my love, hope, and faith for her. I sent an email a month ago to her saying that even though I didn’t want to get divorced, that it was just a piece of paper and I always felt like we were married anyways. And until I know she is stable, I will always be her husband… and described symptoms of the disorder without naming it and a few visual sentimental imagery… just nice, genuine, not in your face things and requested that she replied at least saying she got it with “got it.” She replied ten minutes after receiving it for the first time in two weeks with “please take my names off of our joint bank accounts… I said ok, that is fine. Did you receive my email? …and she said she just finished reading it. And that was the last time I have spoken to her. Do you think it is better that I let her initiate conversation at this point? Will she be afraid/embarressed to contact me after her crash? I’ve been pretty much just doing what the professionals tell me to do… no contact, protect myself and set boundaries/re-establish values, and give her time to miss me…

    • Grimm says:

      The approach the professionals are advocating are what’s best for now. Definitely take her name off of anything joint-related so she can’t damage your life with her mental illness. Don’t hound her. But I think I would try about every two months or so just to send her an email or a text just to say “I really want to talk to you when you re-balance”. It can take awhile. Hopefully not that long since she stopped taking her meds. And yes, it is likely she will be too embarassed/afraid to contact you afterwards. The kind of damage we do to our lives and the people that care about us often goes way past what “I’m sorry” covers; and not a lot of people know how to handle it well. I sure as hell don’t and I’ve been trying to figure out that answer for a couple years now.

      As for the people telling you to run…? I agree that there is a time when that needs to occur. But you also must bear in mind that most people settle for being with someone they just tolerate or because they don’t feel they can do any better. Everyone has their ultimate limits but it’s best to take those words with a barrel of salt.

      My personal rule of thumb is simple. I will stick by and try to help someone so long as they are trying to help themselves. The fact of the matter is- she was trying to help herself but a misdiagnosis by an idiot is what kicked off this drastically unwell period. The situation is clearly emotionally devastating; but it’s not really her fault. If she hadn’t been misdiagnosed and was given the right meds; I feel very confident in saying that none of this crap would have happened.

      So that’s why I wouldn’t just wash my hands of the entire situation.

      Bipolar Disorder typically emerges around puberty. I would say that she’s probably had several manic periods during her life but not to this intensity. As an example using arbitrary numbers just for representation. Let’s say a normal mind-set is at about a 75 and a mania makes a person function at about 100. They may go their entire life and never breach 100. However, giving that person an antidepressant with no mood stab would push that person upwards into the 150-200 range. It literally will send a Bipolar screaming into insanity.

      Actually- I’m going to contradict myself a bit as to something I said earlier. I think I would send one more email to her saying something to the effect of.

      “When you went in to see the doctor, you thought you were manic depressive. They diagnosed you as major depressive. Did you know that it takes an average of 8 years for a Bipolar person to be correctly diagnosed AFTER being involved with the mental health system? A person misdiagnosed can be made severely unwell by only prescribing them with an antidepressant instead of an antidepressant and a mood stabilizer.

      Look- for years up until recently you were able to trust me. I’m asking you to trust me now when I tell you that you’re unwell. If you still want to get a divorce and all that; that’s fine. But let’s you and I go talk to your doctor. I can help you communicate what’s going on in your mind to him so you can get the right meds that will help you regain balance and get well. Just give me a call, we’ll set it up, and we’ll go in.”

      And if you can get her to agree to it; if you can make the call, tell them that she was diagnosed as Major Depressive and was put on an Antidepressant which thrust her into a full-blown Mania. That she’s been very unstable since; that she’s not suicidal but you need to get in ASAP. They should get you in within the day or next day.

      And you’re welcome for the prompt responses. I hate making people wait on me.

      • MattOtown says:

        Thank you for the advice 🙂 I think I will send another email… but I want to wait just a little longer to see if I hear any other developments. I said all of that in the last email I sent and was very descriptive with exact indications or symptoms stating her diagnosis with major depression and the antidepressant and that she wasn’t the only one that has gone through this before and to be strong. And that I was willing to do anything to help, whether it be going to appointments, talking, finding a better doctor, or just being a friend. And I said that I wasn’t upset about anything that has happened and to not be afraid to talk to me… I really think that she is coming to terms with alot of things in her life right now and life is very overwhleming. School being the biggest stressor… as well as verbal abuse from her alcoholic bipolar Mom, neglect from family, which has been her normal her entire life… Sometimes I think that I showed her what it was like to live in a world where there is so much love, stability…that it might have just freaked her out and she defaulted back to her “cess pool” of drama bc she didn’t know what was going with her mentally and was scared.

        I do hate being afraid to contact her… I feel like the longer we go without contact, the less likely we will be able to ever work things out. Like I’m permanently shunned from her life… easier to just run and leave me in the past. But I really do think life has a weird way letting things run their course for a reason. Maybe the reason this is all happening now is so she finally sees how much the people she has been around the most, are the ones she should be staying away from. That would be a positive outcome for me…I feel like her emotions are so sensitive right now that the few people she chooses to talk to are the ones that have brought her down her whole life and haven’t given her a chance to look forward. …sorry I’m rambling… looking back, I just have so many thoughts and ideas and things that are so much more clear now.

        My doctors that I speak to almost everyday told me in the beginning that she WILL have to face me at some point… and other people have said that too. I’m not really sure what that means or if it’s something anyone has heard before. I know that everyone is different and the future isn’t predictable… but is that like a psychological thing? Like she will not be able to move forward with her life until she has her own closure with me or coming to terms with her actions and understanding it wasn’t her fault?

        • Grimm says:

          Well, if you’ve already put those things forward that’s good then. They’ll be there for her to think of when she finally gets re-balanced. I wouldn’t put too much weight on her coming to terms with anything until you’re sure she’s crashed out of this manic period. If she’s manic, most of her thoughts aren’t going to be heatlhy at all. Yeah, she may have gotten overwhelmed by life in general but it’s very ill-advised to think that any major life decisions or revelations she has at the moment will last. Not that you should tell her you think that for the time being because that would just throw her deeper onto that path. Everything she’s said, everything she’s done since she cycled up has to be taken with a grain of salt.

          In a normal situation- I would agree that longer period of time would be worse. But she’s not normal- she’s Bipolar. And we don’t function like normal people do. Which ties in to your final questions.

          The thing that doctors and others are probably talking about when they say she’ll have to face you eventually is based on this-

          A lot of people don’t understand that an unwell cycle essentially makes you a different person. You do things you would never dream of doing because your mind is sick. And the difficult part for people to grasp is that those thought processes are solely the result of the mental illness. When they re-balance they will go right back to how they were prior to the unwell period.

          It’s why I often refer to my brain in an adversarial manner (I didn’t want to do it but my brain decided it was a good idea) and compare it to Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde or even Bruce Banner and the Hulk. If the loving wonderful wife you had is Dr. Jeckyl; she’s nowhere to be found when Mr. Hyde (her unwell self) is present.

          But eventually Mr. Hyde will step back into the shadows and Dr. Jeckyl, your sweet loving wife, will re-emerge.

          Except now she’ll have the memories of all the shitty things she’s done, the shitty ways she’s treated the people she cares about, filing for divorce, potentially fucking up her career- all because Mr. Hyde ran unchecked.

          She’ll have extreme guilt most likely- and that’s why she’ll have to face you. She’ll come to apologize or just to talk; or something. Because I sincerely doubt she’ll be able to look herself in the mirror once she’s able to look back on this unwell cycle from a more balanced perspective.

          The future is not predictable; but the various stages of Bipolar Disorder is. We all have predictable courses of behavior. What goes up, must come down. Eventually, the woman you fell in love will re-emerge from her insanity and have to deal with all of this fallout.

          And that’s also why you’re better off staying at arm’s length, so your presence can’t keep providing fuel in the form of the divorce and whatever emotions are there for her. I still think one more email is appropriate but then I would drop to maybe a monthly basis of just a “hello”.

          • MattOtown says:

            Wow…that all just makes so much sense. I guess maybe since she isn’t there right now and acting without emotion (towards me at least) and unable to see consequences… I need to look at this from a non-emotional standpoint too and stick with the facts and what I know. The way you described what is going on has really re-aligned my thinking. I am grateful 🙂

            I’m not really too sure there is much more I can do at this point except take care of myself… I do find myself depressed often but am trying to finds ways to divert these temporary feelings and continue staying strong and healthy.

            I had this epiphany when this first blew up in my face 3 months ago that this could actually make our relationship stronger. Maybe this needed to happen just for her to understand why it is so important to get the right medication and take it religiously. Otherwise, she might struggle her whole life fighting the idea of not taking and feeling the mania. Just a random thought… or that everything that is happening now is minor compared to this happening again 10 years from now and assets, savings, etc being lost from an episode.

            What are some other ways people cope with this? Especially for those that basically have no contact?

            In reading and going to therapy, I’ve been finding that alot of these depression issues can be used for everyone dealing with stress like exercising/cardio, eating healthy, sleeping…all very necessary in order for anyone to think clearly and your brain to work optimally. I find that if I force myself out of our apartment and actually go and do things… anything… even if it’s going and meeting with someone to talk about this… it’s alot more productive than sitting online and searching for what you already know is happening and striking a few posts of extremely disgruntled spouses…which puts bad ideas in your mind of what they could be doing right now… when really, it doesn’t matter. I like closing my eyes and taking deep breathes and thinking that her soul and spirit is with me right now protected from her physical self… and talk to her like we always did and listen to her respond in ways she always did. …sometimes I feel like that really is true and she really is with me. 🙂

            I also found that it is best to stay away from other drama… and just deal with your own. It’s definitely ok to think about yourself and kind of shitty and selfish if friends or family would expect much emotionally from you. …and misery likes company…the happier the people are I surround myself in, the more I’m likely to pull myself through this too and stay positive and less likely I’m going to hold a grudge when she does come out of this…

    • Grimm says:

      Starting a new branch since it’s going to get narrow soon.

      Avoiding letting your emotions creep in is a very good approach. Being able to stay calm and think logically while she’s unwell is highly important because if you get emotional it’ll feed her instability. You see this a lot when two mentally unstable people are together and they feed each other’s insanity until they’re both bad off.

      You’re right in that this could potentially strengthen your relationship and even wind up being a positive experience for her eventually. Unfortunately, there is a whole lot of negatives to get through before that. I urge you to remain objective as much as you can.

      It’s important to bear in mind there are no absolutes. I can easily see things going the way I described; but it’s impossible to say with any certainty. So yeah, do what you need to do to keep yourself stable and get your own mental state where it needs to be.

      All of the things you described are pretty normal ways of dealing with depression; but if you’re doing all of those and still having problems then you may need to go with an antidepressant. Many people hit a time of extreme stress in their lives where they would benefit from an antidepressant. For someone such as yourself (assuming there’s no other mental issues)- you’d probably go on for maybe 6 months to a year at the most and it should rebalance you. Talk to your doctor about it. If he agrees, ask for fluoxetine. It’s generic prozac (there’s no difference between name brand and generic other than price) and is only $4 a month for the prescription from Wal-Mart and other pharmacies.

      I don’t see anything wrong with talking to your wife as though she’s there and whatever comfort that may bring you. So long as it doesn’t get extreme or destructive in behavior, you know?

      As previously mentioned- the mentality of other people can easily drag you down. Nothing wrong with separating yourself from drama and shitty people. I run into quite a few shitty people doing what I do in my life and through this website; if I gave them my time and energy I wouldn’t have any for myself or people like yourself who need something other than having their ass patted and told “it’s okay to be an ass because you’re nuts”. Fuck that.

      Anyway, you’re welcome man. I think you’re pretty much doing all you can to cope with your situation. You may also be interested in checking out the website. They have a very high quality forums with one for “Friends and Family” where the loved ones of the mentally ill meet and talk. You can probably find some great information there from them.

      • MattOtown says:

        Grimm, I just want you to know how thankful I am for you and finding this site. I’ve been using it as a tool for my immediate family and some friends and making them read it when they try to rationalize my wife’s irrational state… Deep down, I already know what’s wrong and keeping that mental state for myself keeps me strong but when someone close to me compares what is happening to me and my wife… to some shitty relationship where one person gets hurt by the other…it takes me out of my focusing forward. At least eventually they get some closure. So when they start pissing me off, I just send them this link to read and it just changes their whole perspective. Lack of knowledge or wanting to know. And you describe everything so well…that your replies answer all of these huge questions I have. I don’t know how long I can hang on before I move forward… but it has been 3.5 months and I’m about to sign the settlement on Sunday and see her for the first time in 3 months… and she is still stone cold towards me. So I’m just giving in… in fear that I could be fueling her mania. To be honest, I’m afraid to see her again the same way I saw her last time… but I’ll get through it and continue to be strong. I’ll know if she’s still going through it or not. But your advice supercedes 100s of hours of reading online and researching… For what it’s worth, normal or not, we’re in eachother’s lives for a reason and sometimes it takes an entire lifetime to understand yourself and who you are and what you can control and what you can’t. I don’t know if my wife will ever come back to me… but with the help of your advice, I can move forward knowing I did everything I could…now the ball is in her court. Please keep helping people… you are extremely good with how you describe everything.

        • Grimm says:

          Thank you for the kind words, Matt. I’m glad I was able to provide you the insight you were looking for. That’s pretty much why I put up this website and do what I do. I think you’re right to move forward. You’ve done everything you reasonably can to try and preserve the relationship and keep things held together.

          I think the reason that a lot of my stuff is easier for people to wrap their minds around is that it is written from the standpoint of my knowing the person reading it doesn’t have the context to understand it. The example I usually give is like a man trying to explain what it’s like to give birth to a child. So I try and put things in ways that normals can wrap their head around.

          And you’re right in that understanding isn’t an overnight process. Took me 30 years to figure out that this is what I should be doing with the problems/gifts that I have.

          But as we discussed before; I do believe that she will eventually reapproach you at some point in the future. No idea when. But eventually she will level off and figure things out. Hopefully that will be sooner rather than later.

          I don’t know if I mentioned it to you or not; but I was in love with and in a relationship with a mentally ill woman as well. And I heard the same sort of things nonstop from people- “oh that’s just like this”, “oh, why would you put up with that?”, “wait, why exactly do you love her with all those problems?”. But for me that was a lot different because I play sounding board to a lot of people and want to ensure I protect everyone’s privacy as much as I can.

          And so many people forget there is a person behind the mental illness. Someone with hopes, dreams, desires, and goals of their own. Sometimes they’re just really hard to find.

          Feel free to keep in touch, drop an email, or a comment or whatever, Matt. You’re a good guy for sacrificing what you have to try and help your wife. Don’t let anyone make you think otherwise.

  34. Meg says:

    Thanks for the article. I had a second-cousin who is bipolar. I met him for the first time 2 years ago. His father is my mother’s cousin. His father has been in and out of his life over the years. When I first met my second-cousin, he told me that he was grateful and appreciative of my reaching out to him, and he said that we would always be family and blood, and I could call him any time I needed something. We kept in touch for about six months after we met, but then he got busy with school, and we stopped communicating. Then last December after I tried reaching out to him again, he called me up and started yelling at me. He told me that he didn’t understand why I ever thought we could be cousins and that I was sick and needed to seek treatment because it’s not normal to want to keep in touch with a second-cousin. It has been 7 months now, and I have not had any contact with him. He goes to school in the same building where I work, and I have passed him in the hall a few times, but we did not exchange any words. In my mind, I have forgiven him, but I still feel I have some unanswered questions and need some closure. I still wonder if he meant the words he said when we first met, or if he never really wanted to meet me and get to know me. I wonder if he will ever apologize to me, or if I will never hear from him again. If I could talk to him someday, I would tell him that I forgive him, but I feel that he should make the first move because the last he told me was that he didn’t want me contacting him anymore. Did he really mean that?

    • Grimm says:

      Hello, Meg.

      Yes, he meant it; but that’s not that simple. I’m inclined to think that his initial thoughts when you two first met were the “real” ones. Him yelling at you about “keeping in touch with second cousins” is a pretty irrational thought process in general. I mean really, how is keeping in touch with a second cousin any different from keeping in touch with a friend? I see no difference.

      What I think might be happening, and something you alluded to in your post, if his dad has been in and out of his life so much he might have felt like you abandoned him, like his father, and didn’t want to risk being hurt by getting close to anyone that could leave him again.

      Will he ever apologize to you? I don’t know. I don’t think anyone can say. But frankly, I’m not a big fan of hoping other people do what I want them to do. I would just get in touch with him sometime, call him or whatever; probably not speak to him in the halls first.. and just say something like.. “Look, I’m sorry if you thought that my wanting to keep in touch with you was weird. I just viewed as making a new friend really; that’s all.” And just try to tear down that wall and repair the breach.

      If you are able to get through to him; don’t let him hold the friendship hostage. I’m not saying you should roll over every time there is a problem. But in this case, it seems like’s been or still is very unwell. The problems that manifested as an attack on you really had nothing to do with you; my best guess is that you just became the target of it.

      You’re right in that he does owe you an apology; but I don’t know if/when you’d ever reasonably get one. If he’s unstable/unwell it could be a long time before he is balanced again depending on if he’s being treated or not.

      From your brief description, it sounds like warped thinking from the Disorder played a heavy role in his actions due to the relative irrationality of his accusation

  35. Meg says:

    Thanks for the response! I never thought of it that way, but the abandonment concept makes a lot of sense. During the time when he was busy with school, I did attempt to reach out to him a few times, but he didn’t respond, so I gave him some space. Perhaps he felt that if he got too close to me, I may abandon him someday just like his father did (and his sister and his girlfriend whom he had planned to propose to).

    Yes, I have tried giving up hope that he will someday apologize to me. Maybe he will when he is more balanced/well. But I found that when I was still holding out hope, I was feeling depressed. As I’ve started to let go, forgive him in my mind, and not hope for him to do something, I’ve been a much happier person.

    I wish my cousin could see your way of thinking. You are exactly right that keeping in touch with a cousin is no different than keeping in touch with a friend. And all I wanted was a new friend. But I can’t make an unbalanced/unwell person do or be anything.

    Thank you again for your response, and thank you for helping me to feel better about the situation. I can only hope that he someday gets treatment and returns to a more balanced/well person. That was the person I liked as a friend, and I know that person is still inside him.

    • Grimm says:

      You’re very welcome, Meg. You’re right in letting that slight go. In normal relationships, people tend to hold on to the “I’m right, you’re wrong, you should apologize” mentality. In many cases it’s right. However, when you’re dealing with a Bipolar person they often are confused and don’t understand why they are making the decisions they are. They don’t feel their wrong because they “rationally” concluded that what they were doing is right. Once they get a better handle on their Disorder they start to understand the different types of thought processes.

      It is definitely an unfortunate set of circumstances you find yourself in. Maybe he’ll get it under control in the future. But I think your course of action now is the right one. Who knows what the future will hold for you? 🙂

      Thanks for taking the time to write and comment, Meg!

  36. Phil says:

    I read this article as I was deeply hurt by a friend/love that I suspect has bipolar. I truly cared for this person and tried to weather what were her low periods towards me as best I could. I ended up emailing her and saying I think you need help as you might have biploar, and to be completely honest if she had BP, I would have stuck by her with it and helped her knowing it wasn’t all her.
    I don’t know whether this was the right advice, she denied it and consequently I not longer live with her in my life, as much as it hurts me, I also can’t allow myself to be hurt and to have my trust broken.
    It is the only ‘card up my sleeve’ to talk to her again, if she wanted help I would help her, but all the while she denies any wrong doing I can’t be there for her.
    Thanks for the article – It’s reading things like this that help me rationalise what I’ve lost, that it may well be sometime in the future before she gets help but if she does that I’ll open my door once more.

    • Grimm says:

      Hey Phil. Your story is an all too common one for those of us with mental illnesses. The problem is we’ve spent our lives living this insanity as our “normal” so it’s really difficult to comprehend that we are abnormal from the inside out. I know there were many years I thought I experienced was normal and what everyone else went through. It took a long time and a lot of heartache and pain for me to realize how screwed up my brain was.

      I think your approach is a difficult but good one. You have to minimize the damage an unwell person can do to your life otherwise they will inadvertently drag you under with them- most of the time by accident. It’s unfortunate but that’s the hand we’re dealt.

      If you do have future contact with her and she tries to rationalize it; just ask her if some of the stranger/more chaotic points of her life are normal. Something like “XYZ action isn’t the kind of thing a person with a well mind does. It indicates a bigger problem with you that you need to explore.” The important thing is to contrast her unwell actions to what would be considered normal so she can realize that what she experiences is destructive. That’s pretty much the key in getting someone to realize they need to get help.

      And unfortunately, it may be a long time before she realizes it. Took me about 15 years. Others go decades. Some do it quick. All depends.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Phil.


  37. Joanne says:

    These sites are so helpful and I have learnt so much so thank you. I met a guy about a year ago who lives about 1600 kms away from me ( 2 hour flight) We feel in love and would fly up and down to see each other every second week and spend holidays together, text every hour and talk on the phone every night. All was perfect until about 8 weeks ago when he started getting distant saying that he didn’t feel that great and that he had bipolar and that he didn’t want to inflick any of it on me but to remember that he loved and missed me. Three weeks ago he shut down on me and would only respond to my messages very simply. I thought that maybe he might be just losing interest in me so I asked him a few times if he wanted out but he said no. He said I was the best thing that had ever come into his life and that he knows we are meant to be together. Anyway his son rung me a week ago and told me that he was seeing a 25 yr old from his work ( he is 45) I was heartbroken and devastated. He wouldn’t answer my calls and seemed phychotic one night and was sending all these messages saying he wanted to die and that women were out to hurt men. Then that he was sorry that he was so screwed up atm and I deserved better. I have stuck by him through it all but unfortunitly have prob done more harm than good with texting him things that he prob doesn’t want to deal with atm, I have asked him for closure but not once has he given it to me. He is still seeing this girl but sending me messages saying please know that the real him doesn’t mean any of this and that he knows its hard but to please not walk away. He said he knows what he is doing is wrong but can”t stop it. I am so confused as to what is going on as I am so far away and he doesn’t want to see me. How can he see her but he wont see me?. I love him so much and don’t understand how he could love me so much and then overnight shut down on me and be seeing someone else. We had made plans to move in together in a couple of months but now im at a loss of what to do. I want to hang in there but what if he is just playing games. I know in my heart he loves me but I have no answers except him telling me that im an amazing person. Please give me some advice as to if this is normal. He wont take meds as they stuff with his head but he has pushed me and his son away and I know how much he loved us

    • Grimm says:

      Hello, Joanne. That is a very difficult situation you find yourself in. The kinds of actions you’re describing are common Bipolar processes- but that doesn’t mean he has the right to treat people like garbage because he’s mentally unwell.

      His overabundance of affection at the start sounds like a manic cycle. Yes, they can last for a long time. Unfortunately, what comes up must come down. His being quiet, withdrawing, and chaotic actions as of late sound like a typical Bipolar crash and return to his “baseline” which is generally unstable.

      I have a couple problems with his claims. Him being in a continued relationship with this 25 year old woman is still a choice. He may love you but it’s warped and twisted out of proportion at the moment. I feel like he may either feel powerless to change it, doesn’t understand that he has to be the one to drive his mental processes (not the Disorder), or he’s just using it as an excuse. It’s impossible to say without actually hearing his side of things.

      If I was in your position- I would tell him that seeing this other woman is unacceptable if he wants to have a relationship with you. If he loves you, to start acting like it. Just because his unwell brain is telling him to do these things doesn’t mean he has to listen.

      I would tell him that he needs to readdress his opinion of meds. Not all meds will make his brain feel foggy or like it’s not functioning. He just has to keep trying meds until he finds ones that have side effects he can live with. If he doesn’t- this is going to be the rest of his life. Bipolar Disorder only gets worse with age when it is left untreated.

      I would not plan on moving out there unless he’s willing to start doing what needs to be done to find wellness. It’s hard telling how it will turn out given his instability for however long he has been. If you’re going to uproot yourself and life to move; you should be heading into a somewhat stable environment at least.

      But yeah; he really needs to address how he view his mental illness and medication in particular. They’re not always pleasant but there is likely to be some combination of meds that will work for him and let him retain a majority if not all of his functionality.

  38. Amy says:

    The words to express my gratitude & the importance of this dialogue, haven’t been created yet, so I’ll have to use, Thank You x 1,000,000,000!

    My experience can be read in most all the above, so place here bipolar unwell behavior here. Specific relationship information: Began as friends in ’93, instant connection from the moment we met. We went through his brother’s suicide, assisted(everything but financial) him opening a business named for his brother, to help him cope with this extreme loss (he’s had many challenges & losses). Close friends till ’98, when through being in an unwell state, he lost business & completely spiraled downward, resulting in prison. He dropped out of my life during the spiral, before prison. A mutual close friend kept me posted. After prison, he married, began another business, bought a farm (which was a dream of his) & life looked nice. The mutual friend contacted me in ’01 about a significant birthday party for my friend & said, “He always asks about you & would love for you to come.” I couldn’t attend due to work conflict, but give me his number & I’ll surprise him with a call. Which I did & talking was like old times, however, our lives where very far apart geographically, we lost touch again. In ’07 an unwell state began, resulting in divorced, lost farm, lost business and the topper? During this state, lost his son in a motorcycle accident… which lead to a suicide attempt summer of ’09.

    I had not been in contact with him or any knowledge of his life past our call in ’01.
    In the fall of ’09, I came across his number & on his birthday, decided to see if it still was his… it was. We began our friendship again, which quickly turned romantic this time. An absolute fairytale & I will say, I am grateful for the opportunity to have experienced perfect. We made an amazing team, professionally, as well as partnership. Since I knew of his bipolar and our history, I comfortably handled his mini states, after a year passed, an unwell state hit, he accused me of everything, put a GPS on my car, & so much more. After multiple attempts, multiple apologies, continuous cycle, therapy, which I was told I needed to get out as safely as possible, it was apparent, I had to leave. In his mind he believes all the things his mind in this state told him.


    Knowing there may be no way to ever know the answer, I still need to ask the question. Will he ever know what I & all significant people in his life know, in every definition of the word, I love him & never did any of the things he believes. It’s been over a year & we’ve had one business related contact. I understand his coping skill is to label individuals “bad” to not deal with or look at his behavior. Does bipolar prevent the person living this unwellness, the ability of examination of the person being accused of awful things, what they’ve done with & for you? And how can they dispose of someone who has supported, been a friend, understands, & has given everything, when there are very few who come along?

    Help me have additional understanding, please.


    • Grimm says:

      Hello Amy. First of all, you’re very welcome. And thank you for taking the time to share your story with me and the other readers. It is indeed a heartbreaking story and I sympathize greatly.

      To answer your questions- yes, there may come a time when he realizes that it’s been his mental illness all along. Sadly, this isn’t always a good thing. The mother of stand up comedian Christopher Titus was a Bipolar Schizophrenic. She had an approach similar to what you described in that she thought that everyone in her life were the ones contributing to her insanity. They were making her insane. They were causing her to take these irrational actions. They were the ones responsible. She was eventually arrested and sent to a mental hospital where she finally came to realize that all of that chaos was the result of her mind and her sicknesses. She finally realized it wasn’t everyone else, it was her. And once she was released, she committed suicide because she couldn’t deal with that.

      Does that mean the Bipolar in your life will follow the same path? No. If it ever occurs it may not be as positive as I’m sure you hope it will be.

      The reason why ties into the rest of your questions. When you’re Bipolar and unwell, your brain is feeding you wrong information that you wholeheartedly believe is true. It is easy to go from “I love you passionately” to “I fucking hate you and hope you die”; and completely mean both sentiments at that point in time. If that seems hard to understand; consider how hard it would be come to terms with it if you were the one living it. Good management means understanding that when you’re unwell, the mental illness is driving your decision making processes. So putting a GPS unit on a car or stalking someone seems like a perfectly reasonable course of action. If they ever level off, they may get brief glimpses of themselves and wonder “What the fuck was I thinking?!” But if they’re mis-, under-, or not medicated at all the person runs screaming right back into another unwell cycle. So they may never have enough time to realize just how insane their actions are.

      There’s a lot of people that fear psych medication because they think it’ll turn them into someone they’re not. The unfortunate part of being Bipolar is that the mental illness has been overshadowing who they are for as long as they’ve been unwell. They don’t actually know who they are until they get a good medication regimen into their blood stream to supplement their chemical imbalances. I’m a good example. If you had told me 15 years ago that I would give a remote shit about the plight of strangers I would have called you a cunt and possibly thrown something at you- because I was kind of an insane asshole. And when I’m unwell today, I can still be an insane asshole if I don’t realize I’m unwell.

      So- yes, it is likely he will eventually realize how much pain and misery he has caused people that love him. It will be after he’s on working medication when he’s finally able to think and feel without the Disorder interfering. As to how he can discard people so easily? It’s easy when your brain has you convinced they’re working against you or hate you. The mentally ill mind can reach any conclusion; many of them not good. It seems he lacks good medication and good management techniques. It gets much easier when the Bipolar can listen to the people around them when they say “Hey, you’re getting unwell” and then the person knows not to listen to the negative or destructive thoughts their brain is telling them. Before I found the right meds, my good friends would tell me “Hey I think you’re getting unbalanced”. I would stop, examine my moods, and not let myself make any major decisions while I was unstable that weren’t seated in fact. I’d also run them by people I trusted to ensure I was thinking rationally.

  39. Amy says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Never believe for one moment what you are doing here doesn’t matter, because, it most definitely does.

    It’s a challenging existence to not allow or even know, which people are for the You, for who you are and those who shouldn’t be listen to. I am one of ONLY 3 in his life, that are the latter. I had always been able to have him look at the measurable, I was a guiding post for years, when his brother passed, his mom said to me, “I am so glad you’re here, you are the only one that can calm him down. Thank you”. Until it became directed at me, then, for him, there were just more manifestations that were so off point & because it was aimed at me, I was the unworthy of trust. My only hope for the outcome is for him to know, above anything, I’m his friend & always will be. Of course, I love him, he’ll forever be the BIG love, but I believe friendship would be the only relationship that could remain healthy for me.

    Again, thank you, this helped with understanding answers to open questions, that needed closure.


    • Grimm says:

      Thank you for the reinforcing words, Amy.

      The thing to understand is that the people that are closest to the Bipolar person will always eventually become the target. They are the ones that are around most often, they are the ones that the unwell person has so much emotional energy invested in; thus they can easily become the target when the Disorder starts playing with their thoughts and feelings.

      It is unfortunate to say the least. Hopefully he’ll gain some clarity in the future and realize what he’s been doing. But I think you’re on the right track in not looking for more than a possible friendship from here on out. But hey- who knows what the future holds?

  40. Amy says:

    Agreed, who knows!? To me, that’s what keeps life an adventure, you just never know.

    What I do know is, it’s ok to lower expectations a bit, but never standards. Understanding this has allowed me strength & courage to know myself ( and Heaven knows, it’s difficult as it is to be human, having the courage to acknowledge you’re human can take a huge load off, well at least for me)

    • Grimm says:

      I certainly agree. At the end of the day- all we can really do is the best we can. Some may not be able to put forward as much as others but it’s essential that we try. Sounds like you’re on a good path yourself, Amy. 🙂

  41. Sarah says:

    This article was so interesting, thank you. I’m the best friend of an undiagnosed bipolar… both of us are positive he has it but he refuses to get help as he loves the manic rides. We have had a lot of spats over time, usually by him exploding at me then he always comes back remorseful once he comes down, apologising and telling me how much he loves me. Through reading a lot of information online, I have learnt not to take anything personally any more.

    However, I am really struggling to deal with what’s happened of late. His bipolar obsession has always been about having a boyfriend. And two weeks ago, he met someone, who is to say the least, a horrible person. He is racist (which I find particularly offensive seeing as he is gay!) and has already abused one of my friend’s oldest friends to the point where they have cut off contact with my friend over it. However, my friend just doesn’t care because he is obsessed and infatuated with the new guy. It is causing a massive rift in our friendship as I am struggling to pretend to be happy for him. He spends all day and all night every day with the guy, I barely see or hear from him any more, and when I pointed out one thing he had changed about himself (there are about 50 things he has changed that he used to complain about other people doing!) he literally snapped my head off as if to say this is me now so don’t question me or we’re done.

    I feel like I’m losing him and I don’t know what to do about it 🙁 It makes me so sad when I have been the one who’s always been there for him, in his ups and downs. We used to speak every day and I miss him so much.

    • Grimm says:

      Hello there, Sarah. Sounds like a difficult, yet somewhat typical circumstance you find yourself in. It is actually pretty common for people who know they are Bipolar to not want to try and get well because they will lose the manic upswings. Mania can feel so good internally even though we’re tearing things apart from the outside.

      I’m sure you’ve seen a lot in your research about not trying to rock the boat and make things worse a lot of times. I feel like this type of advice and approach is bad in some cases. A person is extremely unwell is riding their delusions. His infatuation, changes in himself, bad choices, and combative nature are all the result of the delusional thoughts his present unwell period has been pumping into his brain.

      I’m going to tell you what I would tell him and you can use that sort of as a guide to come up with approach that fits your personality.

      1. Be angry. You and his other friend should be furious that he so casually threw the two of you aside. Your accepting it and “being happy for him” is reinforcing that he is “correct” in his way of thinking. Sometimes you have to act like a break wall or reef in front of the unwell currents.

      “What the fuck are you thinking? You throw away me and one of your good friends off some racist prick you’ve known for two weeks? Who’s been the one that was there for you when you were out of your mind and sick before? Who’s been your best friend for X years? And you’re just going throw me aside for some shit that you have a hard on for and think you’re in love with because you’re screaming through mania? Oh, you’re not manic? So this isn’t almost exactly how you acted all the other times you got sick? Yes, IT IS. You’re unwell and making stupid fucking decisions because of it just like all the other times you’ve done the same shit. So are you going to listen to someone who’s your best friend? Or are you going to rely on your sick mind and some fuck that doesn’t give a goddamn about you?”

      Chances are 100% you’ll wind up in a fight/argument. That’s GOOD. It’s going to stick the argument in his mind and he’ll end up thinking about it more after the fact. He may get pissed off and go silent on you or something; but eventually when the the unwell period loses some of its hold this argument will come back to him and he’ll start piecing things together; provided he doesn’t respond to it right away.

      Feel free to add more or less profanity as you see fit! 😉

      But hey- even if he does wind up pushing you away for a bit, whether from confronting him or because he refuses to acknowledge it; I imagine he’ll come back eventually once he re-balances. It sounds like he’s in a typical manic period at the moment. What goes up must eventually come down.

      • Sarah says:

        Thank you!! I really loved your reply!!!! Complete with the swearing!!! We have gotten into some absolute doozies of fights, one night we screamed at each other all through the city when we were slightly drunk (that was the night I told him to wake up to his bipolar haha… let me just say, it didn’t go well :P). I think I’m the only one in his life that is fairly honest with him. As a result, I’m also the only one he gets the shits with and abuses then when he realises what he’s done he always crawls back apologizing. People have said to me why do you put up with how he treats you? I guess I’m okay with it because I know it’s not really him. The person I used to know was beautiful. And he still is when he’s not manic!! I used to take what he threw at me so personally but now I go to myself, “Manic. Probably won’t even remember saying that tomorrow!”

        Most of his other friends aren’t aware of why he acts so strange and don’t want to rock the boat (and I don’t usually unless I’m really pissed off or provoked somehow because it never goes well). His mother is awesome and always there for him but I think even she doesn’t like to upset him most of the time. She’s convinced he has ADHD only as he was diagnosed with that as a child. So I don’t think she takes his moods as seriously as I do. I’m significantly older than he is (big age gap), but we laugh like nothing else and can talk about nothing for 7 hours at a time. So he’s kind of like the little brother I never had and I’m fiercely protective of him. He always comes to me for advice and when he needs someone to talk to. Anyway…

        I didn’t need to use your advice… as wow, what a crazy few days it’s been since I posted that. So we didn’t speak for days, then all of a sudden on Friday he reappeared and started asking me questions like ‘what does it mean when someone says this to you…?’

        I knew he must have worked out what a jerk the guy was at that minute, and I was right. But not before the guy turned on him and posted personal comments about him all over Facebook (let me just say I am horrified at just how horrible the guy was!). So for a whole two days after they broke up, our friendship was amazing, we talked about everything that had been tense, he apologised for everything and realised what an idiot he’d been, that he couldn’t see that he was changing, etc etc. He was struggling to understand how I’d missed him because it’s like he was so obsessed he zoned out on everything and everyone. He even discussed bp and how he knew he was rushing things but how he was so trying not to. I was like you know that guy would have never accepted your bp, he said disabled people were disgusting, he would have disowned you straight away for having a mental illness.

        And sure enough, he’s hiding behind the ‘but I’m not even diagnosed’. I swear he doesn’t want the diagnosis because it will make it real. Every single symptom fits him now. He even used to sleep not too badly but now he struggles. He’s a rapid cycler but is usually manic about 75% of the time, hence why he loves the ride so much… I don’t see a heap of ‘normal’ anymore. If it’s not mania/hypomania, it’s usually a mixed state or depression. Luckily he seemed to be mostly ‘normal’ at the weekend to have these conversations… now I suspect the mania has hit again and this is why the craziness has returned.

        And geez I am worried about how much he’s forgetting. Soon after he met the guy he was severely depressed for one night and told me how much he didn’t want to live any more (even tho he had what he’s always wanted, a hot guy interested in him). But when I spoke about this on our reunion and said your moods are becoming more severe and aren’t even directly linked with what’s going on in your life, he couldn’t even remember it happening. It’s like he’s losing more and more spaces of time and events. Soon he will start doing really stupid stuff and have no recollection of it. I know he wasn’t joking because he had such a blank look on his face!!

        I was surprised he coped so well with the breakup – the last time a guy broke up with him after a two day relationship he was suicidal and I had to pull him out of it before he did something stupid. But I’ve decided he’s now completely lost the plot from his latest crap. So the day they broke up, he told me a random guy he met out the last time he went out was messaging him and saying what a jerk the guy he broke up with was, and saying how much he liked him and they should meet up coz he deserved someone better than the jerk and how he’d treat him so well etc etc. And my friend was like you’re so nice but I don’t want a rebound thing. And I was thinking, thank god some part of his illogical brain works right now. He even posted stuff on facebook like “It’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not to be defined by another person”. Yet this guy kept messaging him so interested, and sure enough like a true unstable bipolar he tells me tonight he’s going to his house because ‘he’s soooo nice’. Every single guy that’s ever shown him any interest, he starts to obsess over. I honestly swore at my phone when I read that and was like ffs!!! It’s been two days!! When he initially told me about the guy the day he broke up with the other one, he was like my mum told me to tell him to back off. And I was like well she’s damn right, you need to get over one thing before jumping into anything else. If he’s that nice he’d wait for you til you’re ready! I am also extremely concerned about the age difference. My friend is 19 and the guy he’s going to see is 28!! I can’t see how this is going to end in anything but a train wreck and I’m extremely worried about him 🙁 Not only that, but I’m a bit selfish in I know he will ditch me yet again for a guy as he seems unable to sustain both a relationship and friendship at once. He doesn’t seem to have any idea how wrapped up in a relationship he gets, and I’m only important again when it’s in trouble it seems. While everything’s going well he barely remembers I exist.

        Well anyway, tonight he was like ‘Much to your dismay I’m going to see ____’. I was like you know what I think about this, you aren’t over what just happened and you need time to heal what’s hurt. And he’s like I’m so fine, stop being negative and be happy for me, the other guy is dead to me, I’m over him. I felt like saying last night you still missed him!!!!! Even after everything he’d done!!!! I am just getting so frustrated with the situation, it’s stressing me out. I don’t think there’s much I can do. If I get really shitty with him over it he’s just going to call me a drainer and say I don’t support his happiness and we’ll be tense and fight yet again. I said “I’ll be happy!! But I’d be happier if I believed you weren’t broken inside and trying to fix it by rebounding. Three days ago you told me you didn’t want to do that, that’s all I worry about!” I have learnt that things that an unmedicated bipolar say mean very little. A couple of weeks ago he said he was happy being single and now he’s bouncing from one guy to the next.

        Well, that’s my frustrating story. Thanks for listening!! I wish I didn’t love and care about him as much as I do because I feel like his instability is draining me to the core 🙁

        • Grimm says:

          Yeah, sounds like more typical Bipolar behavior. You definitely have to remember to take care of you first and foremost. With as many people as I deal with and talk to; I know I can’t afford to sink tons of energy into someone that isn’t ready to be well. The only way I’ve seen it work is with a person finally having an epiphany that they have to change their life. No amount of arguing, coercion, or threatening will change their mind until they are ready to change themselves.

          If he insists on continuing to do stupid crap and ignore his problems; then you should take the time to work on you. I know you’ll worry about him and don’t want to see him hurt and such- but that’s the hand we’re dealt. You can’t do anything for anyone if your mind and emotions aren’t straight too.

          He probably is afraid of the actual label and dealing with the fact that he’s Bipolar. Generally when I have that “but I’m not diagnosed” conversation with folks.. I usually say something to the effect of, “And I haven’t been diagnosed white either. But I sure as hell have all the characteristics of it.”

          And it’s really the same thing. It’s a physical part of a person that they are born with whether they like it or not.

          You’re very welcome for listening. I know it’s probably not what you want to hear; but let him make his fuck ups and mistakes. Be involved if you need to be- like if he’s suicidal or something. But take the time to work on yourself. You’re a good person and a good friend for standing by him through his bullshit, Sarah.


          • Sarah says:

            You’re right – unfortunately not what I wanted to hear, though I guessed it may have been the case 🙁 Thanks for your honesty and advice. Unfortunately I am a worrier at heart, and I hate watching people wreck their lives, particularly when I know they are not thinking straight.

            I loved your white comment – that is such a good way of putting it!!

            I think my main problem with this whole thing is that I know I can’t trust him not to disappear on me again. When the last thing ended I thought wow, a week or two where I might be able to talk to him and see him! Amazing! Seems not 🙁 When he gets boy obsessed he just can’t see that he’s being a lousy friend. I feel like we may end up falling out over this, as unfortunately, eerily we can read each other like a book. I spoke to him today – and he could even tell over text that I hated the whole thing even though I was like “that’s great!”. Most of the time he is completely oblivious to everything but he was like I feel like you’re mad at me?? I felt like saying I want to punch your lights out then inject you with some logic!! Instead I said sorry – you know me, I’m just worried about you, worrier by heart! It’s only been 24 hrs and already they are barely apart – I feel like this is rushing in the exact same way as the last guy. This one seemed so pushy to me, going after someone who was vulnerable. I’m guessing they will obsess over each other for a long time. Though I’m hoping it will end quickly in a train wreck as the longer it drags out the worse he will be in the end! Guess I will stick around for the ride til I can take it no more 🙁 Thanks again.

  42. Sarah says:

    :-/ Every day just comes with more amazement… after seeing each other twice he’s just announced to facebook they are in a relationship, before even telling me. That truly doesn’t instill any faith in him not ditching me. And if I don’t pretend to be happy for him, he will push me further away because he’s riding on a cloud of happiness about how good the guy is to him (not hard in comparison to the last guy!). The whole thing is way too fast and crazy in my opinion. You can’t go from missing one person to in a relationship with another in 3 days. Yet if I want to keep him as a friend I will have to shake this horrible feeling that is driving me insane and pretend I’m so happy. The whole thing smells like rotten fish!!!

    • Grimm says:

      The only thing you have to do in life is pay taxes and die. Everything else is purely a choice. It’s going to suck and hurt; but when he talks to you, you’re better off telling him you’re not happy for him. He’s manic and making manic decisions- which is obvious from how he just jumped from a relationship to another relationship.

      I know you care a lot about your friend and don’t want to risk alienating him; but the fact of the matter is he isn’t mentally well. You can’t just pat him on the head and be permissive about his unwell behavior if you want to help him and help him realize he’s unwell.

      • Sarah says:

        Yep – you’re so right. Well, since I posted last… they are in love (including declaring it in public on each other’s facebook pages! 4 days in!!) and have pretty much moved in together. After one week of seeing each other. No joke!!

        When my friend told me he was going to let his sister move back into the family home and take his room “because I’m pretty much never home anyway” (true – he’s always with the guy) I was like are you kidding me? What if it doesn’t work out? You will have nowhere to live, you need to start thinking about the consequences of your actions!!! Stop rushing! Slow down!! Unfortunately, he’s riding on cloud nine happy mania where everything I say, it doesn’t really go in. He was like am I being illogical? Am I manic?? I was like YES!! You’re happy and therefore seeing everything as perfect. You need to think with your head for a little and not just your heart. And I also said you told me you didn’t want to rush things yet that’s what you’re doing!!! And he was like I’m happy with the pace it’s going… we are both on the same page about it. Freaking crazy town. They can barely spend an afternoon without each other. We work together and the other day, the guy came to see him in his 15 minute break!! After they’d spent the night together and were going to see each other in a couple of hours. I was like for fuck’s sake this cannot be healthy. The guy is even trying to get a job at our workplace. It’s likely he will too – and imagine how awkward that is going to be if they break up!!!

        While I couldn’t bring myself to tell him I’m not happy for him (so hard because I love him so much and he is literally the happiest I have ever seen him – and a very small part of me wonders maybe this guy could really be ‘the one’), I have pretty much been bluntly honest with him about how fast it’s moving and how he’s not thinking about anything.

        He invited me out the other night to meet the guy. Curiosity killed the cat, so I went. Luckily, this one seems a lot nicer… apparently the guy said he liked me, and my friend was desperate to get my approval, perhaps after the last loser he realised he’d made some mistakes. At least this time around he’s trying to fit me in a little bit rather than completely disappear on me. But I still think the whole thing is insane. On both of their behalves. Neither of them finds a massive age gap a problem at all. Surely it cannot remain at this intensity without one of them backing off. Funnily enough, my friend is normally the kind of guy that needs his space. And he’s pretty much living in the guy’s house with a bunch of his random friends. I questioned him about that too and he was like “I love it there, it’s like I’m right at home”. Like there are no negatives to anything. The guy even works as a bartender/drag queen at a gay bar! But of course, there’s absolutely no doubt in his mind that he will ever have any jealousy or distrust because “he would never cheat on me, I love and trust him with all my heart”…. ummm you’ve known him a week!!

        I’m hoping when he gets the fuck off cloud nine and hits depression (haven’t seen that for awhile… he’s been manic for weeks which is odd as he’s normally a rapid cycler with lots of mixed states) he will realise how fast this is moving. Coz nothing I’m saying is going in at all.

        Reading all your stories has been amazing. Does anyone actually have a whirlwind romance story that actually worked in the long term? Or is it likely to crash and burn as fast as it started?? Timeframe?? I know for a fact if it does crash and burn it’s going to be up to me to pick up the pieces before he does something stupid! I’m on standby lol.

        • Dennis says:

          Yeah that’s probably not going to end very well. No, this guy isn’t the one. From your description he’s definitely flying through a major manic cycle.

          No, I’ve never heard of any manic romances actually working out. The problem isn’t just with the Bipolar person. The other person ends up falling for the manic unwell version of that person instead of the actual person. So there ends up being far less compatibility when the real person emerges from the sickness.

          It’s unfortunate but it sounds like a typical manic emotional and thought process. He’ll crash and burn eventually.

          As to the cause of the cycle; it’s hard telling. Could be anything really.

          • Sarah says:

            Hi Dennis, thanks so much for all your words of wisdom… do I have some news for you! My friend has finally seen the light and has a dr’s appt booked!! Shock horror.

            Much to my surprise, it’s panned out quite differently to how I guessed it would. The new bf is actually a really nice guy, and my friend has made a lot of time for me the last few weeks. I’m unsure if that’s because he’s realised how much he values and needs me in his life, or if it’s a manic bender… I think it’s the former though, because he’s told me how important I am to him and how he doesn’t know where he’d be without me.

            He was desperate for me to meet the bf and was even more desperate to get my approval, perhaps he realised what a screw up the earlier fling was. I hated the whole thing initially, and I still think the whole thing has rushed at a speed that is way too fast, but I think he’s actually changed for the better.

            His relationship is going well but he was struggling to hide his symptoms.  A few days ago, he was manic as hell, spent nearly $400 on crap he didn’t need then fell so low that night he couldn’t stop crying when he was with his boyfriend so he told him.  He said he felt like it was all too much for him, that it was beating him, he knew he couldn’t control himself and he didn’t want to do it any more.  Booked the appt the next day.

            His moods have been off the radar the last few weeks, I’m surprised he hid it from him as long as he did (though apparently he hadn’t really hid it that well at all, it seems! The bf knew something wasn’t right).  Luckily, the boyfriend took it well, and cried with him as he told him he thought he had bp. 

            All that being said, they are still only 5 weeks into their relationship and the mood swings are intense.  When he gets depressed he’s often over it and I have to convince him this is just a feeling and it will pass.  But it’s like what if he dumps me?  What will I do?  What if he cheats on me?  Another guy has a thing for him, what if what if what if?  I was like you need to stop worrying, he cried with you when you told him, and he hates cheaters, so I would say both of those things tell you it will be okay!  He’s also quite clingy with him, if he doesn’t get enough cuddles, he tells me the boyfriend is being ‘cold’ etc.  But then when he’s manic again it’s all rainbows and butterflies and nothing is wrong. The guy is very nice but all that would wear you down if you couldn’t fully understand bp I think.

            I’m rather concerned that he’s partly made this decision because he’s scared he’d lose the boyfriend from the irrational behaviour (mainly coz everything I said to him for 9 months was doing fuck all lol)… and if they break up before he gets to the doctor, I’m a little worried he will cancel it.  I think I will just have to drag him!  That’s the other thing that concerns me, because he’s so obsessed with how amazing the boyfriend is, he tells me the boyfriend knows all about his behaviour because ‘he’s seen the highs and lows’… therefore sadly, I suspect he will want to take him to the doctor as his support person rather than me to help explain it, seeing as he can’t even remember half of the shit that he’s done. No joke, I keep saying remember when…? And he’s like I didn’t do that! I’m like yeah, you did. Probably wiped that one coz it was that terrible lol.

            It’s one thing to watch it closely for a few weeks, but I’ve seen it for over year.  I’ve had verbal abuse hurled at me, I’ve been told to get out of his car, I’ve been told to get out of his life. I’ve had to pick him up intoxicated and crying off the footpath in the middle of the night, I’ve had to drag him off a guy he didn’t want to be involved with while he cried that he didn’t know what he was doing… I’ve watched him scream in his sister’s face til she cried, I’ve had him tell me shit happens when my pet died, I’ve had to talk him round when a guy dumped him after two days and he was ready to crash his car into a tree over it… the list goes on and on.  Some of that stuff was pretty horrendous for me. He’s barely even had a disagreement with the bf and he won’t even admit to him how much money he spent at the weekend, let alone the other bad stuff he’s done.  So I suspect if the bf goes with him, the doctor will get a very sugar coated series of events which may not lead to a correct diagnosis. Guess I will just have to wait and see what happens, and cross my fingers for the best!

    • Dennis says:

      Replying to your newest post here due to the structure of the reply tree.

      It’s certainly great news that your friend finally figured things out; even if it may be temporary. He very well could have finally had this moment of realization if he had a recent bad spell. I know quite a few people that finally have their revelation after a major, major downswing.

      Urge him to definitely follow through on the appointment and if you can go with him; all the better. Having a third party witness who has been around for a lot of the bullshit will provide a lot of great perspective for the doctor to make their conclusion particularly if he has a hard time remembering the things he’s done.

      It’s also a good sign that he’s maintaining his friendship while trying to pursue the relationship. That is a far more healthy approach than the isolation of behavior and seems like less of an unwell thought process really- or a less severe one if he’s still really unbalanced.

      I hope all goes well. Try and keep him focused on going if he starts talking about cancelling or finding a way to avoid it.

      • Sarah says:

        Well, the day is finally here for the appointment tomorrow… and in true bp style he’s all of a sudden decided he doesn’t want me to come any more… because “Mum and I think it’s best if she takes me”… originally we were both going to go with him. Thankfully he’s not taking the bf too as he still can’t be honest with him about so much stuff!

        I actually think it’s an extremely stupid idea to not let me come, she has not seen half the stuff I have, he usually retreats under the house when he’s in a mood and texts or calls me… plus I have also seen him in a work/drunken/every other situation. So I have sent him a massive list of all the symptoms I have seen, and I have my fingers crossed he will bring it out, because he literally can’t remember half the stuff he’s done and his mum has never seen it in the first place (not to mention I think she is convinced he only has ADHD as he had that as a child, and depression – god help me if he gets given an antidepressant only!!). I have my fingers crossed he can get a psych referral… otherwise I get the feeling the bp train will continue to run off the rails, he has gotten worse and worse the past few weeks, one day he was ready to cancel the appointment but his bf was like if you do that I will punch you in the head… and I was like and I will hold you down while he punches you in the head! LOL.

        Sigh. I tried my hardest to ‘support’ the decision to not let me come (because I don’t want to get in a fight when he needs all the support he can get right now… I was basically like ok it’s your decision but I think….) but after I sent the list (which he said he wanted) I was just like “OK. Hope it helps.” Because I just feel like he’s being an idiot and he’s going to get misdiagnosed. He has forgotten so much stuff and has no idea of time frames… he told someone him and his bf had been together three months… and was really surprised when I told him it had only been 5 weeks! Then I quizzed him on other events that had happened this year and he didn’t get any right :S

        I have my fingers and toes crossed it will go well… but no doubt he will barely remember what happened at the appointment to tell me, anyway. 🙁

        • Dennis says:

          Yikes. Yeah that sounds like a crappy thing to have come out right at the last minute. It’s unfortunate his mother isn’t more knowledge or at least on board with things a bit better. It would have been good to have you there too since you’re familiar with all this stuff that she’s not. Besides, it’s not like people typically want to talk about their sexuality and darkest thoughts with their mother present. Blargh.

          Well, let me know how things go when you find out. I hope they go well.

          • Sarah says:

            I’m back… and thankfully with good news! I knew it. Diagnosis of what I’ve known for about a year – bipolar 1. They say your best friends know you better than anyone – well I think in his case, that is definitely true. My other closest friend who lives a billion miles away has bipolar 2 so I have learnt an awful lot about it over time. Perhaps I am a magnet for bipolars… I just love them both so much!

            Apparently his doctor has specialised in mental health so was able to diagnose it – he scored highly on the test he did. He told me he got there and was so scatty he could barely get the words out of his mouth so I’m unsure how much of my list even got read out, but I’m so thankful there’s been a correct diagnosis at the first appointment. I thought it may have been a dragged out process filled with extreme frustration so I’m happy about that.

            He’s been put on meds – however I am unsure how well they will really go initially as I think the dose of Seroquel he’s been prescribed is way too low. 100mg/night (no increases) for 2 weeks til he sees the doctor again. I doubt that will do much at all for his daily mania. He’s also got an antidepressant, but I hope the crap dose of mood stabiliser won’t make the antidepressant send him even more manic. I need to do some more research on this to see what I might need to deal with, haha!

            I’m hoping he will stay committed to the meds. Currently he’s already having moods about it. Apparently got there and was like I don’t really want meds because I’ll get fat (there’s instant commitment for you, right?) and the doctor told him meds don’t make you fat, only your lifestyle does. I beg to differ, my other friend gained like 50 pounds on Seroquel and changed nothing about her lifestyle so she had to go off it for her health. She’s fine on lithium. I know different meds affect people differently and he’s a smoker so I doubt he’ll gain weight, but still, I hope he doesn’t go off it at the first sign of gaining a pound. At the moment he seems mostly committed though, like he said to me tonight I shouldn’t drink on meds therefore I’m not going out any more. I’m unsure if his manic self will agree with that, I suspect it won’t. My other bp friend is 100% committed to her meds so she’s stable… but I suspect my bestie is not going to be quite as committed. Mainly because it took him so bloody long to get help!! Here’s hoping I’m wrong. I guess the best thing I can do is just keep encouraging him to take the meds and support him when he makes the right decisions about things. Do you have any other advice for me?

            I feel like it’s been such a long road already, but I realise getting the diagnosis and meds is only half the destination… I’ve read so many stories about people having extreme episodes even when medicated and coming off their meds coz they feel like they don’t need them any more. Here’s hoping that won’t happen with him!

          • Dennis says:

            This in response to your latest post. I can’t reply further in this tree.

            That’s great news that he finally got the diagnosis that best fits his symptoms. I think what the doctor was alluding to but didn’t say correctly; is that it is up to the patient to combat their weight loss. You mention your friend that gained weight on a med? Well if she never changed her lifestyle, that implies that she did not start an exercise regimen or change her diet to combat the weight gain either. Yes, they can make you gain weight but a lot of people fight that with working out, changing their diet, or altering their lifestyle.

            Diagnosis usually isn’t a long process. They will normally dive into your history both recent and immediate. My diagnosis came after about an hour of questions. Mental illness is one of those things that you can recognize if you understand the symptoms. Like if someone is coughing or sneezing; you know they have a cold. Same deal with the frenetic energy of mania and withdrawn nature of depression.

            Psych meds are started slowly because they can have a drastic affect on people. It may affect him seriously or it might have no affect at all. Think of it like easing into a hot bath. It has to be done slowly and steadily otherwise he may go off the deep end. Finding the right meds takes time. Took me almost four years before I started to feel human.

            Give him a little time to adjust to the idea of being diagnosed as well. It’s a pretty major thing so he may not be all the way comfortable with it yet.

            The best point of advice I can give you is this- if he tells you he wants to quit his meds, do what you must to get him to call his doctor and talk to him first. Beg, plead, threaten to kick his ass; whatever will get through to him. I’m not going to say he will probably decide to stop at some point- but I will say it wouldn’t surprise me if he does.

            You may also want to read up on how medicating works. A lot of people don’t realize that many side effects go away after a few weeks. So it can be good to defuse arbitrary desires to quit with that knowledge. But if he’s feeling really sick or unbalanced or whatever and wants to come off them; get him to call his doctor. If anything, call the office and hand him the phone. “If you’re going to do this, do this safely.”

  43. Bevo says:

    One more thing Jenny. The diabetic has a police record with a couple of felonies. I am a firm believer in giving people a second maybe even a third chance. This one has exceeded her actuarial limit on second chances.

  44. Rick says:

    Hello Grimm.

    It has been a while since I have commented here. To refresh your memory, like many here, I was also involved with a significant other who was bi-polar. My girlfriend at the time never hid her Illness, but in the end I was unable to effectively deal with her disorder. She ended up trashing relationships with not only me but also long standing friendships with other people. She had also lost Jobs I suspect. Truly, I believe much of what happened to be beyond her control.I know she fought hard to make her life as ” normal ” as possible

    Those people afflicted with this disorder not only have to deal with watching their respective lives go down in flames, but Sadly as Jenny pointed out, deal with the stigma of having a mental disorder from ignorant people. The mistreatment from others probably more than anything feeds that ” everyone is out to get me ” syndrome.I wish I had known more when my girlfriend was going through her issues as I might have been a bigger help. She ended up passing away from what I suspect were complications from the elevated triglycerides levels common to certain medications. Aside from the grief I feel, I am deeply saddened by the fact that she never really had a chance to fully explore her many gifts and talents. Her spirit and tenacity will also be an inspiration to me and I’m sure many others . In spite of her mental illness, a bright light has gone out.

    I also know you have a goal as obtaining a position of a ” peer supporter ” and wanted to wish you the best of luck in your future pursuits. The information you, Jenny and many others here have presented, and the experiences shared have helped in my understanding of this disorder. Only someone who has gone through this could truly understand it’s implications. I’m sure you will do well in that capacity.

    All the best to you and everyone and anyone who is struggling with these issues


    • Dennis says:

      Hello Rick.

      I do vaguely recall our contact. I apologize for not remember more clearly. It’s unfortunate to hear that she ended up passing on- I don’t seem to recall that from before but it might just be my not always great memory. I very much appreciate your kind words and taking the time to read and post here. I know it’s made a difference to the way quite a few people have viewed things and I know contributions from other people like me have helped as well.

      It is my hope that everyone can eventually remember the people they lose to mental illness with some fondness no matter the circumstances in which they go.


  45. Rick says:

    Hello Dennis.

    You have nothing to remember as far as her passing, as it was something I didn’t feel was relevant in the discussions here, so I never mentioned it till my last post. Your memory is fine. Her passing is something I am working through. What is relevant is that with the availability of better information, physicians who have a better handle on this disorder and better medications, People have real hope for a better quality of life. I did want to point out that those afflicted, who try and succeed in getting well or do better in day to day life don’t allow their Illness to define them or who they are and what they stand for. In fact, the truly tenacious use that to encourage themselves or others they love to greater heights. Sometimes being stubborn has it’s advantages.

    I think with hope and the experiences of others to draw on, hopefully those afflicted “can see a light at the end of the tunnel” It is my hope that the more information that is available, the better able people will be to not only help a loved one through some truly difficult times but also be able to help themselves if they find that they are in a similar position.

    Many thanks to Matt, Amy, Sarah, Bevo, Joanne, Phil, Meg, Jeff, Jenny, Emily, Katherine, Liddia , Dennis and everyone else who has posted constructive comments. They have helped a lot

    ~ Peace ~

  46. smitty says:

    So I made a bad judgment on my part. A few months ago I engaged in an emotional affair with a married man. When I first met him he opened up to me very quickly. He had no issue with telling me how horribly rotten his wife was to him & how unhappy he was in his marriage. The first month I tip toed around the fact that I was engaging in a flirtatious way with a married man. However, I made excuses on how charming, sweet, sexy, and sad he was. I allowed myself to feel part of his pain by listening to his stories about how bad his marriage was. Literally, if I never would have met her I would of thought she was the recarnation of satan himself! I stroked his ego, and told him how special I thought he was.
    I started falling in love with him in such a short period of time. He acknowledged my feelings and told me he felt the exact same way. However, he couldn’t come out and say the exact words because he felt bad he was still married. He said he didn’t want to cheat on his wife because she had cheated on him a few times before and he didn’t want to stoop to that level. He said he wanted out but couldn’t leave because they had a child together & she would use the child, money, house, ect against him.
    I thought his morals made me attracted to him more, even though he was fine with the fact we were having an emotional affair. We met up a few times. Eventually I was starting to feel guilty about the whole thing and tried breaking it off, but when I did he would get really upset & hurt so I fed his ego more. We would text on and off. One day His wife found our texts. Immediately the finger was pointed only at me. He threw me under the bus and said how I was only a game. That I made him feel good so he selfishly held on.
    I was crushed! Immediately all the horrible things his wife did changed to how he wanted to forgive her and move on & how bad he felt. She would tell me the rotten things he said about me. When I confronted him via text he told me he never said those things & continued to bash his wife even though now she could read his texts. The fact of the matter is I took responsibility on my end & I felt he made excuses for his.
    I guess I just want closure to this all. I want to know I didn’t feel used. I want to know he will look back and realize his part in all of this as well. It hurts because part of me still cares. I want to know how someone with this mental illness reflects. Will he always see me as the girl who “ruined” his marriage, or will he eventually realize how bad he hurt me too? They seem to have made their peace with each other. I just feel like I was a good person who did an immoral thing. I asked for her forgiveness. I’m trying to move on, but its hard because I felt like he played us both.
    I later found out from his wife that he is bipolar. The stories he told me from her perspective were not true. They both completely contradicted each ones story. It is so hard for me to believe that he honestly felt rejected by his wife when they got along so well coming from her mouth. Yet in his mind it is a completely warped version from hers. Now everything doesn’t matter cause now that he got caught he realized how much she does care.

    • Dennis says:

      This probably isn’t what you want to hear- but this is how I see the situation.

      The problem here is that we don’t know if/what decisions were being driven by the Disorder (if any). My impression is that the guy was a manipulative asshole. I say that because of his willingness to flip-flop so much on the facts especially when confronted with reality. Bipolar people tend to hold onto their beliefs because they think it’s reality. So for example- if I told you that my wife was a bitch, I hated her, and so on- that wouldn’t end just because the wife confronted me/you about it. It would still be “I hate this cunt but now I have a reason to throw her away or act on it” not “OH I WAS SO WRONG FORGIVE ME”.

      My opinion is that he is an asshole who manipulated you to feed his own ego. I think he did view you as a game; and that is very unfortunate.

      I don’t think you’re a bad person- you just made a bad choice. Everyone makes bad, stupid decisions in their lives. I know that I’ve made my fair share. The fact of the matter is; you’re probably better off. Because if he was willing to be unfaithful to his family then he sure as hell would do it to you later on if you guys did wind up together.

      Do whatever you need to do to get past the hurt and move on so you don’t waste more time on this guy than necessary. And next time a “committed” man tries to start something with you- tell him to go fuck himself. Nothing good ever comes from it that I’ve seen.

      Be good to yourself.

      • smitty says:

        Thanks Dennis for the reply & not passing judgment. I’m not sure what part his bipolar would have played. I mean its not like we didn’t talk about the possible conseqences. However, he did say that he really believed his wife didn’t want him when “supposedly” she said she didnt. She told me that every day he said she’s her everything. I really believe he would of kept me stringing along if he never got caught.

        • Dennis says:

          I agree with you in that I think he just would have kept stringing you along indefinitely.

          Based on the limited information that you gave; that doesn’t sound like a Bipolar unwell thought process to me at all. It just sounds like a Bipolar person being an asshole like anyone else can be an asshole. A lot of folks aren’t experienced or knowledgeable enough to see the undercurrents that drive unwell thought processes- but there are methods to the madness. And I just don’t see those undercurrents at work here.

          If he did blame his Disorder- I would be more inclined to think that he was one of those people that thinks it can be used as a “get out of responsibility free” card.

          But regardless of the reasons behind it- he was always a liar from the start- always lying to the woman he made a life-long commitment to. So it’s pretty safe to assume that he would lie to you just as easily.

          And you’re very welcome. It’s not my place to judge people or throw stones even though I sometimes have to so I can get at the truth of a situation. Catch-22 I suppose.

  47. marie-anne says:

    I came across this page while researching Bipolar.

    I am a 26 year old mother of a fantastic 5 year old daughter. I have been through a lot in the last few years, but have slowly realised that ultimately I have been most of the problem and if not the problem, I end up making the problem a lot worse!>
    This to me has been very hard to accept. I have never really been happy in myself, rather felt moments or phases of ‘good times’.

    I am a single mam and have been for 4 years. I was with my daughters father for 7 years when I decided that I had enough of his ways and left to go back to my parents house with my little girl. This change took a lot out of myself and my child’s dad, as we had a close but very rocky relationship since we were 15 and from then we had grown up and wanted different things.

    Before we broke up, we visited a health nurse for him as he had been going to the doctors- not feeling great in himself. The nurse told us that he had Bipolar symptoms and also ADHD. This kind of scared me, as we were only 21 and I had problems with my mental health when I was a teenager and by 16 I was put on anti depressants. I decided not to continue to take them as I didn’t want to have to keep taking them. I regret that decision as instead of just taking the meds and seeing what impact that could have had on my life, I ended up smoking weed as a substitute to feeling better in myself. I knew it was the wrong thing to do, but convinced myself that I did it casually with friends and when chilling out.

    Forward on to when my little girl was 2 1/2. I had been split up with her dad a year and 1/2 and had been going out/drinking and casually seeing people, nothing serious, but I had a few one night stands (not happy about this) and then finally met a guy that I was head over heals for. We dated for a year and half and decided to move in with each other. unfortuantley after 4 months my boyfriends best mate and co worker was tragically killed in an accident in their workplace with my boyf present. This was devastating to him and I was sooo hurt and sorry for his loss I just wanted to be able to help fix him.
    undoubtedly he was torn apart with it all as his funeral and interviews for the inquest were all too real. He took it so bad that he had to leave our house a lot for days (returning to just sleep). It hurt me soo much that I could not help him. It sounds so stupid to me now, because all he needed was time to mourn. I felt he pushed me away and it made me feel so insecure and crap about myself (this also sounds stupid to me now). I started going out with my friends at the weekend and drinking more, we kept bypassing each other and 4 weeks later we broke up. he moved back to his dads.
    I ended up sleeping with two people when we were broke up. one being so unbelievably not me and ended up being like a secret affair meeting in a hotel room and crazy stuff. It was not me and it kills me that I could be that person to someone who I loved soooo much. he was great for me ;and I could do this on him,in such short time.

    we ended up getting back together, but I never told him of what I had of done. I was ashamed and didn’t want to tell him even though I knew it was wrong. I just I didn’t want to hurt him even more 🙁
    I was in a group of friends at the time for 7 years and then we ended up falling out over them telling my boyf of what I had done. I know I was in the wrong for what I had done. but these girls were my FRIENDS at the end of the day, they were also his, but it could have been dealt with differently as it got around our town and hurt him even more that all these people now knew.

    All between this my daughters father had moved abroad and ended up getting into dodgy business. He got himself in serious trouble and got sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison over there so we did not see him for that time.
    He has recently came back but is unable to stay around as he got himself in trouble with a gang before he moved away and they are looking for him. So he moved away again now and he will have to stay away from were we live. There is a lot more to this story but I have waffoled too much.

    I have completed my 1st year in college studying ‘community youth work’ and I love this course. I have 3 years left and I want to be able to cope with it all. I also work part time. My daughter has exzema and a condition called itchitiosis which is very sore and hard to handle as it takes up most of our time together and leads me to have small panic attacks as at that time everything feels too much to handle.

    I am concerned about my mental health and have family history of other mood disorders, dementia and alziemers. this has lead me to want to research it more so I could understand what I was going through. I did not initially think of Bipolar but when researching the medication my doctor has described me and the feelings I have been having and behaviours I have had since I was a child have lead me here.

    This has got a lot off my chest .been able to write this. I wonder can anyone suggest anything?

    • Dennis says:

      Hello there. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with me/us.

      It seems like from your description, you should definitely get in and talk to your doctor to explore things. If you’re thinking you may be Bipolar, check out this link.

      If you scroll down there is a list of manic and depressive symptoms. See if anything resonates with you from the manic side. It’s important to understand that unwell periods will last at least a week or so. For example, when I’m escalated I can’t sleep more than 4 hours a night and that can go on for weeks or months. The longest period of time was 3 months for me. So if you experience some of those things but it’s gone pretty quick then it probably won’t fit their diagnostic criteria. Is still worth talking to your doctor about though.

      Another important point when looking at if something is a symptom is how it affects your life. Individually it may not mean much if it does not, but it can be telling a bigger story if it occurs in conjunction with other symptoms. Hence, back to the doctor point.

      I can identify with your “I did this completely out of character and couldn’t understand why”. I find that after I have an unwell period that’s pretty much how I used to look at my severe actions. I would ask myself- “Who was making these decisions?” Because it wasn’t my well brain for sure. But when you’re unwell, you become a twisted, warped version of your original self. So “I love you” can easily turn into “who gives a shit about you?”

      Your decision to not take meds and self-medicate is one that a lot of us make. Don’t beat yourself up about that. The important thing is that you’ve realized self-medicating won’t help you. It often does temporarily or takes the chaos away for a little bit; but in the long-term it’s further destabilizing.

      If you’ve been on antidepressants before- how was it being on those? A Bipolar person who is put on antidepressants will ROCKET into mania and stay there. A mania driven by antidepressants is often much harsher and more fierce than what we normally experience. If that didn’t occur with you then it’s not consistent with the kind of reaction a Bipolar person would have with being mismedicated- but I also don’t know what other meds you were on at the time either.

      All in all- your best course of action is having a serious heart to heart with a mental health doctor to discuss the erratic and strange things that have occurred in your history that your actions were directly responsible for.

      I would also like to point out that many of us hate being shackled to medication- but we take it anyways because we know what the alternative is. Your feelings towards meds are pretty normal. But at the end of the day it’s a choice- a choice for wellness or chaos. And every day I, and others, will swallow our anger and annoyance with our med cocktail.

      • marie-anne says:

        Thank you very much for your reply.
        I very much appreciate it.

        There are a lot of things that I have left out- that stand out to me as possible ‘manic’ episodes, and I can very much identify with well periods and unwell periods.
        I have kept diaries since I was 10 & reading back over them shows me that my depression has being present on and off since then- but I have had amazing times too.
        Looking back, there were good times and bad times – but there seems to have been good times=crazy times and bad times= unwell periods. My good times usually don’t last very long = days, weeks, months, maybe a year or two at the most, when something triggers me off and then seem to take a detour to destruction of some form.

        Family and friends have got on to me over and over again to just think positive and I will be fine and I know that. I have periods of praising the book ‘The Secret’ – to times were I can be very negative, spend more time thinking and talking about negative things and staying home and keeping to myself.

        Reading up on Bipolar I found that Hyper sexuality is a part of it. During my good times, which lead to crazy times, it seems that I turn to intimacy with men. This had led to serious breakups and falling out with friends. This is not me and it hurts that in these phases, I can be capable of these things.

        I don’t want an excuse for my actions, thoughts or behaviours but I am looking for answers because I genuinely feel that I am a good person and I mean nothing but good. Situations I have got myself in have made it hard for people to see this recently. I want to understand why I can be two people with different views, values and attitudes when either moods are present.

        • Dennis says:

          The difference between a reason and an excuse in my eyes is responsibility. An excuse is used for a person that refuses to say, “Yes I fucked up. Yes, I know what I did was wrong. And yes, I’ll try to make up for it if I can.” When you’re able to say take responsibility for your actions while unwell- then it’s a reason. In my eyes anyways.

          You’re in luck with your diaries though. See if you can find examples of your most erratic time periods to show your doctor and then let them know some of the same things you’ve told me. Hypersexuality can be very destructive in relationships. I know when I was younger there was a period I went for six hours and got off multiple times without ever getting soft- which is damned abnormal for men- and my poor girlfriend at the time. She wouldn’t let me touch her for days after that.

          But yeah if when you ramp up your sexuality becomes destructive; like you’re suggesting it does- then it is a symptom and you should definitely get in and get screened for the Disorder.

          And your last comment about being two different people is why I often describe being Bipolar with the analogy of Jeckyl and Hyde. Jeckyl being the normal, sane you; and Hyde being the manic-depressive whirlwind of destruction lurking in the depths of your mind.

          • marie-anne says:

            Jackle & Hyde sounds pretty much right 🙂 well for the times that are “up or down periods”..
            I feel that a lot of decisions I have made over the last 10 years of my life have been very poor and not consistent. I can be very productive when I want to be:( realistically it is not as much as been the opposite!. Poor judgement and bad decision making is something that has puzzled me, as I know my right from wrongs. Unfortunately I let these decisions get me into situations that have been unnecessary if a good judgement or decision was made at the time.

            Reading up on everyone’s comments and experiences has given me an option for an answer that I have been looking for, a long time. Eeryone’s experience is different but similar in that the thought process and mood disruptions.
            It explains a lot about my behaviours as when times are tough and I feel out of control I can either get very down feeling so crap or go the opposite about things “f** it, I’m going to be happy and listen to a lot of lot music, then want to go out at the weekend and get very drunk and more than I want, mess things up even more.

            I have lost friendships over the years a lot not through fallings out but from my decision making and the company I kept when I was a teenager. Looking back its like part of something when I was with them. Like I could do anything and everyone was my friend but if I was down I would be feeling everyone was against me. This has followed my true to adulthood and can see a pattern of behaviour that is destructive and seems to be a result of a bigger problem at the end of the day.

            My copping levels with stress is not very good at the minute as my anxiety and feeling claustrophic as left me unable to deal with stressful or to me “irritable situations” .

            Thank you for writing back as have not talked to anyone else about this apart from a friend, but he does not understand my feelings but can see my view of patterns of attitudes and behaviours.

  48. Dennis says:

    Sounds about right, Marie-Anne. One of the things I tell people to look for (and to relate to their doctor) are decisions that are entirely out of character for you during the time in which they are up or down. I know there are plenty of examples in my own life where I looked back on a decision making process and could not, for the life of me, figure out why in the hell I made that decision. Now that I know I’m Bipolar, it makes a lot more sense.

    Normal people have a hard time making sense of decisions made during unwell periods because they are always in control of their decisions even if they’re angry. For Bipolar people, it’s more like we’re just along for the ride while our brain makes decisions without us. You can learn to manage it but it’s not something that is instantly intuitive and you still fuck it up from time to time. But medication and self-management can go a long way towards helping someone attain long-term stability.

    I think the next step for you should be visiting your doctor and talking to them about it. Feel free to write any time either through comment or email if you have more questions or want to talk more about it.

    • marie-anne says:

      I know one thing is for sure, it is good to be able to talk about my feelings. Could you send your email address onto me?

  49. Dennis says:

    Sure thing. 🙂

    Write any time. And it is important to realize you’re not alone. There are plenty of us out there who have had similar experiences and lives. 🙂

  50. Ev says:

    Hey guys, looking for some help.

    Now please don’t be discouraged from our young age. I have known this bipolar girl for a very long time. In 7th grade she had a big crush on me, stalking me through year book photos and such. We didnt meet until highschool however. In my freshmen year and her sophomore year we shared a class but never actually met, simply glanced at each other across the room. At the time, she was also dating, and had been since, well, er, 4th grade. Back then of course, well, use the term dating loosely.

    No, it wasnt until my sophomore year and her junior year that we finally did meet after unknowingly semi stalking each other for nearly 3 years. Naturally after a month we started dating. It was a typical BP relationship, that usual formula in which she reveals her deep depressed life story to which I become addicted to the idea of ‘saving’ her. And to top off the formula, we broke up… (however I did slip one of her dark secrets to a friend of mine, and that admitted it to her out of guilt so I guess that ones on me) out relationship had already been on the rocks, with her taking way too much interest in any guy who would merely smile at her and me appearently being ‘clingy’. She wanted to still be friends but we all know how that goes.

    Two weeks later a friend of hers asked her out and they began dating. Naturally I was crushed, however hope gleamed through because during school I’d still catch glimpses of her sneaking looks at me even while she was with her BF. This never stopped. She looked (and as I later found out) Facebook stalked me all through the summer, right up to her break up with that poor dude who then got friend zoned. Hard. She refers to him now as her best friend, cause the poor lover boy will do anything she asks, hoping to one day date her again.

    School starts again. Her senior, my junior year. The crushing tear from a BP relationship has left me scarred, yet mentally matured. During the summer I had reconstructed myself, with a feirce goal to win her back. I even changed my schedule in order to land myself in one of her classes. After all that time apart I wasn’t sure how she’d react to me. My fear was in vain though, because the moment she saw me enter the classroom she gave me a huge blushing smile and came over to say hi. We immediay became best friends.

    She eventually started telling me about her ex, who had begun contacting her again, saying he missed her. She claimed that she loved him but she also hated him so much. I kept my cool and acted like I was interested, but I also had my own life to attend to. God she was putty in my hands, she was obviously into me and I was making all the right moves to bait her in. One day she magically realized she just hated her ex, and a week later she began saying stuff like, “you should kiss me”. 2 days later we were together again.

    This time was different. I had matured and she could tell. She knew I had finally become a force to be reckoned with, and we became closer on new levels that had never even ehisted the year before. She told me that the guy she had dated over the summer was ‘never gonna mean anything’ and that when she had begun expressing interest in me again he had told her that he’d been suspicious on whether or not she had ever really been over me during they’re relationship.

    So eventually she tells me about her childhood molestation and that she has bipolar diorder, something she’d kept secret from me in fear that I’d leave her out of stress, just like her ex (yes, the one whom began telling her he missed her and yadda yadda). She said that in a way she never really loved him and that she had only said she did to get a reaction out of me (to which I had played a cool cat B) )

    We fall in love. Like, for real. She dumps me like 30 times but also begged for me back in a matter of hours. In her ‘well periods’ she describes to me that she feels like there is another her inside of her, who does bad things that she can’t control, crying to me in fear that she’s afraid she might even start doing drugs again. She tells me that the ways she feels about me is something she has only ever felt once before with a guy who ended up cheating on her, so she believes that she really does love me. I begin researching bipolor stuff, being able to detect her triggers and I offer to help her learn about her BP together, which just makes her more in love with me.

    But then the mania comes along. It starts with simple thibgs like claiming she doesnt want to be in our relationship because she feels overwelmed by her self, but at the same time she does t want to lose me. Then one day her dog dies. After that she suddenly dumps me after 3 days of avoiding me, saying she thought she loved me and all that but she was wrong. She says she still wants me around though, but doesn’t want to be with me. I return some of our stuff and claim that I love her and can’t be just friends, to this she explodes in anger and claims she hates me and never wants to see me again.

    A few days go by and I show up at her door to make things right between us. At the sight of me she instantly forgives me and she lets me in, but she keeps a barrier between us. I tell her to relax because im over her (lie) and that i just want to be friends (lie, but i dont want to lose her completely) The entire time I’m making her laugh, and it’s like things use to be. She was obviously in a well stage… yet was holding to the decision to stay broken up. She randomly chimes in that shes going on a date that next day, however I’m pretty sure she was just lying to see my reaction. Eventually she tells me to leave (in a playful but meaningful way)

    And that’s the last of our contact. The rest of the year finishes and from time to time we’d pass each other in the halls but whenever I’d say hi, she would clam up and look extremely nervous and shy. I’d also catch her looking at me from afar. I texted her once randomly and we had a short playful conversation, but as I began to try and text her ever few weeks, her replyies strangely became snippy and one worded.

    The summer began and I hadn’t seen her or talked to her for months. I start hearing rumors that shes become a major pot head, which saddens and angers me in vigorous ways which overwhelm me sometimes (I have clinical depression) On her birthday I facebooked her happy bday, to which she replied with,’Thanks’. I then stated that we should catch up. She then said she was out of state for the next two weeks. I then said I would text her sometime in August. She ‘saw’ the message, but didnt respond.

    One painful month of no contact, during which her little brother sees me around the city with one of my gal friends (JUST a friend). I reach the month mark of No contact and finally Facebook her “Hi”.

    She ‘see’s the message two minutes later… and never replies. And that’s we’re the story is up to right now, for I haven’t messaged her since. I noticed a couple of days ago, her and some guy getting just a little flirty during some Facebook comments, and knowing how promiscuous she can be….

    I love her, and despite all the BP madness which I’m well educated on, I believe in the fact that she really did love me to. I miss her but at the same time am weary to try and install myself back into that painful cycle. During our second relationship I almost got her to start taking her meds again, however she dumped me before I had succeeded.

    I don’t know what do do at this point… and how do you think she feels? Plus with all the extra pain of being a druggie now… her wellness is ashamed of her self, I’m sure of it. Plus, we won’t be at a same school again until next year, because this year she’s starting at our towns community college while I’m finishing my senior year of high school.


    • Dennis says:

      There is only one point in your text that I am going to admonish you on. She is not a druggie. People use drugs for a lot of reasons. For us, it’s a way to finally force everything in our brain to go one direction for awhile- even if it’s not a positive direction. I assure you that chastisement or negative thinking about the issue will only serve to push her further away in the event you’re able to break through to her.

      Your friend definitely sounds like she has a lot of issues to work through. I would focus on just trying to get her to communicate with you if the two of you are still friends on social networks or you have her phone number or something. When you do- really encourage her to get into therapy to address the problems with the abuse in her past and the way she views herself and the Disorder. I think she would really benefit from being around other Bipolar in a group therapy setting where she can see that she’s not isolated, alone, or weird. Different? Sure. But different isn’t a bad thing. Fuck, history doesn’t remember the normal people really.

      Now, what can you personally do to help her? You’ve done a shitload man. Far more than I’ve seen some parents do. That is very commendable; particularly understanding that she does actually need to be on her meds to pursue any sort of stability. But the problems she faces are pretty far past what kind of assistance a person who is not a professional can provide.

      You could also have her visit my site when you’re able to reestablish contact. I might be able to provide her some insight she lacks because I’m a fellow Bipolar person who is further along the same path she is traveling. I have my contact information posted so she can just email me.

      Attempting to re-open the lanes of communication should be your priority now though.

      As to how she feels? Hard telling really. Without talking to her and understanding her well it’s not possible to make a prediction. I do think you have a better chance of making in-roads with her due to the history the two of you have and the fact that your friendship/relationship didn’t explosively end. So there’s that.

      Anyway, good luck to you man. Feel free to write any time.

  51. Rhyn says:

    I feel a bit like the late arrival at a dinner party for posting my comment this late. For months now, I’ve been searching and researching for advise and ideas on the topic of this under-researched illness without much luck. I’m BPII (diagnosed 4 years ago) and currently nearing the end (God so help me!) of a major relapse that’s been going on for months now. I could identified with every single one of your sentences in this article and to a point where I was laughing and crying at the same time! Thank you so much for this! This is also the first time in the 30 years of my life that I have ever commented on an article. Something here just felt so unbelievably close to home. I’m definately reading your other articles (as you mentioned above)! Thanks again and please don’t stop being a champ!

    • Dennis says:

      Hello there, Rhyn! Hey, better late than never. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to comment and I’m glad you enjoyed the piece! Keep working away at getting your relapse ended. You’ll find the solution if you keep pressing and working towards it with your doc.

      If you have questions or want to pick my brain, feel free to comment or you can email me directly at ! One of my biggest motivations for creating my website was the lack of useful information I found when researching things after my own diagnosis. Plenty of clinical information/advice (which is fine), plenty of websites trying to make sense of it (which is fine), plenty of blogs of people just trying to communicate (which is also fine); but very few that provided useful, frank discussion that you don’t have to be a psych to understand.

  52. lucy says:

    I am so glad I found this site. I don’t really know where to start. I have completely fallen head over heels for a man who is bi-polar and not medicating. It’s complicated as we work together. We both seemed to develop crushes on one another and enjoyed a lovely flirtation for a couple of months before going out together and we have been spending a great deal of time together since. Our romantic involvement began about 6 weeks ago and I fell for him pretty fast.

    He told me about 2 weeks in to our involvement that he was bi-polar and could get very self-destructive. He told me that he has tried many different types of medication and therapy over the years and that they haven’t worked for him and many actually left him feeling worse. I was very open with him and told him that I found his attitude rather defeatist – perhaps the wrong thing to say, I admit, at this time I knew very little about bi-polar – however, he seemed to take what I said rather well and went on to explain more about how he feels about his mental illness. The conversation had to be cut short, as he had to go to work and we have never had a full discussion about it since.

    I did begin to read about bi-polar disorder, as well as watching many documentaries and it makes sense now. Some days are so good, amazing even, he can make me feel like the only woman in the world and we are just fantastic together. Although, I admit I do always try to make him laugh and smile – possibly because I enjoy our time together so much – or perhaps because I feel that if he seems happy everything must be ok. I am so confused. I real very insecure in this new relationship and to be honest I don’t even know how he feels about me as we haven’t spoken about it. Some parts of the day he may act like I’m not even there and then just hours later be back to his adorable self again. I see him at work almost every day of the week, so it is hard not to get a bit consumed by these mood changes. Also, our job is very sociable so there is usually alcohol involved, which I believe he uses to self-medicate. He plans to quit drinking and said that he goes through phases where he doesn’t drink and gets more active. I plan to do the same myself. Not for him, but for myself as I feel it has been quite a boozy summer.

    I guess I am on here to ask.. What should I do? I don’t want to get hurt. I don’t want to hurt him either of course, but I really don’t want to get my heart broken. I have already experienced some of the ups and downs, eg. He has tried to argue with me on a few occasions and I have not allowed it. I have stuck to my opinions, but haven’t risen to the bait. This has worked so far and it seems to have a calming effect on him and situation. I do the same when he gets really negative, I am a very upbeat and positive person by nature and like to encourage people to be optimistic. This is not just for him, this is who I am, but I do feel that I do this more with him. I also say No, if I don’t want to do something.

    So, what should I do? I really want to talk to him about this. I feel that we are both at a point where we need to talk about it. I know that I can’t cure him, but I really want to know that he cares about being well. I want to know how he really feels about me and what effect his illness has had on previous relationships, but I really don’t want to send him on a downward spiral. Is there anyway I can avoid this? Is it possible that he could have real feelings for me? I feel every bit the way that we all feel when falling in love, but I also feel insecure in very aspect of it. Thanks for reading.


    • Dennis says:

      That is quite the situation, Lucy. It is very possible for Bipolar people to fall in love in a healthy way however it’s not always easy to differentiate love from the manic mind. A manic Bipolar will often be almost overbearing in showing their affection, interest, lust, making you feel on top of the world because their brain is in overdrive. They often seem very charismatic and charming because the social walls that most people have melt away with the escalated mentality.

      “Happy” is no indicator of being well. A Bipolar person’s mind lies to them a lot about how they feel- whether they are happy, sad, enraged, depressed, in love, or hated. Optimism and upbeat thinking doesn’t work for us because mental illness is a 24/7 affair. Even if Bipolar Disorder is not biting you in the ass right now, it’s always lurking below the surface waiting to grab your ankles and yank you under. It’s always there. Always waiting. And no one can be vigilant 100% of the time or ready to deflect that negativity 100% of the time. It will eventually screw him or you over pretty hard. That’s just life being Bipolar.

      It is good to hear that he has tried various meds, even if he hasn’t found success with them. It means he realizes that he does actually have a problem and needs to combat it head on. It’s not uncommon to have serious adverse affects to medications. Just have to keep trying some until something sticks and isn’t damaging to our mind and existence. Quite a few people claim that you can control the Disorder without meds; but I think those people are very few and far between. And severe cases almost never. The person is always at risk of ramping out of control and the meds are supposed to serve as a safety net to prevent that from going too far.

      If he’s not in a depressed mood, go ahead and ask him about his past. He’ll probably have lost a fair amount to the Disorder in his life though. As to how he actually feels about you? If it’s only been six weeks then he probably doesn’t actually know. He probably thinks he knows- but that’s nowhere near enough time to separate whether he is experiencing true feelings or if its the Disorder screwing with his head. The thing to understand is- he may genuinely believe he is in love and act in all the ways that go along with that. But if he’s manic and crashes hard back to baseline or depressed then his emotional state and mind can 180. So it’s better to take things slow and steady particularly with any major commitments.

      You both working together is an extra level of difficulty to the situation. If you wind up hurt because his brain’s been screwing with him or he does something insane because he’s mentally ill that could have a very drastic affect on one or both of you in the work situation. If you want to keep pursuing it; take it nice and slow. You shouldn’t jump into any major agreements with him (like moving in together, oh we’re so in love let’s get married, etc) in the immediate term. Give it time so he can have time to actually figure out how he feels and see if you can handle what goes along with being with a Bipolar person.

      In the event that you two do stick together and stick it out; do yourself a favor and do NOT co-sign anything or merge your finances. Keep them separate so if his mind implodes and he does something dumb with his money, yours isn’t gone too. It happens.

      Don’t feel shy about asking your questions of him. This is stuff you need to know to make an intelligent assessment of the situation. Just wait until he’s not in a depressed/withdrawn mood and start up that conversation. Yeah, I know you don’t want to cause him problems; but the reality is that it makes no sense for everyone else to know and tap dance around our triggers. We have to understand ourselves and how to control our own swings by actively fighting it. His responses and ability to have that difficult conversation will give you a good idea of how well he manages his mental problems.

      One thing you should definitely keep in mind as you navigate these waters- even if things don’t work out that it is no reflection on you. A lot of people think that if they had done this right or responded this way instead that things would have worked out. That’s rarely even true in normal relationships. Bipolar Disorder can easily override and turn those emotions into anything from a beautiful love to a seething hatred to a numbing void- and it can have absolutely nothing to do with what our partner actually does.

      It’s a difficult path to walk either way.

  53. Bevo says:

    To both Ev and Lucy,

    I have no answers for your dilemma, but I do wish you the best of luck. If you feel that these individuals are the right one for you to share part or all of your life with, be patient.


    • lucy says:

      Thank you for the reply. I am going to be patient and get to know him better. I am so glad I found this site. I don’t usually post online, but this is a wonderful forum.

      Thanks again


  54. Bevo says:

    Dennis, that idiot called the main desk again. A cop was standing there on another matter. The admin assistant told her about the call and the problems I was having with the idiot.

    A visit from the nice police officer set her straight. At least for now.

    • Dennis says:

      Well hopefully it will have been enough to make a lasting impact with her. A lot of times severely unwell people aren’t able to understand something until it reaches an extreme, assuming she wasn’t just doing it because she is an asshole. Hell, I know I used to be the same way with a lot of things. Hopefully you’ll get some peace now.

      • Bevo says:

        My neighbor called and texted me at 4:18 this morning and wanted to know if I will take her trash out.

        My lease is up at the end of November. I’m gone.

      • Bevo says:

        She is an asshole. BTW, I hope you weren’t out committing any crimes.


  55. Liz says:

    Hi. I loved this article. It was very informative and helped me find words for what I have been trying to explain to councilors. I myself do not have bipolar disorder. I am the child of a parent who has diagnosed but unmedicated and untreated bipolar disorder and now I am the mother of a child diagnosed with bipolar disorder. My life has been filled with grief, pain, confusion and helplessness from a disorder I dont have. I feel so overwhelmed almost all of the time. I feel like I have never really had any happiness in my life and cant get it because everywhere I turn Im stuck dealing with someone else s bipolar issues. My son is still a minor and has been in trouble with the law, not for being a bad person but for making bad choices. Going with the flow in desperation to fit in, taking the fall for others. Generally speaking he never really gets into trouble. It seems to be that “seeing the world through twisted glass” that gets him. He is his own worse enemy and his own biggest abuser. HIS personality is wonderful. He is a kind person with the most amazing kind way of being that is so rare these days. But he can lie and manipulate like no other. He doesn’t seem to ever do it for malicious reasons but for some sort of self preservation. Fear, uncertainty, to fit in…these reasons. He has one excuse after another for everything like he is completely unable to take accountability for anything like getting homework done, he always has a lame excuse that doesn’t even make sense. But for major things….he will take 10x more blame than he deserves. WHY? Im so lost. I want to help him but the councilors are just going through the motions with a one size fits all attitude towards it. Does anyone have any idea what I can do to help him before its too late and he gets himself in any deeper. He is young still (15) and I know it will get worse if I dont figure out how to get him the right help now. It’s like councilors dont get bipolar at all. Any advice or how to get the councilor on the same page and work on real problems not this text book crap would be wonderful. I’m at the end of my rope. My whole life being stuck dealing with someone else’s bipolar all alone with no help has taken its toll. I cant do this much longer. And yes, he can even manipulate the councilor so they think I’m the crazy one and he is just fine. They think I’m making it all up because he is so meek and mild when at his appointments. YOu would think he was just a-ok Thanks

  56. Dennis says:

    Hello Liz. Glad you found the article helpful! Let me address a couple points in your post specifically before I get to some course of action.

    1. “He can manipulate the councilor so they think I’m the crazy one and he is just fine” This is actually pretty normal. Once you’ve been involved with the system long enough, you tend to find out where the weak points are and what to say for the outcome you want. I would venture to say that most people I know that have been hospitalized know exactly what to say and how to act to get released. A good professional knows to dig beneath the surface.

    2. As for the blame taking, it’s possible he has problems with confrontation. You noted that you’ve been dealing with this “alone”; so I’m assuming the father is absent. His quest for acceptance may stem from that. Bipolar Disorder definitely does not help the sound decision making process.

    3. I’m writing the following without knowing what you may have already tried. So feel free to fill me in so I can give it additional thought.

    Alright, on to the other things.

    1. Time to fire your counselor and get a new one. If they aren’t helping your son, then they aren’t worth paying. You MUST keep in mind that the medical profession is like any other profession- some people suck at their jobs or just don’t give a shit. We deal with these people a lot. So how can you find a good one? If your son has been in trouble with the law then I’m assuming he has a case or social worker of some sort? Ask if they can recommend any counselors that deal with at risk, mentally ill teenagers. If you have to find one on your own- ask if the counselor has experience dealing with at risk teenage minors with a mood disorder. Definitely take the time to inform the new counselor why you are changing so they know he is a manipulator and that you are involved as much as you can be.

    2. Your son seems like the kind of person that needs to be stood against. Sometimes it’s better to go with the flow, other times its better to stand like a break wall to the crashing waves. Whenever he gives you a bullshit, nonsensical excuse- tell him it is and that it’s unacceptable. There has to be repercussions to his actions so he can realize that the way he leads his life is not going to work- preferably before those repercussions are adult jail time. It may seem harsh but harsh is sometimes the only way to break through that wall to the other side.

    3. This may seem like an obvious question but I hate assuming. Have you sat him down and talked to him about his future? Let him know that he’s going to be 18 soon and there is going to be far worse repercussions for his actions than a juvie slap on the wrists? He has to be the one to help himself, other people can only point him in the right direction.

    4. If he’s medicated and he’s still acting this way; he’s either not taking the meds or they are very wrong. It should be brought up with whoever is providing that side of his treatment (if he’s being treated). If he’s not medicated, may I ask why not?

    Thank you for taking the time to write in, Liz. You’re a good woman for dealing with what you have for so long in others. It’s not a pleasant experience by any stretch of the imagination. Everyone has their limits; so regardless of the outcome at least take solace in that you fought so hard for the people that you love. Mental illness has a lifetime to wear people down. It’s not something anyone can stand against forever.

    You may also want to look into support groups for Friends and Family. There is a forum for it on which is a non-profit ran by people with mood disorders. Even if you don’t end up talking a lot, it can help to vent to other people that have been through similar circumstances as yours.

    Of course, I can’t guarantee any sort of success with anything. But I will be happy to help you try to come up with answers and work on strategy as much as I can.

    • Liz says:

      Hi Dennis,

      Thank you so much for getting back to me. To answer your questions and ask a couple more….

      First, Yes, his father is absent and gladly so. He is a super bad influence and has become someone you don’t want to be around.

      1. We have left councilor after councilor, unfortunately we have state paid insurance because I cannot work and leave my son home alone. On state insurance we have been getting the same thing every councilor we try. They have a standard type counseling they do no matter what. I am hoping to help him at home as much as possible by learning what things I can do. My son has had trouble with the law, but its petty. He is not a “bad” kid (thank goodness) he is in trouble for being a follower basically. SO they don’t pay much attention to his mental health issues. He comes across as the average Joe. So no social workers or anything of that sort. That sadly would be where I draw the line. I’m too stressed as it is.

      2. “Your son seems like the kind of person that needs to be stood against.”
      I hear you there, honestly that is ME. I am so afraid to push to hard because of the way he breaks down. He was suicidal before we put him on his medication. So I’m always afraid of pushing him over the edge. Bipolar runs in my family as well as just “depression”. We have had 2 family members commit suicide in the last 6 months. One in April and one Oct. (couple days ago) I’m worried and need to get the anxiety his bipolar gives me under control. (not to mention I have another son diagnosed with Autism spectrum) My hands are full but I don’t want to give up, I’m just so exhausted. Mentally and emotionally. I know and accept that I am so worn out and have so much baggage from my mom and ex husbands issues that I am in a fog and not seeing clear all the time. Stress seems to follow me. So I’m reaching for any clarity. How do I tell if I’m pushing to far and I need to worry about pushing the depression to far?

      3. I have done this, and I do it often. I feel like I’m beating a dead horse. He gets it and I think it scares him, but its like he just does it anyway. Like it is worth the risk, or he thinks he can somehow manage to slip through the cracks. I’m not really sure.

      4. He is medicated on 20 mg of Abilify. He was on Risperidal which was not as good. This one has made a HUGE difference in his behavior. He can manage all day at school 90% of the time. His mania is mostly rapid thoughts, lack of sleep and stuttering. His mind is going all over but he isn’t thinking he is 10 ft tall and bullet proof anymore. His depression gets him low but never suicidal talk, no more I want to die. Just everyone hates me perceptions. The stuff you mentioned in the original post. He is irrational and still thinks with his twisted up emotions. He is very very insecure. Mostly from no help in school and having to fake it all the time. I get that, but trying to get him past it.

      Thank you for the compliment. As a mother of a bipolar child you can probably imagine how much I get victimized for just bad parenting. Its so hurtful when I get blamed for his issues when I have sacrificed so much (damn near everything) to help my son. Its like they have no idea how stressed and scared and exhausted I am. They don’t see behind the shade and know what really goes on. So thank you. It means a lot for someone to notice this takes a lot of patience, love and effort to still be here after 38 yrs of living with others bipolar. (Yes Im 38) Being raised by a bp mom was hell.

      I look forward to any suggestions. Everything is trial and error, Im willing to do anything safe and more than willing to think outside the box. I just want my son to be successful. I know its in him. He is such a great person when bp isn’t rearing its ugly head.

      • Dennis says:


        I want you to know that I read your post and I need to do some more thinking before I respond. I just want you to know that because I hate making people wait on me. I will be back with you within a day or two.

      • Dennis says:

        I have been kicking your situation and everything you’ve tried around in my head. I can really only think of one thing that I’m not sure you’ve already tried or not.

        If you would like me to; I can write him a letter, email it to you, and you can give it to him. I can detail the shitty path he’s about to set out on and the way his life can potentially go if he doesn’t change his own point of view and approach to his life. Maybe it will have more weight from him not coming from his mother or hearing it from a doctor- but from someone that has already walked a similar path.

        If you want me to, just let me know; and please let me know his first name if so.

        • Liz says:

          Thank you, It couldn’t hurt. Maybe if you entertain the success you have made as well. That way he sees both sides of it. I think sometimes he feels like Bipolar has control and he cant stop the train wreak happening. He has ironically gotten better recently. He got into a good school that finally put him on an IEP, so his stress level is down. It seems to have made a difference. Let hope he can stay on this better path. 🙂

  57. Bevo says:

    Dennis, here is the latest update.

    I did file the charges against one for the terroristic death threat. This should be her third felony. Texas has the three strikes law. I also found out that an attorney is filing criminal impersonation, identity theft and other charges for that so-called government issued free phone. He is not too happy at this time.

    The other person is back to calling me at work or late at night. I am not changing my number, I have told her that I will file criminal charges if she does not cease and desist and I will forward the complaint to the social security office.


  58. Nicoleeee says:

    Can I please get some feedback I’ve been dating this guy for a few months now and he’s bipolar, this is the second time he went silent, the first was only a week and that was when his grandfather was ill and in the hospital, so he isolated himself from everyone .. He said if I stopped by he’d get angry … Well this is the second time I noticed he was distant in texts so I asked him why are you distant and that backfired and he went silent, well I had his bday gift with me so I went to drop it off was going to leave it on the front porch he was there so it caught me off guard he looked so angry and in his own world so I just handed it to him and left … Well in order to get him to respond I said can I come by we don’t have to talk or anything just to keep you company and then he said I don’t want any company I just want to be alone I’m sorry this isn’t going to work I can’t talk about it but I need to be alone now… I knew that was the bipolar depression episode talking not him so I said if I give you space can you message me when you’re ready and he said sure I just need to be alone… Can anyone help me I miss him so much I want him in my life and I wish I can help him, he isn’t taking any meds … Are relationship was great we connected so amazingly well

    • Dennis says:

      Hello there, Nicole. I do have some feedback for you but first a counterpoint. If your connection was so well in your relationship; why isn’t he talking to you or trying to help you understand while he’s unwell? A good connection and a good relationship isn’t just about the great times; it’s about being able to at least work together or approach the shitty times as a unit. I’m not suggesting that he’s a bad guy or that it’s a bad relationship without some evidence to the contrary; just that you should maintain a realistic point of view on it.

      Silence is normal for Bipolars that have had to deal with the shit in their mind on their own for most of their lives. Most people don’t understand and don’t want to understand. So a lot of times it’s easier to be silent than try to argue that point while you’re nuts. It seems like he understands he gets unstable and doesn’t want to cause any undue problems in his life through his unwell actions. That’s actually a good sign. It means he recognizes there is a problem.

      The approach I would take is this. Give him his space until he rebalances. He will rebalance eventually so just give him the time he needs.

      After that…

      1. Explore why he isn’t medicated and if it would be an option for him? Encourage him to go talk to a doctor. If he had a bad experience with a doctor or medication; counter with there is other doctors and other meds he can try.

      2. Ask him if he can let you into his unwell world at least a little. It’ll be easier for you to get acclimated to if you can see some of what he goes through if even just for a little while at a time. That way he can ease you into his world. The fact that he isolates himself also suggests that he may have lost someone he really loved or cared about because of the Disorder. You may want to ask him why he needs to be alone during those periods altogether.

      3. Bear in mind that you’ve only been in this relationship for a short-time. It’s fucking hard to be in a relationship with a Bipolar, especially one that is unmedicated. If he needs space, give him space. You will probably have to be patient to get through his walls. You should be wary of loaning him money, do not cosign anything with him in the future, and do not expect consistency.

      There are plenty of people that would advise you to just run and it’s not entirely unfounded. So keep your eyes and use logic instead of your emotions for making decisions. You’re not dealing with someone who has a regular mentality. If you ever feel threatened or anything along those lines; don’t hesitate to seek help or distance yourself.

      Instability will be his normal for as long as he chooses to not work towards wellness.

      Hope this helps!

  59. Liz says:

    Oh yeah, his first name is TJ

  60. James says:

    This is my story:

    First I want to thank everyone for their posts and opinions, loving someone who is bipolar is definitely difficult for both parties.

    My ex-gf broke our relationship off about two months ago, after 3 years, because she simply couldn’t handle the stress of our relationship alongside the stress of other aspects of her life (i.e. full-time summer work (closes), approaching 4th yr university, being a captain and chief fundraiser for her dance club). It has been a VERY difficult time for me, but I am sure she is suffering nearly as much or more. In the end she broke up with me over the phone, when 6 weeks before she had asked if we could take a break. Mind you all summer long she was about an hour away from me in her hometown so we didn’t see much of each other. I think the distance may have contributed to our separation intimately and mentally. I noticed she became distant and made excuses for me to not come see her, to avoid calling or talking to me. Eventually I felt like I didn’t exist in her world anymore and knew our relationship was suffering. Looking back, I now realize that she was suffering from heightened hypomania and is still in that phase to this day, nearly 3 months later. When will I know that she has left the cycle and will she try to reach out? Is there a pattern like this in many bipolar individuals, pushing people away when they are unwell and then going back later?

    Last year my ex was diagnosed as BP2, she had suffered from depression through her teen years and was often very sick, tired, and sad. I love her and would do anything to support her. She knows this but I feel like now, after 2 months, I am no longer a thought to her, I’m as nonexistent as the next stranger. The toughest part of it all is that I was her support, her only support, when times were bad and the diagnosis was fresh. I helped her get use to meds (waking her up daily for a routine or if she had appointments/work/exams), was an ear at all times, and realized early that I needed to be conscious of how I treated and spoke to her. I tried to convince her therapy was a smart idea to learn about the triggers for her states and how to recognize them, but she insisted that therapy would just become an appointment about her problems and that wasn’t how she could solve this. They say the first year of diagnosis is the toughest for individuals with bipolar. Is this true?

    Our relationship wasn’t perfect, we rarely argued, and we certainly were admired by many of our friends and co-workers for how loving and caring or relationship seemed to be. And for the longest time, that’s exactly what it was. We were best friends, able to talk to each other about anything, provide for each other, be there in an instant to support and comfort each other. We even understood we needed time apart and had nights during the week which we dedicated to our own friends. Honestly, it was an incredible relationship that I truly miss. Moving forward has proven difficult because I still run into my ex now and again (we work together occasionally), but she never contacts me otherwise. We had coffee awhile ago, as friends, and then we got together one night and talked about the end of our relationship, had a real heart to heart and emotions got involved and we ended up cuddling for about 2 hours. I haven’t hear from her since this meeting, when I got closure about her not wanting to be involved, wanting to be free to figure herself out, and just concentrate on her. Do you think she is scared of the committment I’m looking for? part of me says she feels guilty that she has no emotions for me when she’s unwell, yet she told me she loved me last time we met… It’s pretty confusing, I try not to go out of my way to talk to her, but I long to. I sent her a message not long ago wishing her exams well and a Happy Thanksgiving (Canadian) and she responded instantly to me “Thank You, you as well!!!”

    Ive written in a few forums, but that was when I noticed my ex first changing, and thus our relationship falling apart by a lack of effort on her part. I just want some post closure advice. I obviously have very strong feelings for her but I don’t want to make her hate me or think I can’t be happy by myself. I’ve been doing well lately but I do miss her. Will she snap out of this phase and reach out? I’ve been moving forward slowly but I would reconnect if she came around. Am I just setting myself up to be more hurt?


    • Dennis says:

      Hello, James. Thanks for taking the time to share your story. Let me see if I can provide some insight. Let me also say, I always try to respond to all questions or relevant points I see in posts; but if I miss something you wanted commentary on just let me know.

      Hypomanic periods can last a random amount of time. Unwell periods are “fueled” by certain circumstances- such as extreme stress- such as what one would expect from being a 4th year student, having responsibilities for a club, working a job, and trying to maintain a long distance relationship. It’s like throwing fuel on a fire. The more fuel you add, the longer it burns. Given her circumstances, it’s impossible to say when she might crash out of it. Will she reach out to you after? Depends entirely on the person and their own internal monologue. Many of us will often not reach out after a serious breach like that because we recognize that we are at fault and don’t want to hurt the other person. Others don’t care. Others will reach out. It really depends on her as an individual.

      My advice on that point? Just call her and talk to her once every few weeks to a month in a friendly fashion, if you can. That way the door will just be open for her to step through when she crashes out and you won’t have to try to guess her emotional state from an hour away.

      You were very good in your approach to trying to help her and convincing her to try therapy. The problem you identify is one I run into a lot. People hear “therapy” and they have the media image of people just bitching about their problems. I was in therapy for a year and a half and learned a lot of great, useful tools for managing my disorder. And I spent maybe, maybe 5% of the time actually bitching because I wasn’t trying to work through acceptance. I just wanted to find a way to get well. If you ever have that conversation with her again; ask her to do some research on Cognitive Therapy.

      I’m not sure where the statement “They say the first year is toughest for Bipolar people” originated from but it’s one of those blanket statements that can be potentially harmful. Here’s the problem. You have one mental illness that can manifest in an infinite number of ways because it warps who the person is as an individual. Using myself as example, I would say my first year after diagnosis was the best because I finally had answers. But year 3-4 of trying to get well, of trying and failing more meds, and the hope of a “quick fix” now firmly behind me; I would say those were the worst for me.

      I would be hesitant to ever use such a phrase. Instead, I would go with “Bipolar Disorder is always hardest until the day you wake up to your meds working and your life is finally under control.” Until then- game fucking on. Anything else, to me, is just pointless wishful thinking.

      I don’t believe she has a fear of commitment, unless her response was in reaction to you proposing or something like that. A three year relationship is a pretty committed relationship as it is and if she wasn’t ‘afraid’ during those three years then it’s not likely it would just pop up unless it was the byproduct of an unwell thought process. And even then, that wouldn’t be her that would be the mental illness spinning lies in her mind. She could feel guilty about her emotions for you changing while she’s unwell; but that’s assuming her emotions actually are completely changing. You can still be unwell, love someone, and recognize that you love someone even if your brain is telling you otherwise. I liken it to World War 1 Trench Warfare. They go over the top, there’s a lot of casualties, and even if you do make a gain it’s only a few yards.

      Let me share an experience with you from my life from around the time I was diagnosed. I’ve been engaged twice. The second time was to a wonderful, creative, intelligent, strong, and beautiful woman. We had a relationship for about 6 and a half years. In that time, she had started and finished a four year degree towards the end of the relationship. I had a psychotic break and wound getting my diagnosis of Bipolar; and she wound up sitting me down to tell me she wanted to leave to explore who she was as a woman, experience life and other relationships, pursue graduate school, and her own depression was made worse by my instability. Worst day of my life- which is saying something considering the life I’ve led. But at the same time, I’m a creature of logic and all the things she was talking about seemed so essential to her development as a person that I couldn’t be mad at her for it. At the same time, I decided that I needed to do everything I could to get well and stable so I wouldn’t be in that position again.

      I don’t know if you read my about me page; but I’ve lost about 6 relationships, 2 engagements, 25+ jobs, drug and alcohol abuse, 7 suicide attempts; and a myriad of other things that I wound up dragging people I cared about through with me. So I decided I wouldn’t get involved in anything with anyone, again; until I had a firm control and understanding of what was going on in my head.

      It was about 4 years until I had a set relationship with anyone again and I felt I was to that point. But by that point, she had finished grad school and gotten married as well.

      We are on friendly terms and still exchange emails a few times a year, though we are both in different parts of the country as well.

      The point of that story is- her desire to figure herself out and get herself under control isn’t that strange. And your circumstances aren’t all that strange either.

      Are you setting yourself up to be hurt again? That’s irrelevant. Loving anyone always comes with the potential cost of being hurt. That’s just life. Being Bipolar and not correctly medicated yet, she’s prone to be emotionally unstable. Such as having a good evening of cuddling and then not hearing from her for weeks.

      The actual question is- is the potential gain worth the risk of hurt?

      If I were in your shoes; this is what I would do. I would give her distance by try to remain her friends. I would, as I previously mentioned, try to call her at least once every few weeks to just have a normal conversation about friend stuff, how each of you are doing, avoid relationship/love stuff altogether. Through that you’ll be able to maintain an idea of her mentality is if she starts talking about patching things up. And just ask her, “are you in a mentally good enough place to make that kind of decision right now?”

      And I wouldn’t stop my life either. The reality is; she may eventually rebalance out and come back, or she may not. So since you are two split up, if you want to date or whatever I don’t see any reason not to. Of course, I would alter the situation if I met someone I wanted a serious relationship with.

      Obviously, I can’t reach in your brain and know how well you can handle your own emotions and your own personal beliefs on things. So adapt things to your own point of view. But do know that your willingness to try and work with her and help her speaks magnitudes about your character versus the people I deal with who have been thrown away when they got the least bit difficult to handle.

      • James says:

        Dennis, thank you so much for your insight and reply! I have been struggling to find someone who can really understand the situation, I feel like you’ve touched on almost everything I was looking for. I do have a few more things to add…

        So our relationship started going downhill in July when she started full-time work for the summer. We were only long distance for June, July, and August. It has been difficult to understand how 3 months of separation destroyed what I had been looking for in someone for a long time. Maybe that’s why it’s so difficult for me to let go completely.

        I get that stress is one of the biggest triggers for individuals with BP, I personally have a strong wall on stress and don’t get too bothered by it, which makes it tough to relate, but I now understand. The fuel to the fire quote makes 100% sense to me. She never dealt with emotions or stress very well, so a combination of a bunch of things, including myself i guess, would really make it hard for her.

        As for commitment, she asked me to move into her place next summer (2014) this past May, and we were beginning to discuss the parameters of that. My parents wanted to help us out, she badly wants to stay in my hometown when she is done school, so things looked promising. Sometime in June I brought it up and she got upset, saying that it scared her how I so casually talked about us having our own place. Shortly after that she started being distant, and annoyed by my attempts to communicate after not hearing from her for several days.

        I’ve seen her at her worst several times; in July I was with her for a few days. We went to an amusement park, saw a moving, had candlelight dinner (which I made). The next day she had an attack and completely broke down. Said she was “unhappy” but not with me. Said that her thoughts were always racing when I was around, but once I was out of the picture she had a sense of clarity and could think. That’s when I knew she was suffering from mania, little did I know it would last as long as it has. She did become impulsive over the next few weeks, a friend of hers suggested she was unfaithful, she started partying a lot after work (late night hours 2-5am) and totally started to distance herself. I knew things were wonky, but we’d gone through smaller phases of this so I didn’t think too much of it. Few weeks after this she asked for a break, 4 weeks after that she ended it. 2 months after that I got some closure as to why she needed to be alone.

        It’s rough, I mean I still love her and would do anything at any given time to help her. We don’t really speak anymore, since we exchanged our belongings and had that cuddle night, she avoids me at all costs I feel. I am trying to show that I support her and want to remain friends, that a door is always open, but it is not easy. She invites me to her fundraisers and I haven’t gone to one yet because I wasn’t ready at first, but now school is getting busy and I can’t make the times. I did message her and wish her well on her recent event, saying i wanted to donate to her cause but was unable to make it due to mid-terms early the next day.

        I think you are right about getting hurt, when you find love, you become vulnerable and being hurt is a consequence of giving yourself to someone. I am hurt, I’m healing, but not as quickly as I might like. I still find myself thinking about her ever so often. And maybe she won’t come back, or reach out to me when she’s balanced or in trouble and doesn’t know where to turn. It’s important that she knows Im here, and I think she does, but as you mentioned, might be reluctant to come back because she is at fault and may feel guilt for hurting me.

        I know it’s life, and life will go on without her or me, it’s just difficult to fully understand because for so long nothing made sense. Even now, after countless reflection, a few chats with her, closure, and many posts on websites, I still find it hard to move forward. Time will heal me, and her; the best thing I can do is be happy for her when she figures things out. Know I gave it everything i had and would do it in an instant if that moment were ever to arrive again.

        So I guess I didn’t really ask anymore questions… I guess I just reflected on your post, which is a good thing. I’ll never fully understand why it didn’t work out other than she needed change to help her figure things out. It sucks, but change is constant and something I have to live with. Thanks for your help Dennis, it has done wonders!

        • Dennis says:

          You’re welcome for the help, James.

          It’s really difficult for people such as yourself to understand because you seem like a fairly well grounded person without any mental issues yourself (that you’ve mentioned). Regular people don’t just have their emotional state change over night like Bipolars can.

          Now, if she’s avoiding contact with you completely as you suggested, I think I would still try to make at least one call a month. And if she kind of dusts you off or strives to end the conversation early; just follow up with a short email like the next day. Just suggesting you really enjoyed talking to her again and for her to get ahold of you whenever she’s comfortable.

          A phone call puts someone on the spot; which is tough for someone who is emotionally unstable to navigate. An email gives the person an opportunity to kick it around in their head and reply at their leisure, or when is more comfortable for them.

          There is a reason I’m urging you on this course of action, and I want you to take this with a BIG grain of salt because no one can know anything for sure 100%; but a Bipolar person who has a drastic emotional change with a swing will often return to how they felt BEFORE that unwell period once they balance back out. She may rebalance and you get a phone call from her about patching things up.

          One of the things I preach most often is working on not taking things personally; and that’s the reason why. The Disorder causes us to think and believe things we wouldn’t believe or act on in normal circumstances. And upon returning to our baseline, we’re left looking back at that stretch in time wondering what the fuck were we thinking?

          Either way, her mood stabilizer isn’t working worth a shit and if she’s not on one she really should be from the sounds of things.

          Don’t feel bad about not being able to understand, James. Truly. I don’t believe it’s possible for someone such as yourself to truly understand for the same reason that you wouldn’t ask a man what it feels like to give birth. There’s just no context to understand. Hell, even doctors don’t usually get it right.

          Since you mentioned it though; you may want to mentally and emotionally prepare to handle if she was unfaithful to you. When you’re nuts, everything can seem like a good idea. She may not have been; but I wouldn’t be surprised if she was.

          Again, you’re welcome. Feel free to write or check back any time if you have more questions or anything else comes up.

  61. James says:

    I appreciate your advice Dennis.

    I will try your phone call idea as oppose to texting/emailing. I don’t know when Ill do this, part of me thinks she won’t answer anyways, or that I will just be pushing her away even more. I am interested in seeing how she is doing, but I do know she is in mid-term season, so maybe I should wait until early november. The last thing she needs is an unwanted call when she is studying, if that’s that case. I guess I made the mistake of letting her set our future coffee date on her terms… and now to go and push for that might be the wrong approach.

    I did take things personally at first, but once I start looking further into the illness I realized that her thought process is irrational and often pretty negative. Her upbringing, going through parents divorce at age 11, being verbally abused by her mother during adolescents, definitely contributed to this. I honestly thought I was her saving grace, she always mentioned how peaceful, comforted, and right she felt when I was around to embrace her or keep her tame and calm. I am stable, and i guess that is why it’s hard to push the feelings down. I didn’t really understand that they can have a change of heart so quickly, but if emotions are already unstable than anything can happen I suppose.

    Ill show my support, have a friendly conversation with her when I feel the time is adequate for low stress, and just hope that she realizes that what we once had was everything she told me she wanted. I forgot to mention that she said she didn’t see a future with me when we last talked/cuddled but I haven’t taken that to heart because I feel that there is still something there, she just needs to find it again.

  62. KimS says:

    Thank you so much for this article. Very clear and simple.
    Now I understand a lot more about my boyfriend for 15 yrs. Hope we can live together peacefully. I wish you the best!

  63. EmilyM says:

    Hi thanks for you article its been very helpful coming from your perspective. My mum was diagnosed with bipolar around 12 years ago and was hospitalised a number of times. However she absolutely refuses to accept the diagnosis and instead when she is upset or having an bad time it is wholly and entirely everyone elses fault. Her switch between deep depression and euphoric mania episodes seem to be very easily triggered.
    She suffers from a great deal of paranoia that everyone is against her and plotting to put her down or to keep her in a depressed state and she will often make up/convince herself that people have written her derisive emails or said very nasty things to her when in fact they have done nothing of the sort.
    It has been incredibly difficult to try and manage any type of relationship over these years and despite at times thinking she is getting better the illness always cycles round again. Is there any advice you could possibly offer as to how I may be able to get her to accept help in the form of medication or counselling or even just how I might be able to improve things.


    • Dennis says:

      Hello, Emily. The problem you’re describing is one that doesn’t have any good answer. I have yet to see one out of any avenue really. Bear that in mind while I go through the following thought process and opinions on the matter.

      People reject their diagnosis for a number of reasons- and everyone seems to have an opinion on why that may be. My line of thinking falls in the realm of understanding and acceptance. The person doesn’t understand that there is a different way to live because they have lived unwell for such a long time. Essentially, the person has to come to grips with knowing that their entire life has largely been a lie, a lie told to them by their own brain. No, it wasn’t everyone else making me unwell- it was my brain. No, everyone else wasn’t out to get me- it was my brain. 10, 20, 30, 40 years of this shit and what are you left with? An extremely difficult reality to confront.

      I think the key is to find a way to get the person to realize that there is a better way to live their life. The way I best think that is accomplished is through other people that have made the transition and recovered. If I were you, I would start reading memoirs written by survivors of Bipolar Disorder. Find one with a history that seems close to the way your mother is/lives and goes into the turn around that person made in their life and how it changed it for the better. The idea is maybe she will be able to see herself and relate to the struggle of this person who has lived a similar life and see herself being able to make those gains.

      As to making things a bit easier- if you haven’t learned it by now, don’t bother trying to argue every point that’s damaging. Do your best to avoid being emotional in your approaches with her. Arguing with her just provides more fuel for her fires and you will most likely not win an argument against an unwell Bipolar person because of how their mind twists and warps reality. I’m not suggesting you be a doormat, but if she thinks everyone else is conspiring against her then no amount of arguing you can do is going to matter because her mind is unwell and lying to her at the moment.

      I’m a fan of trying to tie errant thoughts back to reality as much as possible when I interact with unwell people. It forces the person to think more about the facts of the situation than what their mind is telling them their facts are.

      So, for example, if she said someone had been sending her threatening emails. I would say something like, “Oh that’s terrible to hear. Why don’t you show them to me so I can see what’s going on with you two? Maybe I can help.” Now, you’re forcing her to critically think about the emails. Where are they? Are they deleted? Are they still in her inbox? It provides opportunities for her brain to hung up on what reality actually is. That’s not to say it will derail a delusion or stop a lie; but the more you force her to acknowledge reality the more opportunities she has to figure out what reality actually is.

      Distraction is an excellent tactic for preventing massive shifts and meltdowns. An unwell period is much like a train leaving a station. At the start, it’s pretty easy to stop. But once it gets going full force, it’s a hell of a lot harder. The more she dwells on those feelings and thoughts; the more fuel gets fed into the Bipolar fires, the stronger the unwell period burns. So if she’s wrapped in such things, try to get her distracted and her mind away from those thought processes.

      I typically use hobbies as a launching point. I’ll kind of wait for a lull in activity and just start asking them questions about one of their hobbies or interests that won’t get them wound up. Now, their brain is focused more on the hobby or other circumstance and it can derail the unwell thought processes that are currently going. It’s difficult to get used to but once you do it becomes very effective.

      Probably, the best thing you can do is ensure you have control over your emotions when you’re with her. She’s going to be mean, hateful, and ultimately- insane. Which I know you already know. Don’t let her bait you into arguments, don’t let her tear you down, don’t take any of her verbal attacks on you to heart; just let it slide off your back as best you can. That’s the best thing you can do for yourself when you are interacting with an unwell loved one; as hard as it is to do.

  64. Susan says:

    Hi I found this forum and article and it has been a great help..and thank you Dennis for your input to me directly.

    I met someone and felt a real draw, a real connection, I tried to ignore it but couldn’t so dived in. I think now he was in a hypomania state, having moved away from his country and relationship to a new start! he was rested, energetic, charismatic, intense, and like other stories I have read the relationship has an intense depth, beauty, passion and spontaneity that seems to take you n that drive of euphoria…….it was amazing..and finnally felt understood by someone..had deep converstaions had lots of laughs and fun…….
    I began to notice that he needed more sleep…looking back there were signs that something was unusual..pacing..mention of body issues, self hate and a normal state of depression. Also he said to me one evening..that someone had committed suicide in his family and that at some point he would need to be on medication later in life.
    I listened but didn’t push at this time..a week later and things changed…we had begun to realy connect and let the barriers down……..
    We were intimate one time and this seemed to trigger a whole spiral of self loathing..where he felt the lust was in control and not him and this brought out an issue I hadnt know which was before he moved he had had an affair of lust with a married woman and felt he had broken up the family unit……..
    Being intimate with him changed..he felt like a stranger………..unreachable from the passion and closeness…….I felt disturbed , unsettled anxious
    He wrote of feeling ashen..he slept a great deal………and then of need ing space becuase the voices would not shut up.
    I met him I didn’t recognise him from the man who would rush to kiss me or travel far to hold me..he flinched at my touch..said he was broken and not the man for the amazing optimistic woman I am. he went off on a rant of self loathing and broke up with me..telling me he was an awful person. At the time I was upset..angry.
    Later I realised that his behaviour and shifts were so extrems somthing other than the normal hit and run was going on…and I realised slowly from piecing events and behavious and things he had said togther that he may have bipolar 2 but not diagnosed or dealt with..and that he felt the pain was his punishment.

    It has been hard..traumatic. I think when you break up yep thats hard howvwer short a period if there was a good connection….as that’s rare. But knowing someone is ill and in pain but shutting you out is tricky. I felt guilty if i felt angry.
    I have treid to be understanding and supportive..and not join in with the narrative of his thinking………I was lucky hedidnt just dissappear ut checked in making sure I was Ok and urging me to move on and live without him..that it wasn’t my fault that he was a ticking timb bomb and a mess.

    I asked him to seek help as I felt his depression or bipolar were tripping him up to a point where he couldnt trust himself.

    I then asked for no contact as I needed to heal and I am an oversensitive person who absorbs a great deal from others…….so i found myself suffering from anxiety and trauma.

    I got in touch recently to set some boundries as we mix in the same circle and though I want the best for him until he can face whats going on and begin to deal with it I cannot be it effects my health. He said everything was fine..he is at peace…no issues everything is fine…………..he feels so distant now..almost cavalier and coky in his moving on..
    It made me feel stupid for being that normal to feel stupid when you have tried to be understanding but you feel it thrown back at you? I feel now that he will brush himself down and start all over repeating..

    I guess my question is is it usual to brush your self down..say that life is strange and random and that all is fine after a deep depressive crash..and that you move on ..

    And is it usual to balance anger and compassion for the person left..and then when you feel they are fine..the anger then comes flooding in that you put on hold becuase they were ill

    And is it usual to feel stupid for being caring and lovely..I have now succinctly expressed that feel he has taught me not to care for him now and that the break up was tramatic..why becuase I worried one that I needed to express something honest..and equally that being over understanding does this not just condone somones behaviour so they think they can just carry on regardless with no leassons learnt. I am the third woman in8 months that he has walked away from.
    I treasure what we had..but ouch…

    • Dennis says:

      Heya Susan. From everything you told me it sounded like he was an undiagnosed Bipolar. His actions fit pretty well in general.

      As for your healing and questions.

      He’s at peace and fine now because his brain has finally leveled back off. The problem is in normalcy. I’ll use myself as an example. A majority of my Bipolarness is on the Depressive end. I would go months feeling numb, pointless, and thinking about death. That was normal for me for just over 15 years. Then I got involved with psychs and therapists who would point those things out as being red flags; even though I dealt with minor suicidal thoughts on a regular basis and was to the point where I didn’t even lose sleep over them.

      The guy in your life is probably experiencing something similar. Intellectually he knows that he goes back and forth and that there are problems. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem like he fully understands the ramifications. Chances are equally good that he was manic while he was with you; which means his brain was lying to him and feeding him a bunch of emotions that weren’t real. They were very real to you. And in his mind they were real, but it’s just another way the Disorder likes to fuck with us. You can be madly in love with someone while manic and then as soon as you drop out of the cycle, it’s all gone because your brain is no longer feeding you those “lies” about what you feel.

      I think it’s normal to have anger and compassion. You can be pissed off at someone but still care about their well-being. A lot of times people do put their own emotions on hold to help a loved one get through a difficult period. Almost everyone does just in different contexts.

      As for feeling stupid- caring about people means you’re going to get burned once in awhile. It’s just the nature of (wo)mankind. But it provides a great opportunity to learn and move forward to something better.

      It isn’t so much that he thinks he can carry on with no lessons learned. From your descriptions, it sounds like he has some sort of idea that something is amiss. But until it fully registers, he gets a diagnosis, or he does something extremely damaging to himself to make him realize he has to change- the path he is walking is his normal. And I assure you, the situation you find yourself in is not unique. There are A LOT of people that get burned by a Bipolar person who is manic, whole-heartedly believe they’re in love, and then promptly crash out. It’s a very common occurrence when the Bipolar person doesn’t realize they have to question every thought, every emotion, every fleeting feeling in their mind.

      You have every right to be upset and angry but I would like to point a couple things out. I do think the guy cared about you and did have a partial understanding of what is going on. When I look at these things, I’m often more concerned with the surrounding factors to determine maliciousness. The fact that he tried to contribute to helping you get over him and at least checked up on you speaks pretty loudly to me- as compared to the people who just don’t give a fuck, drop everything, and move on.

      Once you’re able to make peace; try and forgive and move on. I assure you, it could have been MUCH worse.

  65. Susan says:

    Thank you this is helpful!
    I know I was lucky in a his best friend confirmed that he broke up with me to protect me from what at the time he thought to be an awful person.that he felt he did the right thing…….he also said that when he had met me he said he had won the lottery!
    I think for me the anger I put on hold has hit me in the face and I am dealing with it..I think the caring kept me linked..longer than normal healing
    I recognised that though I can speak calmly to people about moving on and what I have learnt… soon as I think I will bump into him I go into extreme distress..I have learnt that when this happens it means I feel this is why I have set the boundaries of no contact at all..and yes the nonchalent life is simply strange and random…… hard to bear when you are then getting through what was traumatic!

    Thank you………I have learnt a great deal…I think also as an observation..people know more about bipolar 1, and bipolar 2 can seem at first to be less of an issue..but I wonder if the fact the hypermania is less obviously a problem and then the depression and with drawal that it has a capacity to be less recognisable to people other than those close or intimate……………………and therefore has the potential to seem or lie undetected……….

    • Dennis says:

      Aye. You have just mirrored one of my sentiments. I’m a Type 2 Bipolar. And if I’m not 100% vigilant in ensuring I’m working to detect unwell shifts I know it can creep up on me and blind-side me because it can be so quiet and subtle. You’re right that people know Type 1 better than 2 though. Type 1 is more blatant and is usually what is depicted in the media. Type 2 hypomanic cycles can be quite a bit more insidious and quiet.

      I’m sure you’ll turn the corner and find your peace of mind eventually. From our conversations it sounds like you’ve been slowly working through things and piecing them together well.

      I don’t think your no contact policy is unreasonable. When my second ex-Fiancee and I broke up we didn’t talk to or see each other for almost a year. But now we exchange emails semi-regularly and talk as friends. Just had to let those raw wounds have time to heal.

  66. Susan says:

    I don’t want to hod this forum..but hope that some of my thoughts may help others that have been left

    I identified that my grief has been when someone leaves becuase they are ill those normal patterns of anger and getting things off your chest can be put on it does not seem right to join in with the destructive torrent of their mind set..instead caring steps in…anger put on hold.

    I found when I knew he was stable again..that anger hit me like a ton of bricks..

    I have now tried to explain that though it is not his fault…I appreciate he left to protect me and checked in to care..that whilst he was checking in..I was suffering trauma, anxiety and panic attacks from being with him whilst his state altered..absorbing some of the blackness and frightened by the transformation that took place…I have asked him perhaps to consider getting support in place in the eventuality he may crash again and another person put in my situation.

    Equally I have reinstated their are no regrets on my part and I treasured the time spent.

    I have explained not wanting to see him as I associate him with pleasure and trauma and it places me in distress.

    I am lucky as he replied. I am a burnt bridge to him and I say that for those who wonder if someone will return..and if they don’t reason can be that they feel they have burnt that bridge. I don’t think he has understood..I think in his mind he leaves to suffer on his own and doesnt understand the trauma that still it leaves behind..

    I know he is a good man.. I am not sure he has grasped what is going on..

    I care for him deeply but I do not think it is wise to with someone when they don’t yet have a grasp on what is happening..

    I do know that in stating how I felt..passing finnally through the anger on hold has set me at peace..and finnally after three months of disrupted sleep..I slept.

    I am not sure what is is hard to try to explain to another how it effected you..but equally..if not then the truth has not been spoken..what I do see though in general that if another is unable to be balanced all of the time..more strategies need to be taken to keep oneself centered and whole…for both parties…and finding the balance between loving and care and truth is a navigation excersie tricky to find.

    I thank everyone on this page and other articles written here as it has helped massively..each situation is different we are all individuals..but there can be similarities and common patterns of expereince which help..develop a perspective..perhaps not to fully understand bipolar..but to accept..and to learn..

    I do feel though that nless you have celebrity status..where bipolar seems to be ok to state out loud..the rest of the world still have issues as soon as mentaal health is mentioned…we have come some way………but not yet far enough..and that can I feel hinder people from seeking help and a diagnosis..

  67. Siberia says:

    Thanks for this amazing blog. English is not my mother tongue, so my apologies for any mistakes.

    My questions (2) are about “crash and burn” and hurting loved ones (while being charming to other people).

    My friend (45 years old) is bipolar 1 (if not schizoaffective). I am sure because I’ve seen him in a psychotic break (quite spectacular, to say the least). When I met him, he was taking his medication and was a charming man. However, he is been unmedicated for the last two years (since autumn 2011).

    In 2012, he was hypomanic and then manic for months (around 8-9 months). But instead of crashing and switching into a depression, he experienced mixed states for 6 or 7 months. Then, in March 2013, he seemed to start feeling better: more relaxed and much better insight. He even apologised for the damage caused and tried to make some amendments. He avoided any discussion on his mental health and last summer hypomania kicked in again. And reached a manic state in September, with hypersexuality, pyschosis and chaotic thinking (very distressing).

    Whenever he seemed more relaxed or insightful, I’ve tried to confront him with his terrible behaviour, wrong decisions (including falling in love with the wrong person when manic), etc. He left his job, home…everything you can think of. But he does not want to give in. He’s always justifying everything he’s done during his mania and mixed states. He admits some “mistakes”, but he argues that now “he has a life” (strange think to say because he was quite satisfied with his life when he was taking his medication). I understand that he is not going to ask for help until he feels really bad (depressed).

    Few weeks ago, I had to cut any contact to preserve my own sanity. Which is a sad decision, but one that I really had to take. It’s been a hell of a rollercoast.

    My first question is: is he going to crash anytime?

    What is also difficult to understand is that he is really nasty with me (saying and doing horrible things to me and lying about me to other people), but not with the people he lives with. He lives with people he met months ago and somehow convinced them to stay with them. So my second question is how is that people who have BP tend to be specially nasty with the people they love?

    Thanks again.

    • Dennis says:

      First of all, I’m happy you enjoy the blog and have found the information useful. Thanks for taking the time to comment and your English is just fine. 🙂 Second, don’t feel bad about having to cut contact. You have to preserve your peace of mind and well-being first and foremost otherwise you leave yourself in a position where you can’t do anything for anyone.

      It’s hard telling when your friend will crash. It sounds like he’s having a hell of a time with acceptance which isn’t uncommon. The typical thought process of a person going through the process that he is he’s trying to convince himself he’s normal, just like everyone else. Many of us resent the fact that we are essentially enslaved to medication for any bit of “normalcy” in our lives. And we wind up trying to reject it. At some point he’ll realize what a trainwreck his life is becoming and that it can’t last.

      To address your second question- the people we’re closest to are typically subject to a lot of our nastiness if we don’t have a good grasp on managing the Disorder. The reason is actually pretty simple. It’s familiarity. The Bipolar person knows their loved ones and is past the point where they feel the need to maintain a friendly facade like you do with new acquaintances.

      Then there’s the problem of the Bipolar person knowing all your faults, wounds, hurts, and the things that sting. Couple that with mania where the filter between your brain and mouth disappears and you can wind up saying some pretty horrible things.

      As an example. There was one time my mother and friends were joking around with me while I was manic. She said something about me being a bonus gift in the box of condoms because I was the result of one breaking. And almost instantly, “At least my parents loved me enough to keep me” came straight out of my mouth. My mother was adopted and didn’t find her birth mother until she was almost 50.

      But my manic brain just found the one thing that would cut deep, hard; then threw it right back at her. And it wasn’t something I thought about at all. I didn’t even realize what I was saying until after I said it. Woo mania.

      Anyway, I hope that addressed your questions. If anything was hard to understand, let me know what parts and I’ll be happy to phrase it a different way. I communicate with folks with English as a second language pretty often so I’m used to working around it. 🙂

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Siberia,

      I have posted before on this page, but I really feel the need to comment on your post too as it is so relevant to what I’m going through at the moment!! In short, my best friend is BP1 and out of control. Was put on the wrong meds by a doctor which has sent him insanely manic for weeks, he has been worse than when unmedicated. Now waiting on a psych referral which I’m hoping will come soon.

      Anyway – YES definitely people that have bp are especially nasty to the people they love. I have experienced this first hand so many times. They are first in the firing line and tend to cop the most shit. My bestie has lost his mind, just got out of a very messy three month basically live in relationship where his guy was cheating – yet three weeks later his manic brain is so over him and ready to move on!

      I have taken Dennis’ past advice and told him how out of his frigging mind he is and that he’s not even close to being over what happened. He was like why are you so pissed? Just be happy for me!! I have a date tonight and he’s soooo nice!! YOLO!! I was like nope I’m not supporting this, I love you and I’m telling you you’re manic and have no idea what you’re doing!! He was like well tell me where to take this new guy to dinner!!!! And I was like nup I’m not helping you make bad decisions. And you know what his reply was? Well then shut the fuck up, slut!

      I have learnt to not take any of it personally. It’s manic babble. The old me was like wow I can’t believe he can say that stuff to me. Now I’m just like ok backing off before we take each other’s heads off. I’m a little worried how our friendship is going to survive this one as he’s usually a rapid cycler so in the past has always needed my support in his bouts of depression but his doctor screwing his meds has me stumped on whether we will get along until he’s medicated properly. He also severely pissed me off today as we made plans a few weeks ago for tonight but he ‘forgot’ so went on the date instead. Blowing me off for a guy already isn’t a very good sign of things to come!

  68. Siberia says:

    Thank you very much 🙂
    It’s a horrible disease and yes, he is trying to convince himself that to some extent everything is “normal”. That hurts me more than anything else. It’s not only the things he says or does, buy seeing how ill he is. That makes my heart sink. And nobody seems to realize how ill is him, many people thought (he is been staying at different places with different people) he is a YOLO. A person who lives unconcerned…going here and there.

    I cannot be his sanity, you know what I mean? He appreciates my good insight and compassion, but he has to fight back for his own judgement. Last year he almost end up sleeping on the streets (he was completely psychotic) and I sort of help him to find the “exit door”. He went back home, with his wife, but runned away again this year. He is a “runner”.

    So I fear that he’s lost everything, but first of all has to “find” himself again. I so sure he can do it. I just fear he crashes very bad, because he attempted suicide once (in 2007, before I met him in 2010). I do not know how is going to be for him when he finally comes to terms with what he is done but he is trying to avoid this moment by all means. Which again puts himself in more mess…

    • Dennis says:

      I perfectly understand that you can’t be his sanity. I’m very much of the school of thought that we mentally ill are the only ones that can truly help ourselves. I know I can’t drag someone to wellness even though I’m very informed on how to get there. They have to want it and fight for it. Until he’s ready to fight for it he’ll be dealing with the same bullshit for who knows how long. And it’s also common for other people to just not get it- to have opinions like he’s living YOLO and such. Mental illness is a foreign concept for many people who aren’t directly touched by it.

      It’s hard telling how he’ll react when reality catches up with him. Hopefully he’ll be in the mindset to accept his problems and get back to trying to work through them.

      It fucking sucks that there are very few concrete answers. Everything is ifs, ands, buts, or maybes when it comes to being Bipolar. Will be suicidal? Likely but impossible to say. When will he crash? Hard telling, depends on his life circumstances in general. And it goes on and on.

      If you do happen to talk to him again in the near future; don’t pussy-foot around the issue or try, be subtle, or try and be kind about it. Just tell him “You are really unwell right now and you’re going to fuck up your life if you don’t do something about it.”

      I see so many people that try to broach the subject nicely or quietly or whatever… and it doesn’t work. Because if it’s not pointed and direct then their mind can take it and spin it. When I’m around people like that I always just counter whatever delusion they are trying to tell me with something like- “You’re not a holy man or a new age guru. You are an unwell Bipolar.”

      Sometimes it gets through, sometimes it pisses them off and I don’t hear from them until post crash.

  69. lizzie says:

    Hi, your post was massively helpful.
    I have been treated for deep depression and anxiety for too many years to care to remember. I have now been referred to pdoc, as they suspect I have Bipolar. I have since read up a lot about it. At first I cried that finally I maybe correctly treated and be able to get better.
    I genuinly feel like a shell. My memory is shocking, my rages scare me. What I am struggling with is constantly second guessing myself, every thought, action, mood. I am in a dark period, where I just dont know who I am. I cant answer my mail, text messages, door?! Is this to do with BD? Am I just a freak? I know that sometimes my thoughts are not logic, but physically I cant deal with certain things. I know the pdoc will want answers, I’m scared I wont know the answers. Help me please. I have totally lost grasp of reality, myself. 🙁
    I have got

    • Dennis says:

      Hello Lizzie. You know it’s very common for Bipolars to be misdiagnosed with Depression/Anxiety. I don’t know how common exactly as I’ve never seen any studies on it; but I do know that it’s something I hear about on a regular basis here on my site. I was the same way when I was first diagnosed. I wasn’t sad or upset; I was positive because it finally felt like I was going to get things under control and be able to have a somewhat normal existence in the future.

      Thinking over your thoughts and actions is actually a very good thing for people with mood disorders because it gives us an opportunity to identify the problematic thought processes before acting on them. You won’t always get it right but thinking about it will increase the likelihood that you do. As you analyze your thoughts, look for destructive thought processes that are out of the ordinary for you. If all of the sudden you hate your bestfriend out of the blue for no reason- well the reason is probably an unwell thought process.

      Do you have anyone you can trust in your life that has some idea of the shit you’re going through? Ask them if they can be a sounding board for you. It’s very helpful to have someone that you can explain a thought process to so they can give you an idea if it is reasonable or not. I know I do it all the time if I get out of sorts.

      Are you on an antidepressant at the moment? If it turns out you’re Bipolar and only on an antidepressant- that would be why you’re so unstable. If a Bipolar is going to be on antidepressants they HAVE to be on a mood stabilizer otherwise their mind just goes up and up and up in a way that your words suggest.

      You’re not a freak. You’re just sick right now. If you’ve been misdiagnosed, hopefully with this appointment you’ll be able to get some quality help and start getting things under control.

      As for being scared you won’t know the answers- of course you will. This isn’t a school test where you have to memorize obscure dates of when Captain Fuckbeans planted a flag on some South Pacific Island. This is about you. What you experience. What you go through on a regular basis.

      If you’re afraid that you’ll forget things- make a list to take with you to the pdoc. Note the stuff you just told me and anything else you can think of. Look at a list of Bipolar symptoms, see what may apply to you, list those and why you think that.

      The why is very important. The doctor (if they don’t suck at their job) won’t want to just hear “I have disjointed thoughts”. They need to make sure you actually know what disjointed thoughts are to make that suggestion. So a better answer would be “I have disjointed thoughts. My brain constantly goes non-stop and I have a hard time thinking in anything but fragments.”

      Don’t be afraid, Lizzie. Many of us have been in a position similar to yours. If you have any other questions or need any other input don’t hesitate to write.

  70. lizzie says:

    Thank you so much for taking time to reply, means a lot.

    I have started writing things down, like you suggested. I started this when it was first mentioned.
    I have my step dad, who is a massive part if my life, only person who seems to understand me. Its funny you said that about feelings changing. I havea partner and my feelings towards him drastically change, for no reason. From being insanely in love to complete hate. It must be so confusing for him also.
    I am currently on 300mg Venlefaxine. I truly hope they sort something, I feel like i’m losing all grasp on reality.
    I think what you are doing is amazing. You are a true inspiration, again thank you x

    • Dennis says:

      You’re very welcome Lizzie; and thanks for the kind words.

      The fact that you feel so detached from reality and so extreme while on the antidepressant is something you NEED to bring up to your doctor. That’s like a glaring warning siren for Bipolar Disorder instead of Depression. I think you’re on the right track with what you’re doing now. Do not stop taking your antidepressant or change anything about it without consulting your doctor though. That can make things far worse.

      When you go into your doc; just say “I’ve been doing a lot of research on my own and I think I’m Bipolar; not depressed. And here’s why…” and then break out the list and the fact that you’ve been in a far worse way than ever since you’ve been on the antidepressants.

      Stop back any time. Let me know how things go for you. And in the mean time, when you feel yourself getting upset or angry… just try not to act on those emotions until you’re sure they are rational. It’s a big part of mood disorder management. You may feel like you hate your guy… but sooner or later you’ll cycle back to the other side. You may not have a choice in how you feel; but you do have a choice on what you let out of your mouth!

  71. lizzie says:

    Such true words! As you know, it’s hard though as the feelings and emotions are so strong. I have lost many loved ones due to this. Keeping quiet is defo the best advice. I very much wear my heart on my sleeve, and struggle hiding my feelings.
    Your advice has been invaluable. I will let you know how it goes. Thank you for responding in my time of need. Take care 🙂 x

  72. robert says:

    sorry for my english its very poor i an portuguse .I was in relationship with a girl that have depression,but she don’t know how serios is and she dont go to jp one minute happy other sad,don’t sleep well sometimes miss job, she apply for full time job and shes miss go for interview when i ask her she don’t know is her answer,shes spend a huge a mount of money when she have buying stupid things like iPhone iPad and she as 5 contracts on mobiles and shes work temp,buy jackets for 200 pound and sometimes dont tolk with me but shes answer mobile sometimes shes violent,but everthing it was fine till now start reject me and dosent find me atractive and when she see me became very angry and dont tolerat me,and she ask me for finish,she dont want tolk with me she dont answer mobile she is complitle craze what can i do. looks like she deprest or pregnat and became very violent to me and she go away she say dont want be with me.she dont comunicated and ignore me,and she dosent want be my friend.please help with advise if u can.

    • Dennis says:

      Hello, Robert. I talk with a few people who have English as a second language, so don’t worry about it. If I say anything you don’t understand, just let me know and I will say it a different way until we are communicating clearly.

      The girl you’re talking about sounds like she is probably Bipolar and needs serious psychological help. I do not know what the rules and laws are where you live; but you should look into your legal options if she becomes violent with you again. If she does, you should call the authorities to handle her. It may be the only way to actually help her and protect yourself if she can’t see that anything is wrong with her. Violence and abuse is never acceptable. And since she is mentally unstable, you can never be sure of how far she will go or if she has any weapons accessible to her.

      She is beyond whatever help you can give her. You are better off distancing yourself from her before you get seriously hurt.

      You may want to call local authorities or a mental professional and find out what steps you can take for dealing with a violent, mentally ill person. I know here in the US there are rules that allow them to commit people to a hospital against their will if they are a threat to themselves or others.

      If any of this is unclear, just tell me what sections and I’ll see about making it clearer for you.

      Be careful, Robert. It’s impossible to know how far she may go. Distancing yourself from her would be the best idea.

  73. diane says:

    Regardless of what the doctors phychiatrists people etc say, the only one who can understand the bipolar is the person themselves, the only other person who can live with the bipolar is the one who is willing to live with the bipolar person, i have come to realize that my husband has been diagnosed with this torturing lifestyle for to long, i realize that he has a mind of a 6 year old in the manic, that in his mind he believes to be true what he believes and the way he acts is normal, just as i believe he is not acting normal just as i know the sun is out shining he believes it is also cloudy in his mind, to get a long with him i would have to be in agreement with everything he does and realize i have not much to say but act like him and join in, there would be no real love relationship with him, the only time we spend together would be on his terms especially when it comes to making love and spending time taking a ride, he will always be consumed with what is best for himself, and his make believe friend/s and his life, he controls everything even the bank accounts and get an allowance i have no idea what he makes at work or what goes out, he is aggressive and has completely isolated me all for his self, not one of the daughters or adopted son want anything to do with him, except 2 will talk to him on the phone seldom, the others refuse to have anything to do with him, and my one daughter will not speak with me unless i leave him, they all have been affected so bad by him, he has what seem to be delusions, but in his world they are real, in the manic state there is no conversation that is normal, that he is so out of control he is at the point where he took the house phone out, the coffee pot, and other items, i realize that he has been traumatized many times and controlled growing up and his mother and father fought often and so did his grandparents, his mother he said embarrassed him with to much love and kisses yet was a worrier, his father was an angry man but they did have family time together, he had a very bad past legal marriage that was traumatizing to him what had happened, but she couldnt deal with his manic state either, this behavior is Controlling and Punishment, as for the Depression, he is still the same but at a very low and suffers terrible, i believe he is tormented within himself and needs alot of attention like a child as well as im taking care of someone who is not capable of taking care of themself, he is so drained and tired, i realize this is what life is to be with this man if i stay in this marriage it will not change if nothing is done to change it meaning he will not get help and or take any meds, i realize also that just because he is bipolar his behavior is unacceptable, i have a great amount of support and love regardless of the situation, Today we are at the point where i had to call the hotline at the hospital because of his behavior for the first time i could not help himself or live in an unsafe situation anylonger, his episodes are getting longer and more difficult as the years go by, he got angry at me and took me to family court and thank God he did because i did not have it in me to do it now in turn he will be evaluated, the next evening he was arrested and till this day I could not see him in jail or committed to a hospital, but it got this far because he refused help and i have done nothing about it believing it would all go away and get better just like he does, but it hasnt and it wont, the only thing that will help is the more i learn about my husband the more I learn to realize how much i do love him but cannot live with this anylonger, if things do not turn around i will have to make some decisions, if things turn around and he is willing to get help volunteeringly than we have a chance, i have learned to Love him and understand that he has a mental illness it is not his fault but his behaviors and choices are, I pray that someday he can live a happy joyful and blessed life weather normal or not, i pray that someday he will be delivered and healed of this horrible place he goes to, under it all he can be a very loving and awesome man but that is only a small percentage, i hope this helped diane, Peace,

    • Dennis says:

      Thanks for taking the time to share your story, Diane. Most of the time when I hear about folks like your husband they generally need to have a major shock in their life to realize that they need to make changes. For unwell people, it’s so hard to tell the problem is us because most of us have been immersed in it for so long we don’t recognize or know anything else. So our “normal” is terrible, awful, and painful to ourselves and the people around us.

      But unfortunately, the Disorder only gets worse with age not better. So it’s not surprising that he is at the point where he has to be institutionalized in some way for his actions. Hopefully he’ll get it figured out before he loses you for good or winds up in prison. The loving, awesome man you know is in there- he’s just smothered by the Disorder.

      You either own the Disorder, or it owns you. There’s no middle ground- which it seems like you understand all too well.

      Hopefully he’ll see the light before he goes too far.

  74. Katie says:

    I found what you posted really helpful. I am currently in my 5th re-diagnosis with Bipolar 1, Bipolar 2, Borderline, back to Bipolar. Recently I stopped taking my meds because I was doing well for a long time. My best friend committed suicide a few months ago and I didnt have any emotion, I didnt cry, or feel anything. But a couple of weeks ago, I completely flipped out. I was awful to my friends and to some people who I had never met before. My hand was broken, and at times I was screaming at the top of my lungs for about 5 minutes at a time. I didn’t remember any of this until my close friend told me the next day after I had calmed down. I was really embarassed and I cant bring myself to apologise right now. My doctor has put me back on my medication and I have been on it for about a week now. They give me terrible dreams which make me feel worse in the morning, I am not sleeping very well and have entered the crippling depression end of my spectrum. This medication is the only one I will take because it has the least side effects. I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. Have you ever been here?

    • Dennis says:

      Hello, Katie. What you’ve described is very common for us. We end up thinking because we’re doing well that we don’t need the meds anymore. And then we stop taking the meds and rocket into a horrific unwellness. So you are definitely not alone there. In fact, whenever someone asks me for advice on getting well, I usually tell them something like- “If you are on meds and getting better, that means the meds are working. Do NOT stop taking them unless you consult with your doctor and have a very good reason.”

      I’m not sure what all you are on or have tried, but I would suggest talking to your doctor about trying other medications until you find something that not only works but makes your mental illness manageable. There is this prevalent line of thinking that controlling the sickness is the only goal because the other side of the other drum isn’t beaten as hard. What good is being well if you can’t function? Trading one debilitating condition for another is retarded. That’s why you need to press and keep pushing until you find the right mix for you that will let you actually function and live your life.

      Broken sleep makes mood disorders much worse. So getting that taken care of as soon as possible will also contribute to your stability.

      I would venture to say that a significant portion of us have had experiences similar to yours. Very few things are easy about the path we walk. But you don’t walk it alone! Keep trying and keep striving; you’ll find something that works for you and lets you function well.

      I’m very sorry for your loss. Depression destroys emotion. I usually describe it as a black hole or void to people. If the Bipolar diagnosis is correct, it is in line with the Disorder in that if you were depressed then; your reaction would have been nothing. But once you headed towards the other end of the spectrum, it’s very reasonable to think it would come back with a vengeance.

      Bipolar Disorder is a very misdiagnosed mental illness. Over here the average diagnosis time is 8 years AFTER being involved with the mental health industry.

      Best thing you can do is educated yourself as much as you can on what they say you are. Make them explain to you why they think that so you can understand their line of thinking and hopefully get to the correct diagnosis sooner rather than later if this one turns out to be wrong. It sucks, but usually medical professionals can’t get enough information about your day to day life to make an accurate assessment. Small details we don’t think are important may turn out to be monumentally important for diagnosis.

      • Katie says:

        Thank you so much for your reply, It makes me feel a little better knowing that I am not the only one experiencing these things. You’re right, it does suck! Hopefully I am back on the way up, once my meds start to kick in again – though I will have a look at getting them changed. I have been in the system for 6 years now so hopefully we can come to a conclusion soon! Thanks for your advice, It has helped me a lot.

  75. devastated says:

    I am currently having a horrible time. I have been together with my boyfriend for 1 year and he isbipolar and on medications. He has not been going to therapy almost at all since I have known him. We are having a long distance relationship but were seeing each other quite regularly and talking on the phone every night. We have done quite a bit of traveling together for his work and recently we traveled to Europe for about a month. He got a sick while we were traveling and was not feeling well. Ther was quite a bit of stress and we had several power struggle type of arguments. We just did not get on well and he was acting very difficult a lot of the time and because the bipolar thing is new to me etc. I did not know of the stresses that a situation like this could put on him and was not overly sensitive or supportive of him during this time. In fact I was argumentative and getting fed up for the most part, so I definitely was not making things easier on him. He had a couple of angry outbursts calling me bad names, saying he hated me etc.

    By the time we got back to his place in the US, I was not sure I wanted anymore with the relationship. It has really come to a point where I need to decide if I am going to move to be with him or not. I was not feeling very safe to move at this point. I was meant to stay with him a week longer and I feel like we were on the verge of maybe reconnecting now that he was back in a more stable, familiar, place and I had to rush away due to a family emergency. When I got home I mentioned to him the many reasons that I did not feel that I could move to be with him, not having to do with him, but other circumstances. I said I just did not see how it was going to work out.

    We continued to carry on with our relationship as usual though, talking on the phone all the time etc. I soon let it be known that I had been feeling unsure of moving because of his behavior and that i had studied up on bp and found out about how much traveling can throw someone with bp off. I said it all made more sense to me and that I had changed my mind.

    Little by little he started not connecting with me as much, not ansering phone when I called, being very busy, not wanting to watch movies on the phone together as much, just sort of doing things in a way that caused me to become more needy and ask him about why he thought I was feeling this change etc.

    There was another point at which I became so frustrated by him that I lashed out and said “I’m done with this!!” and he replied “You are just done with me?” & I said “Yes!” One of us hung up but we were texting within the hour and I said I didn’t want that and I was sorry and I loved him. He was recently divorced (2 years ago) by his wife and it was not sensitive of me to threaten to leave and I was very sorry for it. I also spent a lot of time thinking about the things I could have done better to help the situation while traveling and sent him a long letter apologizing for my wrongs, saying I am aware of them and want to work to change them and I love him very much and how special he is to me and that I am starting to do the things required in order to move to his home. This is not something that I have ever fully commited to. I told him the reason I was writing it was because it had become so difficult to get to speak with him lately. Or if we did end up speaking and not just texting with him giving one word replies, he would cut me off in the middle of important and meaningful conversations and say, I have to go now, I can’t handle this. I feel like since I have known him he has been relatively stable. The other problem is that when we got back his parents, who help him quite a bit financially hav said they cant do it anymore and are holding him a ccountable for his excessive spending. He has recently left his primary job and is definitely struggling with what the next move is career wise.

    The problem is that he is shutting me out. Now it’s down to where he will only text with me and sometimes while texting he will just stop. Or if I want to talk he will often have an excuse such as too tired right now etc., saying he’s too depressed, needs a couple of nights to get himself back on track. He just keeps asking for more and more time away from me until now, where I am at the point where he wont evn talk to me on the phone, said “I just really don’t know what to say right now” after he had just said that he would call me. Then just stops texting mid conversation. Nothing sweet anymore, no pet names, no “I love you” or “I miss you”. tonight he just got really angry that I wanted to talk to him, just said What do you want? This is after he repeatedly texted me and when I didn’t answer he called his mom and asked if she had spoken to me and that he was really worried about me. So I texted him back finally and he would barely text and was no way going to talk to me on the phone, “I don’t want to be yelled at!”

    Anyway, he’s basically shutting me out worse and worse and it’s killing me. I am a mess. I’ve lost weight, can’t eat, so anxious, so confused. I want to fly out there to him and I have a ticket for Christmas, but his mom says “don’t come unless he agrees or it will be bad.” She can’t even tell what is happening with him other than she has caught him in several lies lately. Normally he would be extatic that I was coming, but the other day I mentioned it and he said I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to come out here.

    He has started to see his therapist and has gone to his Psychiatrist, I believe telling her that he is feeling too tired. I think she lowered his effexor. He has a lot more going on than being tired, but I am guessing he didn’t mention any of it. I asked his roommate today what his behavior patterns are, if he’s spending a lot of time sleeping in his room and he said “No, he’s staying really busy.” and connecting with a lot of old friends, and going out. Being social and going out are pretty atypical for him. His roommate said he was very sad when I left and had complained of missing me and now he hasnt been saying anything about it.

    What is happening? Please help me. I don’t know what to do or what is happening.

    Thank you.

    • Dennis says:

      Hey there. I’m sure you understand it’s really difficult to get a good idea of what’s going on in general with you being at a long distance from him. Almost the entirety of your post reads like someone cycling from mania into a deep depression; but the roommate’s information doesn’t make any sense in that context. I don’t think that one of the two of them is not being entirely honest in some way. Would the roommate lie for him? Because your guy may have put him up to convincing you he’s fine so he doesn’t have to/can’t deal with his problems with you right now.

      One could view that as malicious; but when we Bipolars are extremely unstable or transitioning mood shifts, it’s hard to tell what is our real thoughts and emotions and what isn’t. It’s incredibly confusing and as he appears to have said many times; he just doesn’t know because his brain is completely fucking with his thought processes.

      The best thing you can do at times like these is take care of yourself first and foremost. I’m not going to tell you not to worry, because that would be both stupid and ridiculous. But I will say that you need to get the things going on in your mind under control and get yourself taken care of.

      If you can, refund your ticket. Now’s not going to be the time.

      Send him a message; tell him you understand he’s going through a bad time with the Disorder at the moment- but he needs to include you in these things. Offer to give him space for a little while so he can have a chance to rebalance so his mind is working right; and then the two of you can discuss all that has transpired and figure out how to move forward. If anything, just say you’ll check back with him after the new year or he can contact you when he’s ready. Ask him to keep in mind that you two still have more talk about after that point, to please not make any rash decisions about the relationship or other facets of life until you two have been able to have that conversation.

      It seems there’s a couple different things that could have happened here.

      1. He has been in an unwell cycle most of the time and his mental illness convinced him he loved you. Crashing out of it put the reality back in focus that he doesn’t. And he is having a hard time coping with the knowledge of the past year and knowing he has to hurt you.

      2. He does love you and the unwell cycles are making things shitloads harder at the moment. The Disorder could be convincing him that he doesn’t love you; but once he has a chance to rebalance his emotions will return to a semi normal state.

      In either case; you probably won’t get any useful, real information out of him until he’s rebalanced. That takes time that you just have to give him. I’m not suggesting that you sit around and pine and wait forever; but you would be better off giving him some space because trying to talk to him now is just throwing more fuel on the unwell fires. You have to let the fires burn out.

      So right now you should be focused on taking care of you first. And put a hold on any plans to actually move out there for sure. Educate yourself as much as you can on Bipolar Disorder if you want to try and make things work. For couples, it’s something that has to be approached as a team. That’s something that he will probably have to learn too.

      • Devastated says:

        Thank you Dennis for taking the time to write me such a nice long answer.

        When you mentioned “when we Bipolars are extremely unstable or transitioning mood shifts”, What does this look like to the people close to you? or is that a hard question to answer as you can’t see yourself when it’s happening?

        I can’t imagine that all this time he has not loved me, but hey, I guess anything is possible. There wouldn’t have been a very good reason for him to not love me, I’m pretty loveable ;). I am the first person he was with after his long relationship that failed.

        He actually ended up calling me the morning after I wrote my initial comment. He was very sweet and we had a very good talk. He seemed very coherent and rational. We talked for an hour and a quarter, until I noticed that he was starting to sound a bit agitated, like he had come to his limit with a long deep talk, so I asked if he wanted to stop talking and and first he said no, then said “well I guess yeah, I have a lot of stuff to so, but we can pick this back up later.” So I said okay and we hung up. Late last night he texted me and said “Is it okay if we talk tomorrow?” and I said sure. He said “are you okay?” and I said “I’m sad” he replied “I understand”, then I said I had been looking back at a lot of stuff with us and while there was a lot of dysfunction, I felt that there was a lot of love too. He said ” I know”.

        Then this morning he texted me and said “how are you?” I said “hi, I’m okay”. He said Cool, I’m at the gym. I will call you afterwards. So two hours later he texts and says, “are you home?” i said ” No, I am running some errands.” He said ” okay I’ll make some other calls, text me when you get home.” So I texted him in a couple of hours and said “I’m home”. That was at 4:30 p.m. Now it’s 11:07 and nothing from him. But I’ve left it alone, giving him his space.

        Another thing that really hurt my feelings was that there is a show we have been watching every episode of together on the phone and can’t wait for the next one to be released and through this period of disconnection I have asked him several times if we could please watch the latest episode. I saw on his Itunes that he watched it without me this morning. It really crushed me, it’s like he did it on purpose.

        When we talked, he said it just seems like we fight a lot and like maybe we just aren’t supposed to be together, he brought up how I had wanted him to get a $300 vacume and how I made him feel bad for not getting it. But this was also the first conversation that I was ever able to admit a lot of the things that I have been doing that are dysfunctional. I was able to write them in the letter but he had not spoken to me since. I am just hoping to be able to work through some of our stuff together and to learn more together about ourselves and his bipolar and do work on that now that he has gone back to therapy. A lot of the time I don’t know if some of the strange way he bahaves (tantrum type behavior, careless spending of money, etc..) have to do with BP or not. I have had him under a microscope and a lot of his actions have made me feel insecure and needy and a lot of that is my fault for reacting poorly and making him feel like he is doing things wrong often. Is it normal for people with bipolar to bring that out in others? I just mean when you have bipolar does it make it feel uncomfortable to touch sometimes, like hold hands etc.? Can it seem to others that you are sort of off on your own planet a bit at times and not very engaged in the moment with a significant other? I mean I know that this is a generalization, but lots of times I just feel like he is not very present with me. Even laying in bed watching a movie, he will also be on the computer at the same time which makes me feel we arent really in sync. Is it weird for me to feel this way? Is this another common trait of bp?

        Anyway, I don’t think the roommate is smart enough to lie and I don’t think that my bf would anticipate me texting the roommate to ask him questions like that. I do know from his mother that the therapist told him it would be good for him to get back in touch with old friends etc. maybe to help him get out of his room. His mother also told me that he called her today and wanted his Psychiatrist’s number (yeah, he doesn’t have it) to ask her about splitting up his medication that he takes which is normally for narcolepsy, because he is just really frustrated with being tired. As you may recall, he had just gone to see her and had been cut back on his antidepressant because he feels tired. He used to drink limitless amounts of diet coke and quit a couple of months ago, but I think now he’s having coffee. I also know that the fact that he is seeing his therapist (he mentioned to me that he couldn’t believe how long it had been since he had been there that it had been since April) The only reason he went that time is because I was visiting and he was at work with is Ex and had a fight with her and ended up not coming home and then I got a cryptic text at 3 a.m. and ended up finding him laying in the alley behind his work having taken a bunch of pills that were in his glove box. I insisited on a visit to the therapist the next day, but I ended up not mentioning the night before’s drama so that he would trust me. So stupid, but when we got in there it just did not feel like a good idea, the vibe I got was one where it felt like his therapist didn’t even know him too well and I did not want him to feel ashamed, it’s like he was hovering above his chair with tension that I was going to tell on him, so I let it go. At that point we had only been for a few months. Side track, sorry, He has also visited and is now calling his psychiatrist which is also a novelty. So I definitely think he’s feeling something going on somewhere.

        Anyway, I appreciate your advice and am just so baffled about things right now. I mean, I am essentially not allowed to contact him it seems at this point. I am just backing off and giving him space and letting him run the show, but if he’s not having some sort of bp situation, what kind of relationship is this? It’s bad enough to tell someone you love, who you’ve been with for a year that you will call them when they get home and then you just don’t text them or call them or anything? I am trying to keep busy, and take care of my stuff, but I still have serious anxiety and can’t eat and keep crying. Anymore advice or clairvoyant opinion is welcome. Thank you

        • Dennis says:

          Alright, I’m going to try to work through the points you asked about. If I forget anything, just point it out.

          1. What does it look like when a Bipolar transitions periods? It depends on the person. But since most shifts tend to be a 180 in their mentality; they just come off as very different than they were previously acting. If the person was gushing and outgoing (manic); and are now sullen and withdrawn- they’ve probably crashed into a depressive cycle. And vice versa. It’s easier to tell when you know the symptoms of the person’s cycles and can see them.

          2. The situation about the talking and the lack of call back. I avoid jumping to conclusions at all costs. Intangible ideas are too easy to spin out of control and lack of communication is usually what fucks up relationships. Don’t worry about it until there’s a reason to be concerned over it. Ask him what’s up and find out why he didn’t call or text. Then deal with it from there.

          3. The situation with the show he was supposed to watch with you. He may not have realized that you viewed that time with him as important as you do. In his mind, he could have just thought it was just you two watching a show and nothing more. The male mind tends to work that way. But again, if it’s something that concerns and bothers you; communicate with him about that and find out what he was thinking for sure.

          4. Tantrum type behavior and reckless spending are both common manic symptoms. I’m so bad about spending when I’m manic that I give my cards to someone I can trust until I level off. If I need to make a purchase or get a GRAND idea on how to spend some money- I talk to my brother or significant other first (if I have one). The tantrum thing is like an overload of frustration and anger. Your mind is screaming along at 1000 mph and you just can’t think or act coherently.

          5. Bipolar people can have drastic changes in their likes and desires when their mood changes. Personally, I could be described as the touchy feely type. I like to hold, massage, pet my woman normally. But when I’m depressed I don’t want to be touched by fucking anyone. And if I’m manic, my instinct is to swing at people that touch me because my brain is just coiled like a tight spring, waiting for a reason to explode. The feelings and sensations of being in contact with someone aren’t always pleasurable or welcome.

          6. Engaging in the moment is different for different people. My exFiancee and I are both computer nerds. So we could sit in the same room and game on our PCs and be fine with that. On the other hand, we did have plenty of times that we just spent together with watching a movie or something. So I guess the real question is- how do you both view that time together? Was it time you two were supposed to be spending together as couple time or was it just time you both were in the same room? Everyone has different ideas on that stuff. And yes, it’s very common for people to become distant or withdrawn if they are in an unwell cycle.

          7. A lot of therapists and psychs don’t really know their patients very well because their patients don’t tell them much. Just part of how it goes really. I’m surprised his roommate was able to talk to his psych about his meds though. I’m pretty sure that sort of thing falls under doctor/patient confidentiality but then I also don’t know where you’re from either! So there’s that.

          8. In regards to, if he’s not having some bp situation, what kind of relationship is this? A shitty one. But you won’t know whether that’s the case or not until some more time has passed. Being with a Bipolar person is not easy. But if he’s trying to get well, visiting his doc, and so on; he will eventually balance off. May take some time for him to get there. The important thing to remember is- it’s extremely difficult for we nutjobs to let people into our minds and world. You essentially deal with the bullshit all your life, on your own. You have people that tell you, “oh yeah I’ll be there for you no matter what”; and then they’re gone because they couldn’t handle it. He may very well be insulating you from himself as the lesser evil, lesser damage in the situation.

          But either way, I’m not suggesting that you should remain in this position for an extended period of time. Give him some time to rebalance and see what comes of it.

          And as for yourself and your anxiety; even in those post you addressed a lot of intangibles. You have to break yourself of that worrying. People with mood disorders, including anxiety, have to learn how to disrupt the thought processes that make them unbalanced and unwell. In your case, when you start dwelling on things, do whatever you need to do to break the thought processes. Do puzzles, watch a funny movie; do ANYTHING other than sit and think about the situation. The more time you spend thinking on it, the worse it will be for you.

          It’s a very common tactic that we use to keep our minds from running away from us.

          You’re very welcome. Hope this helps!

  76. Michelle says:


    I have been in an on/off relationship with a 27 year old bipolar man for a little over a year. We met at work, he pursued me and we started a romantic relationship very quickly. He told me immediately he was bipolar and at the time he was unmedicated. He had one hospitalization in his past and he said he tended toward the manic side of the spectrum. I fell pregnant very early in our relationship and to be honest we had barely started seeing each other at the time. He was very sweet and stable throughout everything but made it clear he did not feel ready for a child. He had already begun to pull away even in the early stages of the pregnancy. We ended up losing the baby and after that all contact more or less stopped. When I would run into him at work he barely acknowledged me and at times seemed almost irritated by my presence. I ended up leaving my job to pursue other opportunities and realized I would probably never see this man again.

    Six months later I was relocating and ended up messaging him in regards to a concert ticket I’d purchased that I would no longer be able to use. I offered to mail it to him and told him I hoped all was well in his world. He messaged me back and by a twist of fate told me he had also relocated and lived in the same city my new company was sending me for training. He suggested we meet up and I agreed.
    We ended up rekindling our relationship and spent almost my entire two weeks in training together. After I flew back to my new city to begin my job we kept in contact. We spent another week together and it was during this time I noticed signs that led me to believe he was manic. After I left him again to return home he seemed to become more and more manic and delusional. His family ended up flying out to him and hospitalizing him for he was indeed delusional and psychotic.

    I was able to speak to him over the phone when he was at the hospital. We spoke everyday. His family ended up moving him back to our hometown so he could be close to his family and support system. He is now on meds and doing what is necessary to manage his illness. We would talk on the phone or text everyday and he would tell me he loved and missed me. I flew home for the holidays to be with him. He was entering a depressive cycle but he was excited to see me. We spent one night together and the next day he called me to cancel our plans but also to tell me he wasn’t in a good place to see anyone. He thought we should take a break or a step back and apologized. He said he didn’t know how long he would feel like this but wasn’t in a place to handle a relationship. I was sad but not surprised. I have done quite a bit of reading and research about his illness so I’m aware of the cycles and patterns.

    I flew back to my new home and we didn’t have any contact for two weeks. I finally text him to let him know I was thinking of him, that he’d always have my friendship and that I hoped he was well. About a week later he replied thanking me for reaching out. He said he missed the mania but was coping ok. He said he felt it best we try to be friends instead of romantically involved because he thought it would be some time before he felt emotionally responsible enough to be in a relationship. He also cited our distance. He wished me well and said we would talk later. I replied that I agreed the distance makes things difficult but that I was very happy to be his friend.

    It’s been another week with no contact and I guess I’m wondering where we go from here if anywhere.
    I really do love him and would be willing to stay by his side and deal with his illness together but he doesn’t seem to want that. I don’t know if it’s the illness or if that’s the way he really feels. I don’t know if it’s better to leave him be or try to remain in contact. I don’t want him to feel I’ve abandoned him but I’m not one to force myself into someone’s life if they don’t want me around. I realize because of our distance a romantic relationship is probably never going to work but I do want to be there for him as a friend and though it would be nice to not love him, right now I still do love him very much.
    I’m just really confused as to what to do now. Maybe I should just cease contact and try to move on with my life in my new city but I do love him and though it might be best for me to run away I still want him in my life.
    I guess my question is since he is in a depressive cycle is he pushing me away because he really feels this way or is he trying to protect himself from getting hurt? I just don’t know. If this was a man without bipolar behaving in this way I would move on but since he does suffer from this illness I question if he really feels this way or if it’s his bipolar. He hasn’t had a relationship in years and I know it’s because he’s always trying to manage his illness and I think it becomes overwhelming for him. Any advice or perspective would be appreciated.

    Thank you

    • Dennis says:

      Hello, Michelle.

      If you’re capable of being friends with him right now; just go that route. A periodic call every once in awhile to maintain contact (if you want) would be fine. The fact that he’s maintained emotions for you through the various cycles leads me to believe that he does have very genuine feelings for you but I don’t think it has anything to do with him protecting himself from being hurt.

      I was engaged to a very wonderful woman around the time I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. She ended up leaving, with a heavy heart, around the same time to pursue things that she needed out of life for her own personal development. After that, I decided that I needed to be well and stable before I involved myself in another relationship. It had nothing to do with protecting myself. It did have a lot to do with the fact that I was tired of dragging people I cared about through my insanity while I had such a poor grasp on it. It was a good four years before I entertained being involved with someone again after that.

      I don’t suggest you put your life on hold. But I would take him at his word that he needs to get himself right and well before he can give more. Folks such as yourself would often love to stand beside someone like him- but you must understand the kind of lives we lead. I’ve heard no fewer than a half-dozen times that “I will always be there for you”. And not one of those people is still to be found. I don’t blame them either. They couldn’t have known what they were getting into. He probably has similar people that he cared for deeply that are no longer anywhere to be found. It’s a difficult thing to deal with when you know it’s the fault of the Disorder that churns away in your mind.

      So yeah, if he accepts he has a problem and is working on it- that’s great news. You can contribute a lot by just being a friend to him if your emotional state is in a good enough place to do so and that’s what you want.

  77. Diana says:

    I have to first say… Wow…

    I don’t know where to begin, but to say I found your site after googling “How not to attract Bipolar Men” I’m extremely exhausted and hurt after what would be the most hurtful and disappointing 5 months. I wanted to understand why after being married for 20 years why I have been in 2 relationships with Bipolar men of which neither is willing to get help and the latter relationship has never come out and admitted that he has it. I had my first relationship and only after 2 months did the guy make me aware of his diagnosis and had no idea what the disorder was about, I am a very compassionate person, nonjudgmental and I’m aways willing to forgive and give another chance, this guy suffered with alcohol and weed to self medicate and also had another diagonosis, I only became aware of after having to see a therapist for what I went thru. It caused me great pain, but he did at some points apologize but only for his gain, it took almost three years to get him out of my system and realize he couldn’t love me because he wasn’t capable of getting the right kind of help for his self.
    That brings me to my current relationship with a man who was so polite, very attentive and just a nice guy, who now believe so something in me to be attracted to me. I noticed his change in behavior about 3 weeks into dating that I would ask a simple question about going to a play and he would come back with most insensitive answer and I would be stunned that it came from left field. This guy would give me little hints that he had some kind of problem, but initially he said he was diabetic and was a cocaine seller and user in the pass. Me being a nonjudgmental person, I’d hear his story and only question him when I thought it was appropriate, things were strange with him from the start. I then begin to believe he was using drugs after him suggestion he was a recovering addict. When I question him about was he still using or if he’d ever be to a rehab, he became very angry and started accusing me of having a problem. What hurts so much now is that I recognized the behavior from my previous bipolar relationship two year prior, but that it was or could be drug use or his diabetes. So I didn’t recognize all the elements that we so very present. I caught one time a moment of extreme despair after him finding out his car was going to need a new transmission and he was mumbling something about the world being so cruel and how hard it was to cope. I love this guy we’d spend two to four days a week together and usually when we were together we were good, it took to a family gathering and I some of his family and all the while I’m thinking this guy has a drug problem and I’m planning a intervention because so many people were telling me we would be good for each other if he hadn’t had what I thought was the major problem. Here’ the thing, this guy never admitted to having a mental issue, what he would do is after we had gotten into a argument, while he was never remorseful and always cold, he wouldn’t reach out and when I did which was always, he would say I thought you were gone. He once said he had to love people from afar, he’s never told me he loved me, but he tell me I was very special and he mood was always changing, we were a couple one day the next he didn’t know what he wanted and that he wanted to make sure I knew who he was and if I could get along with him, up to the day he told me that we weren’t compatable. I was devesated by this statement, I asked him how long he would have stayed around knowing this and he said maybe forever. After every argument he would disappear and ignore my text or phone calls and I found myself in the beginning apologizing and ask for forgiveness and he would accept but never make amends for his actions. I found myself walking on eggshells trying to get along with this person, who once told me that I was too nice it made him sick. he began to make fun of me on occasions out of the blue and when I address him and let him know some of those time were disrespectful, he said it wouldn’t happen again and then disappeared for more than a week after me texting him many many times and finally he answered. one of our disagreements came recently when I started to question the many different phones call he was getting the in middle of the night that had never been present before, that when he decided that I was insecure and that he didn’t have time to deal with that in his life. I left and continue to text him just for the friendship, I thought we had something great even in friendship, mind you I still hadn’t recognized the disorder yet, I simply thought his drug use (which he was denying but I strongly believe) was what was causing him to began to distance him from me. I never saw him have emotions for me or remorse just his decision to leave me alone when me made offenses. Recently after me having a family member get deadly ill, I reached out to him and when began texting and talking and he was still very cold with some of his behavior, but I saw something different, I saw his selfishness and his inability to be empathetic to anyones feelings or at least mines. He made the suggestion that if we continued as anything it would be a disaster, that I would hate him because he is who he is and he’s being himself. Our conversations were sometimes very irrational because he didn’t want to change his way of seeing things and would blame for having a different view and when I would ask him if anyone else understand his thinking he would say no. I still didn’t make the connection. Only when after renewing contact with each other and having been in one of those conversations and him just disconnecting the phone on me did I realized he thought I was weak and that I was slow to catch all of his minor hints that he is just not a good person and has taken the self medicating road to deal with his illness. I sent him a message saying how awfully hurt I was on how he treated me and that I now understand he’s probably found someone else and that I hope to hear one day that he wished me well. His response was one that made me aware of who and what I was dealing with and made me realize just why this person never gave a rats butt if I was hurting or not. He response was” You have serious issues which are out of my scope of help, Please just leave me alone” I was shocked, but then it hit me… He’s Bipolar. I had been here before. I can’t begin to tell you what relief came first then deep regret, because I did so much to hurt my own self and then anger because I now believe he knows full well he is unwell and refuses to get help and I believe he just move on to the next person who will just settle to be verbally and mentally abuse to be apart of his one sided world. I have to admit before reading the post and response on this page, I sent a final very very nasty text, saying I wish I could hurt him for all the hurt he cause me, it was just all pinned up, but then sent one last one asking for him to ignore the previous text and would not reach out again. So with all of that said and my writing being all over the place, here’s what I’ve gotten from your responses to people, is that they should wait a while before contacting and not give up on the person they love, but I also got that those are for people who have been completely open about their problems and that don’t have drugs and alcohol as a self medicating component. I like to know if I can prevent myself from being a target to people who aren’t willing to get the sufficient help for the mental illness, I now am again seeing a therapist because with everything else, I’m a mother with three teenage children who were damaged by the divorce and I just real love in my life with out all the hidden emotional damage and non admitting bipolar person can bring.

    Thank you for any advice you can provide. I’m grateful just to have read some of these stories.

    • Dennis says:

      Hello, Diana. It sounds like you’ve been through a hell of a lot with these guys. The fact of the matter is, there are a lot of people that just aren’t ready to seek or be helped. The reasons can be as individual as the people dealing with the shit. Some don’t understand that the way they experience life isn’t normal because they know nothing else, others don’t know that they have the power to change it, still others don’t have the resolve to do what they need to do. It would be much easier if there was a singular problem. Additionally, the latest guy could have still been using. A coke high is pretty similar to a manic cycle and can definitely cause some serious instabilities.

      As you pointed out, it appears that this latest guy realized he had a problem but wasn’t willing to do anything about it yet. Him being defensive about your questions is a bad sign that he’s just not ready to be well either.

      As to your question about preventing yourself from being a “target” to people that aren’t willing to get help- I think that’s kind of a misguided question. It’s not about being a target to just mentally ill people but really is more about your self-esteem and self-respect.

      Bipolar or not- why the hell would you want to waste time on a man that will get angry at you for asking questions? For wanting to know about them? For wanting to understand their life or the stuff going on in their life? There are plenty of assholes who aren’t mentally ill who would use such tactics to exert control over the relationship.

      So it comes down to self-respect and what YOU deserve, Diana. And you deserve to be treated with basic respect, at minimum. If he’s going to treat you like crap, kick his ass to the curb and keep looking. Do what you need to do to get your mind and self straightened out with your therapist. Then worry about love. You being balanced and stable will make it much easier for you to assert yourself when you need to.

  78. Sandi says:

    This site is great and greatly appreciated. I am constantly researching and reading all that I can about bipolar. I have i my life a very special unique man. We have been together for 3 years and have lived together for 2 1/2 of the 3. I’ve always know he was different, I used to say “eccentric”. Now I know the real word is bipolar. After about 6 months into the relationship I expressed that counseling was needed because I couldn’t deal with the communication issues and his short temper. He showed up for the first session with a big announcement: He had been to his family doctor and told his doctor he was sure he was ADHD. Well the doctor put his on ADHD meds…. they weren’t really working so the doctor kept increasing the dose, well not know at the time, they were sending him into super hypomania and to physicotic states. I demanded that he move out of my house or see a shrink immediately. So he saw a shrink who got him off the meds and onto other meds for ADHD without ever doing an evaluation on him. Same story over and over – the meds were making him extremely unwell, and his unwellness was making me unwell if you know what I mean… We were also doing counseling at the same time and the counselor felt like maybe he also had a bad anxiety problem, so the doctor then started him on antoidepressants. Whoa!!!!! Here we go again. increases and changes and nothing working. So now its like 1 1/2 years of hell and I had been saying from the get go to the counselor that I really felt he was bipolar and/or high functioning asbergers. Well the counselor gave him a paper test for bipolar and he took it and he was fairly honest with his answers – all except 2 that should have been yes – but he said no – even with that in mind – according to the test he was absolute positive for bipolar. He took the test to the shrink and he immediately told him to stop taking all meds and he started him on limatrigine (probably spelled wrong). This is a mood stabilizer that you have to ever so slowly increase the dose. This med has at times seemed to work very well and at others not worked at all. My gut tells me why and I would love to know your opinion… This special man is 57 years old and has lived his whole life this way I believe, and I think in his mind he thinks he is normal. He doesn’t want to know anything about bipolar – he just wants to take the meds and think he’s fixed. Definately not that simple. Well the other aspect to this scenerio is this. He has been taking a drug called Propecia for 17 years for hair growth. After much research on this drug, it alters hormones, affects neurotransmitters, not to mention the physical side effects it can have. He after much talk from myself and the counselor agreed to stop the drug because of the hormonal effects which seems not good for a person with bipolar. For about 2 months he stopped the propecia and his mood stabilizer was finally at a theraputic dose and he became extremely well, very easy to communicate with and none of the unwell traits present. For the last 2 months he has started going over the edge to the very unwell self again. I found that he was hiding a bottle of the propecia drug and was taking it again. Seems too coincidental to me that the same time he restarted the propecia he went down hill. But as we know when a bipolar person is unwell you can’t make them see reality. Please tell me what you think about this. Currently I had asked him to give me some space because he tells me that he will take the propecia till the day he dies and he doesn’t even care if it kills him. I can’t live with him in this state, and I do not speak with his shrink, but the counselar can and is working on this. But if there is a connection between the propecia and his bipolar meds not working with it, then it won’t matter if the shrink tells him to stop – because he won’t and then I will have to end this relationship. But if no connection and he needs other bipolar meds or maybe antiphysicotic meds then maybe there is a little hope. But maybe not since he chooses to not even understand or learn about his illness. Please advise. Thank you

    • Dennis says:

      Thank you for the kind words. I’ve been thinking about your predicament for awhile but I just have nothing useful at this point. I’ve come to notice that older folks who have lived awhile with the Disorder undiagnosed seem to have a harder time accepting there is another way to live. It’s one of those things where there has to be a significant enough circumstance for them to set aside their preconceived notions and look at their reality in a different way. But here you have a guy holding on to his treatment at the expense of his mental health, rocketing through mania because he doesn’t want to accept the reality of his situation or what he needs to do to get well. There isn’t a whole lot anyone can do if he doesn’t want to do any reading or explore information about the Disorder and how to recover; or give up the Propecia.

      It’s probably going to have to get worse before it can get better. So you should do what you need to do to minimize any potential impact he can have on your life and well-being. I wish I had something more useful to share with you than that, but unfortunately I do not.

  79. sandi says:

    Thank you so much for your comments and quick reply. i wish so much that there was a way for him to understand. i have one question from your reply please.. im wondering if it is your opinion that he should not be taking the propecia? is my belief accurate that you should not alter your hormones when ypu are bipolar? I k

    • Dennis says:

      Anything that can have a significant effect on hormones is best avoided as a Bipolar person. Ladies can’t avoid it; but it’s not uncommon to start a Bipolar cycle when they are about to start menstruating or pregnant because of the fluctuations in hormones. I would imagine that propecia would probably fall within that scope. Definitely seems like something to be discussed with his doctor.

      And you’re welcome on the quick reply! Hate to keep people waiting.

  80. Jane says:

    I am a female who has been friends with a bipolar male for @ 11 years. I once stoppeed seeing him for about 2 years when I could no longer cope with the paranoia, dirty looks and criticism. We go to the movies and often lunch or dinner together. I know he doesn’t take medication. He uses a combination of yoga, swimming and sun, along with the occasional therapy session. I had lunch with him yesterday and am still feeling deopressed. I never know when he’s going to snap at me or ask something like, “What’s THAT look for, ” for no reason I can fathom. I am trying to keep more distance between our meetings because I get too upset afterwards. He is NOT the kind of person that can be reasoned with or talked to. Sometimes I feel like I should go into therapy myself but I am not the one with bipolar disorder. Can someone please help me. Thank you.

    • Dennis says:

      Hey Jane. Thanks for taking the time to write.

      Stand up for yourself but don’t put yourself in a position to be harmed. The simple fact of the matter is- if he won’t listen to reason or be talked to, don’t try. Tell him you’re tired of him treating you like shit and don’t let him do it anymore. Tell him he can watch the way he talks to you; and if he won’t then separate yourself from the situation.

      You can’t rely on a Bipolar person who is stubborn about their existence to see rationality. You have to do what’s necessary to preserve you, first and foremost. And if his anger and paranoia are wearing you down then relegate him to a smaller part of your life.

      Your message suggests this has been going on for a long time. Maybe you should talk to a therapist about why you’ve put up with being so blatantly disrespected for such a long time? Mental illness is no excuse. If he was trying, sorry, or doing anything to try and make the rough patches up to you; that would be one thing. But if he’s just steamrolling you without a care in the world; YOU need to stand up for yourself and say “no more”.

      I would reiterate; if he’s the violent type or can be damaging to you, exercise caution in what you do. Otherwise, it’s time to stop being docile to a person that doesn’t show you the basic respect you deserve.

  81. James Needs Help says:

    I have known I am bipolar for a long time without a clinical diagnosis. The day before I saw a Psych, I was sitting in abnormal Psychology hearing the teacher say that people are bipolar get off on not taking their meds I had a outburst saying thats not true. I had the night before flipped out on a now ex girl friend of a month. She was using me for a free ride or at least thats what I had convinced myself playing into my sickness telling me she loved me and she would be there for me no matter what. One night she told me shed be at my house she was going to go inside and have a cup of coffee an hour went by I couldn’t wait the impulsiveness took over I frantically called her and she text me back saying Im acting psycho. I replied i feel like your cheating on me or something she then replied I’m done. This doesn’t excuse my actions but I had taken 3 xanax .25 mg pills to try and calm down go to sleep. From there I don’t remember much other than saying some of the meanest stuff I have ever had to a woman. Everytime they abandon me I feel the need to just unload on how shitty of a person they are. I tried desperately to explain to her that i would get help and I did. Two weeks later and she tried forgiving me but I couldn’t shake the idea that this woman made my blood pressure rise to almost hyper tension when I was with her. She would have outburst when she got angry and run away from her problems, I think she’s bipolar as well. I kind of sensed she wasn’t well either and I tried my best to accept her because Im use to being alone. No one understands me when my friends found out about the outburst i had they looked at me like i needed to be committed. I just want to isolate myself from the world, Im on 50 mg per day of lamitogrine and I just don’t see the point anymore. 28 years old and this is just going to happen again it happened with my wife it happened with this girl that girl…. I know Im not the victim here and I don’t want anyones sympathy, but it truly sucks to lose everyone you bring in your life like a friendship with me is a revolving door.

    • Dennis says:

      Hello, James. First of all, apologies for the delayed response. I’ve been away.

      It sucks ass watching everything you love and like crumbled into shit. There is good news though. It might be time to talk to your doctor about Bipolar Disorder and getting treated. With treatment, the Disorder is manageable for a lot of people. But you won’t know until you start on that course. The meds rein in those extremes and allow you to function in a mostly normal way. We still have to make some changes to keep things even keel but it’s better than flying out of control over and over.

      I know you feel like shit about everything; but there is a lot to try. You can have a stable life and mentality. But you have to take your life and go talk to someone that can treat you for the mental health issues that you have. Leave nothing out.

      The fact that you’re here and talking about it is a good thing too. I know you feel alone but there are a lot of people that have been through very similar circumstances. I mean hell, I once kicked a woman out of my bed and chased her out of my house when my brain decided to go from zero to bat-shit-fucking-insane once. And your friends? What they think right now doesn’t matter. What does matter is you talking to someone that can provide you with a proper diagnosis and get you on the path to treatment and wellness.

      You have a long life ahead of you at only 28, my man. All you have to do is start working towards catching it.

  82. Jools says:

    I am 60 years old and about a month ago I found a lady that a knew briefly many years ago lives around the corner from me. We struck up a friendship very quickly and from the start she told me that she was Bo Polar. Her marriage has broken up and she said that all her friends have deserted her. She is a lovely person and she told me that she hadn’t been “unwell” for 2 years and as long as she takes her meds and leads a quiet life then she remains that way. However today she called around and I knew straight away that she was in a manic state. I have to admit I was a little nervous and after she left I called around to a member of her family to tell them what had transpired. They told me that she would not be hospitalised until she was “really bad”.
    This shocked me and they told me to leave her and see how she goes. I really want to help but her family have been dealing with this for many years. I’m not sure if I should leave things to them and not interfere, but my gut tells me to go and see how she’s going. Don’t know what is the right thing to do. Can anybody offer me any assistance please. I want to be a good friend to this lovely lady.

    • Dennis says:

      Hello, Jools. It’s very normal for there to be no hospitalization unless she gets really bad. We Bipolars tend to have these fluctuations from time to time. Hopefully, since she’s on meds that have seemed to work for her for awhile, this won’t be a long unwell cycle.

      Her family is probably a good source of information for dealing with this; but if you want to visit your friend there’s no great reason not to. But you need to be aware of some things…

      – Your friend’s mentality and actions may not be recognizable to you. When we get unwell, we can run into some pretty strange conclusions and our emotions can have a lot of negative impact. You noted she has lost a lot of friends; there is a reason for that. It could be anger, rage, and verbal abusiveness. It could be just fucking up badly. Point is- you need to be prepared to minimize that damage if you decide to go see her. Can you handle if she calls you a fucking cunt and accuses you of stealing from her without getting pissed off back at her? You need to have a very thick, tough skin to deal with mentally ill people like that. You have to be calm and collected even if they are not.

      – Or, you may go ahead and take some time to call and check up on her. Don’t get sucked in to loaning her money or if she’s talking about any grandiose plans; don’t get lulled into them. A lot of people do. And they wind up being terrible ideas that cost everyone money or bring more problems.

      I would be very tentative about getting involved. Talk to her family first. Tell them you’d like to visit so she doesn’t feel abandoned but want to understand what you’d be walking into if you did. Ask them what she’s like while unwell so you can decide if you can handle it face to face. If you can’t, phone calls or a public lunch may be a good alternative.

      There’s nothing wrong with wanting to visit with her even while she’s escalated. You just want to make sure you’re prepared for how different she may be so this friendship doesn’t get destroyed in the process too.

      • Jools says:

        Many thanks for your helpful insight. My friend has been hospitalized and I have just been advised by her daughter that she is not doing to well in terms of getting back on track with her meds. I have also been advised not to visit her as she probably would not remember my visit, but at the same time she apparently does seem to remember if you don’t visit her!

        Her family has been dealing with this for so long and as a bit of an outsider I have decided to wait until my friend returns home where I will be waiting. She loves to offload things(talking)and I will be there for her as a friend when needed.
        This is all very new to me but I am slowly learning.
        Thanks again for your help.

        • Dennis says:

          Good to hear that your friend is in a position where she can be helped. You’re a very good friend indeed! Waiting is a good course of action since that’s what her family advises who seems to be knowledgeable of her problems and such. Patience is the hardest part of interacting with mentally ill people for many I’ve found. Sometimes you just have to be patient and wait. 🙂

          Stop back any time!

  83. Sandi says:

    Firstly, thank you for taking the time to share your most intimate thoughts. I am not bipolar, however my recently seperated ex partner was showing signs of being bipolar. He was full of love for me, almost obessed with me and us. He was an amazing lover to the point where he loved to love me. Things happened in his family surrounds and he just pushed me away. Snapped at me and my presence unless it was he who verbally asked for me to be with him. I cared for him when he became medical ill with a horrible virus. Whilst he was in hostpital, during my visit he abruptly accused me of spending sexual time with other men. I was devastated and instead of relpying with an outburst, i replied using a soft tone of voice and re-assured him that there has never been anyone else but you in my life. I must add, he has done this before and always at the oddest of occasions. Why did he push me away like that? Why doubt me when knowing very well that i am loyal and devoted to him and to our relationship? Our relationship ended with him leaving me a message saying ‘i just dont love you like you do me’. I know that is not true, He adored me. His patterns became obvious when i took note. He only reacted when things happened or he couldnt cope. Knowing what i know now could of saved out relationship. It has been 6 weeks since we seperated. We did make short contact in between. In saying the above, i did share with him my concern with his mood swings. He was horrified when i begged him to to get some help and that i am here for you should you need me. I just dont know what step to do next. I know for a fact he has closed himself off from his real friends, not ever really having any reliable ones apart from myself. He goes to work everyday. How do i reach out to him to let him know that there is someone here who will hold his hand through this. I hope he has seeked medical help. I care very much for him, As a person, friends and partner. I would appreciated your opinion.

    • Dennis says:

      Hello, Sandi. If he has a mood disorder; then a lot of his actions make sense in his head at the time he’s doing them. So things like pushing you away or doubting you isn’t so much a choice on his part but is what his brain is convincing him is real. It does sound like he isn’t aware enough of these hiccups for him to not trust his own thoughts. Don’t waste a ton of energy trying to figure out the whys behind it. Chaotic decisions are a pretty normal part of our thought processes in general.

      What I’m most interested in is his “horrified” reaction to suggesting that he may have a mental problem that needs addressed. How old is he? Do you know if there are any other significant events that would have skewed his view of mental health? For example; a mentally ill, abusive parent. That sort of thing. Is there any other reasons you can think of that he would have been “horrified” by your suggestion?

      Understanding the root of that reaction is the key to formulating a strategy to pursue it. For example, I’ve noticed that with older folks there is still a lot of left over stigma about mental illness in general from when it was most commonly viewed as a character flaw and weakness. So you sure as hell didn’t admit to that kind of thing to anyone.

  84. Sandi says:

    Thank you for your prompt reply.
    Yes, he did confide in me of a parent having been an alcaholic whilst he was growing up. He is one of 3 siblings. So i think you may be right, Events throughout his life would of been triggers for these behaviours. He has had 2 relationships which both ended badly, or rather in an emotional way. Due to he calling the breakup. One of which being a marriage and mother of his 3 children. The other was a relationship i watched from a distance crumble and all along it was breaking my heart that he was never understood. How do i reach out to him? I am thinking a phone call instead of a text message. I really care about him and his children.

    • Dennis says:

      I went ahead and trashed your smaller messages, Sandi; just for sake of lack of clutter. You related that he was in his 40’s in addition to this point. (Just a recap of that information for my own sake 🙂 )

      I think the best thing to do right now is just work on reestablishing a friendship and opening the lanes of communication. Once that is accomplished, then worry about introducing him to mood disorders and trying to get him to see that he has a problem. Communication has to be there so he doesn’t just shut you out and down though. Work on that first and foremost, let me know, and then we’ll move forward from there, Sandi.

      • Sandi says:

        Dear Dennis, you are such a great help to myself and to many who are struggling to understand those we love so dearly.
        I did go ahead couple of nights ago and sent him a mobile text asking how he was. 6 minutes later he responded. This is a good sign, right? For i know that in the past when he was experiencing these ‘episodes’, sorry if i offend, but just dont know how to describe those moments.,he would not respond for days or delay a returning a call or responding to a message.
        I so wish to call him and speak to him and say ‘hi’ personally. I just dont want to do too much too soon.
        All i know that is the last 2 times i saw him, when he was in that ‘space’, i was scared and he was not the man i had known all these years and definately not the same man who showed love and affection to our relationship.
        I am not here to save him, i am here as a friend and a someone who loves him and dosent want to see him do this to himself again.

        Thanks again.

        • Sandi says:

          Hi Dennis,
          He contacted me with a simple ‘Hi, how are you? ” i responded and then asked him how he is..he didnt answer then.
          So what do you think?
          Thank you once again Dennis.

          • Dennis says:

            I think that’s not nearly enough information to form any kind of real opinion on. I would just sit on it and go about your life to see if he follows up or not. Avoid reaching out yourself for the time being so you’re not putting yourself in a position to be trampled over without him realizing that his actions were unacceptable.

          • Sandi says:

            Thanks for your quick reply.
            I would like to write down how i feel and let him know that his actions were unacceptable. We had a 3 year friendship prior to us getting together romantically. Why should i not express this with him? He has obviously done this before. I am really doubting anyone eles has ever been up front to him. Do you think this is a good idea?

          • Dennis says:

            Yeah, that’d be fine once you two have reestablished contact. You wait because you want to let whatever unwell cycle he may be in to run its course to something more stable and level. If he’s manic or depressed when he reads it he will view it through the irrational lens that mania and depression puts on. So you wait for him to reach out because, presumably, he will be at a more level mental state when he’s able to realize he’s screwed things up. Then go ahead and express your thoughts to him.

  85. Sandi says:

    Hi Dennis,

    This is Sandi, I wrote to you back on March 18, this year. I am writing to you again. My partner with bi-polar and I are not together at this time. His manic state was rolling so fast that I could not keep up with being pounded emotionally by his words and actions. I could not catch a break in between totally unwell behaviours. I guess I have tried throughout to be able to pick myself back up from the onslaught – but this last go around was just – bam – bam – bam……. too much — too fast — and me feeling totally helpless to the person that I truely love who becomes this madman in his own fantasyland of manipulation and HUGE narcassistic traits. I don’t know how to keep the trust anymore. His unwell mind has no concept to reality and even though he has had well periods, he cannot recognize that he is unwell. I am writing to you again because I really need to express my thoughts and feelings and I hope that your readers can relate and it gives them of sense of relief that others feel their pain. I can honestly say that I have never known such intense emotional pain as I have experienced over the last 3 years. Its like a whirlwind roller coaster ride that very rarely ever stops to rest.

    I really believed once we had the bi-polar diagnosis that it would get easier. It has not. I am still so oustounded by his behaviours and the way he justifies them by twisting and turning and making the reasons for them all about me and making me to blame. It’s downrite bazaar. Even though I have read everything I could get my hands on about bi-polar and truly understand somewhat more than the average person, I still have not been able to grasp the ability not to be personally affected by the outrageous behaviours and the so far from reality thoughts and beliefs of my unwell bi-polar. I have been told: I hate you; I despise you; You make me sick; You tried to kill me with all the meds; You are the reason I am this way, never had any problems in my past; Everyone else respects me and you treat me like shit; Fuck you; Your a fucking asshole; the list goes on and on. I have been embarassed at my work, at my home, in store parking lots, in stores, at gas stations, in front of all my neighbors and family. I have never been screamed at before, much less in front of other people and it not mattering where and when. And the ranting and raging that takes place during these outbursts is crazy. The accusations and blaming. It’s kinda like every crazy thing he is saying and doing , he is flipping it and acting like I am the one doing what he is doing. And the craziest part is, I am not allowed to get a word in edgewise or defend myself.

    We had about 3 months of well time over last October-November-December. I wished so much for him to be able to recognize that time frame was trouble free and relate that his meds were working and making our lives so much more enjoyable and fairly normal. Unfortanelty he started hiding and consuming a drug called propecia that alters hormones and it has, I believe sent him into manic state. The hopes of him recognizing his well time is pointless and useless for me to push the issue in this manic state.

    So many of the behaviours when manic are child like, which i have not exactly read it stated that way, but they seem to be to me. Anything that is not what he is thinking, wanting, feeling or doing sends him into a tantrum, which seems bazaar at age 56. I used to think he had multi personalities, and that he had a narcassistic personality disorder, but the more I have read I believe it is really all chalked up to manic. I do believe also that he is also in a state of physcosis, in other words, so out of tune with reality.

    His last episode I had him pick up his belongings after he basically punished me because I dared to talk about my hurt feelings by not speaking to me for about a month. He then decided he wanted to see the counselor and work it out. I have attempted to do this probably about 50 times in the counselor setting over the last 2 1/2 years. But it never works because all he does is turn the tables and manipulates the counselors to try and make them believe everything is because of me. One of the counseling places we went to for about a year was like crazyland. Other patients were asking not to be scheduled anywhere near our appointments because his yelling and screaming were so intimidating. He was told over and over that his behaviour was abusive. One paticular visit was beyond the normal worse and I knew that I could not drive home with him. I went out to the truck – he was already there because he had stormed out of the session – and told him that I was uncomfortable and I would call and get a ride. I needed to get my cell phone from the truck so I could call a friend. He reached over and slammed the door and started to drive away, screaming how I am so extreme and all the language of his that is so unpleasant. He pulls us about 50 feet and opens the back window and asks if I am going with him, as I am pleading for my cell from the truck… he lets me get almost to the truck and then pulls away to about another 50 feet. I am crying and beyond upset that he is doing this to me. Finally he pulled away for good and I went back inside to ask to use a phone. The next appointment we discussed this occurrance and he tried to tell the counselor that he had done nothing and I was making a scene in the parking lot. Fortunaley one of the other counselors had witnessed this and had told our counselor what occurred so he was caught drop dead in that lie, but to my surprise wasn’t even phased… just didn’t matter because to him he has all justifications for his bad behaviour, its always everyone doing something to him. This is just a sampling of the crazy occurances I have endured convincing myself that there was light at the end of the tunnel, and then we finally got a diagnosis…. God send – so I thought… NOT….

    After the last episode and him wanting to do counseling i agreed hoping they could convince him that altering his hormones was making his meds not work correctly, but once again how do you convince a manic person of reality?? the Million Dollar Question….. I wish it had an answer. He walked out because the counselor was asking him why the doctor would even have him on bi-polar meds if he thought he was fine and everything was my fault. She and I talked and I decided to walk away, it was pointless. So I cut all contact – blocked my cell from texts and calls and blocked my home phone to be able to try and let go. All was going well until I got a call from the counselor that he wanted to try the counseling again. I set up a time to meet with her. When I first met my bi-polar he had facebook and was kinda known as the life of the party and had many women followers. He was an expert at being the center of attention and making people believe he was loaded with money and basically fabricating and being in his fantsyland of entitlement. After we were together for a little while he shut down his facebook account, and became more reserved as I live out in the country and do not party. For some reason after talking to the counselor at his request I felt the urge to go onto facebook through my Daughter’s account since I have never had a facebook account just to peek and see if he would pop up….. low and behold there he was…… his many women friends were all making comments about how he had been gone for so long and happy they were to have “their” boyfriend back,,, and comments as such. Well what actually floored me about the whole deal was that he had posted comments himself saying that he had been gone for so long because he was in a no-win relationship and that he had left me a week prior and “Thank God” He made other comments that he had tried to get his head screwed on tighter but it didn’t work. Little known by any of his friends this was quite meaningful to me, benounced to them as no one knows he is bi-polar and never sees that side. It is harvested and saved pretty much for the closest people. The comment about he had left me and “Thank God” was a finally for me. The thing I will never understand about that is that he posted that and then 2 days later called the councelor for help???????

    I still am extremely hurt and sad. There is a well person in there, but he has to want that – and he can’t see it to want it.

    I am so glad for this ability to express myself and hope that maybe someone reading this may feel a little sense of something other than the craziness of living with or loving an unwell bi-polar. I wish more than anything it were easier. I wish more than anything a good healthy sense of family were possible and that the bi-polar mind could see more clearly.

    My attempt has failed to love my bi-polar – even though I will always feel love for him. I extend my well wishes for others attempting the same.

    And to Dennis, You are a wonderful person and I am so thankful for you. I wish you could sit with my bi-polar – I think you are so direct you might actually have a chance of getting through. I still am set up to get email notification of new posts and very much appreciate your site. Thank you for all you do, I know how much time you must put into this.

    • Sandi says:

      hi Sandi, My name is Sandi to, how bizzare to see this!

      I really feel for you. Reading your comment above made me fast forward my life with a man who i recently broke frome. I am missing him so much. He is lonely and undiagnosed which is in fact a concern.

      I always envisioned re-uniting with him and working through things. But dont want to live in a dilussional word and convince myself that it will be easy from then on.

      Thank you for writing such a detailed peice.

      Yes, Denise, you truly are a great man.

      • Dennis says:

        And thank you for the kind words as well, Sandi. It is a very difficult path and it’s good to keep a realistic view of the situation.

    • Dennis says:

      Sandi; thank you for sharing what I know must be a terribly difficult and sad story with myself and the readers. You’re absolutely right in that diagnosis doesn’t mean much if the person does not realize that they actually have a problem that needs confronted. In my experience, people do it for different reasons. Sometimes they can’t accept that the way they’ve been living has been “wrong” all this time. Other times it’s a matter of just being so disconnected from reality that they do things like your guy did and warp to be about everyone else. Their mind doesn’t let them identify that they are the eye of the hurricane from being in their extremes.

      Anyway, maybe some day he will hit a deep enough low that will let him see with clarity but not consume him altogether. Not a great thing to wish on a guy, but it’s the only way I’ve seen things work for unwell people in his specific type of position. It sucks that loved ones usually get dragged along through the bullshit with them.

      I’m glad/not glad you’ve finally reached a point where you can move on and heal as well. It’s a damned tiring battle to try and work through, and you definitely deserve some rest and peace to it. It’s not easy to love a mentally ill person. But sometimes the only thing we can do is let go.

      Thank you for the kind words about myself. I often feel like it would be better if I could sit with a person and disarm their unwell thoughts. Knowing how they think makes it intuitive for me; but fairly difficult to get a third party to understand how we think. Thank you for your support and I hope things smooth out for you in the coming weeks and months.

      • Sandi says:


        Thank you for your reply. I see that somehow there are two of us Sandi’s writing to you during the same time frame. I am Sandi H. and the one who has just let go after the 3 year rollercoaster ride.

        To the other Sandi – Thank you for reading and posting about my recent post. I wish you well and hope if you do decide to stick it out that you have a better outcome than myself.

        Dennis, I have a couple of questions. I think I am understanding from your posts that you do experience manic times but know the best ways to handle them from your understanding and experience and your desire to keep damage at a minumum. Do you take meds or do you just handle the flow as it occurs?? I guess my thinking through this process has been that once the right meds and right dose that the mania would stay in check. Is this correct?

        • Dennis says:

          Ayup, thankfully I can see the email addresses of the people posting so I can tell who is who. Yay for that I suppose!

          Anywho. Yes, I take meds. I take Lithium which has been one of the best performing meds for controlling mania for about 30ish years. When my brain tries to escalate, it just sort of hits a wall and won’t go any farther. I’ve had a few very mild cycles but nothing major. I also make sure to sleep at least six hours a night otherwise I’m more sensitive to triggers as well. Before Lithium my cycles could last for weeks/months and I would have a depressive crash of upto a few days after. After Lithium my cycles are not more than a week, only mildly noticeable, and have don’t even have a greater than a few hours in crash. I’ve recently upped my dosage. I don’t know if I can experience them at all anymore. Hoping not!

          But yes, right meds and right dose and the person shouldn’t be able to have Bipolar cycles. That is the optimal, end-game goal. Getting to that point is typically a bitch though. Cause it’s not just that, it’s finding a med that doesn’t give you debilitating side effects as well. Trading one debilitating problem for a different one is kind of stupid.

          My personal opinion (so take it with a grain of salt); is that meds should be a part of most Bipolar people’s wellness. It’s the most efficient way to introduce change to a dysfunctional brain; in my opinion.

  86. b moore says:

    not sure where to start.except hello,my life is a completely uncontrolable .living alone and no help

    • Dennis says:

      Need some actual information to provide you any meaningful input. Why not start from the beginning? Let me know what you’ve been going through, if you have diagnosis, what the problems are, what you’ve already pursued, that sort of thing…

  87. Marie says:

    Hello was please wondering if there are still people on this site willing to give some advice.i just stumbled on this forum. Omg everyhting people are writing just made made sense of 3 years of riding a rollercoaster with my best guy friend who I now know def has BP. I’m hoping someone could help me.. I can’t move on due to last cycle which left him totally ignoring me after 18 years of friendship. I also am a codependent and have lots if anxiety. Wanted to double check my email will not be viewed publically please and I’m so low and depressed and confused again for 100th time. I am so compassionate and every argument with him has become I end with I just want to make you smile..cuz I see his pain but I’m the best friend a guy could want. I’m easy going with a sense of humor and for the past three years we have been more in touch and I became very close only to start getting insulted sporadically told im so sensitive after 16 years of being tight. There is so much I have to ask as I never have had a friend or boyfriend or family member with bp. I don’t judge I have anxiety and depression I so luckily inherited but I’m the opposite Im never hurtful and that’s all my friend has started to do to me is hurt and disregard the billions of awesome memories we made together and have been ignored for a month now. Let me add there is a lot I’m not comfortable posting but I forgave him twice for things most girls wouldn’t and still when there is a sporadic trigger he hates me. I have so many guy friends and an confidently say I’m a cool chick. I keep blabbering but this friend I thought was my soulmate we hung out several times a month I was there for him when he lost his best friend we share countless jokes we both have great sense of humors but then snap the moods kick in. I learned to ignore as I said im so compassionate and never judge.. But this last argument has caused a mega depression for myself. I’m hoping someone could tak time to help me. We both made each other smiles as I was going thru personal stuff and our laughter and fun nights helped my pain but now his hurtful just dropping me speed because I finally snapped one night and said he takes his moods out on me when I’m not his girlfriend I’m his best friend and he has shut me out. He has done in past but never stayed away this long it’s been a month. I cry often I never shared such a connection and being hometown best friends since 15 makes it confusing at 34 that he has suddenly decided to not give a shit about all our good times and oh was I good to him. I can’t let go but I’m at a loss because it physically hurts how much I miss him and the thought this cycle might be the end. Over a misread text and me showing I was angry for first time ever so I get shut out. Oh and yeah he has a kid I got really close with and I’m left hanging not sure if it’s going to pass or it’s the end. Again he never has shut me out this bad. It is the anniversary of his best friend death. But why do I just get treated like shit and left to feel like a stranger. He twists it all on me??This has been the worst cycle ever. One day I cry one day I say he will get over it and we’ll be best friends again and then some days I say wtf do I tolerate when it leaves me in bed crying feeling worthless. I don’t mean to misword or pass judgement on BP. I have a mental illness and hate feeling judged but I never have been thru so many mixed emotions and a level of sadness my bones ache. I sent texts and messages just to be ignored. I’m hoping someone reads this and could please help me find the right way to either move on or figure out if I should give space and some time not hanging because he doesn’t mean it. I know I’m one of very few he truly cares for i feel helpless but just writing this out and getting thoughts out to people who understand both sides is releasing.i would appreciate any advice or stories of how long people could handle the pain of the extreme ups and the nasty insults he calls just teasing. He once harmlessly flirted and smiled for 16 years and now I feel my presence alone is a trigger just because of how close we got when he moved back closer to me. He is so awesome when he is well kindest heart but then Baammm I’m the most annoying even hideous friend ever. I can’t figure out how to end the racing thoughts. Are we done being friends cuz he won’t talk feelings and how am I not to be upset if he is all done with my ways(which I know have been nothing but nice) and not let me at least say goodbye to his kid I grew to love. I hope someone can help im so sick of faking a smile. He was only friend not to use me and got to know real me just to continuously change his mind every two months about the thought of even seeing my face?its so confusing my head is spinning now. Hope for some advice ty:)it’s much appreciated

    • Dennis says:

      Hello, Marie. First of all, no one can see your email address but me and I don’t do anything with that information. Your email is hidden and secure.

      Second, the situation you’re describing is pretty common. There’s quite a bit going on from what you talk about in your message. The thing that stands out most to me is how the death of his friend coincides with this recent severe unwell period unlike any that he has had before.

      Bipolar Disorder unwell periods can trigger off of several different circumstances; the primary of which would be something of a strong, emotional nature; such as the anniversary of a friend dying.

      As for why it’s you? Why you get treated the worst? Why you are the one that’s “hated”? It’s because you’re the one that’s closest. We always hurt the people we are closest to the worst because we are more emotionally invested in those people. We spend a ton of time thinking about our best friends and being emotionally invested in them; so when a mood disorder that affects emotions hits there’s no guarantee that you’ll be free of the blast zone.

      You’re rightfully confused and hurt about how he could go so many years having such great memories and then boom, all this shit comes down and explodes on you. It’s just like Depression in that you can’t really control where it goes. When we’re depressed, we get numb, apathetic, hopeless, and pointless; you can’t control that anymore than he can control his brain saying “I FUCKING HATE HER”. It’s what Bipolar Disorder does to us. You simply have been lucky all these years that it’s not really been directed at you in a major way before.

      So what does that mean for you, Marie? Well, if this is an actual unwell period and there wasn’t a serious problem between you two, he does not hate you. His unwell brain is lying to him, convincing him that he does. His brain will go back to “normal” when he drops out of this unwell cycle. So don’t write off your friendship, don’t stress over losing contact with the child for the time being, and don’t jump to any conclusions until you’ve dealt with him once he’s balanced back off. Fair warning, that could take months; so you’ll have to be patient.

      In the meantime, go about your life and do what you have to do in your day to day. The best thing to do is be patient and just wait. He needs to have time to cycle out of this unwell spell. You may also want to send a text or a message and just say “I miss you, thinking of you” every couple of weeks without the expectation of getting anything back. That way you’re still present in a limited way for him to reach out to if he happens to balance out sooner rather than later. Once you do reestablish communication, encourage him to talk to his doctor about his current meds or seek assistance with mood disorder management to get the Disorder under control.

      I speak with quite a few codependent people in a situation like yours. Keep in mind that this has nothing to do with you, anything you did, or did not do. It’s just the way Bipolar Disorder goes. You’ve been standing in the blast zone for a long time but have managed to avoid getting hit too hard. Your luck ran out with this cycle. That’s really all there is to it.

      If you’re uncomfortable posting information here, you can email me directly at and we can talk that way.

      If I didn’t cover anything that you wanted input on, please point it out and I will offer thoughts.

      Thanks for taking the time to write, Marie.

  88. Marie says:

    Dennis and Sandi I just read blogs. sandi would you feel up to explaining your situation? I prefer not publically but I’m at a lost how to do the daily basic things happily these days.i ache but hide it as I don’t want pity:(we were best friends my BP homie I called him then intimate that’s what turned my life upside down and I can’t get back to normal self.none of my friends get it. They think I’m stupid for tolerating but why such a tight hold.for 3 years he always came back like clock work. I finally said you hurt me and snapped and said id rather have anxiety then BP which is not my character but martini’s and bottle up rage came out.since I have been completely dropped and ignored after 3&1/2 years of becoming close loyal friends. I tell him your sporadic moods now that it’s been some time still throw me off and make anxious which triggers him to find literally anything from the way my hairspray smells to how annoying I can be next month back to soulmate like bond. His recent ignoring is unlike others it’s like I finally said stuff showing a lil affection and my supposed friend just drops me no replies no last visit or is this a really bad episode and he is mean to me cuz I’m so caring to him..which he lives 40% of the time or did.i can’t let go and need help I’m trying to get new career and his BP has almost become part of my moods cuz of magnet bond we always use to get back this last rejection I can’t focus?so a hey and confused sad so compassionate and I never have felt so low. If you have time id love to hear your experiences and also severely codependent and suffer endometriosis and anxiety I need to cut out unnecessary stresses but can’t find a way:( my parents are super religious and I have issues from that.ahhhh I thought I was so alone feeling so confused if you don’t have time to respond this site is life changing

  89. Andi says:

    Hi, I admire your honesty but I read your comments in addition to the article. The comment you made about attacking the refrigerator struck me. I have Bipolar I. I’ve been on meds for ten years and I’m good at handling my illness. It is hard to be around me at times bc I can be very cranky but I have never treated anyone “like shit” as you state. I’m wondering if you have more psychological problems than just Bipolar? I don’t think it’s good to normalize treating people like shit as you say and passing it off as “well, we see the world through a skewed lens when we’re unwell.” Yes, I can be grouchy and moody and pessimisstic, but for the most part, I’ve never ruined a friendship or relationship bc of my illness. Maybe you’re not managing it well?

    I used to date a guy with Bipolar II and he is a huge jerk. He would go off for no reason and do things like the refrigerator thing you mentioned. He’d attack people. Physically and verbally. He always blamed the illness when he apologized. I don’t buy it. I think the mentally ill should take more responsibility for their actions and their own wellness….

    I just think maybe you should get therapy or something. Just wanted to comment.

    • Dennis says:

      Hey there. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

      The refrigerator incident you are referring to was prior to was prior to my proper diagnosis, therapy, and understanding of what was smoldering in my mind. I was put on an antidepressant which rocketed me into an extreme mania- which is what happens to Bipolars put on an antidepressant with no mood stabilizer. Such as this gentleman who ended up killing his daughters…

      Much of the animosity and conflict I had when I was younger was due to a sadistic streak that would get extremely worse when I was severely unwell. That facet of my personality I manage through consensual BDSM activity with a sadomasochistic partner and a lot of surrounding safety. I have never raised an unkind hand to any of my former partners or friends in anger. However, I also used to live in the black ghetto of Detroit when I was at my worst in instability. So getting into fights there with other dudes was not only normal but expected if you didn’t want to end up on the shit end of every wannabe Alpha male trying to use victimizing you as a means of elevating themselves. Just so happened I derived gratification from the situation.

      You’re right, your exboyfriend was full of shit- particularly if he did nothing about it and just rode the insanity. Besides, it’s not like anyone is required to accept that apology either. But people do all the time and the person has no motivation for self-reflection and change. My rule of thumb that I reinforce with everyone; if they’re trying, that’s one thing. If they’re not trying; let ’em go so their shit can’t splash on you any more.

      I have, on the other hand, torched plenty of friendships due to being erratic and irrational. A lot of people simply can’t handle that kind of unpredictability.

      As for other psych problems? Yes, I am High-Functioning Autistic as well. I have a severe problem with emotionally connecting people. It makes me detached in times when it’s probably better that I’m not, among several other things.

      Now- does this fall in the realm of reason, excuse, avoiding responsibility? Here’s the thing, when I was a fat white guy living in the black ghetto across the street from a crack den- I did what I had to do to survive and I’m not sorry for hurting any of the people that ran up on me and thought I would be an easy victim. I would do exactly the same thing because that’s how it is in the ghetto.

      The incident about the refrigerator? I’ve had four cycles like that. One was due to meds, and the other three were due to sleep deprivation. In all three cases I could have easily wound up in jail if I had acted on what was in my brain, particularly because in those times I wasn’t in a place where violence was normal. Realizing that I was seriously contemplating mass murder is what prompted me to seek help in the first place.

      So- congratulations to you on your stability! And especially if you’ve managed to not alienate or destroy any friendships because of your mania. But frankly, that makes me question your diagnosis; whether you may actually be a Type 2 or Cyclothemic. It’s not so much the rage or the violence; it’s the unwell thoughts like- I’m going to clean out the joint bank account so I can fly to England and duet with Paul McCartney for the Queen. I have to be there on Monday.

      That stuff is what destroys friendships and relationships more than violence or rage. And it happens extremely often with un- or mismedicated Type 1’s.

      But either way, it’s largely irrelevant. They’re both treated the same way. Meds are just adjusted based on personal tolerances really. If you can describe your unwell cycles as just being moody, grouchy, and pessimistic? Very much congratulations on not being that severe. It’s way the hell worse for a majority of us. Though you’re not entirely clear on whether you’re talking about after meds or before meds nor do I know how old you are. So you could very well have a torrid history prior to meds. I really don’t know.

      So yeah, food for thought. Thanks for reading my work and commenting.

  90. Katie says:

    Hi, I have commented on here before and I would like to thank you for the advice you have me. I am currently taking a mood stabiliser (lamactal) at 500mg and I am seeing my psyche more regularly. One thing I would like to ask; I keep having extremely disturbing thoughts, I am currently signed of work again because I was going to kill my boss at work. But seriously, not just any usual “I want to kill my boss” I have vivid images in my head of me actually stabbing him, beating him to death, torture, shooting etc. Not only do these thoughts reflect on other people, but also myself. I can see myself being smashed up by a car when I cross the road and I can see myself getting mugged when I pass someone in the street. Anyway, my question is, how do you process and deal with these thoughts? They are distressing and usually I know not to act on them, but sometimes i worry.

    • Dennis says:

      Hey there, Katie. Thanks for coming back!

      Actually, I have the same kind of thoughts. They were worse when I was younger and unmedicated. I still have them once in awhile but nothing like I used to. Have you spoken to your psych about the issue? I don’t know the rules about where you are, but here in the States you can (and should!) bring that kind of stuff up to your doctor. So long as you’re not threatening to do it and presenting an immediate threat, there shouldn’t be any other repercussions other than getting the additional help you need.

      In my case? I never really did anything about them and just got used to them; which I know is not at all a good thing and not advice I’m giving you. I didn’t handle it in a better way because I just got used to it. I think the best thing for you is to talk to your psych or maybe consider therapy for some management.

      And remember, even though our brains sometimes scream at us to do stuff, we don’t have to do it. If you can separate yourself from a situation that is distressing, it can keep it from blowing too out of proportion.

  91. Bevo says:


    I wrote a couple of posts about two bi-polar people who racked my last nerve. Here is the update on both.

    1) I told the one that would call/text me at work all of the time. I told her to stop calling me and she threatened my live via text. I did file the charges even though she has two felonies for making a terroristic threat. The police did not want to do anything about it, but I texted her the case number.


    The second one. I had to block her number. I had major surgery two weeks ago and she had the nerve to send word to me that she wanted me to go to the grocery store for her. I hit the roof. Now she is crying and saying that she want to die. One neighbor has both COPD and congestive heart failure and in a wheelchair and she went to the store for her because she was tired of hearing her crying, moaning and groaning.

    • Dennis says:

      Yeap, I certainly remember, Bevo. I hope you’re recovering from your surgery well.

      Still sounds like a bullshit situation all around. How did your neighbor end up getting involved? Was #2 at your place or something?

      • Bevo says:

        The neighbor and #2 are adult gaming buddies. They live next door to each other. I moved to the other side of the building and left those two to their “own” devices.

  92. Butterfli&Thunder says:

    I enjoyed reading this information. I’m new here but definitely not new to the roller coaster ride bipolar disorder. I recently sent a hostile email to my best friend and as of right now she’s not speaking to me. I can’t tell where my personality ends, and my illness begins. Although my feelings of anger with her were valid, i should not have sent the email to her when i was unwell because then i would not have been coming from a hostile place. I apologized to her more than once and asked for her to forgive me. I told her that she did not deserve for me to be hostile towards her, and i told her how much love i have for her and that i never want to lose her as a friend. At first she said that all was forgiven and it was “Water Under the Bridge.” Then all of a sudden after i invited her to have lunch with me one day, she said that she was not over the email and needed to have some space from me. That was almost 2 weeks ago and i haven’t heard from her. Also, i’m finding out that social media is a big trigger for me when i’m not well. One of my symptoms is paranoia, and when i’m on social media my paranoid thoughts are at an all time high. Constantly anticipating what’s going to happen next, why people do or do not like my posts and pictures, or what their comments mean, etc. It becomes overwhelming and i recently decided to deactivate my facebook account temporarily until i start feeling better. The silver lining is that when i feel this way, my creativity is through the roof. I started a personal writing project and wrote 40 pages in one weekend. It was like my mind poured out and i couldn’t write fast enough. Well, that’s enough about me for now. I wish everyone of you the very best and would love to hear your feedback. Peace.

    • Dennis says:

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      The rule of thumb I use for determining if something is me or the illness is how it reflects in my life. It’s fair to be annoyed and angry about things. That’s normal. Unleashing it in a torrent of unstable rage at 2 A.M. is less so. The thing to look at is how the action impacts your life, well being, and relationships.

      Give your BFF some time. I’m sure she will come around. She just needs some time to process. If you’ve apologized genuinely already; there’s no need to keep doing so or beg for forgiveness further. If it was me, I would say, “I had some pent up anger and frustration with you; but I addressed it incorrectly because of the Disorder. I apologize to you for that. Unfortunately, I can’t even promise it won’t happen again. Making bad, emotional decisions is just part of being Bipolar.”

      And then give the person as much time as they needed.

  93. angela blackthorne says:

    I think that every Bipolar person should be aware that every moment they have
    with a loved one or friend is precious, but any relationship we have may be fleeting.
    Every mania, every depression, every outburst, may be the one that breaks the camel’s back. I have lost three very dear spouses to this illness, and most of my family.
    I have given up on believing that anyone who finds out about my illness will take me seriously as a friend, colleague, girlfriend or spouse. This illness terrifies people. They don’t think about how it must feel for us. We are not their problem. To the general mentality we are beyond the pale of acceptable behavior. They do not understand our illness, which is stupidly termed a “mood disorder”.
    Bipolar Disorder is far more than a mood disorder, though that is one symptom set that is prominent. Bipolar disorder is an organic, neuro-chemical brain disease.
    No different in it’s origins, and often also similar in it’s effects to other major brain diseases. We do not have a personality disorder, or a character flaw.
    But that is not distinguishable to anyone from the outside.
    One of my spouses was a physician.
    He told me,
    “I don’t care what your diagnosis is.
    I dont want to be around anyone who behaves like you”.
    So, I don’t plan to try to be in any more relationships.
    I don’t even want to try to have friends.
    The pain of watching relationships crash, and burn is too much for me anymore.
    I just want my Disability Benefits, so I can stop being terrified of being homeless.
    I want my medical coverage, so I can get my medication,
    and therapy to help me manage what is left of my life.
    When I see the look of realization that something is dreadfully wrong with me dawn on a person’s face, I know that my days with them are numbered, no matter how much we loved each other before that.
    I start counting the days, and watching the inevitable landslide.
    Not only do they leave, but when they do, they treat me like something less than human. They try to crush me as hard as they can. They totally disregard my humanity and my right to be treated fairly and decently. I will never let another person have that kind of power in my life again. I intend to keep other people at arms length for the rest of my life. They learn the power they have over me, and it turns them into the monsters. Until there is better medication, or it might even take a cure, I’m sitting the rest of this one out.

    • Dennis says:

      Our lives are filled with far too much catastrophic loss to deal with at times. Just one pile of shit after another. Disability was incredibly helpful to me, and I hope it is to you too. I highly, highly recommend getting a LOCAL disability lawyer. There are a lot of “national” ones that can’t give you the same kind of attention or have the same kind of accessibility. Social Security is a bureaucratic institution, and as such, it is very helpful to have the expertise of a lawyer to help you prove your disability. They work on a contingency basis and will get paid a portion out of a back award.

      There are some decent normal people out there; but have you considered checking out support groups? I know most of us go “yeah fuck that”; but it is very helpful to be around other people going through the same kind of bullshit that we go through. They’re not all great, of course. But by and large, you’re not going to wind up crucified or stripped of your dignity by our peers. In general, you’re not expected to talk at them until/unless you’re comfortable. So it may be worth checking out.

      When I was diagnosed, I took years off from trying to have relationships. I focused solely on trying to get myself better, more stable, and build a better future. Push towards that, focus on yourself and getting your war under control. Keep pushing to get things manageable and hopefully you’ll find something that works for you.

    • smitty00 says:

      Angela, I’m curious to know what happened between you & your spouses. Not that I’m asking for every detail.
      I just want to understand. I know someone diagnosed bipolar. He cheated on me & then tried to turn it around on every one else to take away some of the blame.
      He lashed out and said hurtful things I didn’t think he would say. One day his texts were mean and accusing, and then the next day they were sweet. He pushed me out of his life before I could even make a decision.
      For someone who doesn’t suffer from that disorder it’s very conflicting.
      He still has my expensive coat but has yet to give it back. I feel as if he is holding onto it as punishment of some sort for not taking him back. Its hard to try and reason with someone who won’t listen and hear back without always being on the lookout for something wrong. It’s not that an outsider doesnt want to love you or understand. The disorder you have affects the person your with immensely.
      You feel as if your constantly trying to save someone who doesn’t understand why they feel the way they feel. They just feel it. They act impulsively without regret until they are caught. For me I felt not good enough. I felt used. It’s not like I didn’t want to understand. I did. However it doesn’t excuse all the lies and the cheating. If a person without this disorder did it to me the outcome would still be the same.

      • Dennis says:

        Not much to add on your post; but I’d like to point out that he’s not “keeping” your coat- he stole your coat. I would point that fact out to him and tell him he can either return it or you’ll start looking at other options to get your property back. Don’t let him argue with you. Stick with that line. “Return it or I’ll go to law enforcement.” And if he still refuses, explore your options with the cops.

        (Again, this advice may or may not be relevant depending on where you live, how expensive the coat is, etc. Point is; you can’t just keep someone else’s shit and refuse to return it. It’s theft.)

  94. Sooty says:

    I have read through some of your material with great interest, and I am impressed with the clarity of your understanding of Bipolar Disorder, and the advice that you have offered.
    I would like to ask your opinion about a friend of mine.
    My East European friend Rachael is 30 years old, and I don’t know if she has ever been diagnosed with any psychological condition.
    She is certainly intelligent. She has a BSc, but seems more interested in doing ‘odd-jobs’ than in finding steady work in her field.
    When I first met her 4 years ago, she had taken a one-year job doing stable-work with horses, here in Ireland.
    I would describe her as always being notably reserved, subdued and introverted. When she first arrived, her English was notably poor, but as it improved over the following year, it did not in any way seem to bring her ‘out of her shell’. But, she seemed to enjoy my company (most times!) as I did hers, when I also worked at the stables just on Sundays.
    Now, even though she appeared to have notable episodes of being ‘up’ and ‘down’, she is as I mentioned, always notably subdued and introverted. She was never ‘manic’ in the normal sense of the word – never wildly excited, let alone irresponsible, aggressive, violent or abusive. It was more that she regularly exhibited ‘strange’, ‘dreamy’, ‘rambling’, ‘fantastic’ thinking.
    I will try to outline a couple of scenarios.

    Coming up to her first Christmas here, she asked me if we could go for a day out to the city, and stay late to see the Christmas lights. I gladly agreed. So, we went in my car. She seemed to enjoy every minute, in her quiet way.
    When we were walking down a street filled with lights, musicians, street entertainment, she quietly told me, “I like it here! When you go home, I will stay.”
    “Stay?! OK, but -where- will you stay for the night?”
    “Oh, I will find… somewhere.” she said.
    “Somewhere? And do you have enough money?” I was concerned because I knew she had little money, and didn’t know the city. “Do you know how much a hotel costs here?” I asked.
    “No… But maybe I find a student hostel.”
    “A student hostel??? Where?” I didn’t even know where I could find a student hostel!
    “OK, I will go home by train.”
    “By train? WHAT train?” I asked.
    “The next one.”
    “The next one?” I asked. “Do you know when that is?”
    “This is not central Europe, with trains to everywhere, every half hour,” I told her. “The next train is probably around 7:00 in the morning!”
    “Oh. OK, I will go home with you.”
    All this… so determined, yet so vague… and god knows what the consequences could have been if I just said, “OK, bye.” and left her. Maybe she was just ‘rambling’, and had no intention of doing anything except coming home, but unless I had just said ‘Bye,’ and walked away, I’d never have known if she meant it or not. So, when I couldn’t tell what she was really thinking, I think I was right to find this to be ‘strange’, yes?
    This sort of things was repeated a number of times, but luckily in not such ‘far from home’ circumstances.

    At the other end of the scale, she would become totally withdrawn. She seemed able to function adequately, but could seem to be totally ‘lost’, silent and unresponsive. She might say a few words to some people, and none to others. At these times she might appear to find comfort only in the company of horses.
    Normally, I was not aware of any incident or event in her environment that triggered such withdrawals, but on a number of occassions when her silences were particularly long-lasting, her responses to my enquiries as to what was wrong were subdued assertions that I had done something ‘innapropriate’ that was usually quite nebulous.
    For example, some 6 months ago, she returned to Ireland with a friend for a few days. And I was touched – she wanted to meet up with me.
    There were more ‘incidents’.
    For example, driving back from the airport, she sat in the front of the car, her friend in the back. However, for the next 7-8 drives we went on, she always chose to sit in the back.
    We went for quite a number of long walks. Without making it obvious, she nearly alway walked on the other side of her friend from me – again, as if avoiding me.
    After she’d gone home again, I sent her photos I’d taken. She didn’t reply. On the third or fourth enquiry as to whether or not everything was OK, she informed me curtly:-
    …that she ‘couldn’t understand why I was so obsessed with knowing whether or not she was OK.’ (A thin line between ‘obsession’ and healthy concern?)
    …that she ‘thought that our difficult times were over, but clearly not so.’
    …that I had always been ‘following her around.’ (When I go for a walk with someone, what am I supposed to do?)
    …that I ‘never stopped taking pics’ of her. (Certainly, the photos I’d taken of her (and her friend) were with her full consent, and dare I say, with her enthousiasm.)
    …that some of my pics made her ‘look like a squirrel’.
    …that she just wanted to ‘forget the whole thing’.
    Before this, we’d email or Skype every couple of weeks. Now, it has been ~8 months, and even though I have sent her 3-4 short emails, she has not replied.

    I have met a couple of other people that I could have said were rather clearly bipolar, but in their cases they seemed to be totally unconcerned about anyone else around them, and only concerned with blaming other people for whatever problems they created. So, I just dismissed them as ‘lost causes’.
    But in Rachael’s case, I always felt that she knew something was wrong and that she was struggling to somehow reach out to me, trusting that I was someone who would always stand by her. So, that is what I try to do, because underneath the crap, I somehow believe that she is someone who is doing her best, and that ‘she is worth it’, as they say.
    I now wonder if she considers me to be a friend or not, and if she will ‘return’ or not. For what it’s worth, I got rather conflicting opinions of her from two people who know her.
    One said, “Yes, she is sometimes strange, she rambles. But deep down she is a good soul.”
    The other said, “She’s not a friend to you. She never has been. All she ever wanted was what she could get from you.”

    I would be most grateful for your opinion on this.
    Thank you in advance,

    • Dennis says:

      It’s clear that she should be speaking to a professional about her problems if she can be shown that they are disruptive to her. As for any kind of assertion of what may be wrong with her; that’s not for me to say as someone who is not a professional. Speculation is unhealthy for the person because if they or the person that cares about them somehow gets in their head that they are “xyz illness” then it can be much harder to figure out what is actually wrong.

      If you’d like to try and help your friend, keep trying to reach out to her periodically. And when you finally do, ask her if she’s had any mental health concerns and see where the conversation goes. I would ask her about her thoughts on some of the strange things you’ve witnessed out of her. If you can make her connect the dots on her own that some of her behavior is destructive, then it may be easier to suggest that she a psych.

      What separates a quirk from a potential symptom is severity. Sure, some people are introverted but they are able to maintain at least some friendships. If she has a habit of destroying or throwing away friendships for unclear reasons, it may be an indicator of a deeper problem.

  95. Kay says:

    I have a girlfriend that was diagnosed with bipolar. She lives alone and drives but has applied for permanent disability and has gotten it. I think the main reason is because if she feels someone or something isn’t right, she just opens her mouth and let’s it fly. She says it’s ‘having an episode’. She is on meds and takes them. Her sister takes care of her bills and her money so she has no responsibility. She doesn’t make herself do anything including housework. Now her sister wants her to get a part time job. She is very smart and creative. Has a wonderful speaking voice, in fact worked in radio for a while. She told me she doesn’t want to work, that she likes her freedom. I said, so do we all, but not working is not normal. You need dicipline in your life. She also does not see a councilor on a regular basis. She says she can’t afford it. I have been reading about bipolar and many articles say that with meds you can lead a fairly normal life. Many people work, and have families. Am I expecting too much from her, or what. She said her family does not realuze how sick she is. She has tremors in her hands sometimes and I read that could come from too much lithium. She does not see a physichiatrist only a GP. I don’t think she is getting all the help she should be. She seems to want to stay sick and not work and just be taken care of. Any thoughts of what I could do? Thanks, Kay

    • Dennis says:

      Well, one thing you can do is start putting more responsibility onto her for her own life. The lack of filter is pretty common for Bipolar people and it can definitely be problematic. But it’s hard to tell if it’s because of the Disorder of if it’s because she just doesn’t want to.

      Give her more of her own responsibilities. Have sister stop taking care of her bills and her money.

      Counselors may or may not be useful. I was in cognitive behavioral therapy which is where I learned many skills to deal with the Disorder and shore up life skills. But a standard “talk therapist” was useless to me. I didn’t need help sorting through things in my mind. I needed help in figuring out how to control them and work on them.

      Was she always this way? Because there’s a chance that she may be mildly escalated and oblivious to the difficulties she is imposing on everyone else because of her actions. It’s sort of in the similar vein of “I’m going to leave my family behind to start my new career as a professional poker player in Vegas!” Except in this case, it’s “I’m free and unburdened!” with the illness confusing her ability to understand the impact she’s having on other people.

      I think that there is not enough information to say either way from your post. But if I was in a position to do so, I would just start handing her back her own responsibilities. “They’re your bills and money. You say you’re fine, so manage it.” And see how that goes.

      And a GP can be just as good as a psych assuming they have a good body of knowledge. Treating basic Bipolar Disorder isn’t all that complicated. I see a GP for my meds as well instead of a psych.

      I disagree that she wants to stay sick. If she did, she wouldn’t be taking the meds. Or she may be lying about taking them.

      I feel like your friend is just in a really complicated place at the moment on her path to wellness. She needs the pushes and urging. But I also feel like she may not be comprehending the total impact of her decisions; that is, unless she has a history of being shitty like that. If she has a history of doing it, well that’s different.

  96. Selena says:

    Reading about this condition is very therapeutic. I appreciate the stories.

    Just 4 weeks ago, I was with my ex fiancé for 10 years. I met him when I wS 19, I’m 30 now. His 6 years older thN me. You can say that we kind of grew up together.

    I always knew something was different about him…. He was kicked out of the navy for fighting, didn’t sleep at night, and was living with his dad when o first met him.
    But being the young girl I was… I knew nothing about men or relationships so I carried on.

    It was always rocky…. He couldn’t keep a job, went to school but never finished, he would get upset at his dad and tier up his house. He also put his hands on me in severe instances. But I loved the guy and I’m a persistent and goal driven person anyway… So I never quit anything.

    He made me feel loved in other ways and when he was sweet .. He was the best man ever. He eventually told me he was bipolar and I researched it a bit but then moved on .

    We eventually lived together . .. We went throw many many ups and downs. It was so difficult and I couldn’t tell anyone because they would tell me to leave him. After 8 years together, he asked me to marry him. I said yes, but later told him with the condition that he seek home.

    Remember that he didn’t have a stables job and still putting his hands on me from time to time,.. I wasn’t going to marry into that and he always promised he would get help but never did.

    After we got engaged, 4 months later he seemed withdraw and distracted on his FB.,., he was obsessed with FB. I found out that he was messaging multiple girls online.. And he admitted to me that he was craving attention and FB was an opportunity to fake a life he didn’t really have.

    Long story short, I moved out to my own place and he moved into his moms house… We decided to still be together but live apart. He constantly broke his phone during his rages and often used mine. He forgot to log out and I found that he was putting up ads about himself on Craigslist and getting into dating sites. I was into women that didn’t look like me (I use to be a model) .., like really big women 300+ lbs. He even went as far as stop talking to me for a women in another states that he was exchanging messages, photos, videos with. Crazy shit that I uncovered. What was most interesting was that he told this girl that he loved her.,. That she saved him. It was the most hurtful stuff ….

    He stopped talking to me for months. Then he came back with his sorry and he was stupid, etc. It was tough to accept it.. After all I had read his exchamges with a random female. Relentless, we talked again and he kept saying he wanted to get married that he could just go to city hall and just do it… Start a family. As beautiful as that imagine looked, I KNEW he need to get help first before commiting to a life together. To me it was a must, but he resented me for it. But after pushing me into the closet , he knew he had a problem. He promised me for months that he was looking into clinics but that they weren’t taking new patients.

    Mind you, no one knew what he was like to me…. All his parents knew was that I drove him crazy and probably that it was all my fault… But they didn’t know the extent that he put me through.

    4 weeks ago he was at my apt and the next day we got into an argument over the phone. He alwYs told me I was really mean to him … I admit something’s I couldn’t hold it in. All the pain and frustration I released it and i said hurtful stuff.

    Fast forward 4 weeks, I find out he got married to a women he knew personally before we met, the kept in touch and I’m sure when things got rocky recently… He reconnected with Her.

    I’m heart broken …. After all of those years, all the pain, all the support I gave him… He marries another women ….. He knocked the wind out of me. He officially closed the door of hope for a chance to work things out with me. I’m left with many questions. Does he love her, will be be better to her, was I wrong for wanting him to get help, will he get help whiles his with her, is he going through an episode, will be change for her and be the perfect guy, And of course, does he still love me???? How could he do that I’m a short period of time.

    I’m all kind of confused… I would love your thoughts and assistance on managing this. To some extend, I feel like I’m the one to blame but in all honesty, I’ve been nothing short of a great girl that put up with a lot of shit. I’m devastating. His having an amazing married life … And probably trying to forget me. Cant make sense of this.

    • Dennis says:

      Stories like yours aren’t uncommon, Selena. They probably seem that way because not a lot of people want to talk about this shit; but I hear about it on a regular basis. So, here are my thoughts, take them with a heavy grain of salt because it’s impossible to know where his brain is actually at without interacting with him at all.

      1. I sincerely doubt he is happily married or going to be. People don’t change overnight and it sounds like he’s been allowed to get away with a lot of things that he should not have. Sooner or later, his new wife will be seeing that side of him. Does he love you? Does he love her? It’s hard telling. A lot of what you described in your message is very enabling behavior that loved ones often find themselves doing because they want to love and support their Bipolar loved one.

      2. The thing that people get wrong most consistently, in my experience, is understanding what makes Bipolar Disorder what it is. The extremes of the mood disorder and the mental illness feeds us lies about what we feel; even if they make absolutely no sense in context. So yes, it is perfectly possible that he believes he is in love with this other woman because of an unwell cycle. When that cycle ends, that “love” could completely disappear in an instant. I know you’re struggling to understand it, but you won’t; because you’re not Bipolar. Your brain doesn’t function like that. I liken it to asking a man what it feels like to give birth to a child. Yeah, he can form an intellectual opinion, but he can’t UNDERSTAND.

      3. You can’t help someone that doesn’t want to help themselves. That’s the reality of dealing with this Disorder. He’s spent his entire life being coddled about it which means it’s going to be even harder for him to see the shitstorm and actually make a meaningful recovery. That’s not to say it’s impossible. Just that, in my experience, the only way I’ve seen it work is that person has to hit rock bottom on their ass.

      So, what can you do in this situation?

      1. I recommend therapy for YOU. You should address this relationship and why you felt it was okay to put up with all of this shit that you did, msotly to ensure you do not repeat it.

      2. It’s time to move on. You’ve put ten years into someone that has no interest in helping himself. You could spend the rest of your life sweeping up the pieces of his mental illness. That’s not your burden to bear. It’s time to cut your losses and move forward.

      3. And because nearly everyone ignores #2 and ends up getting back together with that toxic person anyways; you should NEVER accept physical violence as normal or acceptable. If he EVER lays a hand on you again, you have his ass arrested. He NEEDS to know that are repercussions to his bullshit. If you roll out the red carpet for him and accept him back after everything he’s put you through? There’s no reason for him to ever feel like he needs to change. You need to hold him responsible for his actions.

      Kindness and understanding are all well and good; but they aren’t always a good thing. Normal people think that it always is; that if I show this person kindness, compassion, and understanding that they will come around. That may work for some people, but others need to be stood against. Your guy sounds like he’s the latter.

      And do bear in mind, that abusive people are not abusive 100% of the time. Of course there are times where they will be sweet, pleasant, and loving. Maybe he is a great guy beneath the mental illness. Unfortunately, he doesn’t give two shits about getting that under control, so you’re going to wind up dealing with the asshole.

      And finally – you will probably hear from him again within the next year or two. He will probably want to get back together. He will probably have a song and dance about how he’s different, changed, realizes how much he loves you.

      Don’t fall for that shit. Don’t let him back into your life. Don’t give him money, don’t give him any kind of sympathy. His situation is of his own making. Tell him to call a homeless shelter if he needs a place to stay or whatever; and close the door on that chapter of your life. And never take what he says at face value. He’s already proven that his promises mean nothing.

      I know it’s hard. I know this isn’t what you want to hear. But it is what it is, Selena. Spend some time with a therapist to address this shit, I feel like you could really benefit from a knowledgeable professional in dealing with this and the hurricane you’ve been walking in the past ten years.

  97. Tabitha says:

    Reading these has been most helpful. I have friend whose bipolar and the only saving grace for maintaing a friendship is geographical distance. I really like her in small doses…she’s funny when she’s in a good mood, very smart, extremely creative. We share a few interests. She can be a great time. However she never filters what she says, if it’s in her head it’s out her mouth, regardless ofhow offensive it may be to the other person. I’ve witnessed her almost get into several fights in public. She tells me all the time about loud arguments she has with people on busses, stores and in the street. It’s horribly embarressing. IF I do visit her nowadays, I try to keep public interaction to a minimum. She has not had a job in years, lives on disaiblity so if we get togehter I do all the travelling because she can’t afford to. I know it embarresses her and I feel bad for her….but things have gotten pretty unequal. She can’t afford to go shopping so I feel bad taking her places, we’re pretty much relegated to hanging out in the apartment. She’s gaineda lot of weight and no longer wants to ride bikes, walk or do anything physical. I find being with her very depressing sometimes. She rants and raves about everyone and is extremely critical when she’s depressed. I have offered a lot of advice but she ignores it. So now I’m feeling like I want to distance myself but she has so few friends left I know that would devastate her. I hate to feel obligated to be her friend…and like I siad, there ar e still some good times, just very few.

    • Dennis says:

      A lot of what you described is pretty typical for Bipolars. For example, the lack of filter is a pretty common manic thing. It’s not that she chooses to do this (assuming she’s escalated), but your brain is just going 1000 miles an hour and stuff just comes out of your mouth whether you want it to or not. Most of the time when I’m escalated, I don’t realize I’m saying anything offensive until it’s already out of my face and causing damage.

      Another person’s depression will most certainly weigh you down as well. That’s why it is imperative to maintain healthy habits of your own to counter it.

      What is she doing to help herself? Or is she just kind of existing on disability? And is she actually diagnosed and on disability for her mental illness? Or is it something else?

      It’s not your obligation to be friends with her even if she is losing others. Encourage her to ask about and get involved in a local peer support group. It may help her to be around other people that have the same challenges and problems that she does.

      But if she doesn’t want to help herself, there’s not really a whole lot you can do about that. So it would help to know what she does, if anything, to work against the mental illness herself.

  98. Pingback: My Mental Health Story: Mental Health Month Blog Day 2015 | Cristy Salinas

  99. Tammy says:

    Dennis-would like to know your thoughts on my situation. Recently began a relationship with a man I have know for 30+ years. We got along so well and were such a perfect match. I was in a horrible marriage and he gave me the courage to finally do something about it. He was sweet and loving and would have done anything rather than hurt me. Knowing the abusive relationship I was in he went out of his way to reassure me of his feelings for me and how willing he was to work for our relationship. I went into this knowing he was bipolar. On 4/4/2015 he told he how much he loved me and wanted to be with me. That he knew it would be hard(I am not out of my marriage yet) but he was so happy. He thought he would be alone till he died. The very next day he asked for space, a week later told me he was mistaken, he did not love me, and a week later told me his child hood sweetheart was back in his life and he had to see where it went, even though see still loves her husband and has no plans to give up the life she has for him. He acts like I should just accept this and actually has said I need to give him time and wait for him to see how things go. He seems to not even notice how much pain I am in. When this was happening his only child was getting married and he told me he felt like he was about to have an episode. He was sleeping little. I love this man and he tells me I am not wasting my time waiting on him. My fear is this woman is going to break his heart. He has been hospitalized twice and it is one of his greatest fears. When I ask him what will happen when she tires of him he states, I guess I will end up in the hospital, Like it is no big deal. I have stopped texting and seeing him. It has been a week and it is so painful. Is this the right approach?

    • Dennis says:

      Hello, Tammy.

      From where I sit, I can’t help but wonder if his feelings for you were figments created by the Disorder. First of all, if you got along so well and were a perfect match; then why did it take 30 years for something to come of it? He acknowledges he loves you so deeply around the same time he is facing emotional, triggering circumstances and then 180’s on it? That is a heavy indicator of a person’s thoughts in an unwell cycle. The fact that he was “so happy, loving, and sweet” also suggests potential unwellness.

      Mental illness doesn’t typically “scream”. It’s often quiet and subtle. And if he was unwell, his unwell mind could have easily fed him all of these warm, loving sentiments that he absolutely believed at the time. It doesn’t strike me as a manipulative situation – just one of great confusion and turmoil.

      Attaching himself to the childhood sweetheart who “still loves her husband” to see where it goes is another red flag for unwellness. That’s not her fault if he winds up with his heart broken over it, that’s his own fault.

      My suggestion to you is this:

      1. Get yourself and your own life right. If you’re in an abusive relationship, work on getting out of it, independent, and getting yourself healed from that. There are resources for women in situations like yours. Check through battered women’s shelters or non-profits.

      2. You may want to point out to him that his behavior is very erratic. That he should visit a doctor and discuss things with them now, BEFORE they get worse. He knows he’s Bipolar. There’s no reason that he needs to ride the crazy train into a severe crash and burn. If he does something about it NOW he may be able to head off a lot of damage and hospitalization. And yes, once you get to a certain point with your mental illness, stuff like hospitalization is no big deal. It’s just part of the shit we deal with.

      3. Emotionally and mentally prepare yourself in the event that his emotions for you were a figment of the Disorder. Those “emotions” are not likely to come back if they were.

      But mostly, I would be encouraging him to go to talk to a doctor or a therapist, first and foremost. Don’t bother with emotional stuff right now, he won’t be able to give you consistent answers that you can trust until after he crashes out of his cycle, assuming he’s in one.

      • Tammy says:

        Dennis–I have struggled with that idea, that our relationship is just the illness. But it has not taken 30 years for this to come about. It has taken 30 years for me to say yes to him.He has kept track of me every since he came home from the Army. I was married and bought up to believe divorce was wrong whatever the reason. He was also married during some of this time. His affairs put an end to that. I had finally gotten the nerve to leave when my spouse was in a car accident leaving him a quadriplegic. Then I felt like I could not leave. He is a hateful man and our children have nothing to do with him. I have waited on him hand and foot for going on 7 years and he is still just as mean and hateful. This time when my friend came calling I resisted again but I finally allowed myself to have a life. He has always been open and honest about his illness. This is not a 3 month affair but a 30 year friendship that turned into something else.

        • Dennis says:

          Ah, I see! Unfortunately, all you can really do is let the cycle play out then and see where he lands. Convince him to speak to his doctor about what’s going on with him, assuming he will listen to you about it. If he won’t do anything to get help to get himself back into balance, there isn’t a whole lot you can do. So convincing him to actually do that would be the brunt of my approach.

          As for your marriage, I understand your point of view. I’ve known other people who feel the same. But personally, I view it just as much as a contract as I do a romantic engagement. Your husband promised to love and honor you. Abusiveness is a breach of that contract. I feel like a lot of people would have much happier lives if they would embrace a similar idea.

          You’ve done your time, Tammy. You’re not your husband’s mother. You deserve to have some happiness and peace in your life. Regardless of what happens with your Bipolar guy; you should look to get away from your abuser.

          • Tammy says:

            Thanks David. Its funny, my bipolar guy constantly told me the same thing. I deserved to be treated better. And when I finally made the decision to leave, thats when it all went crazy. Of course you have to add in his only child getting married, Taking on the total rebuild of a truck, and trying to work side jobs to supplement his disability. He has had 3 heart surgeries. I kinda think he saw me as a stress factor that he could control where the rest he had to deal with. Being gentle with him and trying to stay in touch.

          • Dennis says:

            All the stress is certainly not as likely to have helped his situation at all. That’s definitely the kind of thing that would spin him out.

          • Tammy says:

            I have a question that only someone with bipolar can answer. My friend and I spoke Wednesday and he again wants me to give him space, needs to find out where things are going with this other woman. I asked did he want me to leave him alone completely and he says no, that I can text him to stay in touch. He then informed me that I was his first relationship in 9 years since his divorce and being diagnosed. He also told me that he had cheated on his wife for 20 years. My father-in-law who was also bipolar actually had two families. Married to one wife with kids, another woman and kids 4 hours away. I also see the bouncing back and forth as a common theme on couples where one is bipolar. So, is this because the medication when it is working well keeps them at such an even keel that they begin to yearn for something that makes them feel good?Or is the medicine starting to need to be adjusted? My friend told me he was very happy with me and our relationship was very nice, that he was his own worse enemy. I gave him an album with pictures which he liked but handed back to me. He told me to add more pictures and get with him in about two weeks. He pushes me away and then draws me back in. I don’t even think he realizes what he is doing.More confused than ever.

          • Dennis says:

            Well, your father-in-law sounds like an asshole really. That really has nothing to do with being Bipolar. He chose to keep up that lie and cheat on his wife for 20 years. While Bipolar Disorder may have played a role, he’s still an asshole for doing it. The pulling you in, pushing you away thing is very common for Bipolar Disorder because the disorder warps the way we interpret our feelings.

            So, today, I may love her to death.
            Tomorrow, I couldn’t give a shit if she’s alive or dead.

            That’s what makes the Disorder so serious and damaging. Unless you know that you cannot trust your brain, you’re likely to just trust how you feel and what you think. Case in point, I have the same pulls. But I’ve been through enough therapy and understand the Disorder well enough to NOT ACT ON THEM. Even if my brain is telling me, “hey, I hate this fucking person today.” I then stop to think about how long I’ve felt that way and why. If there is no good reason for it, then I tell them that I’m having a rough day mentally and will probably be taking some time to myself, so I don’t jump down their throat or tear apart the relationship again.

            But that’s shit I learned in therapy, how to manage and identify my real feelings versus my unwell feelings.

            If I were in your situation, I simply wouldn’t let him pick me up and put me down as he is. I would suggest that his back and forth is due to the normal way the Disorder functions, that he really needs to learn how to address his thoughts and feelings better. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was very helpful for me in that. Yes, he may wind up deciding against you right now, but when he swings back the other way; he now has the circumstances and experience to realize that “hey, this isn’t right”.

          • Tammy says:

            Thanks Dennis, That really explains alot. The times we have talked he keeps telling me to give him space and time. When I ask what makes this other woman so special he says, I don’t know. He tells me that there is a good Jack and a bad Jack. When I ask who I fell in love with he says definitely the good Jack. He also does not do therapy. Says he doesn’t like it. You have been very helpful.

  100. Dennis says:

    Therapy is a mixed bag for a lot of people. Some people like it, some people don’t. The important thing, when suggesting therapy, is to actually state the point of it. A lot of people just mentally associate “therapy” with sitting around and talking about shit. CBT is different in that yes, that does occur, but the focus is more on learning skills to deal with the Disorder and how to handle the thought processes that will fuck up your life.

    So if you suggest it to him, specifically point that difference out.

    Happy to help.

  101. Nick says:

    Hi there,
    i read most your work and i’m truly impressed, i might try to explain what my “problem” is , i have a friend who is diagnosed with bipolar 1 plus schizophrenia , i met her last february (2015) on a especially hard time for me as my sister in love passed away while i was on vacation, this friend and my sister in law knew each other and on a evening out she said something like that she didn’t want to be alone so i offered to stay at her place if she wanted to talk (i was unaware that she was bipolar at the time), and eventually ended up in bed together, she is a loving person and eventually told me about her illness and things like that she was abused as a kid,hearing voices, that when she was young she was doing all the crazy stuff when maniac and stuff, she has been hospitalized several times when she was getting too high.
    i eventually returned home(i live abroad) and kept contacts, sometimes she was like very dismissive and saying things like “hope you’ll have a good life” and so on, other times very loving and making plans.
    i returned home in april for three weeks, the first 4 days were very good,always hugging,keeping hands then she started to ignore me, i’d like to specify that she is on a kind of on/off relationship with a person that has serious gambling problems for the last 2 years, as she was telling me that doctors and friends told her to keep that person away for her own sake, but i’ve been also told that she can’t keep him away because of her illness, probably a challenge to be able to control him as he wants to control her like a perverse game, saying to me that she was done with him but i was told that she would meet him sometimes, but i’ve been guaranteed that she never slept with him while i was around, said that the ignoring went on for almost the remnants days of my staying, she told me that she did that because there were bad rumors going on about me and/or her and she wanted to protect me, i don’t know what she meant by that but i’m still puzzled these days,also from the very first days she kept saying “but you will eventually go away again and i usually close ties with them” kinda like giving me an ultimatum as if i was not be around she was not going to keep contacts with me, since i returned home i have to say that she kept her promise, sporadic texts usually because i write first, and lately saying that she would write me a letter to explain everything because i don’t know a lot of things, i don’t know what to think as i feel a lot of affection for her and i’d like to stay friends, but i see it is very hard and i don’t know how to act or what to do and/or if she feels affection for me or not.
    sorry about the quality of my english as it is not my first language.


    • Dennis says:

      Hello Nick. While not perfect, your English was better than a lot of natural speakers. So no worries there.

      Given her problems and her on and off again relationship with her ex, she probably has no idea what her real feelings are because they are constantly in flux from her mental illnesses. Schizophrenia and Bipolar 1 are two very, very severe mental illnesses. And if she does not have a good handle on them, which she does not appear to based on the way she is acting towards you and with this other guy, then you can’t trust her emotions either way.

      Simply put, it would probably be better for both of you if you let that friendship and relationship go. Not to be a dick, but a “promise” from a Bipolar 1 and Schizophrenic person doesn’t mean a whole lot when they are unwell and unstable. She may be a lovely, wonderful woman while she is well. But if you aren’t going to be around on a regular basis and she isn’t willing to completely break with the ex; then, were I in your position and knowing what I know, I would end that friendship and relationship and move on.

      In my opinion, you’re setting yourself up for a major fall in continuing to pursue this.

      If anything is unclear, please let me know and I will rephrase my statements!

  102. D says:


    I just found this helpful site after my girlfriend broke up with me after what seemed to be our first small fight. We’ve known each other for 3 years and have dated for 8 months. She is on mood stabilizers and is in AA with 3 years sober. We had mini arguments where she would unload on me for no reason and I felt like every decision I made would be judged. I felt like i was walking on egg shells. I work out with her supporting her bikini competition, I help take care of her new kitten, we celebrated her 3 years clean. When we were not dating I was the only one to see her cross the finish line at her first half marathon. She had not been going to meetings and I was letting her know about this. When I started standing up for myself in a proper manner she would flip out saying I was judging her and being super defensive. I finally got really upset and let her know that I was upset and needed time to cool off so that we could calmly talk about our issues we were having. You know, that’s what guys do. I also suggested we go to couples therapy because I really wanted to better our relationship since our arguments were not going anywhere constructive and she didn’t really acknowledge it. I texted her letting her know that and stayed in contact. Then she texted me out of the blue saying that she doesn’t want to talk, she has all my stuff in a bag, shes blocking my phone number and on facebook and deleting all the pictures of us like we never happened. I dunno, I felt like she was self destructing and I was still there for her, heck I took care of her for a week after surgery too! We both care a lot about each other in terms of affection and gifts and positive text messages. I just don’t know what to do. It just doesn’t make any sense to me for her to throw everything away. Thank you

    • Dennis says:

      Hey there. Thanks for taking the time to write. There is a lot of things that it could potentially be. I wonder if her mood stabilizer is working well for her. It is strange for anyone to toss a three year relationship that, judging by your post, didn’t seem to be that bad. But the regular blow ups over nothing is a fairly common occurrence when a person’s meds aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do. They’re supposed to flatten out the volatility and provide stability.

      If she is unwell, then she may be for awhile if she is big into competition and so on. That kind of thing causes a lot of stress which can drive unwellness, especially if she is taking any kind of uppers or stimulating supplements.

      Have you been out to pick up your stuff yet? If not, go pick it up so you can see her face to face, and point out that she has been very back and forth, very irrational; that her mood stabilizer may not be working the way it is supposed to do. To talk to her doctor. Don’t try to press back into her life, don’t argue with her about it, just inform her, get your shit, and go for now. Because any kind of confrontation is just going to fuel that unwellness. If arguments with you caused so much chaos in her, it is likely that you are serving as a trigger right now. So being away from one another may help give her the means to come down.

      I would also suggest looking into couples counselors who have experience with mood disorders in the area. Not all of them do. Those that do often provide advice and guidance that is not suitable to being in a relationship with someone with a mood disorder.

      Patience is going to be an important virtue. You should also do the following.

      1. Figure out what it will mean to you if she is unfaithful to you while you are “broken up”. Because it may happen.

      2. Establish a time limit of how long you are willing to wait for her. I find that three-six months is generally a good range. But frankly, if she is being kept escalated by her lifestyle and never seeks help for it, then it could go on for much longer.

      3. Take this time to take care of yourself. Don’t spend your time dwelling on her, what she’s doing, what she’s going on. If you want to give that thought, that’s fine. But don’t spend every waking moment doing it. This is a good time to recharge your own batteries.

      4. Tell her that she can call you once her brain crashes. This may mean nothing now, or ever. But if she is escalated, she will crash sooner or later. And hopefully she will remember that she can at least reach out instead of doing something destructive to herself because of the depression or chaos.

      If/when she does reach out – that’s the time to arrange getting her in to see a doctor and addressing whatever has been going on. Don’t put it off. Get her to make the appointment that day. That’s what she needs to do for mental health management.

      • D says:

        Hey Dennis,

        Thank you for getting back to me!!! You’ve been so helpful!
        So it’s been 3 weeks since my gf and I have broken up. I got my stuff back by her leaving it at work and having a friend tell me its in the office. (we work at the same place but see each other at work maybe once or twice a month) She asked a friend to have me leave her key on her desk. I did. I’m still respecting her wish of not contacting her and keeping it professional at work which I only saw her once. She hasn’t contacted me and I feel for the first time in a long time I’m rebuilding myself and working on myself. I’ve heard that she had blasted stuff on facebook and instagram from co workers and friends that I didn’t have her back but that doesn’t hold true based on my previous post to you. I hate that she would do that to herself on social media ya know. If anybody asked me about the relationship I would keep it short you know like, I’ll always care about her and she’s an awesome person.
        I didn’t have that chance to say to contact me when she “comes down” except in our very last text 3 weeks ago when she said I’m not ready to talk and that she was blocking me and I said let me know when you are ready .

        You’re right, all I can do is focus on what I have going on in my life. I’m happy that I came across this site as I have more knowledge about this topic and I can boldly say I grew the most as a person in this relationship and I don’t regret it for one second. I’m very proud of the relationship! As of now, I’m in no rush to date again but I’ll keep the door open for her for a couple months if and when she is ready, if not I will always keep the door open for her as her friend who will always care about her and always have her back since the day I met her <3

        • Dennis says:

          It sounds like you have a very healthy and sound approach to the situation. I really have nothing past that to add. Thank you for stopping back and letting me know how you were getting on.

          Good luck to you.

  103. Tammy says:

    Hi Dennis
    Its been over three months since my bipolar friend left me and I have used this time to learn all that I can about this condition. I texted him and mentioned that I knew he was going through something and I was here if he needed to talk. He jumped down my throat and told me he was not manic and not to contact him again. I let him cool off and went to see him as I try to maintain contact with him. He let me in the house for the first time in months. We talked for about 2 hours, during which he told me he was in love with the woman he is seeing now. I asked did she love him and he said he thought so. I let this pass. He told me he missed me and missed talking to me. He also said that it had been running through his mind how badly he had hurt me and he was sorry, Now the week before he told me he was done with apologizing and wasn’t doing it again. Had not asked him too, never have. He allowed me to talk to him about the symptoms of hypomania, while admitting he basically had all of them, he felt that everyone had these symptoms at some time. He also could pinpoint when the symptoms had begun and admitted that he had wondered at the time if his bipolar was acting up but had dismissed it. He swears he is taking his meds but is only on lithum. Same dosage as the last several years. This last time we talked he was much more calm and was not speed talking. He actually sat still while we talked and complained of being tired. Told me the night before he had slept about 11 hours which is very rare for him. Now this week when I text him he does not respond until I have texted him about three times. When he replies the answers are short, not mad or anything but one word replies. Actually told me he still cared for me and called me by a nickname he had for me. My experience with my father in laws bipolar, when he crashed, he would basically hit a wall, could hardly move. My question is, could my friend be slowly coming out of his hypomania? There is lots of info about the signs of a coming manic episode but not much on coming out. Does everyone react differently just as they do in the hypomanic state? His health is not great and he has been working like crazy, supposed to be on disability, and spending the money and charging even more. I fear his body can not take much more of this.

    • Dennis says:

      Bipolar people may not necessarily totally “crash” out of a cycle. Some people will just cycle down a bit lower for a time and transition into a new unwell cycle. This is part of rapid cycling. You may also want to suggest to him that the body does get acclimated to medication. So if he’s had the same dosage of lithium for years, that it’s probably time to talk to his doctor about it. I would inform him tht he could certainly be manic even if he is taking his medication regularly. He may reject it, but the seeds are planted for him realize it when he cycles down far enough to gain some lucidity again.

      You can’t really trust any of the emotional anything going on with him, at all. Who knows what is the mental illness and what is actually him.

      You should also set an end date for dealing with this as well. So you’re not strung along for years if he refuses to accept that he’s unwell over the long haul. That’s a decision only you can make for yourself though. My personal rule of thumb is 3-6 months. Time waits for no man (or woman as the case may be).

      • Tammy says:

        When you say cycle down to another unwell state do you mean depression, as he has been manic all this time?

        • Dennis says:

          Unwell states aren’t one straight line. You can be extremely manic, not that manic, manic, hypomanic, mildly escalated; and the same in depression.

  104. Tammy says:

    I feel my friend has mostly been hypo manic. I know he has done very little research of his illness and could not even tell me his correct diagnosis, just that he was bipolar. I know he feels happy now and works like he is on a mission, even though he is spending his money as quick as he makes it and running up his credit card. Does this illness also make him ignore his other health problems. When we were together he needed a shopping cart to walk the length of the grocery store and parked in a handicapped space. Now he is going dancing and working in 95 degree heat. He has had several serious heart surgeries and when we were together told me once it got above 90 he would curtail his work because of his health. He also has not told his current “love” that he is bipolar. I fear his body is going to suffer before he ever cycles out of this and I have no one to help me approach him. I have expressed my concerns, he always says he is fine. At least in the last two weeks he has admitted to being tired, I am taking this as a good sign. He also texted me to tell me he was using a key chain I had bought for him. I had ordered it when we were together but it did not come till a couple of weeks ago. At the time I gave it to him he acted like he had not wanted it even though when I ordered it he was really touched that I had something specially made for him. He told me he would just put it up in his safe and not use it. Now he is using it and let me know he is using it. I know I am rambling but I hope these small things are signs that he is coming out of this hypo manic phase. I just hope he does not have a physical issue before it happens.

    • Dennis says:

      I realize this is painful and confusing to watch, but what you’re describing is common stuff in hypomanic cycles. Yes, we absolutely do ignore our problems of all kinds when we’re escalated because LIFE IS FUCKING FANTASTIC NOTHING CAN BRING ME DOWN.

      I know you’re looking for signs that he is dropping, but the only real sign that he is coming out of it is a crash. Because he just could be not as hypomanic, which is a good time to try and get through to him, and then cycle straight back up into a more severe escalation. Sooner or later, he’ll hit a wall. And again, if he won’t listen to you there’s not really anything you can do about that, unfortunately.

  105. Tammy says:

    Damn! He has allowed me to talk to him some about his condition. If I could convince him to see his doc, and his meds were adjusted, could this stave off a crash or depression? I really just want him well at this point. Damn the relationship, I love him that much that I just want him well

  106. Dennis says:

    Best thing you can do is convince him to get back in touch with his doctor and start researching the Disorder more. Don’t worry so much about the outcome, wellness can take years to find.

  107. Nick says:

    I’ve been in a friendship with someone who is bipolar for about a year. I must say it have been a very eye opening experience. I truly was not aware of the extent of this disease. Today, I blew up and don’t know what to do. It is affecting my peace of mind. I care for here deeply, but it is as if I care more about her life than she does. I’ve been financially assistive for several months because they don’t seem to care about anything. Lights, rent, transportation , nothing. I’ve acquired additional debt trying to help out, but they seem so insentitive. I was told, I did no ask for you help. Wow, dagger to the heart. I will try to offer advice, but I’m told I’m “acting like their mother”. But some of the decision or lack of decision concerns me, because a child is involved. They tell me that don’t know how what they do affects my life! I’m like really, you don’t have a clue. Every now is blamed on my zodiac sign. You are just moody or insensitive. I’m tearing up as I write this, yes I’m may be moody and insensitive, but she never see the role when my mood changes. I’m starting to feel so much regret. There are things I’ve placed on whole to insure they are okay. I don’t know what else to do. The mixed signals, the carefree hurtful responses, the ignoring of responsibility, the transference of blame, is becoming too much. But despite the situation, I can’t fathom ending the friendship…she is like a little sister.

    • Dennis says:

      That is really an unfortunate reality for a lot of people. You can’t help people that do not want help or to help themselves. All you can do is protect yourself their chaos and shit. If she doesn’t want or appreciate your help, stop giving it. You cannot rely on a severely mentally ill person to make good decisions. YOU have to be the one to set and enforce boundaries. Doesn’t matter how close you feel to her or how you view her. Mental illness doesn’t care. Don’t let yourself get sucked under.

  108. Tammy says:

    Just wanted to stop back in and say thanks for all the insight into this illness. Thought I knew alot about it due to my father-in-law having it but I had barely scratched the surface. This blog and a close friend at work who is bipolar have taught me to sit back and stop trying to reason or make sense of a situation that I have no control over. I have stayed in touch with my boyfriend thru text and yes I have had to initiate those conversations. At times we talk like normal, at other times there can be no mention of bipolar or any issues he is having. We are going on 5 months of this and his obsession with another woman. It is hard. But this week he texted me, made plans for my birthday, actually called me when he was running late, spent the day with me, and texted me that night to tell me Happy Birthday again and to tell me how much he enjoyed our day and how much fun he had. Is he still hypo manic? Heck yes, hypersexual as hell, but hey, I got a chance to enjoy that for once. The take away is that for the first time in 5 months he is thinking of me, told me he had been thinking of me alot. Is it still painful? Yes, but being in a relationship with someone with Bipolar takes a lot of soul searching and deciding just how important this person is to you. He also went to the doctor on my birthday. Don’t know if he was open and honest with him but its a start. I’m at a good place with this now and hopefully he will soon be back to himself. Thanks for the help.

    • Dennis says:

      Thanks for taking the time to stop back around, Tammy. It’s good you have contact with him again, but don’t invest yourself too much emotionally or think you’re in the clear. If he’s still hypomanic and unstable, he could easily decide he wants something else tomorrow. So be sure you do your best to preserve yourself in dealing with him.

      • Tammy says:

        That’s what I am doing Dennis.At first it hurt so bad and all I heard was every one saying to walk away. It took my friend at work to make me understand that he wasn’t himself and I wasn’t helping him or myself trying to reason with him. I can pretty much tell now by looking at him when I can talk to him and he lets me know when he does not want to talk and I respect that. He knows I’m here if he ever needs me. I truly believe his hypo mania is seasonal and we probably have a couple of more months to go. This has been a true learning experience and I have been able to help other people with the things I have learned. My hope is that he comes back to me but if not, my world isn’t going to end.

        • Dennis says:

          It sounds like you have a very healthy perspective and approach on your situation now. That’s basically how you have to handle things.

  109. Michelle says:

    Hi Dennis,

    I wrote you back in January of 2014, your response was very helpful so thank you.

    I took your advice and attempted to be friends with my bipolar friend but we ended up not communicating for the entirety of 2014 except for the very rare text.
    My friend is currently medicated but down to just a mood stabilizer after being on more drugs earlier this year as he recovered from a manic episode that ended in a hospitalization followed by a serious bout of depression.
    At the beginning of this year we reconnected and started our romantic relationship back up again. We were together for about five months this time around but he recently ended things very abruptly once again.

    Our relationship was not that serious as he did not really include me in his life. He is quite close to his brother and a core group of friends he’s had since high school so he can actually be quite social but he and I sort of existed in our own bubble and he resisted any attempts I made to work on our relationship in a meaningful way.

    I will say when we were together he is sweet and fun and wonderful to be around. About six weeks ago I began to get frustrated with our relationship and finally talked to him about what we were doing. I told him I wanted to work on the friendship aspect of our relationship and if he wasn’t interested in that it was ok but that I would want to see other people. He told me he couldn’t handle being in a serious relationship and didn’t know what he wanted. I told him I was ok with figuring things out as we go and that I wanted us to try but that working on our friendship was important to me. He was really wonderful for about a week and half. We would talk on the phone more and he initiated plans and was very engaged and taking initiative.
    Then almost over night it was like a switch was flipped. We had a wonderful afternoon and made plans for the next day. When that day came around he canceled our plans and stopped by my house only to say he couldn’t stay more than 15 minutes. He was distant and anxious and things were different, I could tell immediately.

    We didn’t communicate at all the following week until I finally called him. We talked about him coming over later in the week and I asked him if everything was ok since I felt things were weird between us our previous meeting and we hadn’t spoken for almost a week. He finally said he thought maybe we should take a break. I then asked if he wanted a break or to separate permanently and he said permanently. He told me he didn’t want to be in a relationship, didn’t think he would be a good friend. He said he had his core group and was happy with that and didn’t want more than that. He was shutting down on the phone because he hates talking about stuff. He has admitted to me he has a horrible fear of confrontation and avoids it all cost.

    He has told me the idea of making a new friend is actually unappealing and not even realistic for him. He says he knows he has to deal with certain things if he ever wants to have a healthy, adult relationship. He says he’s incredibly guarded and he’s ok with this. He didn’t want to attend the concert we had coming up in about a week and said maybe we could try to be friends but he needed a break.

    Dennis, I am ok with him deciding he does not want to be with me, relationships don’t work out all the time. The thing I am having trouble with is how sudden and extreme it ended again. It’s almost like he was a different person overnight. Being broken up with sucks but it happens. I just wonder if you have any insight regarding the sudden change of direction that happened. He seems to be doing well so maybe it is just that he doesn’t want to see me anymore but the fact that he seemed to change literally overnight gives me pause.

    He really is a sweet and wonderful person but he has his issues. I have been the only person he has had a romantic relationship with since he was diagnosed nearly 7 years ago. Our relationship has been off and on, mostly off for nearly three years. He just won’t let that part of his life be filled but he has a very full life and relationships in other areas. I guess the other things I am struggling with and trying to understand is how this might be playing out in his mind and how he feels about it? I know you can’t really answer that question but for me, I am sad and I miss him and I’m going through a bit of a grieving process over the ending of our relationship. It just doesn’t seem like he has any feelings or emotions about it one way or the other and that is difficult for me. Do you have any insight as to the suddenness and lack of emotion? One reason I’m asking is we did say we may attempt a friendship in a few months but I don’t know if that’s actually realistic or even a good idea.

    Sorry for the ramble and I know there might not even be a clear question in all of this but he has shut me out again very suddenly and completely and it’s just terribly confusing.

    Thank you

    • Dennis says:

      Hello, Michelle.

      Your guy’s medication is still not correct. The “everything is going great” to detached numbness and apathy sounds escalation or “normal” into a depressive cycle. The “typical” (and I use that term very loosely) treatment for Bipolar Disorder is a mood stabilizer to bring in the top, an antidepressant to bring up the bottom end. It sounds like he just switched into a depressive cycle is all.

      I realize that’s probably very confusing and may seem “too simple”, but that’s pretty typical for Bipolar instability.

      Should you talk to him again, you may want to ask him if he thinks he may be in a depressive cycle. He may not realize it, or he does realize it and does not want to deal with it in the way we generally have to.

      Were I in your position, I would just let it go. His reasoning is also a pretty common one. I know that after I was diagnosed I took about three years off from relationships altogether while I was working on getting my shit in order. Even being “friends” with someone you have emotions for is difficult because you still have to manage those emotions that are bubbling around in your mind.

      I feel like it is likely he will reach out to you again, sooner or later, if he did view you as a friend. The depression may just be staining his perception of the relationship right now. But I can also understand the sentiment of not wanting more friends. Personally, I’m in a similar boat. I simply don’t have time or emotional energy to give to formulating more, deep friendships at this point in my life.

      If you talk to him again, ask him if he thinks he may be in a depressive cycle and suggest he talk to his doc about it. But it does sound like it may be time to let go and explore other things; because who knows how long he’s going to need to himself or if anything would even come of it in the future. From the sounds of things, he’s just not capable of handling this sort of thing right now. That may change. It may not. Were I in your position, knowing what I know, I would let myself grieve that friendship/relationship and move on.

  110. Anna says:

    Hi, I read your article and love that you put advice for people who don’t have this disorder. I also appreciate how you answer everyone! I work with a guy who is bipolar and schizophrenic. We were getting to he friends, or so I thought. He invited me to hang out and met my mom so that we could even though he was nervous, my mom is a but over protective. Now, out of the blue, he’s stopped joking around with me and doesn’t want to be friends outside of work. He’s a great guy and I want to help bring him out of this anti social behavior. I like hanging out with him and this sudder cutting me off doesn’t make any sense. I try to be there for him and I tell him he’s not crazy l, cuz he thinks he is, but now he’s just pushing me away and he says it’s not because of his illness but that is plays a role. Any advice? Thanks for your time!

    • Dennis says:

      Hello, Anna. Thank you for the kind words.

      A person with a dual diagnosis of Bipolar and Schizophrenia is going to be fairly unstable, even in good times. I realize it doesn’t make any sense to you, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense. Withdrawal is a coping mechanism that many mentally ill people use to keep things calm and push through troublesome areas.

      The context of the “you’re not crazy” information is important. I plan on expanding this in greater detail in a blog post next week. Is he telling you that in a matter of fact way, or in an “I’m an awful person” way. If you’re trying to tell him “you’re not crazy,” then you’re implying a lot of other things that his brain could run away with. Let’s say I sit down someone I’m getting close to and I say, I’m crazy. I’m Bipolar. They tell me, “no you’re not.” Well, that’s all well and good – but that doesn’t negate the suicide attempts, the delusional thinking, almost going off the deep end, and the decade of pain and anguish I’ve dealt with because I am crazy. It would be really easy for me to conclude that you have no idea what you’re talking about and that you’re not listening to what I’m telling you.

      Because if I sit down and say “I’m crazy” to someone, when I normally keep that information buried, it’s because I’m trying to let you into my world. Not have you try to tell me how I’ve experienced life.

      Or, he could just be unstable and not be for any reason at all. That is very much a possibility for us crazy people. You may also try waiting a week or two and trying to reestablish contact. Give him some time to work through whatever is going on in his head.

  111. Dan says:

    I suffer from Bipolar disorder and have lost all of my biological children. I had two children with my first wife in Germany while in the Military. She left me 6 months after we came to the states. The way she left me was just horrible. I attempted suicide twice. I was stationed in Fort Benning, GA at the time. I would get up around 5:00 A.M. and sit outside on the front steps and see what guy was dropping my wife off so I could get to work on time. I later found out she was working as a stripper and whatever goes along with it. I was in a daze all day while trying to play the stupid army games. Finally a guy in my company laughed at me in front of the whole company and yelled out “my buddy had your wife last night for fifty bucks”. I ended up in the hospital for 2 months. Shortly after I got out of the hospital we sent our kids to live with my mother in Wisconsin while we resolved or divorce. I’m not saying I’m blameless in the breakup. I wasn’t the perfect husband either. I have type 2 bipolar and that wasn’t known in the early ’80’s. I left the hospital with anti depressants which only makes you more depressed. All I did was cry for hours every day for months. I knew I was going to lose my 2 daughters eventually. The night before being discharged I went into town to have a few drinks. I had heard where my wife worked and had to go see for myself. I don’t think she even saw me. I walked in the door and saw her right away topless. Not that it matters but it was a strip club in which I was the only white guy in. I left immediately. I moved back to Wisconsin the next day. My 2 daughters were staying with my mom. I stayed there for a couple months but couldn’t get a decent job. I left my 2 daughters with my mom and moved to Minneapolis MN. My X called my mom and wanted me to create and sign a document that waived all my parental rights so she could move back to Germany with her new husband and the kids. I thought this would be better for them then the possibility of them living in some slum down south. She was pretty slick in her knowledge of the system. I had no money for an attorney and couldn’t really ask my parents. I got hauled into court about a year later for child support. I told the judge what had transpired and it got tossed out. I went back to Germany while with the national guard and saw them once. I brought them to the states for the summer 3 times while they were growing up. And each of them stayed with me for a year and attended school here. I always tried to maintain a positive relationship with them. I will say I did make a huge mistake though. During Birthdays and Christmas’ I rarely called them. It was just too painful for me to do so. I just missed them so much. I still suffer extreme depression on Christmas and their birthdays.

    In 1987 I had remarried and had 3 children with my second wife. Her mother had been divorced 3 times and knew the court system very well. My wife went and got a restraining order and said that I had beaten her. I honestly never hit her. Even the cops said while removing me from the home that there was no sign of anything like that going on. They said it was the law and there was nothing they could do about it. What she got out of it was enormous. She got a lawyer for free and I had the stigma with the court as being abusive. I couldn’t see the kids unless I had someone else pick them up for six months until the restraining order expired.

    After the 6 months was up my 2nd x-wife wouldn’t let me see the other 3 kids. I was going back to college and had no money. I took her to court 3 times without a lawyer to get visitation specified and the judge folded every time she shed a tear and ripped into me. Finally I gave up trying to see them. She hid them from me somewhere near or in Milwaukee. I would never find them if I tried. I contacted the child support agency and they wouldn’t even give me there whereabouts.

    In 1999 the court had issued a warrant for my arrest for not paying child support. I had an Okay from the judge to attend college because I had already started before we were divorced. He figured like I did that they would get more on the back end after I graduated. Anyways, my X-wife’s husband and her wanted him to adopt them. I really hated to do so but I was thinking of them having a father. I knew she would never let me be their father. So I settled by giving her I think something like $10,000 and waived my parental rights.

    Fast forward to 2010 and I find out from a facebook pic that my 2 oldest daughters from Germany had good relationships with the 3 younger kids. I had remained in contact with the older kids but they never mentioned it. I was just crushed. I cried so hard my eyelids were just raw. I went to visit my daughter in TN and she told me she could never think of me as her dad. From there on she started calling me by my first name. Now, all of them have had nothing to do with me for 2 1/2 years. I actually got the one on the phone in TN a year ago and told her I was going down there if I had to and try and straighten things out. She said “I want nothing to do with you.” She and her sister had bought all the garbage my 2nd wife dished out. My 2 older daughters even went so far as to block me from facebook so I can’t even see pics of my grandchildren. So here I sit every day in sadness and know I am absolutely nothing to any of my kids. One says I’m nothing and the other says I’m just some guy they saw a couple of summers.

    My wife set up a facebook account of her own this weekend and so I looked up all 5 of my kids and see the messages to one another. I see how buddy buddy they are with my second wife and her husband and I just can’t even begin to describe my feelings. It’s hard to stay alive. I’m on meds. They don’t do much. Put me to sleep is about it.

    I thought I had accepted that I would never have my kids in my life again. I know that’s the way it’s going to be but it doesn’t make it any easier. I just don’t understand how they could do this. I know the story is really condensed but I’m searching for some kind of solace or answer. What can I do? I guess I just sit here and take it. It’s beyond painful.

    • Dennis says:

      Thank you for the follow up message to let me know you weren’t suicidal. It would be easy to interpret your message that way.

      As I wrote to you yesterday, I had to give some deep thought to what you’re facing. I think I may have something for you.

      1. If you have not done it already, I highly recommend you look into Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT focuses on learning how to address and manage unwell thought processes. One of the first things I learned was the importance of not sitting around and dwelling on shit. My therapist introduced me to different ways to distract myself from the negative shit I was dealing with and work around it. The more you sit around and think about it, the worse it drives you into unwellness. It sounds like you experience the Disorder in a very similar way that I do. I am very sympathetic for the shit you’ve been through and the struggles you’ve had, but it’s in the past. It’s done and over with. That energy that you are sinking into how shitty things went for you in the past is energy you can be sinking into a better future. And that means more than just meds and doctors. It’s understanding and working with what’s in your mind and have to deal with on a daily basis, so you can get through today and face tomorrow. I 100% understand that this probably sounds trite because I used to do the same exact stuff. Learning to manage my thought processes help alleviate a lot of my depression though and it may help you too.

      2. I think you should write a memoir for your kids. Start from the beginning, from the earliest time you’ve started dealing with your mental illness. Detail everything that happened, what you’ve been through, what you’ve survived, what you’ve pushed through. Explain what happened with their mothers from your side of the story. But here’s the catch – you’re going to have to do it in an entirely neutral way. Your ex-wives have had years to brainwash the kids against you and you haven’t been around to fight that. To get through to them, you’re going to have to chip through that. If your memoir is a tirade of rage, they are going to read that and buy into what their mothers have told them even deeper. They’re going to look at it and say “hey look, mom was right, dad is an insane asshole.” So you can’t do that. It needs to be neutral, placid, matter-of-fact.

      3. This can also serve a therapeutic purpose. It is widely acknowledged that journaling can help pull traumas and problems for our brains and help us cope with them. It may help you deal with the hand you were dealt and the shit you had to wade through as a result. It may make your own load easier because you’re addressing it, putting into something meaningful.

      4. You’re not writing to print. You’re writing for yourself and to deliver this message to your kids. If you aren’t an actual writer and aren’t familiar with the process, this is where drafting comes into play. Your very first draft you just write what is in your mind, what needs to come out. You don’t worry about the emotion, consistency, or anything else. You just get it out of your brain and onto the page. Then you start drafting, you go back and clean things up. You smooth out the roughness, you soften the anger to more effectively deliver your message. You don’t have to be a writer to do these things, but based on your post, how you communicated, and the construction; I don’t see you having many problems with this.

      5. Electronic delivery is golden in this case. The mothers can’t simply take the document and throw them in the garbage. You can get them directly to your kids, saying, “I know I haven’t been around. I wrote this for you so hopefully you can understand why.” And leave it at that. Give it to each of them that are old enough to understand it. And here’s the good thing about it. You don’t have to get through to all five. Since they’re close? You really only have to get through to one. If one of them can see the truth of the situation, of your reality, then they will hopefully spread that to their siblings and help open those doors up to realize what your ex-wives did to you and how they have been deceived.

      Frankly, I’d like to say that this seems too outlandish to believe, but I’ve heard similar stories over and over and my dad’s first wife tried to do the same shit with my half-sisters; get my dad to sign off and let her new husband adopt them. So I feel you man.

      Now, I have no idea if this will work. I have no idea what may come of it. But if I were in your position, that is the approach I would take. Write your story, save it in a PDF, email it to your kids. It’ll be way the fuck easier than trying to explain yourself over and over and chipping through the walls your exes have built.

      If you decide to do this, let me offer you a couple additional tips.

      1. For god’s sake back up your work on multiple devices. I have two back ups in addition to my original saves of work. If you pour your heart and soul into a piece like this and lose it because of a technical glitch, it’ll be devastating. ALWAYS USE BACK UPS.

      2. I am willing to proofread and edit for you once you have completed the manuscript and self-edited. Given my experience with writing, editing, and so on; I can help you smooth it out and attain a neutral, point-of-view in talking about your relationships with their mothers. I don’t know if I would recommend having your wife or someone emotionally involved with you do it. Most people would have a hard time staying neutral and objective in that situation. My expectation is that you would write it, go through and do an initial edit yourself, and then when you think it is ready to go to your kids; send it to me first so I can give it a final edit.

      The last time I offered to help someone like that they sent me 200 pages of butchered English that they didn’t even run through a spell-check. I’ll proofread, edit, and smooth out; I will not rewrite.

      Anyway, that is the only thing I can come up with that may help you and help your situation in a way that you haven’t tried yet. Keep on with the doctors and such, keep pushing for wellness and trying shit. I know that a lot of times we think we’ve “tried everything” when we haven’t really scratched the surface. So be proactive, tell your doctor what’s going on, the fact that you’re not finding relief, and keep pushing.

      I don’t know if things will get better or not. I can’t tell you that. But I think this approach will help put some power and control back in your hands, has a chance to create some positive results for your mind and with your kids, and may help you cope with the hand you were dealt.

  112. Dan says:

    I reviewed what I posted and believe that it’s pertinent to mention that I am not suicidal right now. Sorry if I gave that impression. I do notice that I’m starting to go down hill some though. I’ve had just about every family of meds that there is. Nothing really works very well. I’m on lorzapam and quetiapine. Had the best results with lithium but the side affects were so bad I had to get off it.

    I just feel stuck. Thank God I have a good wife, 2 step daughters, and 3 grandchildren from them that really keep me alive.

  113. Cherylynne says:

    Hi, I just spend a long morning reading through this site. I appreciate all the information that is shared here. I myself have a friend with bipolar and I am struggling to handle the issues in the correct manner. We met about ten years ago. She was pretty well at the time and let me tell you, when she is well she is a lot of fun to be around. She’s very creative and chatty. She likes to plan and attend parties, go places, do things. She had a bad crash sometime after her marriage ended. Like everyone else who goes through a bad breakup, she went through a prolonged depression. Then she began to do things out of character. She made bad impulsive decisions. She spent an entire inheritance that had been left to her (we’re talking over a million $) in less than two years. She bought stuff that made no sense, things she’d never expressed interest in before and never used. She got into destructive relationships. A lot of damage was done, she even ruined someone’s marriage with her inappropriate behavior. Our friendship was on thin ice for a while, but I saw her through as she sought out counseling and medication. At first the medication was disasterous, then a correct diagnosis was made and she did a lot better. As a bipolar, she must maintain a strict and regular schedule, follow a healthy regimen. I am there for all that and our friendship was repaired. So now her depression has reared its ugly head again and I am afraid every time I see her name on my caller ID or a text from her that I’m in for two hours of depressed ranting. A while ago I told her I could not be her private therapist and she cut me off for two weeks in anger. When she came around we did not discuss the issue just picked up where we left off, but I know she is still probably fuming. She will talk about numerous people behind their backs but to their faces act like all is fine so I’m sure this is what she is doing with me. When she is in her bad faze all lightness and fun is gone, she is miserable to deal with. She hates everyone and everything and blames everyone for it. She will talk over you, you do not have conversations it is just her ranting and draining everyone around her. The natural tendency is to pull away and many have already. I know she has been working with a therapist and they added some kind of medication which she hates so does not stick with. I do not have an easy go of it right now myself, there are things I have to deal with in my private life and I don’t have the time and spare energy to give to her. I know she probably thinks I’m abandoning her too but how do you keep giving and giving when someone is so sick? Nothing changes when it is thisbad, I worry she won’t pull out this time.

    • Dennis says:

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. To cut to the most basic answer of your question – you don’t keep giving. When dealing with a person like your friend, you have to be the one to limit how much they are allowed to take because they won’t limit themselves. They may not want to or even care to. So, if her response in you telling her you’re not going to be her therapist is to cut you off; say fine, shrug, and go do your own thing. Silence is a very typical method of manipulating people.

      If that’s the decision she wants to make, let her make it, and don’t let it affect you. Or if it does affect you, don’t let her know that it affects you so she won’t see it as a viable option. You have to take care of yourself first and foremost. It sounds like she’s already been through an awful lot and has a pretty fair distance to go in terms of working towards recovery. She may stumble. That’s just part of it really. Ultimately, you can’t help someone that doesn’t want to help themselves. If she refuses to take her meds or talk to her a doctor and find a solution that may affect her with less negativity, there’s not a lot you can do about that.

      She may not pull out. A lot of people don’t. It’s just the way it is. I really have no comforting words about it. It sucks and there isn’t much you can do about it. She has to be the one to do it for herself.

      So don’t feel bad about drawing boundaries or taking care of yourself. You have to. There is simply no other way that will keep you healthy.

  114. Chrissy says:

    Hi urgent message I’ve just been proposed by my friend he has bipolar, this is really hard and stresfull for me, there are time we talked about this and he says that were good just as friends and now I recieve the sudden surprise of being proposed in public marriage is sacred for me and I’ve always waited this moment, I’m a single mother of a baby and we’ve known each other for a good year and a couple of months I’ve seen his ups and downs and its stresfull for me I don’t think I can take this any longer that it gets to a point that scares me. I’ve been advised to tell them and their parents that we need to step away but I’m scared of how he could react . please I really need help I know this isnt right. Many thanks

    • Dennis says:

      Hello. You would be better off speaking to a counselor about this situation if he is regularly unstable or you are unsure if he may hurt himself or do something drastic. A professional will be able to help you formulate a better exit strategy and help you deal with the anxiety of your situation. It’s not something that any random person or article on the internet can really provide you accurate advice on because we don’t know you or your personal situation.

  115. Cherylynne says:

    Thank you for the response. Even if there is no simple answer, it helps to hear an expert opinion. Yes, it sucks. That really does sum it up. What a terrible disease.

    • Dennis says:

      Bearing in mind that I am not an expert. I know a few things that I share with others, but I am far from an expert or professional.

      At any rate, you sum it very succinctly. It sucks and there isn’t always a good or viable answer.

  116. Scott says:

    Hi Dennis, I recently came across your blog and I find it very informative. I want to get your insight into the situation I am facing. I am the friend of a woman who I recently learned is bipolar. I’ve never been exposed to anyone like her before or really know anything about Bipolar Disorder and I’m struggling to understand recent events and determine how I should handle things.
    A little background… I’ve been friends with this woman for a little over a year. We work together and our friendship developed after we started working on projects together. We discovered that despite a significant age difference (I am over 25 years older), we had a lot in common. I came to realize what an amazing person she is; she is young (early 20’s), energetic, confident, outgoing and sharp as a tack. About six months ago we started commuting to work together. This took our friendship to another level as we had over an hour each day to simply hang out together. We began to confide in each other and we were able to have honest and open dialog about almost any subject. Throughout this time, I had no idea that she was bipolar. There were some aspects of her behavior that puzzled me on occassion but I just chalked that up as the quirks that made her who she was. Every once in awhile, we would stop and have a beer or just hang out together outside of the office. On occasion, people would confuse us as father and daughter. We would laugh about it since our friendship was unusual but I admit, I did begin to think that if I did have a daughter, I would want her to be like my friend. Shortly after we started commuting, her live-in boyfriend went back to school and entered a program to be a fireman. The program is quite intensive and is very time consuming. Coupled with the fact he needs to keep a regular job to pay his bills, he is working/training/studying over 80 hours a week. She began to complain that she never got to spend any time with him and she was spending all of her evenings at home alone. She hated that the program was going to take two years to complete. About two months ago, we were having one of our after work beers when her phone rang and she learned one of her grandfathers had passed away. She broke down once we reached the car saying this was the first time she ever lost anyone
    close to her. I comforted her as best I could. A month ago, we were at a company function when she received another phone call and learned that her other grandfather had been hospitalized and only had a short time to live. He hung on for four days before finally passing. During this time she learned an old friend was addicted to drugs and had just given birth to a drug addicted baby which she abandoned. Same hospital. She would visit her grandfather and the baby every day. She wanted the baby. During this time, I noticed she seemed rather down on our drive to the office. When asked, she said she was really missing her boyfriend. A few days later she backed out of a side project we were working on together outside of work. I was pissed
    because she seemed so indifferent about it. Half our drive home was spent giving each other the silent treatment before finally talking it out and resolving our feelings. We then went and had a beer. She told me that during the silent period her stomach was doing flips because she was worried this would damage our friendship. I told her I was feeling the same way. It felt good to resolve it. So the following Monday we have our normal commute. Everything back to normal and the conversation was good. I drop her off, we say goodbye and she says she’ll see me in the morning. Tuesday, I’m heading out the door to pick her up when she texts me and says she is driving herself to work. This is unusual and When I ask her if she is ok, she tells me that she remembers when she drove by herself and how peaceful and relaxing it was. She then tells me she wants some space and we are done commuting together for awhile. When I try to get her to talk about it, she gets defensive and says some unkind things to me. WTF!?!? Once she gets in she immediately comes into my office and apologizes for her texts and tells me to ignore them. She also says she has a bunch of shit going on in her life right now that she doesn’t want to talk about. She asks me to give her something to work on, which I do, then she disappears from the office for the rest of the day. She does not stay in contact. It took over a week before I saw her again. She called in sick
    and/or worked from home on other days. She did message me a few times but her messages were short and cryptic and were strictly work related. Once, in the middle of a conversation, she just went offline. Forty minutes later she pops back on with “Sorry, I decided to make lunch” and then continued our conversation like nothing had happened. Starting the next week, she is not at work again. Vacation day. The next day she finally shows up. We have a meeting in my office every day with about a half dozen people. She is upbeat and energetic. Smiling and interacting with everyone but me. She won’t even make eye contact. That day I ended up running into her mother. I told her what was going on and that is when she tells me her daughter is bipolar and has been under a lot of stress lately. She is also self-managing (I immediately start to do
    some research and educate myself. Eye opening). Anyway, things have been on a rollercoaster since. We are into week three. I tried to get her to talk again but she says she doesn’t want to. I send her a message telling her I’m having trouble understanding what is happening but I value her as a friend and will be here for her if she needs me. That seems to touch something in her and she finally responds. She doesn’t want to talk about her “shitty life” but she does want to remain friends. However, she only wants to talk about movies or tv shows and not about our friendship, “that’s just weird”. She thanks me for getting her to say it. This seems to make things a little better between us. Still up and down though. One day she acts close to her old self, others not. Those days she comes to the meeting and her eyes look moist and she won’t look at me. It is painful to see her smile and laugh with others in the room. There has not been a single “personal” message from her since it all began unless I initiate it (“Hey, did you watch Walking Dead last night?”). Recently, in response to a question, she says we should go have coffee tomorrow and talk about one of the shows we watch. “Cool, let’s do it”. Tomorrow comes and nothing. When I ask when she wants to go she says she is really busy today and can’t go. Thirty minutes later, I see her walking into the building with another co-worker, coffee in hand. Ouch! When she sees me, there is guilt all over her face but no apology. So that is where we currently sit. I’m growing concerned. She continues to take vacation or sick days or work from home. She seems to be avoiding the office. Unusually, she also goes “offline” for extended periods of time. She was constantly online before. Everything I read talks about the challenges the friend of a bipolar person faces. I’m not sure what to expect or what my boundaries should be. I’m not sure I’m even reading things correctly. I have questions. It seems much of her behavior is targeted at me and she appears to act normal with others in the office. Is this expected behavior or am I misinterpreting everything? Will she return to the person I knew? I feel like I’m losing my friend. Her mom tells me to be patient. I’m interested in an outsiders take on all of this.

    • Dennis says:

      Hey there. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Bear in mind, this is pure speculation and I can’t know for sure as I am not a mind reader.

      I suspect you’re a trigger for her relating to her grandfathers. The fact that she was so torn up about the loss of her grandfathers suggests that she had a decent enough home life and relationship with them to be a positive aspect of her life. So losing them would be a potential point of destabilization. So, what do you and they have in common? Well, you’re both all older men that she probably does have some paternal view of to some degree, based on your post. That doesn’t necessarily have to be in the familial love area at all. It can just be the kind of feelings that particular relationship invokes.

      The people we Bipolar people truly care about are the biggest threats to our stability because emotion is an intangible that Bipolar Disorder can easily play with. So, if she shared similar paternal feelings for you as she did her grandfathers, seeing you is going to invoke emotions relating to her grandfathers which is a potential for destabilization as she is flooded with the feelings of loss, misery, loneliness, whatever.

      She isolates herself from you in a personal way to shut those feelings down. She is still sane and reasonable enough to know she needs to carry on with you in a professional way, so that’s a good thing. It implies a good deal of control and understanding on her behalf.

      Knowing what I know about Bipolar Disorder, were I in your position, I feel the best thing to do would be to give her the space she needs. Do not take anything she does or says personally right now. If she brushes up against you for whatever reason and is apologetic about the situation, just say “It’s okay. I know you’re having a hard time right now. You can let me know when you’re ready to talk again.” And just treat her like any other person you work with. Sooner or later, the cycle will end and she will get some balance back. I wouldn’t recommend telling her you know she’s Bipolar until you two reestablish personal communication and do NOT discuss that point with any of the people you two work with. There is a lot of stigma surrounding it and she may not appreciate being outed by her mother or to her coworkers.

      You’re not losing a friend. I strongly suspect she is just in damage control mode right now. If anything, I would look at this as more of a confirmation of how much she DOES care about you. Because if she didn’t care about you, this wouldn’t be a bother to her at all.

      You’re most likely not going to lose your friend. In most cases, a person dealing with the shit she’s dealing with will come back around when the cycle ends and she can deal with whatever emotions are in her head effectively. I have no idea how long that will be. Could be tomorrow, could be months.

      I agree with her mom. She most likely just needs some time for the cycle to run its course.

      And a final point. If, for whatever reason, she tries to initiate any romantic type contact – shut it down immediately. The Disorder can make us believe weird things when we are unwell; including “confusing” types of care/love/whatever you want to call it. If you did, the friendship would most likely die after the cycle ended and her brain rebalanced.

      If you have any other thoughts or questions, feel free to fire away.

  117. Scott says:

    Thank you for your reply and your insight. Your response helped clarify some things for me. I also understand what you said was purely speculative but it makes sense and I appreciate your point of view. Your perspective on me being a trigger relating to her grandfathers is interesting and one I had not thought of. I know I’m a source of stress for her right now and I believe the reason she doesn’t want to talk about it is deeply personal. She could easily be associating me with them. I wonder if her admittance of her stomach doing flips while thinking she may have damaged our friendship isn’t related as well. It would seem to indicate that she does care about me which could put me in the same emotional space.

    Thank you for your advice not to reveal that I know she’s Bipolar. I’ve been wrestling with that and really am unsure how she would react. The fact that she chose not to say anything up to now indicates there might be that stigma you talk about. And rest assured, I would not discuss this with anyone at work. That has to be her decision to make not mine.

    If I look at all the indicators objectively, everything points to the fact that I’m probably not going to lose my friend. She has even said as much although that was wrapped in a cloud of mixed signals. More realistically, it is a fear that our friendship is changed forever. My conversations with you as someone who lives in this world every day and her mother who has experience dealing with her cycles, give me hope. That said, I still can’t stop my mind from going there when she acts like we hardly know each other. I realize coping with the emotional roller coaster is going to be a constant battle. A big issue I am having is trying to come to grips with just how I should act. I really care about her which is evident in my post. You recommend giving her the space she needs and treating her like anyone else I work with while the cycle plays out. Does that mean I remove any personal interaction or do I try to be the scaled back friend she says she wants but doesn’t really respond to?

    Finally, I find the romantic contact thing a little scary. To be clear, my feelings for her are not romantic nor do I believe hers are towards me. Our age difference, the fact that I am happily married with two sons and she is in a committed relationship allowed us to remove that stigma from our friendship and just be ourselves around each other. It was really nice. Without a doubt, our friendship is unusual but there have not been any indicators towards romance. However, I will take your words to heart. She has been acting out of character so I guess it falls within the realm of possibility. I value her friendship and would definitely shut it down to save it. I’m scared that even the act of shutting it down could possibility destroy what we have built. I hope that I’m not put in that position.

    Thanks again Dennis. I appreciate your blog and allowing yourself to be my sounding board. I know I will think of your words often as I take this maiden voyage as the friend of a Bipolar woman who has become unbalanced. Happy Thanksgiving.

    • Dennis says:

      Yeah, to be clear, I wasn’t insinuating anything about your character or hers. Just that, sometimes Bipolar Disorder unwell cycles can cause a great deal of confusion in a person’s mind. And confusing a friendship love for a romantic love is a pretty common one. Nothing to really be scared of. Just something I’m making you aware of on the off chance it happens, so you won’t be caught off-guard.

      Assuming the grandfather theory is on point. She doesn’t want to talk right now because she can’t control what images, feelings, and thoughts flood her brain. Even looking at you could bring back all of those feelings of loss. For perspective, I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with my second exfiancee. I adored that woman. But when she left it crashed me into a deep, hard depression. She wore lavender all the time; body wash, shampoo, soap. Catching a whiff of lavender, even years later, would crash me into a depressive cycle because it would just flood my brain with all of the emotions and negativity I felt during that period of time. It took time and work to get that under better control.

      I think if it came to a relatively placid point or she was having a very emotional reaction to something; I would quietly say something like, “Your mother told me you were Bipolar and sometimes have some troubles in dealing with things. It’s perfectly okay. We can talk more about this when you’re feeling better.” On the one hand, yes you’re confirming that her mother outed her. On the other hand, you’re also showing her that you’re not going to bolt on her because of her. A lot of us end up burying these things because there are several people who are afraid of Bipolar Disorder, usually rooted in awful shit a Bipolar person did to them or a loved one. I’ve been pulled aside by a couple of people who were functional, holding down careers and family, who had attained wellness but kept that secret buried deep because of what they had lost in their lives up to that point.

      So don’t take her isolating herself too personally. She may feel it’s entirely necessary based on previous experiences. You can only hear “I’ll be by your side no matter” and watch those people walk away so many times before you just stop believing it.

      In regards to your fear about the friendship changing. I think it will change. I think it will get better and stronger. Why? Well, for one, you have a good, open mind about the situation. You’re willing to listen to more knowledgeable people on the subject to help find your way. And you seem like you genuinely care. On her side, she is still very functional. Doesn’t appear to be toxic based on your conversation about her and the friendship. She just seems to not know how to manage this turbulence in a way that involves other people. That’s not uncommon. And if you are a trigger for her, well, avoiding triggers is a common way to help maintain stability although not always a great approach when it’s another person.

      Once the cycle ends and she has greater stability. You’ll most likely be able to reforge the friendship and make it better. And if she lets you in on the Bipolar side of things, well that’s a very deep and intimate thing for most people.

      Don’t worry about her “not responding” to your being a pulled back friend to her right now. Losing two grandparents in such a short time would be a pretty severe trigger for someone who’s close to them. Things should change once the unwell cycle ends. How long will that be? Impossible to know. Could be tomorrow, could be months from now. So you don’t want to invest a ton of emotional energy into worrying about it in the event that it turns out to be an extremely long cycle.

      I can tell you how I would handle the situation; which may or may not good for you. I tend to be a lot more direct than people are used to. But I would pick up like a sympathy or neutralish friendship card to give to her and write something like..

      “Hey there. I’m sorry for everything you’ve been going through lately. I want you to know that I had talked to your mother. She told me that you are Bipolar and having a hard time with that right now. I’ve been doing my own research and I have a better view of the kind of challenges you may be facing. I just want you to know that whenever you’re ready and let me know, we can pick our friendship up where we left off. Until then, I will just treat you as I would any other coworker. I know a lot of Bipolar people feel that they need to go things alone, but I’m more than willing to learn and try to offer support while you deal with these things in the future. Hang on to this card and re-read it if you ever start worrying about our friendship!”

      In doing so, you’re clearly defining that you know, are working to understand, working to accommodate the disruption, and most importantly – that you’re not going to bolt on her. At that point you don’t have to worry about her thinking she fucked up the friendship; she has a tangible reminder she can look at if she starts feeling like she ruined or can’t have friendships. And she’ll know that she can reach out to you when she’s able and ready.

      That will also eliminate the gray area for you. You can treat her like a coworker and just focus on doing your thing while the unwell cycle runs its course. I would remove all personal interaction for the time being. I would try reach out with a “how are you doing” in like a month or two. Gives some more time for the unwell cycle to end and attempts to bridge the gap if she still convinces herself that she shouldn’t reach out afterwards (which also isn’t uncommon for Bipolar people who aren’t toxic. “I don’t want to drag anyone else I care about through this.”)

      You’re very welcome.

      Have a great holiday yourself.

  118. Mindy says:

    Hi Dennis,

    I just spent the last half hour reading your article about maintaining relationships and the comments that followed…very informative, thoughtful, and helpful. I’ve been searching online the last few days for some kind of help, advice, thoughts to get us through the next couple of days when I think we’ll be at a critical crossroad with my stepdaughter. Since I don’t have time to seek out a counselor in the next 48 hours, I’ve come online and stumbled across your site.

    My now 23 yr old stepdaughter was diagnosed as bipolar a couple of years ago. Both of her parents’ family have a history of mental illness and depression, although her mother’s is stronger…she herself struggled with depression and her aunt was schizophrenic. We’ve known for a few years before she was diagnosed that Daughter sufferes from some sort of depression. As a child and teenager she was a happy, considerate, well-adjusted, loving person, but there were a couple of times in her late teens that she would become this hateful, sarcastic, foul-mouthed monster that we didn’t recognize, for no logical reason. She’s lived in her grandmother’s upstairs garage apartment since she was 19 and started college, works part-time as a nanny, and although she was in college full-time (ironically, as a child psychology major with the intention at the time of working in that field), her course load has dwindled over the last couple of years (understandably), and has not taken any classes this year.

    She doesn’t pay rent, utilities, auto insurance, for her medications, etc. Her grandmother and father occasionally give her money for food. She’s estranged herself from her mother, after an argument they had during one of daughter’s unwell periods. I expect she uses her money from her nanny job for gas and going out. When she admitted one day that she wanted to kill herself, that’s when we hospitalized her. She’s on medication and supposedly sees a therapist, although I don’t know how regularly, and I honestly wonder what she tells her doctor/therapist. She only comes to visit her Dad & I when she needs something and only invites us to her apartment when she needs her Dad to fix something. I’ve mentioned to her over the last couple of years that it would be good for the 3 of us to go to her therapist for at least one session together. She agrees, she’d like that, but never follows through.

    That’s the background. Here’s my problem/question…

    Daughter never officially came out, or talked to her father or I about coming out (and that’s fine, she doesn’t have to), but came over unexpectedly on night after work last month and brought her girlfriend. Ok, fine. Not really a surprise, other than they just showed up at the door and daughter literally just pushed Erica in my face, as if it were a test of our love and support. I guess we passed. I felt bad for Erica.

    Looking back, despite the fact that we have both openly supported LGBT rights, marriage, lifestyles, etc., are not overly religious, and have verbalized our liberal views both to her and publicly on Facebook, I feel this was to see how we’d react. Since she was a teenager, she’s been confrontational and emotionally manipulative. However, regardless, we had a nice visit, everything was fine. We got to know Erica, she seemed nice, seemed to make daughter happy. That’s all we care about.

    Fast forward to last week…without discussing it with us first or asking our advice about emotionally healthy options that would help to set everyone that she cares about up for success…at the last minute, literally 15 minutes away from my very conservative parents’ big 50th wedding anniversary party, daughter calls her father, leaving a vm, letting him know she’s going to come out at the party and we have to support her. It was “Damn the torpedoes! Full steam ahead and who cares about the emotional casualties (including herself)!”

    Husband called daughter back, saying, “I don’t think it would be a good idea to come out here at your grandparents’ party. I think it would be better to wait for a more appropriate time where all these people aren’t around. One on one with your grandparents, where you can explain things to them and answer their questions, and hopefully, get the support and understanding that I’m sure you want from them.”

    Daughter, “we’re 15 minutes away!” Husband, “I’m sorry. It’s just not the right time. We love you and want to see you. Please come on to the party.” She hung up angry and they turned around and went home.

    Needless to say, daughter is very angry, twisting everything around, giving us ultimatums on how we should handle things, calling us and my family bigots on Facebook to all of her friends (and getting tons of “likes” for it). And, my mom and other family members are “friends” with her, so they saw all of this. Husband and I are supposed to go over to discuss things tomorrow afternoon at her apartment. I’m trying to be optimistic, but the last time we had a “discussion” about something while she was in an unwell period, it was her calling to say in a calm voice, “Dad, can I come over? There’s something I want to talk with you and Mindy about.” and then barging in the door, screaming and cursing at me the whole time, and then leaving, telling her father she never wanted to see him again.

    Over the years, despite her behavior towards me, knowing what was causing it, I’ve tried to be supportive, to have it thrown in my face, spat at, cursed at, then treated the next time as if nothing happened. She does this to her father too, which actually makes me more upset. So, over the last couple of years, I’ve found myself starting to emotionally disengage. It’s not something I’m proud of, but the alternative is it leave all together, and I couldn’t do that to my husband, whom I love more than I can say. I simply try to be there for him.

    So, any thoughts, words of advice on how to handle our visit tomorrow? I realize it’s last minute. If you’re not able to reply before we go, I will certainly understand and will write again to tell you what happened. After reading your article and your replies to the other commenters, I feel that you really care, and I appreciate you.

    Thank you,

    • Dennis says:

      Hello, Mindy. Thanks for commenting. I hope this isn’t too late.

      In situations like this, I take a bit of a different approach than a lot of people do. I respond to the person’s anger with a stone face or mild anger of my ownr. I usually don’t get angry even when I’m dealing with people I’m emotionally attached to. I know not everyone has that luxury. It’s normal for a manic mind to steamroll the people around them; because usually it’s people they care about. Those people can see how off their loved one is and doesn’t want to be “mean” or upset them more. But when it comes to mania, it’s probably going to happen anyways.

      The way I would speak to her would be as follows.

      “You’re manic. You shoved your girlfriend in our face as some kind of bullshit test. You know we support gay rights, as evidenced by our vocal support for liberal causes and open support of gay rights. You wanted to come out at your grandparents 50th anniversary? That’s not YOUR day. That’s YOUR GRANDPARENTS day. You want to come out to them, do it quietly and move on from there. Give them time to see it and work through it themselves instead of potentially screwing up THEIR DAY.”

      If she’s swearing or verbally abusive, “You can either talk to me like a civil human being or you can leave/I’m leaving.” And then do so. Remove her or remove yourselves. You cannot win an argument with a manic person. Anything you say will be twisted and used against you. The best way to handle that situation is to simply not engage.

      Emotional disengagement is actually a good thing in these kinds of circumstances. The less emotion you feel over the situation, the better leverage a person can exert over the mania. Now usually, people will interpret this to mean that I’m suggesting to write off the Bipolar person all together. But that’s not the case. It’s learning, knowing, and accepting that you’re dealing with someone who has a drastically different perspective on the world because of a mental illness. If she is extremely manic, she very likely, genuinely believes that people are against her and her coming out. Delusion plays a huge role in the Disorder. That is, delusion being the belief of something being true that clearly is not and can be proven to not be. In this case, that you all are against her being bi or a lesbian.

      Also – therapy is kind of iffy for a lot of people. It is incredibly helpful for people that know what they want to get out of it. But it’s not incredibly helpful for people who don’t. Mental health management is like 95% personal work. I’m the only one that can be honest with my professional. I’m the only one that can take this medication and figure out if it’s working well for me. I’m the only one that suffer through all of the tedious bullshit that goes along with it. Just “going to therapy” really doesn’t help a person like your step-daughter who, by your limited words, doesn’t seem to have a great grasp on how different Bipolar Disorder makes her.

      But yeah, i think if I was attending this meeting today, I would have say the above and stick to it. “You’re manic. You’re manic bad decisions. The only thing I HAVE to do in life is pay taxes and die. Everything else is a choice. And I choose not to support your manic decisions.”

      If she gets physical or starts making threats, call the cops. Hard, defined limits are the only real way to chip through this kind of unwell thinking.

      As for her dad, and for other parents reading this, traditional love and emotions are a liability in dealing with an unstable child. It’s only natural to want to love and help your adult child. Unfortunately, you cannot. The only person that can help that adult child is themselves. So getting them to realize that they need to is the greatest order of business.

      I would like to reiterate – she is likely manic based on your description. If she makes any threats against the family or self-harm; notify authorities. You don’t want to take chances with that shit and you’re probably going to piss her off in the process. But she has to learn that she cannot conduct her life the way she has been and you can never be too sure when you’re dealing with a mentally unstable person.

      EDIT: You and your husband may also want to look into de-escalation techniques. They can also be very useful in trying to unwind someone like his daughter. But that usually doesn’t work with a person who jumps from zero to enraged while manic.

  119. Scott says:

    Hi Dennis, I thought I would follow up on my situation and let you know about recent developments. After our last conversation, I decided to take your advice and simply step back into the coworker role and limit any personal communication. I was hopeful that this would help to reduce her stress and mine.

    Unfortunately, on Monday morning, I had to sit down one on one with her and get an update on her project status. This would be our first face to face interaction since this all began and she started doing everything she could to ignore or avoid me. Things kicked off as you would expect, I messaged her to let her know that I wanted to meet with her and her response was very curt and snippy. This was going to be interesting. Needless to say, when we sat down together, things didn’t go so well. Frankly, she was a real ass. Cutting me off or flippantly answering my questions. I finally had to tell her to stop being so hostile and that I was here to help her. I reminded her that her last review (which occurred shortly after she went out of balance) didn’t go very well and that some of her work lacked focus and attention to detail. That seemed to break the ice and she was more receptive to my feedback and suggestions as we progressed. By the end of the review her attitude had changed considerably and she actually appeared upbeat. She thanked me for helping her.

    Later, she asked me if I would help her with a problem she was having. This was significant as this was the first time since this all started that she reached out to me (we used to work on problems together almost daily). Once again, our session went well. I was encouraged. On top of that, she even stopped by my office to show me some pictures on her phone. This was the best interaction we’ve had in awhile, it was a good day. I was curious to see how long this would last. There had been brief moments in the past where I would catch glimpses of her old self but they never lasted more than a few hours.

    Tuesday we picked up where monday left off. She actually looked at me and smiled when she came to the morning meeting. It felt really good but I fought the urge to test the waters and increase my interaction with her and gave her space for the rest of the day. I didn’t want to blow it if any change was occurring. There was a moment later in the day, however, when I walked past her office and she waved. Ok, now I’m starting to believe that something is happening. Another good day. Two in a row is huge!
    Later that night, she texts me to ask if I’m watching a show we like, now I KNOW something has changed.

    Today, when she gets into the office she immediately stops by. She pulls up a chair and starts talking about the show. She stays until the morning meeting and remains sitting by me during it rather than the one foot out the door routine she has followed for the past three weeks. Twice, she asks if I would stop by her desk to help out. The whole day she acts like my old friend.

    Just before the end of the day we happen to get a moment alone and she says to me “I feel like I’m back in a good place now. I treated some people pretty poorly. Definitely you and my mom. Especially my mom, I was really a shit to her. I hope I can make up for it.”

    Holy shit, Dennis! She came back! And it happened just like you suggested it might. We spoke a little more but just in general. I want to be careful and not push her but I would also like to talk about some things at some point. I don’t want to keep secrets and I want her to know that I know she is Bipolar. She asked to drive together on Friday. Maybe then. I’ll see how things go.

    Meanwhile, I want you to know that I appreciate all of the sage advice you’ve provided. I can’t begin to tell you how much it helped. That said, I would like to call on you one more time, if I might, and ask if you have any advice on how to approach this next phase now that balance has returned. Are there things I should look out for? Things I should do or avoid? Do we just pick up from where we left off? As always, I look forward to your input. Thank you.

    • Dennis says:

      Glad to hear things smoothed out quickly. That was a pretty short bump of instability really.

      Were I in your position, I would take the opportunity to try and start a dialogue about the Disorder, in private of course. The drive on Friday would be a good time.

      She may be uncomfortable talking about it. You will want to point out things like..

      “You can better preserve your friendships and relationships if the people you trust know what’s going on with you. I was pretty confused by it all. It would have been easier on both of us had you just said ‘I’m unstable right now and need some time to myself.'”

      You can also point out if you’ve been doing some reading and research on it yourself to try and better understand things; but that you would like to better understand it from her perspective. Mental illness is a very personal thing. Even though we share symptoms, individual personality plays a significant role in how we handle things and perceive the world.

      People always ask me how they should broach things with people. I know it’s part of my being autistic, but I always prefer direct and blunt. I think it also helps that I actually am Bipolar so other mentally ill people are willing to cut me some more slack. Or maybe I’m just good at paving the way as I go. But if I were in your shoes, I would just say “I’d really like to discuss this recent bit of instability when you’re in a good mental space to do so. I have some questions and would like to discuss it with you.”

      And then just pretty much go from there. Frankly, that’s how I address about anything. So do whatever is most comfortable for you. The one universal piece of advice I can give is to treat it like any other regular thing in approach. I talk about my mental illness and stuff related to in the same way I talk about having a cold; it’s there and I must deal with it. It helps put other people at ease since everyone is so wary about treading around it. Of course, that sometimes rubs people the wrong way; but anything can do that really.

      I’d say just pick up where you left off as much as possible. If it helps, think of it like this metaphor. You’re on a plane having a good flight, you hit some turbulence and things are a bit rough and bumpy for a bit, and then you come through the turbulence and continue the good flight. That’s pretty much how an unwell cycle would go in optimal circumstances.

      My goal would be to build better, more open communication surrounding the subject with her. That way the turbulence is less disruptive next time she hits it. “Oh, you’re unwell and need some time to yourself to manage. Alright. If you need me or when you get through it, give me a yell.”

  120. Kari Toon says:

    Thank you – I just found this site, after 15 years of “living the life”.

    Thank you for your insights into blowing up relationships – this has given me some tools for trying to avoid it. Pdocs do nothing but give out pills – never a discussion about helping me to live, or about handling relationships.

    I am considering CBT Therapy. Has anyone tried it to any avail?

    God bless everyone on this site.

    • Dennis says:

      Hello, Kari.

      I’m glad you’ve found my website and information helpful!

      I spent about a year and a half in CBT. I HIGHLY recommend it to everyone; mentally ill or not. CBT is largely centered around controlling and managing one’s emotions and how they drive our decision making processes. I know a ton of regular people who would benefit greatly from it. There are tools I learned in CBT that I use every day, that I will use for the rest of my life. If you have the opportunity, go and learn what you can.

  121. Anonymous4729 says:

    hey there . different from the other, its not me or my friend who has a bipolar. i dont know if i am just being paranoid or what. but i just realised that i have those symptoms of being one. i was 15 years old (97′) when i started feels hyperactive -like i am the top of the world-although i didnt had enough sleep or eat, sad and happy over nothing all suddenly. i dont have any control of what i want to feel.
    its so frustrating everytimes its happened. i isolated myself most of the time just so my so-called friends cant realise about this. same goes to my family. mostly i’ll just shut my door closed most of the time when i got home.-i live in hostel since i am 12 years old.
    just recently i decided to open up with my mother. she decided to ‘clean’ my soul from whatever that possessed me.-giving me our holy water as a muslim. also she asked me to go seeking help from counselor, just in case its not because of that ‘whatever’, by myself.
    for your information i was a victim of bullies back when i still a little kid 4-11. i never tell my parents because last time i did-when i was 5, they do nothing. i still remember the names who bullying me back then, but none of their doings i remember. so i figure out maybe i am not having a trauma, although since then i am afraid of trusting, relying on them too much. i never had long terms friendships because of this and my mood swings issues.
    will you give me your opinions about my issues ?
    p/s: sorry for my broken english, its not my first langguage. 😉

    • Dennis says:

      Hello there. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I would like to point out that I changed your Display Name to Anonymous because you have such a distinct name. You don’t want to use your full name when talking about stuff like this so Google won’t connect you with the post if someone decides to Google you for whatever reason.

      I’m not a professional of any sort and it is not my place to comment on what you may or may not be experiencing. I can tell you that given your description, it sounds like you experience enough distress and problems with these things that you should reveal them to a counselor and get their professional opinion on the matter and see if anything can be done to address them. Were I in your position, that’s what I would do.

      You mentioned that your mom suggested you go to a therapist, but never said if you did or not. If you haven’t or if you had a hard time being honest about what you are going through, it is very important that you do find someone you feel comfortable opening up to about these things so you can get an honest, informed opinion.

      And your English is fine. Better than some native speakers I know!

      • Anonymous4729 says:

        yeah about my name, just notice it as soon as i posted.
        thanks for such a quick reply and compliment ..i guess?
        btw, about my trust issue, i have a roommate here in college who i have known since high school-3 years ago. she take a same course of mine, same classes and same groups. what i wanted to say is, she doesn’t has any idea why i’m always get angry at her for some silly reasons. at first, she always asked why i’m behaving that way, but as time goes, she just let it pass because she know i’m always cooled down later on and acting like nothing happened… should i or shouldn’t tell her about my condition ?
        if the answer yes, what can tell her?, like “hey, i have some issue with my mood swings, just be patience with me until the end of this semester” or tell her the whole story? i prefer the previous one though.
        and no, i haven’t seen one -therapist, due to my strict schedules and, my college only has one’re a great advisor, maybe i don’t need a counselor anymore.

        • Dennis says:

          Less a compliment and more just a statement of fact. It would be pretty easy for someone to Google that and know exactly who you are and what you’re dealing with. You know?

          If you feel your friend is trustworthy, I would tell her. She may take it poorly or even be afraid of it, but if she’s been friends with you for this long then I would think that she wouldn’t be too put off by it. Do whatever you feel comfortable with in regards to how much information you give her. You don’t have to bare all if you don’t want to.

  122. Kellie says:

    Hello, Dennis. How are you? My name is Kellie. I too, am thankful that I’ve stumbled onto this site. You don’t know how many web searches I’ve performed and thank goodness, I finally found this one, because I am at wits end! I apologize in advance for the long, drawn-out posting, but I want to be accurate in my portrayal of events over the past few months as they have unfolded. My bi-polar boyfriend (or should I say ex-boyfriend), is 45 years of age. I’ve known him a little over a year now as friends, although we began a romantic relationship in October of last year, so we’ve only been seeing each other for approx. 5 months. I met him through his sister; she is my best friend. I’ve attended family gatherings, birthdays, and special events with his family because of my close relationship with his sister, so it’s be fair to say that John and I had stared our relationship in a healthy place, as friends first. He was actually in a relationship with someone else, as was I, when we first met. Both our relationships fizzled out within 2 months of the other’s. We stayed in touch and when he got his own apartment, he invited me over. I didn’t know it would lead to anything, even though we were extremely attracted to each other from the first time that we met. Let me back track by saying, that my best friend had told me that he had some issues, such as sometimes drinking too much, and she considered him to be an alcoholic, which does run in the family; their father just celebrated 23 years of sobriety. I never seen nor thought that he was intoxicated when I’d see him at gatherings though, because he is so well-functioning.

    Anyway, so he invited me over to his place, I showed up with a table candle as a housewarming gift, everything was going wonderfully, we discovered that we had so much in common, world views, tastes in music, morals and values, etc.; everything just flowed so smoothly. He’s also revealed to me that he suffered from major depression disorder, but he was not bi-polar like his paternal grandfather. (Now, I’ve studied bi-polar disorder, but only textbook, and I’ve interacted with schizophrenic/bi-polar individuals whilst at a clinical facility rotation needed for my nursing degree, but the individuals that I had encountered had delusional thinking and sense of grandeur; some of those individuals thought that they were animals, some even God, and John was nothing like them, so I believed him when he said he wasn’t bi-polar.) We were out on the balcony, I was cold, he put his arm around me for warmth, and then he kissed me.

    I felt like there was electricity circulating throughout my entire body..I hadn’t felt a connection like this in probably decades, that’s how amazing it really was and I knew John felt it too! He said he’d wanted to kiss me for quite some time now and that he knew I was the one for him the last time he saw me at his sister’s graduation dinner, when I took his hand as he walked me out to my car and I hugged him goodbye. He said he wanted an exclusive relationship with me, and he wanted me to stay with him all weekend and that he didn’t want me to go home. I asked him if he was sure, that this could be awkward with his sister being my best friend and all, and that I wanted us to be sure that we thought about her feelings and the fact that we’re frequently around his family together.

    He said he had thought about all of that as well, and he’d also thought about our future together, marriage, having a life growing old with each other. I didn’t reciprocate those notions, but I wanted a relationship with him, so we agreed to begin our relationship as a couple. But I couldn’t stay all weekend with him, because I’m currently a nursing student and I had to study for an exam over the weekend. He said in the morning, we’d head over to my place and get my books, and I could study at his place. We became intimate that evening, and we were so happy. So much so, that I couldn’t sleep, lol! So, around 5a.m., I kissed him and told him to just sleep in and I’d return with my books. I headed back to his place, got us breakfast, and went in to kiss him good morning and began to study. He awoke, and started eating breakfast with me and I noticed that he had a stainless steel coffee mug he was drinking from. I automatically knew he was drinking alcohol, first thing upon waking up in the morning. I thought, “omg, what have I gotten myself into?” He still seemed quite groggy and a little standoff-ish, but I assumed it was because he had just woken up, so I continued to study.

    He’s always been so supportive in the past when it comes to my education, and he’s really good about giving me time when I’ve had study sessions with his sister when he has been around, and said he just liked having me there with him. I ended up leaving around midnight, and all was well. We communicated with each other every day. But on Thursday of that week, he broke it off with me, saying he didn’t want to rush into a relationship! I thought this was odd, being how opened he was with me and conveying his feelings for me about our future together?? So, I broke off all contact with him after that. His sister informed me that he was crushed that he’d lost me as a friend, she worried he may attempt suicide again and she urged me to offer him my friendship. It went against my better judgement, but out of respect for my best friend & her concerns, and to make things easier at family functions, I agreed to honor her request and I contacted him a week or so later, Stating that I was not upset with him and we could continue to be friends. Next thing you know, he’s contacting me every day, saying he can’t stop thinking about our weekend together, and he’s having trouble concentrating at work, because all he does is think about me and he was really depressed and he wanted me to come over. Knowing what I had known at that point, I was concerned, so I went over, he had been drinking. I listened to him talk about how much he hated his job, his life, etc. and could I spend the night with him. I told him that we’re not going to engage in a sexual relationship any further, he was fine with that, he just didn’t want to be alone. He seemed almost like a child, and just wanted to be held and hold me, so I stayed. We decided to just see where our relationship would take us. I left around noon the next day and all was well. He texted me and phoned me till Wednesday of that next week, even asked me out on a date for that Friday, and again, on a Thursday, he sent me some disturbing messages with songs attached, stating that he was a mess! Again, I went over too his place…he was smoking weed and drinking to self-medicate…he was totally void of feeling, and informed me again that he didn’t want a relationship with me, but then came onto me!! I thought, this is so f’d up! I told him his behavior was disturbing to me and I wanted to leave. He hugged me goodbye for a long time, I didn’t reciprocate, I felt utterly disgusted and I couldn’t wait for him to finish hugging me. I was fine with the relationship being dissolved at that point, I thought he was a sleazebag. I went on with my day-to-day schedule, even accepted a date with another gentleman and had a great time. I hadn’t heard from John in over a week, thank goodness!

    The following Thursday, I had my second date with the same gentleman; a divorced police officer, who I thought was so sweet and kind, and he was gorgeous and normal, but when he kissed me goodnight on our first date, I didn’t get that same feeling like I did when I kissed John. But he was perfect, responsible, attentive and caring, so I really wanted to try and establish a friendship with him and see where it may lead. So I’m getting ready for my second date, again, on a Thursday, and who should I hear from?? John, of course. I was so irritated!! He sent me more texts with my favorite song attached by The Rolling Stones, “Waiting On A Friend”, and asked me what I was doing? I was angry, so I told him the truth, I was getting ready for a date. He responded, “good for you, lucky guy.” I was fuming, didn’t respond back, I had to get him out of my head before my date. Needless to say, my date was cut short because my date had to respond to a series of emergencies because there was flooding in the area and he was a part of the emergency response team, which was for the best, because I couldn’t do anything but think about John the entire evening.

    I returned home & let my best friend know I was home safely, she said she meant to tell me that if John contacted me, not to tell him about my date that since he found out he had been on the phone with her crying all evening, saying that he wishes he could be normal and no one will ever love him the way he is and that he has nothing to offer me. She said “I thinks he’s at a breaking point.” He told her he’d be dead by year’s end and and that she was very worried about him! I felt horrible!!!

    I thought, what if he tries to kill himself again? So, I tried reaching out to him the next day, thinking that maybe I could get him to stop holding up in his apartment and get some fresh air or something; get him away from the same four walls he’d imprisoned himself in so often. He replied, “thank you for the invite, but with all the damage from the storms, I’m rather tired, but I appreciate you thinking of me.” I told him, no problem. He texted me all night, I tried to lift his spirits. He again, texted me the next evening and asked me to come over, so with his fragile state of mind, I agreed to go see him. I listened to him wallow in self-pity, tried to give him advice, he said he felt better with me just being there and then he shifted the conversation again back to being in a relationship with me…I cut him off and said let’s just let it be and enjoy each other’s company. We were intimate and I left his place in the morning. He asked me back for the next evening, I accepted. It was roughly December about this time, and winter break from school was approaching. I was tired and worn out with school, my emotions were up and down because of John’s inconsistent behavior over the last couple of months and so I planned to visit friends in Arizona in two weeks, and he had to attend his other sister’s wedding for a few days in Mexico a week and a half prior to my vacation. He called me the day after he returned home because he missed me and asked me to come over. I informed him of my trip and that I was only going to be gone for a week and he was rather upset that I was going and asked me “why, why did I need to go?”

    Honestly, I needed to be around normal people for a change who cared, loved and respected me and I needed some time away from him without the constant text messaging, and wondering if he was going to hurt himself, and my relationship with his sister had become strained at this point, because I resented the fact that she had pleaded with me to be his friend in the first place, after he had broken up with me 2 months ago. But I simply told him, “I’m tired, John, and I need a vacation.”

    He’d also agreed to stop drinking and wanted reassurance that I’d be there for him if he did…I said, “Yes, I promise, I’ll be there for you. He had been sober for four days prior to me leaving for my trip. I had decided to send him inspirational quotes whilst I was away. I wasn’t gone but a few hours on my trip and I remember I was at a restaurant with friends and he sends me this disturbing text message that was so dark with a song attached, about drinking to forget your past, your sins, not a lot of time left etc., all because I wasn’t there to attend his company’s Christmas party with him and he wasn’t sure what I was doing! I though, my God! Can I never enjoy any time away from him??? I told him that his behavior was disturbing and did I need to call his sister? He said not to bother her, that she’d freak out. I said, “Oh, but it’s okay to freak me out, on my vacation, when I can’t do anything about his mood swings?” He apologized and said we’d talk when I returned home and to enjoy the rest of my trip. I continued to send him inspirational quotes, never heard anything more from him. That Thursday, I didn’t send his inspirational quote for the day until late afternoon because my phone was out of range when we were out in the desert. He started drinking again; I found out 3 days after I returned home because he wouldn’t return my calls right away. He needed me again, he was so depressed, so I dropped everything and went over to be with him. He missed me so much, he met me out at the car, hugged me and kissed me, and he was so happy to see me. I missed him too, by this point, I knew I had fallen in love with him. We had a great evening and he asked me to stay the night…5 seconds later, he said I should go home..stay. go. stay go!! He walked me to the door, I was frustrated, but kissed him good night and left. On New Year’s Eve, he asked me to go to a party his friends were throwing..since he’d broken a date with me in the past, I just thought we were going as friends. One of his acquaintances came onto me at the party, I tried to tell John we should leave, but he was drinking and smoking weed. This acquaintance of his tried to touch me when I went outside to grab my coat from the car, he had evidently followed me outside. I got away from him and informed John that we had to go. On the car ride home, I informed him of what his friend had done, he was so angry and ended up blaming me for the whole thing. I told him to be very careful of what he says to me because once you spew venom, it’s out there and you can’t take it back. he said that I was his date and how could I have ruined the evening for him and he finally realized how important I was to him, and that i should’ve told him! He was high, I tried to tell him, but he was in his own little world at the time. I returned home the next morning, he shouted at me more on the phone, but he said he really cared about me, and all he wanted to do was be with me as a couple. So, he stayed at my place, for the very first time, the entire weekend, it was like magic, we were so happy!! The following weekend, we rented a beautiful lake cabin and hired a fishing guide. We were having the best time, but our last night there, after dinner, he had a meltdown!!! He accused me of just wanting him for sex, being jealous of his cat, and started rambling on about things that didn’t make any sense! I apologized just to calm him down, but he wouldn’t stop ranting and raving. I took a hot bath and found him curled up in a ball in the guest room. I kissed him and told him to come back to bed with me and I held him all night. He didn’t talk to me all the home almost. Two and a half hours of silence and defensive body language..I didn’t know what to think. I had to stop and get gas, when I got back in the car, he apologized to me. I kissed him and said it was okay but I need for us to not have anymore craziness like last night with school starting back up and I wanted us to be in a good place. He agreed and said it wouldn’t happen again. He unpacked my car in a frantic manner once we returned to my place, he gave me a quick kiss goodbye and left. In the weeks that have followed, I have been walking on eggshells. He has become increasingly more unstable with each week. For the past three weeks, I haven’t been able to concentrate and my grades have suffered; I’m on the Dean’s List, so I do not want to relinquish my status and I would like to graduate with honors. He disappeared, ceased all contact 3 weeks ago, but then apologized and said he was depressed and needed to isolate himself. I try to be understanding of his isolation periods, which I have become familiar with since October, all I ask is that he l