Medical Questions > Mental Health > Bipolar Relationships Forum

How can I help, I want to be there for him

Hello. I'm new to the forum and while I don't have BPD (at least I don't think I do.) my boyfriend has been diagnosed with bipolar depression type 1 in November of last year. We're currently in a long distance relationship (about 2,000+ miles apart). We've known each other for two years, and have been dating for 9 months now. We haven't met each other in person yet (due to both financial issues on both sides, and complications from my family, which I won't get into at the moment.). He's always been there for me during some of my worst moments, and I want to do the same for him now. When he first got the diagnosis I didn't quite understand the full extent of it, and since then I've been trying to learn as much as I can about it, and how to help him cope or manage it better. This year has been the worst for him, especially due to the death of his little brother in February. On top of all of that he's been dealing with a sense of loneliness, fear that his friends might abandon him because of his depression/manic swings (they've mainly been depression swings as of late), panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, a LOT of things. Some of his friends and I have been trying to comfort and support him the best way we know how, but I want to do better than that. Again I've been trying to read up and learn about it as much as I can. I love him so much, and I don't want to be that person that says the wrong things, inadvertently assumes what going on with him, or just makes this worse for him in general. If there's any advice at all on how I can help him in any way, it would be GREATLY appreciated. I want to be there for him no matter how hard it gets.
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replied July 1st, 2017
Update:
We recently found out that it was his medication that was taking that amplified a lot of the problems that were going on top the umpteenth degree when I wrote that post. He was taking lithium and it was making him so much worse birth mentally and even physically. He was also getting sick a lot and getting a lot more headaches and even almost passed out at his job several times. He's currently slowly switching back to what he was taking for it before being switched to the lithium and the difference is literally night and day. I can tell the difference between him being on his prior meds and when he's on lithium. It's like two completely different people, both with similar fears and scary thoughts. When he's on his prior meds whenever he does hit his low points, he can be talked to, and heard clearly, and consoled, because it seems he's more... Here with us mentally. And there are still bad days of course, but at least I know I can help because he can "hear" me so to speak. When he's on his lithium it's a completely different story. On his lithium low points, he's had multiple suicide attempts per week, multiple panic attacks, has tried hurting himself, and has even tried to separate himself from everyone including family. It's like he's not mentally here at all and it sometimes takes hours of taking and reasoning with him before you can even console him. It's terrifying.
Things have been slowly improving now though And now that he's been adjusting to his prior meds , I've been finding myself trying to readjust my tactics to fit This new routine.

Bottom line: Please please PLEASE!! Make sure you do some research on the side effects of the medications you our your loved one may take, and if you feel it may be a problem for you, talk to your doctor/therapist about it. Also, look into Genesight testing and where you can get one. It will definitely help narrow down what kinds of medication could actually make things worse for you. Bipolar disorders and even the treatments for them can vary from person to person.
Of course there's still going to be bad days. Meds aren't the end all be all cure for this, but that in combination with therapy and loving care and support from family and even friends do make it much easier to manage.

I just hope this helps someone who's going through something similar.
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replied July 1st, 2017
Update [EDITED!!] (Swype keyboard is ass cancer):
We recently found out that it was his medication that he was taking that amplified a lot of the problems that were going on to the umpteenth degree when I wrote that post. He was taking lithium and it was making him so much worse both mentally and even physically. He was also getting sick a lot and getting a lot more headaches and even almost passed out at his job several times. He's currently slowly switching back to what he was taking for it before being switched to the lithium and the difference is literally night and day. I can tell the difference between him being on his prior meds and when he's on lithium. It's like two completely different people, both with similar fears and scary thoughts. When he's on his prior meds whenever he does hit his low points, he can be talked to, and heard clearly, and consoled, because it seems he's more... Here with us mentally. And there are still bad days of course, but at least I know I can help because he can "hear" me so to speak. When he's on his lithium it's a completely different story. On his lithium low points, he's had multiple suicide attempts per week, multiple panic attacks, has tried hurting himself, and has even tried to separate himself from everyone including family. It's like he's not mentally here at all and it sometimes takes hours of taking and reasoning with him before you can even console him. It's terrifying.
Things have been slowly improving now though And now that he's been adjusting to his prior meds , I've been finding myself trying to readjust my tactics to fit This new routine.

Bottom line: Please please PLEASE!! Make sure you do some research on the side effects of the medications you our your loved one may take, and if you feel it may be a problem for you, talk to your doctor/therapist about it. Also, look into Genesight testing and where you can get one. It will definitely help narrow down what kinds of medication could actually make things worse for you. Bipolar disorders and even the treatments for them can vary from person to person.
Of course there's still going to be bad days. Meds aren't the end all be all cure for this, but that in combination with therapy and loving care and support from family and even friends do make it much easier to manage.

I just hope this helps someone who's going through something similar.
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replied December 29th, 2017
Hi theotherside,

I take it you have never literally met your boyfriend in person? I would never date anyone without being with them in person, sorry, but you don't know who they actually are! (Just my point of view).

Bipolar is a serious illness and you need extra discretion and definitely try and meet this man properly before committing to any relationship. You may do him more harm than good. But to keep going as friends is a good idea. It will give him moral support!
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