Coping with Bipolar Partner’s Mood
Here are some tips for surviving and thriving in
When things are tough, take a deep breath and step back. It’s a disease — it’s
not the person. So you try to remember that.
Caring for someone with a disease can keep you focused on their needs, but you
also need your own sources of support. Joining a support group for family members of bipolar
patients can help. Working with your own therapist may also be a good idea.
Support from understanding family and friends is also invaluable.
Find time for just you, time away from your partner. Perhaps even a week-end away on your own or
with friends. There are many
opportunities calling your name.
Whether you can insert humor into the situation and get a good response is
highly individual. Try to make your
partner laugh to help her out of the low moods.
Always keep in mind this is her disorder, not yours. You want to be the support person so do not
take it to heart if none of these ideas work out.
Make it clear to your partner that taking her medication is non-negotiable. If she
refuses to take her meds (as people often do when they are manic), you leave,
even if only to spend the night at a friend’s house to make your point. You’re
not being cruel; you are trying to get her back on track.
Recall your love.
There are hard times in relationship with a bipolar partner. See the woman you fell in love with, even
when her moods are unpredictable.
Know (or grow) your
philosophy of commitment to a partner. You chose this lady;
you did not make a commitment a disease. While a bipolar disorder is difficult,
the person you fell in love with is still there. Take time to decide if you can
stand by your lady or do you feel you have a philosophy regarding what you
expect out of this relationship?
Look for triggers.
When your partner is in a stable or more favorable mood, pay close attention to
what environmental triggers precipitated and are maintaining the stability.
Often there are specific environmental stressors or soothers — including
relationship issues — that influence mood swings. Use the soothers to help
maintain the mood that both of you are desiring.
Despite the mood swings, your partner can tell you what she needs. Have an
honest discussion about what is helpful to her when she is in an undesirable
mood. Attempt to incorporate ideas, plans, and strategies so that there can be
a minimization of harmful effects.
There may be days and weeks when it is not easy, but communication is
essential. Communication during and between mood swings is critical to managing
the accompanying stressors.
and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease. "She Stood in the Storm & When the Wind Did Not Blow Her Away, She Adjusted Her Sails."