Girlfriend with Bipolar

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Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/8/2009 9:36 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello friends, My girlfriend has Bipolar and OCD. She takes her meds religiously, attends counseling, and for the most part has been quite stable (aside from the occasional episodes of mood swings).

Over the last few months, she seems to be getting less and less stable. She becomes easily overwhelmed by stress, easily takes personal offense to things said by friends, family, people at school, even when they seem rather harmless. Lately she feels personally attacked by the people around her. She has a very hard time being honest and assertive with people, she's afraid of the confrontation. I try to assure her that being honest and assertive is a very positive thing, that she shouldn't think of it as confrontation, that if she's constructive and honest with someone when they hurt her feelings, the problem gets solved and it never escalates to the level of drama she's so afraid of. Of course it's all easier said than done.

She comes from a dysfunctional family and still has a very hard time distancing herself from their drama. She's particularly close to her mom, who is a source of a lot of her anxiety. My girlfriend is having a hard time these days with her family, and thinks the answer to all of her problems is to move away from them. I feel that with her being so close to her mother, the distance wouldn't solve anything, they would still be very close over the phone, email, etc, and her mom's problems would be no less personal to her. Not to mention we're students, not particularly wealthy, moving is a big step!

I know very little about bipolar. I do my best to encourage my girlfriend to think positive when she's having a hard time. I try to get her out of the house and keep her active when she's depressed. I've attended counseling with her and encouraged her to attend a stress management group. I do my best to listen and be supportive. But truth be told I'm having a very hard time with it as well. She's becoming less active with counseling, less open to trying new things like stress management. I have a lot to learn about the disease and how to be supportive of the condition. I could use some education and encouragement.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 9/9/2009 10:06 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi sjm_empty.

Welcome to HealingWell and to the bipolar board.

It sounds like your gf needs to have her meds reevaluated if she's suffering from more mood swings and more anxiety. Bipolar is clearly not the cause of all her problems, but she might not be as comfortable as she would be if she tried a new treatment plan. I'd have her contact her psych about the increased episodes.

As to moving, it's probably true that moving away wouldn't help someone who is enmeshed in her family's problems. Not to mention that moving can cause huge amounts of stress. However, as one who purposely lives far away from her dysfunctional family, I can vouch for it too. There's only so involved I can get if I'm halfway across the country.

Good luck,
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 15
   Posted 9/9/2009 6:49 PM (GMT -7)   
I have no advice to give. However, I can say, that as a person who finds it almost impossible to be assertive for fear of rejection or confrontation... wow, I'm a hermit... anyhow, I always find myself wishing that those around me would be less pushy and more understanding. I'm so afraid of confrontation and rejection that I walk aaaaaaaaalll the way around the situtation if at all possible. And the times when there's no way around it, and I have no choice but to take something head on, it seems I always get my feelings hurt no matter how polite I try to be, and then I'm too afraid to try again.

So I guess my point is, try not to accidentally be too forceful with her in trying to get her to be more assertive, or she may begin to feel like you're not on her side, or that you don't accept her for who she is.
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