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Loving Someone with Rapid Cycling Bipolar

Love can be the most wonderful emotion. It can bring both joy and sorrow simultaneously. Even the best and most solid relationships can often be difficult. It is especially challenging when a partner has bipolar disorder. This is not to say that you cannot have a good, strong, long-lasting relationship if you or a loved one have bipolar. But I will warn you from my own personal experience with bipolar that relationships are a lot more challenging to manage. By means of an explanation, I will offer my spouse`s perspective with regards to our relationship, or what we sometimes refer to as our “bipolar love”.

I am diagnosed with bipolar II with rapid cycling. The rapid cycling can add a whole other dimension of daily surprises. It is difficult to treat at times given the rapid mood changes. Those with rapid cycling, like me, can experience multiple moods in a week or within a single day. I myself, cycle between moods per day, per week, and sometimes per month. It is dependent upon things that trigger me, like deeply stressful personal situations. I can experience being stable, manic, depressed, indifferent, and worst of all, suicidal.

My spouse describes loving me as a cross between the two movies 50 First Dates and The Notebook. In 50 First Dates, Adam Sandler`s character spends his life reminding his girlfriend Drew Barrymore (who suffered severe brain damage in a car accident shortly after they met) every morning who she is and everything about her life before and after the accident when she wakes up, by means of a video. Her character can only remember 24 hours of memories at a time. Therefore, every day is a new day for her. She remembers nothing from her past, and each day is a fresh start.

With rapid cycling, I can go from being a loving wife and mother, and in the same day, second guess myself and my accomplishments, question whether I want to continue being a wife and a mother, and at times crave my freedom and independence. I then struggle with the shame, the pain, and the remorse I feel when these thoughts overtake me. My spouse has the difficult and agonizing task of repeatedly reminding me, that I am where I want to be, and where I am meant to be. It can be exhausting and utterly heartbreaking for him. But without his reassurances, support and encouragement, I would most likely make terrible decisions I would most surely regret later.

If you have not seen the movie The Notebook, the love story of Noah and Allie, I encourage you to watch it. In the Notebook Allie has dementia and Noah spends his time reading her their love story. Every so often Allie will come back to him and remember everything about their life, for that small moment in time Noah has the love of his life back. Noah cherishes the moment even if it’s just a few minutes. Like these two characters, I love hard and with every fiber of my being and so does my spouse. With bipolar disorder, one day I will shower my spouse with love and affection, I crave his time and attention, and yet sometimes in the same day I am cold, distant and indifferent. His touch will sting as I become numb and completely lost in my own head. For my spouse, I have gone away, exited the premises, and there is no indication as to when I will return. This admittedly for him is the most difficult part. He calls it my "Notebook mood."

There have been some truly long and difficult years between us, but he has learned to enjoy the moments when I am fully there and we love intensely because neither of us knows when I will be gone again, like Allie in The Notebook.

Though I have painted a grim picture of what a relationship is like with someone with bipolar disorder, it does not mean that we are doomed to a life of instability and constant daily suffering. There will be good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks, and even good months and bad months. We learn to cherish the good times and ride out the bad times; holding on to one another until the storm subsides and the roller coaster ride of emotions ends or changes direction.

This is not to say that we haven't perfected our relationship. We even divorced once and got back together. Loving someone with bipolar is not easy! It takes a whole lot of loving, patience and understanding, a strong sense of humor, commitment, communication, and compassion. But if you ask my spouse, he will assure you that I am worth it!

Comments

Thankyou so very much for writing this! I will share this with my husband who I believe is having an extremely hard time dealing with being married to my bipolar1 with rapid cycling as well as me.
He once told me my mental health was for me to figure out which is not a good way to get a golden ticket to my heart!
I expect my partner to be supportive and after 29 years of marriage we need to reevaluate.
Thanks for writing this.....it will be a great starting tool.

How wonderful that you have a rock in your life, someone who appreciates you and is in for the long haul. My sister has not been so lucky, having had many relationships fall apart. Unfortunately for us, we can only sit and watch and now she has thrown away all of the family relationships. We are unable to love her through it, she will have none of it. I am so thankful that we at least had half of our lives together and I hope she will come back some day, as you do regularily.

My daughter has BiPolar 1 and I want to thank you for writing this article- it is BEAUTIFULLY written! ❤ I am looking forward to sharing this with my husband and her. #keepswinging

Thank you so much for posting this. My partner was recently diagnosed with bipolar 2 mid December. There is no question as to how much I love her and how much I am committed to our relationship. On the other hand, it has been a an emotionally exhausting journey. She is my favorite person. Your article made me remember that she will come back again and now I will cherish our times together even more than I did before.

This was such an amazing story like the Notebook. I love my boyfriend of 3 years just like this. He has rejected me and now wants his freedom. He seems to always contact me or just show up at my door unexpected. He wants me one minute and not the next and never will say he is sorry for some very unkind words. He is aware that he does this but is embarrassed to admit it. It is very difficult to handle and I have to let him go. Somehow I know one day he will just text me or call. It is so hard to understand the Jekyll and Hide personality. I have been patient and kind. I wanted to spend my life with this man. He makes it very difficult and will blame me for how he is feeling. This article moved my soul.

That person sounds abusive, not just bipolar! Unless he can say he is sorry, do not believe anything he says, this is classic emotional abuse!

Being in any relationship with someone who is bipolar does have its challenges...not a doubt about that.

But I can say - as hard as they "crash" into that spiral...they love and cherish even more!

Thank you for writing this!

Nicely written. My wife is bipolar and it's odd how universal the moods and actions are for others. There have been many times that I want to quit, fear I reached my breaking point. Then I remember that as bad as it gets for me, she is suffering much more than I can understand.

I can diffinantly relate to this (and my husband) also type 2

This has really helped me out a lot my wife is bipolar 2 and she also rapidly cycles it has been hard on both of us and our kids I feel for everyone that has to deal with the situation and yes it does take a lot of love and understanding at times you think there is no end

You have given me hope for my husband and I, he will be reading this also. This is perfect and amazing I can not tell you thank you enough for Shari G this. You honestly just might have saved a marriage ❤️

Thank you for this article. 7 months ago my wife left with no warning and refuses to have direct contact. 21 years ago she was diagnosed BP2,in 2015 she took herself off her meds. I am waiting for her to cycle and hopefully we can work things and save the marriage. We have had a great marriage even with her cycles.

It is as if you have written all of that from watching how life is for me and my husband. Times can be so tough, I can at times be so mean and nasty to him. Not long after the words have come out I then get so self damaging. Thank you for letting me know and understand that by showing him this may help us out within our marriage.

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PLEASE POST COMMENTS ONLY. If you are in need of an IBPF resource, please contact Melissa @ Mleigh@ibpf.org. If you are in crisis, please call 1-800-784-2433.
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