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falling apart
Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 61
   Posted 1/8/2009 10:46 AM (GMT -6)   
Just those of you who are suffering form BP and those of you supporting someone who is, how does it affect your social life?

Does all the turmoil and strife occur "behind closed doors" only?

Are you actively social? Do you have a network of people you socialize with?

Or do you prefer (or are you "forced") to be at home with your family at all times?

Have you experienced symptoms or had episodes in public? How do you overcome that?

Is there gossip swirling around about you and your "situation" at home? How do you deal with that?

I know for some of you with BP, sometimes being social forces you to have to "fake it" to point of agony. At least that is what my husband experiences. Do some medications actually help that? Or is that a symptom of something else -- not BP?

I am trying to understand how to rearrange my life so that I can live in harmony with my husband --if that ends up being what we both want -- after he gets on a treatment plan. This is just one area that we have struggled with in the past, and I am trying to get some understanding on it from others.


Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 125
   Posted 1/8/2009 1:06 PM (GMT -6)   
My social life has decreased ever since I got diagnosed. Many of my friends do not want to socialize with me anymore. Some of my friends have been incredibly supportive. I am forced to live with my parents which has also affected my social life. I have often displayed hypomanic behavior in public in the past but everyone assumed that was part of my personality. Some people do not know how to deal with the loss of that personality. I can't do anything about gossip - all I know is that I have fewer skeletons in my closet than most other people.

Medications are good for stabilizing mood swings and for controlling all other symptoms. But there are too many side effects. I take tegretol, haloperidol, amisulpride and anti-depressants. I yawn all day, some days I get insomnia, sometimes I get tremors, I have to deal with issues like weight gain, hair loss, etc. So medication helps but one has to be prepared to deal with side effects as well.

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 369
   Posted 1/8/2009 1:51 PM (GMT -6)   

Yes most of the turmoil stays behind closed doors.  Except the last huge manic episode of mine last year...when I basically went on a spending spree for months.  My social life is basically just going along with my husband to his social engagements.  Although now I have opened up more and allowed more people in, which feels good.  My BP over the years has caused me to allienate almost all of my friends.  Not for particular things I did, but because of my own inner struggle and shame...I  just shut people out.  It was almost like i had no idea why i felt the way I did and just convinced myself that it was just because I was evil somehow, so I avoided close friendships for "their sake".

When I was first diagnosed it did bother me, the thought of what my family must be saying about me.  But since I have come to accept it fully as a medical condition, just like cancer, I have learned to just pity those who do not take the time to fully understand something before casting judgement.

"Just because you're in the driver's seat, doesn't mean
you have to run people over." ~ Fred Pausch

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 1/8/2009 2:19 PM (GMT -6)   
Well, we don't really have much of a social life. My DH has severe social anxiety so placing him in new situations with new people is really stressful for him. He has his 2 or 3 close friends that he'll hang out with but that's it. Or we do something just the two of us - like go to the movies or play video games. Stuff where there may be other people there, but they are not going to go out of their way to talk to him. He's ok in most situations where there may be other people there to do the same thing as him, but as long as no one tries to make small talk. I had a work function at Christmas and of course all my co-workers at my new job wanted to meet my husband... i've never seen him more tense and uncomfortable.
I think that the friends that my husband has had since high school that have stuck around through all the depression and mania already will be ok with his diagnosis. I think to them it will be a relief that there was a cause behind it and he wasn't (isn't) just a crazy person! And if other people have a problem with him being bipolar - **** 'em! Since we have small kids I think that once things have turned around, we'll try to incorporate our activities around them and not necessarily peers our age. We have friends with kids the same age as ours so that helps with being social.
I think that you need to find people in similar situations that can either relate or understand what you're going through. Find people that do the same things you do and I don't think it's necessary really to tell people that your spouse has BD.
Maybe sit down and make a list of things you like to do with your spouse and concentrate on those things as it will be something within his comfort zone that you can do together.
As selfish and self-centered as I think BD can be (i'm sorry, i don't mean to offend anyone with BD) I think that if you truly accept your spouses situation then you have to accept that self centeredness too. Don't get me wrong, YOU can be frustrated by it as well, but if you want to find common ground with your DH then you are going to have to make sacrifices.

falling apart
Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 61
   Posted 1/8/2009 5:59 PM (GMT -6)   
Great points BD Spouse!

My husband has social anxiety too. Our kids are now 11, 10 and 8. Most of our social activity revolves around them. But he wont even attend most of that stuff. So I try to balance keeping the kids happy and social with his need for us to be home all the time. It is WAY hard! I am not sure that any of that is from his BD. I think it may be connected to other issues.

Y'all keep sharing because it REALLY helps me in this journey.

Thanks! :-)

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 48
   Posted 1/8/2009 6:47 PM (GMT -6)   
from the time i was a child i suffered from bipolar (depressive mostly, i don't have mania often). I've always had trouble socilizing and would be lucky if i made one friend during the school year; i'd lose them over the summer break.

i currently only have two husband and one person i've known since i was a teenager that we've managed to stay in contact (even though we met and still live on opposite sides of the country). my husband keeps trying to get me to socilize and make friends. i jsut clam up..not that i have anxiety or fears... i just don't care to make friends.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 778
   Posted 1/8/2009 9:01 PM (GMT -6)   
When I first showed symptoms I was wildly hypomanic/manicy and drove my friends nuts with the phone calls and such. Then when the depression hit almost ALL my friends dissappeared and I talked to noone for 2 months(of my choosing). I have now reconnected with 2 of 3 friends and have a strong family support and good pdoc. So I think it depends on where you are. True friends come back, toss the fakes and cowards to the curb.
I am a Certified Doxie Lover(Weinerdogs)

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 94
   Posted 1/8/2009 10:50 PM (GMT -6)   
Up intil last week, I had not told ANYONE about my husband's bd. I had two major crying sessions with two separate girlfriends because he had flipped out on me so badly that I didn't know what else to do (until I found you all and realized I am not the only one living in this turmoil) and I was done being quiet about this.

For the most part my husband is a fun guy to be around in a social setting. Before the kids we use to go out with his friends, my friends. He'd go out with his friends, I'd go out with my friends. Never been a problem. Never felt insecure and trusted him. Now that he's told me this whole bit about not having any emotional attachment to me, I have doubts and I am scared.

Anyway, he knows that drinking is just not good for him on his meds and usually won't have a drink, but may have one. Never really had an episode on public. When he tries to get into people's faces if they've disrespected him (according to him), I can usually convince him to stop.

We go out as a family but lately it's been stressing him out and he blames it on ME! Says my bad energy causes the kids to flip out. OMIGOSH! Could it be because he's been such an a** to me lately that I feel horrible and confused and it stresses me out to have to deal with his attitude and the kids? So we decided that until our kids outgrow this funky stage they are in, we would refrain from going anywhere all together. Of course I'm still confused about whether it is that he just doesn't want to be with me or what????? Ay. Whatever.

As a matter of fact, he is out tonight with a couple of friends. I wish he had a true friend he could just spill his guts out to and vent, but he really doesn't and he keeps it inside and I get stuck with his moody self.

He does plenty of things with the kids and he's a loving father and very affectionate with our children. Is it normal for him to be affectionate with our kids and not with me? This is what I'm talking about, he's confusing me. When he says that there is nothing emotional between us, is it the bd talking and the numbness he feels from the meds or does he really feel like that when- when what? When he's not on the meds is when he flips out on me. Guys, I am now in a panic. I had decided that I was going to have a different attitude about my husband and his illness and educate myself better on how I can help him cope, but now I am now sure he even loves me to begin with. How can he be affectionate with our kids, but not with me. Maybe it is too late and I waited to long to want to do something about our marriage and try to help him.

So vacations are not ever good. He gets all crumpy and stressed out and I can't stop myself from continuing to along with him. In all the trips we've taken the best one was when I was able to go explore on my own because he was stuck in a conference during the week. That's sad.
I am a 34 year old woman married to a bipolar man.  2009 will be 10 year anniversary.  Three small children.  Seeking therapy for myself- finally.  Desperately want to keep my family together and save my marriage.  Husband doesn't want to go to marriage counseling.  Looking for support from other people with bipolar spouses.  Thanks.

falling apart
Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 61
   Posted 1/8/2009 11:13 PM (GMT -6)   
sad I am sorry Whyus! You and I are really in the same boat here. You paddle and I will bail!

I am seriously hanging on to my marriage by the tiniest of threads. I am an emotional train wreck right now. I will start a new thread when I have the energy to type more to update my situation. It is not looking good.

Y'all take care of yourselves! I gotta get some rest.
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