Hello. I've been dating my boyfriend for just over two years now. We are currently long-distance, though we didn't start out that way. In his current location, he has very few, if any, real friends. He's also an only child with a very difficult family life. He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was in his early twenties and was on medication for awhile and seeing a therapist. He did not have good results - particularly with the therapist(s) - apparently, and has not been actively engaged in treating his disorder since (though he has occasionally gone on anti-depressants he's purchased on the internet for brief periods of time. Not the best idea, I know). He is, however, taking prescription meds to help with his concentration. Anyway, we're currently going through a really rough time. He's been depressed a lot lately, and he's engaged in trying to finish a really difficult project - he's writing a book - and feels that his entire professional life depends on it. A few weeks ago, he broke up with me, saying that he couldn't focus on anything but his work because his life is falling apart. I said I was willing to wait for him since the problem is external to our actual relationship. We had been fighting a lot beforehand, however, mainly because he couldn't spend any time talking to me and I was going through a rough patch professionally as well. We spent some time together recently, and it was off (whenever he was talking/thinking about work, his family (we visited them), or our relationship) and on (the rest of the time) good.
After we parted a few days ago he was very communicative until today, when he sent me an email saying due to the pressure he's under he may not be able to be in touch with me, but will try when he can. This..was a hurtful thing to hear. He has also told me that while he loves me and wants things to be different, he feels like he has absolutely no control over this situation and that what he's doing is about his survival. He makes no promises about things being different in the future because he says he can't think about the future at all. But i love him. and while i know the future is uncertain, i think he's worth waiting for. I guess we're officially in some sort of limbo, where I'm working to maintain the relationship, such as it is, and he's...doing what he can. I don't know if this is the best thing for me, but I think it's the right thing to do. Anyway, I don't really have a specific question, I'm just wondering if anyone has any experience with or thoughts on a situation like this.
First off, I would like to say that I admire your commitment and dedication to the relationship despite the difficulties that you have faced. Many people find it difficult to be in a relationship with somone who has bipolar disorder (BD), especially if the person is making no effort to manage their illness. In fact most relationships (I believe the statistic is around 90%)in which one partner has BD end in dissolution.
While I haven't been in a romantic relationship with someone with BD, I did live with my father, who has BD, for 18 years. My experience of living with my Dad has instilled in me an interest in BD, specially the management of the BD.
Notwithstanding the divorce statisitcs, I do think that there is "hope for bipolar relationships". It seems that your relationship possesses an important quality that so many bipolar relationships lack- love. Despite his illness and the challenges it poses to your relationship, you still love him and want to be with him. For the relationship to work, however, he needs to first accept his illness (if he hasn't already) and learn how to effectively manage it.
Having said all this, it's not fair to you that he hasn't been making any attmept to rebuild or improve the relationship. Moreover, the distance issue certainly isn't making such attempts any easier. Personally, I think you need to to have a heart-to-heart sit down with him, in which you describe your current relationship, what you like/dislike, want to improve, and what steps you think you can both take to rebuilding the relationship.
I am 52 and was diagnosed with bi-polar. I am on medications and now I live a normal life. Unless you have the disorder it's hard to understand. He definately needs to see a psychiatrist to try medications until one works for him. I take lamical which is a mood stablizer, xanax for anxiety, and klonopin to sleep. It sounds like he is avoiding the issue. He needs help to get this under control. so many people are suffering from this disorder and to many wont take their meds because they fool themselves into thinking they can take care of themselves. just be persistant and tell him to seek professional help, eventually this can affect their jobs, interaction with others, and relationships. I would tell him that you cannot continue being friends until he gets help. its not fair to you, when your with a bipolar person who is not medicated you will suffer. one day they will be so happy, and the next miserable. its a rollercoaster ride. maybe if you untie the knot it may push him into seeking help. however until he acknowledges he needs med you will never have a good relationship
There is hope whenever you have love towards each other, despite of his problems. I myself have BD, and i was in a committed relationship for many years before it was me who had to leave due to my partners behavior, not the other way around. If he seeks help for this and your there for each other, you can go on to have a great relationship. These forums are full of horror stories of how BD relationships go wrong, but remember, no one goes online to these forums to tell the world that thier relationship is going well.
I also believe when their is love their is hope. I knew something was changing about myself and sought help.
I knew I had to be strong for my family, we were going through a very difficult time. My eldest daughter was battling cancer, and I think this is what put me over the edge. It took 3 psychiatrists until I found one I trusted and was able to find the right combinations of medications that work for me. Although we lost our daughter I still remain strong, I am raising my grandson. I think we call all live in loving relationships if thier is kindness, trust, honesty, communication, and empathy. But I also believe it would be very difficult to continue a relationship with someone who has any mental disorder who is not getting help. I lived through that horrow as a child and a teenager, it made me a stronger person, but I lost my childhood. Unfortunately 40+ years ago they did not have the knowledge they do now. At the same time I think to many general practiciioners, or internist are passing out anti depressents like candy. They are not qualified to determine if someone is actually a candidate for medication. But eventually in order for a relationship to work we all have to acknowledge we have a problem before we can help ourselves. How long do you wait?