How to get your family to accept your illness as a real illness?

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New Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 1/5/2009 10:58 PM (GMT -7)   
I have been bipolar for some time and my brother recently was involved with me during a manic period of my illness. I shared with my brother my unhappiness with everything. And his advice was I needed to do what was right for me. This was after my brother helped me connect with an old relationship.(I have been married for 28yrs.) I thought my happiness was to be found in this old relationship. Well during everything I found my unhappiness was with not accepting myself and my illness. This is where I say "I found myself." Then on the search for the right partner. Working through this with my true friend and husband, I found I had the love I have always wanted in my husband. I just did not love myself enough to be able to accept and love him the way I should have. I told my brother I did not want to go with the old relationship and that I was going to stay with my husband. My brother rejects that I am bipolar and that this all happened as a part of this illness. He told me he has know bipolar people and I don't fit that profile. I know I fit the profile. So, now I am determined to stay on my meds, get plenty of deep sleep, ask clarifying questions and not to act on something because someone is telling me to but think clearly what to do and to remain true to myself so that I can have a positive relationship with my husband. My question again is do I continue to try and show my brother that I am bipolar(our mother was bipolar and two
half brothers are mental ill as well as our aunt on my mom's side.)? Should I continue to try to have a relationship with him when he doesn't understand my illness? Shouldn't I try to have people around me that have my best interest at heart? Thank you for listening to me. And I would accept anyones opinion on this.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 1/6/2009 10:28 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi pandalover,

Your brother does not need to understand fully or even to approve for you to have a relationship with him. If he can't accept that a psychiatrist diagnosed you bipolar and you are on medication for it, then that's his problem, not yours. My guess is the idea scares him, especially if your mother was bipolar as well. I'd maintain a kindly relationship with him, and if he asks, just tell him what the psych said. You can't "prove" you have an illness to anyone, and it's rude of them to ask you to.

Of course you should have people around you who have your best interests at heart, but I question that hooking a married woman up with an old friend for an extramarital relationship is an example of having your best interest at heart. I'm sure he was working because you asked him to, but he should have said no.

I'm glad in the end you discovered your husband is your true love. Believe me you're not the only bipolar to go through these fickle emotional questions. (Read any of the bipolar spouses' stories on this board.) But it's good that you're now working to have a healthy and stable relationship with your husband. Staying on your meds will help prevent this from happening again.

Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 175
   Posted 1/6/2009 1:19 PM (GMT -7)   
I don't think you need to prove anything to anyone. What is it going to prove, really? That you have ups and downs? Good times and bad? Manic and depressive periods? Mood swings? Are on meds?
Honestly hun, I wouldn't worry about it. If you and your husband are happy then only concern yourself with what makes you happy. If he doesn't accept it, then that's ok. Maybe he can't accept it?
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