need help dealing with bi-polar SO

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by stepdadWITHadhd, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. i know this site is for child related problems, But right now I've honestly been having more problems with my Bi-Polar SO. Such as today Things were great, then she gets uspset about something or another and I become the "target" as usual. And of course, I feed right into it and were arguing. then by the time i realize that it is a senseless argument and refuse to participate. im left FURIOUS!!!

    She's recently been placed on new medication, but im really not sure they're helping. I really need some advice. This has been a constant issue for the last month or so, and i just can keep doing it. I mean She is really a wonderful person but i really cant keep having ALL of my faults thrown in my face just because she's in a bad mood.
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Bipolar is more than just being in a bad mood. That's really trivializing the disorder. in my opinion you should learn more about it because it's a devestating illness.You may want to contat NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Health).
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I don't think stepdadWITHadhd was intending to trivialise bipolar. I'm also wondering if getting some good information on exactly what is bipolar, and what is simply bad manners, could help here. Because while it could simply be bipolar not fully managed due to medication changes, it could also simply be a spouse behaving badly for no valid medical reason.

    At my writing group there is a woman who has a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder. That means we tend to be more forgiving of her bad behaviour, if it seems she's having a difficult day due to her condition. But there are times when she's badly behaved and frankly, there is no excuse that we can accept. She does have some level of self-control in a lot of things and we can tell the difference.

    I have a friend who also works as my cleaner sometimes (when I can't get my usual cleaner). He has bipolar. But generally he's a nice bloke, well-behaved and in control. However there have been times when I can see he's not coping and his condition is not under control. I'm generally sympathetic, but I also tend to back off if he's manic or verbally aggressive. I've learnt to not allow his verbal attacks to escalate, by not engaging. However, even at his worst, he's never been really nasty.

    Another writer I met also told us all she has bipolar and tends to go without medications. She says she functions better that way. Certainly she seemed on a high, functioning with mind going here, there and everywhere. I'm sure to her she felt she was functioning brilliantly, on a higher plane altogether. But to me, she seemed disjointed, not fully paying attention or able to focus intently on fine detail. She also took a set against me and seemed to need to publicly take me down a peg or two (or three). I let it roll off me, talked to her afterwards and offered to help her organisation. My contacts to her (including more offers to help in response to her broadcast emails asking for assistance) have been totally ignored. So where she is concerned, I can see that while bipolar has an impact on her in various ways in that it seems to help her get a lot of different things done when she's firing well, and she does her best to avoid the crippling depression she knows stops her in her tracks, the rest of her behaviour toward me is independent of the bipolar. She has either dismissed me as insignificant, or has taken a dislike to me and is being rude. Nothing to do with bipolar. Just plain bad manners.

    What I'm trying to say - the label doesn't always explain it all. Nor should a label ever be used by anyone as an all-purpose excuse. "I can't help it, I do have bipolar," is inappropriate, I feel. And the same goes for any other condition, I'm not just reserving this for bipolar.

    As we said to our kids, "It's a reason, not an excuse."

    When you live with a condition, you get to know how it affects you and you learn to adapt. When that condition is changeable, that can slow down your adaptability, but it never eliminates it.

    I think MidWest Mom has a good suggestion, in that if you inform yourself about bipolar in general, then study your wife and how she seems to be affected (and also work out what helps her and what doesn't help) then you will be better equipped to cope. If your SO had a hearing problem, you would have found ways to help you cope - perhaps ensuring you had eye contact with her before talking, or perhaps writing things down. In the same way, there are techniques you can use to de-fuse a developing situation, warning signs that can tip you off to change direction.

    Can you talk to her at a time when she is calm, about your concerns about whether the new medication is working? Ask her what she thinks about it, then let her know what you have observed. If she begins to get upset then drop the subject until she can discuss it calmly. Or perhaps offer to make a few notes from your point of view for her to show the doctor at her next appointment. Often the patient feels everything is fine, but everyone else around them can see the problems. Again, not just with bipolar. My difficult child kids feel they're fine, it's everyone else. They feel the same on medications as off them, but notice when they're off medications that everyone else is irritable! Of course, everyone else is irritable because we want to throttle them!

    I hope you can find some useful answers in your digging for information.