How can I help fiance deal with my bipolar disorder?

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New Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 5/12/2005 5:28 PM (GMT -7)   
After a string of misdiagnosis and being bounced on and off antidepressants, I switched doctors and was finally diganosed as bipolar in 2000. After dealing with the ups and downs of medications, I've spent the past 3 years unmedicated. Last year, I moved from the northeast to the southeast away from family and friends to be with my fiance. The family and friends understood the insanely happy highs and the dark lows, but my fiance is having trouble gauging when a mood swing is about to strike, and he's not really sure how to handle it. I generally know when a low is coming, but when I sink into a low, the entire world and my outlook on life becomes pretty bleak. I lost a best friend and a family member to suicide due to undiagnosed and misdiagnosed bipolar disorder, so I know what pain it causes but I can't explain what it's like to BE bipolar to him, and want to know how to make it easier for him to live with me when I'm on an upswing and not sleeping or in a low and having trouble functioning.

Jo A223
Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 45
   Posted 5/16/2005 6:26 PM (GMT -7)   
Songbird, My best suggestion as the mother of a 25 year old bipolar son (and I suspect my ex husband also suffers from it)is for ANYONE you want to understand to read, read READ about this is so overwhelming to try and just explain everything that is involved.There are books out there galore on the topic of bipolar. I am still trying to come to an understanding of how this affects people ..also have people read these posts here. Some are first hand from sufferers...others from those of us who deal with of luck to you....hope to see more from you here...

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 668
   Posted 5/16/2005 9:23 PM (GMT -7)   


Have your fiance read this post and it might help him understand it in fairly simple terms:

Bipolar Disorder

Provided by A.D.A.M., Inc.

<!--Do nothing with titleabbrev for now--><!--do nothing with article info for now--><!--do nothing with abstract for now--><!--do nothing with article info for now--><!--put comment to force the end tag of span-->Definition <!--parent is section-->

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Bipolar disorder is a chronic disease affecting over 2 million Americans at some point in their lives. The American Psychiatric Association's "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" describes two types of bipolar disorder, type I and type II.

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In type I (formerly known as manic depressive disorder), there has been at least one full manic episode. However, people with this type may also experience episodes of major depression.

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In type II disorder, periods of "hypomania" involve more attenuate (less severe) manic symptoms that alternate with at least one major depressive episode. When the patients have an acute exacerbation, they may be in a manic state, depressed state, or mixed state.

<!--put comment to force the end tag of span-->Causes, incidence, and risk factors <!--parent is section-->

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Everyone feels "blue" at one time or another, or "good" at other times. People who suffer from bipolar disorder, however, have pathological mood swings from mania to depression, with a pattern of exacerbation and remission that are sometimes cyclic.

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The manic phase is characterized by elevated mood, hyperactivity, over-involvement in activities, inflated self-esteem, a tendency to be easily distracted, and little need for sleep. The manic episodes may last from several days to months.

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In the depressive phase, there is loss of self-esteem, withdrawal, sadness, and a risk of suicide. While in either phase, patients may abuse alcohol or other substances which worsen the symptoms.

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The disorder appears between the ages of 15 and 25, and it affects men and women equally. The exact cause is unknown, but it is a disturbance of areas of the brain which regulate mood. There is a strong genetic component. The incidence is higher in relatives of people with bipolar disorder.

<!--put comment to force the end tag of span-->Symptoms <!--parent is section-->

  • Alternating episodes of mania and depression (may only have episodes of mania, if Bipolar type I)
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In the manic phase the following symptoms can be seen:

  • Increase in goal-directed activities (either socially or at work)
  • Increased energy
  • Distractibility
  • Flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing
  • Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
  • Increased involvement in activities that may be pleasurable, but may have dire consequences (e.g., spending sprees)
  • Decreased need for sleep (person feels rested after 3 hours of sleep)
  • Patient may be more talkative than usual or may feel pressured to speak
  • Easily agitated or irritated
  • Lack of self-control
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In hypomanic episodes, symptoms are similar, but fewer and/or less intense. Delusions, (false beliefs based on incorrect information about external reality) if present, may be congruent with mood (such as delusions of grandeur, or a sense of special powers and abilities).

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In the depressive phase patients may experience:

  • Persistent sadness and depressed mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, pessimism, and "emptiness"
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Psychomotor retardation or agitation
  • Withdrawal
  • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Overwhelming sluggishness
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Loss of appetite and/or weight loss, or overeating and weight gain
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
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If delusions are present, they may be congruent with mood (such as delusions of worthlessness or accusing voices). In "atypical depression," patients sleep more than usual and have increased appetite.


Diagnosed with epilepsy and ulcerative colitis in 1979,
Been on meds ever since.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 5/17/2005 8:25 AM (GMT -7)   
Why are you NOT MEDICATED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Do you like being miserable and making your fiance unhappy as well?  You don't need just support, you need to get a handle on your illness.  Didn't the suicides in your family get through to you????????????????????
Educating your fiance is a great idea, but it doesn't change the situation.  Just becuase he might "understand" a little better, doesn't really help.  He may change his mind about being with you forever if you don't do something about it.  BPs rarely have successful marriages unless they are  stable.

Post Edited (psychnurse) : 5/17/2005 9:28:28 AM (GMT-6)

New Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 5/20/2005 6:25 PM (GMT -7)   
Finally found a dr. on my insurance plan to go to, so should be getting medicated shortly. Can't get in to the doctor for a few weeks. Main reason I didn't medicate before was being put on the zoloft and paxil for "clinical depression" the first doctor never even mentioned bipolar disorder even though my mom (since I was under 18 at the time) asked her outright if she thought the constant ups and downs could be bp. It nearly drove me over the edge. I never slept, I'd pace the floors all night long and just cry. It made me horribly suicidal and I was afraid I'd have to go through it all over again. Fiance wanted to be educated so that he could help me if I chose to go on the meds. He wanted to be aware of what could happen..and the warning signs that the meds aren't working. He's been reading a lot and learning what he can. So hopefully the transition into the meds will be a smooth one for both of us.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 5/21/2005 5:39 AM (GMT -7)   

Songbird, I am so glad to see that you are gong on medicine - firstly, make SURE you have a competent doc!  Not a GP, a real psychiatrist.

Putting BPs on SSRI antidepressants is a not recommended by most pdocs they usually cause mania or psychosis in us, if not that, other untoward effects.  Especially without a mood stabilizer!!!!! mad

It's a very good thing your b/f wants to learn; my husband has become very knowledgable about it, too and I rely on him also to spot changes, problems, etc.

I wish you the very best - keep us posted, OK?


Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 147
   Posted 1/30/2008 6:42 PM (GMT -7)   
its tough but with lots of patience and understanding all can be conquered,good luck .
hope we talk and share here will lead to more knowledge.
keep posting
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