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Dating a Bipolar (Please, help me!)


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Hello everyone,

I apologize again for showing up like that. I'm sorry for the fact that I show up here only when I'm in trouble. I often try to keep up with the forum, but then I get carried away by the day-to-day life :( Yet this is the best place to find acceptance and understanding when dealing with mental health issues, so I'm turning now to this understanding community, yet again.

Right now I really do need someone's help :crying_anim:
I have met this guy four months ago, whom I fell in love with from the first sight. He's a kind and generous person, very sensitive and caring, and all the best things in the world. I feel like I love him... even though I'm too scared to accept that.
And after a month of our dating I find out he appears to have bipolar disorder. It turns out he's liable to episodes of deep depression, which look a lot like the bipolar depression: he cannot control himself, gets impulsive and very irritable, and maybe even violent. He distances himself from everyone and doesn't even answer their text messages, including mine, because as he says he can easily hurt people when he's depressed. He told me he had considered suicide, and not once. Sometimes he expresses very weird ideas, like deja vu, he says everything has happened to him before, or engages in magical thinking. He believes and often says that he's got some kind of intuition that helps him predict the future. I believe he's suffering from bipolar depression, and he might also be experiencing episodes of hypomania, but that I'm not sure of.

His depressive episodes are recurrent and depend on seasons and the circumstances in his life, also he says they often happen just like that, with no reason at all. His relatives acknowledge he's got some mental health issues, but they've never encouraged him to go get some help. And he never has gotten any. He has deep distrust of people and medical workers, and it gets out often when he's in his depressive state. Usually such episodes last from a few weeks to a few months. Yet he also has intense mood swings during the day. Still he doesn't look like a borderline, at least not only borderline. Often I get black and white thinking from him, when it's all or nothing. He has very low tolerancy to frustration: when he asks people for help, and they refuse, his mood changes immediately to intense depression, even though the thing itself might not be so bad. He also has difficulty parting ways with people, and once he almost killed himself, when he was left by a girlfriend. Yet he can tolerate being alone, and he spends days and weeks all alone when depressed.

When he's in his low state, we don't meet for weeks, which is total suffering for me, since I start thinking he decided to leave me. And unlike him, I cannot tolerate being alone so easily. So, I've tried to get him out to spend time with me even when he's upset. I did my best, trying to listen to him and support him. I thought I could handle it, but it is very difficult. He gets irritable, tries to initiate arguments, starts blaming the whole world and me as well, manipulating and very angry. It hurts me a lot, yet I do understand it's not his personality talking.

He's done all he coluld to stay away from me when he feels like that, and I still keep pursuing this interaction. Also I can't just sit and watch, how much he's suffering. He is such a good person and it is so unfair he has to suffer so much!!! I can almost see his skin all burned from his inner pain tearing him apart ;'( I cannot stand it!

He doesn't want to consider medical help, even though I'm trying to talk him into therapy. I don't know how to convince him to do it, how to manage the situation. I understand that staying in such a relationship might be dangerous to my own fragile emoitional well-being, and I can also see that such a relationship has no future, because obviously you can't marry and have kids with a person in such a condition. I have to get him out first, while he hasn't killed himself yet.

I know I don't have to and I can't save everybody in this world. But this person has become so close to me... I've gotten so closely attached to him... I can't leave him like that, I know that no one else will try to solve the problem. Neither can I stay, if he doesn't get help, because I'm already suffering because of his condition.

I don't know how to pursuade him, I don't know what to do, I feel so lost... I'm so sorry...
I would really be thankful for some new ideas or good advice, or a different picture of the situation, or just for understanding.

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I usually only show up when I'm in trouble too so you're not alone there. It is difficult finding the time sometimes. I used to have time to come on here every day but now I've kind of got out of the habit of doing that.

I think the key thing here is what you want. There are disadvantages in being in a relationship with someone who has so many problems but there are advantages too because the real him is so lovely.

You can't guarantee a future in any relationship. Not even if you're both stable. You can't be sure that marriage and kids will come. All you can do is be with the person you like best and see what happens, get all you can from the present and hope for a happier future for both of you. This relationship is likely to bring you a lot of heartache but there's a risk of this in any relationship.

It sounds like he does need help but it is difficult to overcome a dislike of medical services. As his family have never encouraged him to seek help it's likely he's grown up with this distrust. Have you talked to him about the positive experiences you've had with the mental health services? If you are still getting help, perhaps he could go to a session with you when he's feeling well (and of course only if you are comfortable with it). Even if he sits in the waiting room (if there is one) it might help to give him a more positive experience of this sort of place.

Also there might be groups you can attend together, the charity Mind does general meeting places and interest groups. It might help him to meet other people with similar problems as well as to hear therapy and psychiatrists spoken of casually like a natural part of life. When I first went to Mind I was happily taking anti-depressants but I'd had little experience of therapy or psychiatrists and had honestly not considered myself the kind of person who needed that kind of support- a viewpoint which I'm sure came from my mum. But everyone there was talking about therapists and psychiatrists and hospital stays like it was normal and that changed my viewpoint and made me feel it was okay to want and need and consider these things- I actually ended up feeling a bit jealous that they'd all stayed in hospital and I hadn't!

I'm not saying this will help. I wish I could say something that definitely would help. I'm just giving ideas.

It is difficult because while you're obviously very compatible in terms of your personalities, your conditions are slightly incompatible in that he needs time alone and you find that very difficult to cope with. You've probably thought of this already, I don't know what you've tried and what you haven't but maybe you can find some sort of compromise, where you agree to spend a certain amount of time together in order to help you but the rest of the time you let him be alone? You could gradually increase or decrease the time in order to find something that suits both of you as much as possible. I would suggest keeping in touch by texting but it is very easy to ignore a text. I always tell people to get in touch with me by email but even when I feel well I have trouble thinking of a reply. Even if I know the basic substance of what I want to say I have trouble thinking of the right words.

But first and foremost this is about you. You love him and you want to be there for him which I think is great and lovely and sweet and I think he's very lucky. But you do also need to consider your own mental health and how this is affecting you. Whether it's too big a drain on you. I don't know enough about it to know if it is or not- only you know how you feel now and only have some idea of how you'd feel without him but I think this is something you shouldn't lose sight of. Relationships between two people with problems can be a special thing that can lift you both (though of course there will always be down days) or something that drags down one or both of you. This might never be an issue for you but it's something to be aware of and watch out for.

I hope this helps in some sort of way. There are (or were) members with bipolar who will be able to give much better advice than me so I hope someone will be online soon. 

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lonelyheartemma, thank you for your response and your attention!

Your words seem very wise to me. It's true, all I can do is hope for a happier future for us both. I've already finished my therapy, but I've followed your advice. Yesterday I initiated a conversation on this topic, and I told him many stories about my positive experiences and how therapy helped me. I promised him I would go with him if he went. So, he promised me to visit my therapist, who used to treat me, once. I hope he doesn't get a bad impression, because if he does, it will be so much harder to break the ice :(

I'm not sure if there are any groups like that in my refion, because we live in Russia, and the idea of groups like that isn't widespread here, although there must be a least some groups. So, I'll try to make a research and find out if there are any and if we both could attend them.

The idea of a time compromise seems also wise to me, I'll think about it. I like what you say, that relationships between people with issues can lift them both. I was worried that such relationships had only one way - that is, down. That's why I have been so upset. You truly gave me hope, and if possible, I would like to hear some stories about how two people with mental issues built a more or less successful and longlasting relationship. I hope someone can come across this topic and leave such a comment.

Actually, I'm not a big fan of marriage and kids, and I believe myself to be too weak to do it. I don't think I ever would be able to raise mentally healthy kids, because I know I myself need to be taken care of. I don't want all of this that much. Moreover, being 20 years old, I consider myself too young to consider family. But it's him who often talks about family. It's the most important thing for him, a kind of dream. His father was not taking care of him properly, and he often says he wants to raise his own kids in a different way. But I know that if his condition lasts and he does nothing, it will only get worse and he'll never fulfill that dream of his.

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