Convincing someone to get help?

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knk102
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 11/19/2008 12:40 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello - I am new to this forum.  I'm writing to see if anyone has suggestions for me.  My boyfriend of 5 years, I believe, has Bipolar Disorder.  We have very extreme ups and downs.  When things are up, he's the most charming, funny, wonderful person to be around.  And when he's down - I can't even be in the same room with him and his depression always rubs off of me and puts me in a terrible mood.  He recognizes when he's up, even calling himself 'manic'.  But when I suggested that he see a doctor and get help, he flat out refused.  I think this is b/c he works in the mental health field as a counselor and is aware of the social stigma that comes with being diagnosed.  I really do think that if he doesn't get help it will ruin out relationship.  Does anyone have any suggestions on what I can say or do to convince him to get help?

happy bill
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 1132
   Posted 11/19/2008 2:56 PM (GMT -7)   

 

This is a tough one. My wife tried to tell me for years i was bipolar, and i flat out refused to believe her. It took some extreme stuff to get me there.  In the end a lot of what happened could have been avoided, however no one, and i mean noone wants to hear this about themselves. Denile is not just a river in egypt. LOL LOL LOL

   My advice as a man is help him understand and explain the consequises if he doesnt get help. You have to mean it that you will leave, and even then it may not go as you plan. Good luck, this will not be easy.

     Bill


Precious Gem
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 1139
   Posted 11/20/2008 6:25 AM (GMT -7)   
knk102,  I do not have a clue.  maybe if he is the kind of person that gets a yearly physical, maybe you could encourage him to talk to his regular MD about it.  Some people just do not want to hear the word Psychiatrist.  Atleast that would be a start.  I think alot of BP people, especially if they are more manic do not seek help because they do not think anything is wrong until it really gets out of control and they get into trouble with the law or a relationship goes sour, etc  I hope you find a way to at least get him to go talk to someone.  Good luck!

serafena
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Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 11/20/2008 9:32 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi knk102,

First let me welcome you to our board and to HealingWell. You are in a very tough position. Whether your bf is bipolar or not, there is often a long period of denial before a person gets so miserable that he/she sees their life is a mess and they need to see a doctor. That is tough to live through. You need to decide if you're willing to live through that with him.

You could always give him an ultimatum: see a doctor or I leave. But you'd better be willing to follow through if he doesn't go. If you are willing to stay, tell him CALMLY and GENTLY exactly what your concerns are. Don't do this when either one of you is upset or miserable. Do it when you're in reasonably stable, pleasant moods. Tell him you are concerned about him. Keep it all about him. Don't let him change the subject. Insist you talk about it. Tell him how concerned you are about it, that it's really weighing on your mind. Make him see it's really important to you. Offer to go to the doctor's with him. Offer to make an appointment for him. Make him see you really want him to be healthy and you don't think he is right now.

If you make it about you -- about how his moods are affecting you -- he's just going to blow you off, so stay with the message that you're concerned about him. He knows when he feels like crap, he's just ignoring it. But if you insist on making him face those hard times, maybe he'll acknowledge them and do something about it.

Hope this is useful,
serafena
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II


knk102
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 11/20/2008 10:08 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you - the replies were all helpful. Trying to make it all about him is a good point, as I do want him to be healthy. Yet on a selfish note, his illness is affecting me greatly. Being around him when he is depressed is enough to make me just as depressed. I've decided the best thing to do is to wait until he is 'up' again before I try to talk to him about it. When I try to talk to him in the state that he's in, I just get a blank stare. He has had periods of "moodiness" before, but I just chalked that up having a bad day or us fighting about something. But I hadn't lived with him up until this point. I moved 1700 miles from my home for relocation, and he decided after I was gone for 2 months that he wanted to come with. So he moved to be with me and we are in the process of buying a home. But now that we are living together I saw him change, literally, overnight. It's very depressing - the thought of these moods and having to explain them to our (possibly)children someday. I'm in a very tough situation :(

serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 11/20/2008 12:27 PM (GMT -7)   
That is something you want to think very hard about.

Living a life with a bipolar spouse is not easy. Even when we are medicated and seeing doctors regularly, the moods do not entirely go away. They calm down, they have smaller peaks, but bipolar people rarely are "normal." If he is bipolar, he's going to continue to have breakthrough depressions and manias despite his medications because the meds are not 100% effective, and that's assuming he takes them all the time. Meds need to be adjusted regularly, and it often takes quite a while to find a medication that "does the trick." It's not an overnight fix. It takes a strongly dedicated spouse to put up with all that.

I'm not trying to scare you, just to be honest. You need to decide if you can handle these ups and downs for the rest of your life, because if he is bipolar (and remember, you don't know if he is or isn't yet) they will be a part of your household. I do believe (as the mother of a 3 year old) that children are flexible and forgiving. But it takes effort on the part of both of you to ensure that they are loved and secure despite daddy's mood swings.

Hope this is helpful,
serafena
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II


knk102
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 11/22/2008 10:41 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you Serafena, I do appreciate your honesty. Unfortunately, I know, too, what it's like growing up as a child in a bipolar home. My father had episodes (and he too refused treatment) and I know what it's like to have to walk on eggshells as a child. And I also saw the toll it took on my mother. And I do not ever want to live that life again. I don't want my mother's life because I saw how hard it was on her. And I know how hard it was on me growing up. Sadly, I don't think there's anything, not even my love for him, that can make me live that life again.

shebsy
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 125
   Posted 11/25/2008 6:22 AM (GMT -7)   
Dear Knk,

I was diagnosed with bipolar last year. My family preferred to suffer and let me suffer rather than take me to a psychiatrist for 15 years. Indians don't go to psychiatrists, period. I went through 6 months of psychosis and I did psychiatrist hopping rather than let one psychiatrist diagnose me. I was in denial because I went to a prestigious university and was scared of how a diagnosis would affect my career (it did and I had to change career paths). At one point, I even preferred death to a life outside the exclusive social circle I lived in.

No amount of convincing or "I care about you" statements can get a manic patient to a psychiatrist unless s/he is convinced it will benefit him. You need to explain to your boyfriend things that I wished someone had explained to me when I was psychotic. There are books on successful bipolar patients and tales of people who did tremendously well after getting diagnosed and treated. If someone had told me back then that Ted Turner, Richard Branson, Da Vinci and some of the greatest authors had bipolar, I might have been less likely to walk out of psychiatric wards and discard my medication. It is pointless to appeal to a bipolar patient's emotions because they change rapidly, but appealing to a patient's logic helps. Try being logical. Try telling your boyfriend how successful he can be if he becomes more in control of his life through treatment.

Maybe it helps.
Sheeba

knk102
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 11/25/2008 1:18 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the advice, Sheeba. It's very hard to try to tell him all of those "logical" things b/c he himself is a mental health counselor - so he's aware of all of them already. He works with bipolar patients and insists he does not have it. I know I'm not the 'expert' here, but his behavior seems to be almost textbook. Now I'm curious to do a little research to see if there are stories of therapists who were eventually diagnosed after years of denial...

shebsy
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 125
   Posted 11/25/2008 11:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Dear Knk,

I read somewhere that most psychiatrists who have bipolar do not admit it because of the stigma attached. There is plenty of info. of that kind on PsychCentral.

Sheeba

knk102
New Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 11/26/2008 10:20 PM (GMT -7)   
That's kind of what I was thinking, Sheeba. Thanks so much for the research lead!!
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