Posted 3/9/2019 8:19 PM (GMT -6)
Some things are falling into place. That is, as a bipolar I (with full mania), when I was 17 I was in a stressful situation, something very tense had happened and then I was supposed to read out loud in class and I had a break down of sorts, a "psychotic episode."
I was bipolar, but there was no diagnosis of that, and I went from 17 to about 27, we'll say with a lot of anxiety but no diagnosis of Bipolar and no medicine, except some tranquilizers, which did not solve the long term anxiety which was connected with Bipolar, I strongly believe.
One of the websites said something about, Bipolars not doing well in stressful situations. The stress for me at about 27 was, I lost my job and couldn't deal with that. Didn't get psychiatric help for I was living by myself and didn't know what to do.
After a couple of weeks of no treatment, I had a nervous breakdown, which goes with, not doing well under stress. What I'm saying is, he may be doing OK as long as everything is going alright. But if he should lose a job type of stress, and he's already bipolar and on no meds, he could have some sort of collapse, like I did.
I was still not diagnosed as Bipolar, not on a long term med like Lithium, and had another nervous breakdown from job trouble when I was about 29. Misdiagnosed again as only depressed, not manic depressed, and put on only an anti-depressant, but not on a stabilizer also, which threw me into panic attacks.
So, I'm saying, he could do OK unless some major stressor comes along and then he could be in for a collapse, which is what happened to me. In a way, being on no meds from 17 to 27 was good in that there were no side effects. But the collapse can be horrible. A nervous breakdown is gosh awful and you don't know if you're going to recover and it can depend on if you're able to get medical help quickly enough.
So having bipolar, not taking medicine, having a very stressful situation, getting older, in my case 23 to 27, can be a stacking of stressors and can have a disastrous consequence. You are wise to reach out and ask about this, and if you've never been down that road, you don't know what's out there.
And you did ask about this, saying. "I do not want to force him to do anything, and I love him with all my heart. I want to know if there's much I can do to support him, and support myself when times are tough."
"He does not want to take medications, for he doesn't want to disrupt his creative process (musician)."
I was just thinking about one of the happiest times of my life, and I was on Lithium (for the mania) and an anti-depressant for the depression, and, again, it was one of the happiest times of my life, and it lasted for some years. With the Lithium helping it last for years, because without it, there might be some good times, but maybe not for years.
You are right to be concerned about this. I was worried about the creative process being diminished also. It was not in my case. The creative process was helped in that, I was not having mania or depression, which disrupts that for long stretches.
He may have to have a really tough event, but he doesn't have to. If you see his anxiety level rising, it's sign that something overall is wrong, long term, deep seated. Not just an hour or two of nervousness for which a tranquilizer might help. But recurring bouts of anxiety, difficulty sleeping, anger, and we know what it is here, it's bipolar.
So what we need here is not a tranquilizer, but a long term medicine like, in my case, Lithium with an antidepressant, both of which can be calmatives and make life easier. So what you can do "to support him when times are rough" is notice if this seems to be getting worse. I'm telling you all of this from my experiences, most of them bad. You don't have to repeat that.