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32 Bp Male W/extreme Difficulty Handling Breakups

Hi, I'm 32 and two months ago, I was diagnosed with BP 2 after about 8 years of steadily decreasing life management abilities. Bipolar runs extensively on my father's side of the family and my brother has it also.

MY BRIEF STORY:

Basically, my life was going picture perfect until I turned about 24. I graduated from one of the top 5 business schools in the country. I was a highly accomplished musician growing up. And, I was performing extremely well in my early career.

I personally would have to say I had a great childhood growing up. But it wasn't idyllic. I mean, I experienced the normal range of losses growin up. But I grew up with wonderful, loving and supportive parents who are still married to this day. I had lots of close friends growing up. Most of us are still close to this day.

I've always been very friendly and outgoing, and very well liked by women as well. I wasn't the most popular guy in school, but everybody knew me and I was very well liked. I had a girlfriend that I absolutely adored.

Then I turned 24 and the problems began:

1) I couldn't save any money.
2) Although I planned to stay home for a year to save money to get my own place, I couldn't seem to move out of my parents house.
3) I was hypersexual. I was blowing too much money in strip clubs.
4) My job stability was becoming worse and worse. I simply couldn't stay at a job for more than 6 months.
5) I was gaining ridiculous amounts of weight.
6) My sleep became worse and worse, etc.

It all came to a head when my girlfriend at that time left me. I literally cracked up. It would take about 2 years to fully recover. I briefly dated another woman after that for about a year. I broke up with her. But tried to get her back. She refused. I behaved desperately and became obsessed with getting her back.

Then I met the woman that I really thought I would marry. We were good friends from college and were romantically interested in each other during school. Things were great for about a year and a half. Then she left too because I just couldn't remain stable. This triggered another major depressive episode.

I tried to do anything I could to keep this woman in my life. Again, (like the two times before) I couldn't handle the relationship ending. The sense of rejection was incredible. Begging, pleading, intense crying spells when I was alone. Just couldn't handle it.

I never did anything criminal or stalked anyone, etc. And I was a very good man to the women I dated. They never had a problem with how I treated them. They left because my life was so erratic.

I simply become the emotional equivalent of a 7 year old when a woman I'm in a relationship with leaves me.

I know that BP II can come with extreme sensitivity to rejection. Are these examples of that? I don't have any abandonment issues or anything of the like. But I will say that on my father's side of his 5 siblings, 4 suffer or suffered from BP. I learned after my first episode that my aunt and uncle breakdowns were triggered when they were in their mid 20s by the loss of romantic relationships. My aunt became psychotic. One of my uncles committed suicide as a result.

My question is: Has anyone here who is BP dealt with this same kind of response to romantic breakups and found success through meds and therapy? This is really my "monster" and I want to get this under control. I simply have no real explanation why I take breakups so hard for some reason.

Thank you in advance,

RJ

(P.S. I'm currently taking Depakote and Lamictal to get my BP under control)
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First Helper chewythecat
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replied December 11th, 2007
Supporter
hi rjw524, bipolar runs in my family too. and i was recently diagnosed with bipolar 1. although i was misdiagnosed for many years as having major depressive disorder (but that could have led to bipolar) i also suffer from PTSD.

i know exactly what you are talking about regarding breakups. i feel like a child too. however, i know that many of my friends have emotional issues right after a breakup. they call it situational depression. but for us that suffer from bipolar, the depression is extreme, unfortunately.

my last major break up was about 3 years ago and i still cry sometimes but very rarely. i am now married to a wonderful supportive (most of the time) man. after the breakup i immediately got on antidepressants to cope but they didn't take away my despair. perhaps if i were on bipolar meds at the time then i might have felt slightly better. but bottom line, i think that we take breakups harder and we carry them longer.

i wish medicine would make it go away but for me it didn't/doesn't.

what has helped is looking back and knowing that those men were not right for me. you probably dodged a bullet with all of them. there is hope, my husband dated me when i was severely depressed. he would cook dinner and bring it to my house so he could spend time with me and so that i would eat. amazing. there are women/men out there that are natural caregivers. i hope you find one. i'm not at all saying we have this perfect happy existence.. it is very difficult. you can read me complaining in other topics in bipolar forum Wink

i take 600mg of seroquel, 100mg lamictal 200mg starting next week, 60mg cymbalta and 6mg ativan every day.

still waiting for the lamictal to kick in... i'm not having a good time right now.

throughout my life i have always taken breakups very badly too. i don't think rejection is easy for anyone, bipolar or not. but i used to feel so damaged and that no one will truly love me. but that is just the illness talking. right? Cool

you are not alone!!!
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replied December 11th, 2007
Break Ups
From reading your story,you sound alot like me as far as the inability to handle breakups is concerned. I went to counseling for about 1 1/2 years to get over my first divorce and to try to figure out why I cant maintain a stable relationship. My counselor would always redirect me back to me,myself and I. I would try to blame things on her. I would say I couldnt live without her. I would obsess about her,buy her things,write her letters and emails. I tell you it was brutal. On both of us. I cant believe I ever acted that way but counseling was THE BEST thing I could have ever done for myself. It made me realize the severe co dependency I was feeling and that I needed to focus on myself. As hard as that was,and still is ,to imagine. I struggle with it everyday. How stupid is that? I an maintain control over drinking and drugs,smoking...All these things that are classic addictions I have no problem controlling. But when it comes to a woman,love,intimacy..I have NO control. I do the stupidest things. I obsess,spend money,just like it were an addiction. It consumes my life. Until you realize that the problem is yours and yours alone youll be trapped in the same cycle. When I realized that i had a problem and my counselor finally convinced me that I was the problem,it was very freeing experience. Like a breath of fresh air. It was also horrifying to know that I had screwed up all of my past relationships. I could never understand why either. My advice, read on codepency and addictive love and see where it takes you. And dude,you gotta stop obsessing. Try thinking about yourself for 1 night and see what happens. Its scary.
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replied December 12th, 2007
Re: Break Ups
Hi Barto,

First, thank you very much for the reply. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who has experienced this. However, I do want to clear up any confusion from my first post

I am very glad to hear that therapy provided you with insights you admit you were lacking previously. However, I have always had these lessons and beliefs ingrained in me since childhood.

Also, I have not obsessed over any of my exes for quite some time now. And I am quite good at focusing on myself and my needs.

The point of my post was that my inability to handle rejection in romantic relationships is the main trigger in my life that causes me to obsess and feel so low. What I'm trying to do is discover why this is so I can prevent it from occurring in the future.

Also, I have always known that this issue is my problem, not theirs. In fact, I have never blamed them for anything. Of course, I was hurt and angry for the pain their decision caused me. But this is how most lovers feel after losing the relationship. The anger was nothing abnormal and it passed in a normal fashion. On a cognitive level, I always knew they had the right to leave at any time. I actually felt badly for my exes because they didn't deserve to be put through the pain of dealing with someone who couldn't let go of them emotionally.

I've tried therapy on several occasions, but there is no underlying pain, or loss, or belief that really needed to be addressed. In fact, a couple of therapists have actually been more damaging than helpful. One therapist tried every session to suggest to me that my fear of rejection must be tied to some deep rooted anger I'm holding towards my mother that I was repressing. He pushed this despite the fact that my mother and I are very close and she's been nothing but great to me, my brother and my father, lol.

As I mentioned, I do not have any self-esteem or co-dependency issues. (At least I don't think so, lol).

As far as reading up on co-dependency and obsessive love and the like, I literally have a personal library on the subjects, lol! In most of the books I've read, they try to tie the issue of obsessive love or fear of rejection to a traumatic experience or loss from one's early life. Either that, or they try to find examples and learned paradigms of thinking that are unrealistic. Just doesn't really fit my experiences.

For instance, I can objectively look at my behavior as realize where I was being irrational. I could even tell myself that I was looking at the situation irrationally. For instance, I know that the rejection is not a personal rejection. People develop their ideas and mental constructs about what a relationship should look and feel like. This is something that has been evolving for them since childhood. So, just because I didn't fit these women's construct of a relationship, then that's really not an indictment of me in any real way.

I personally believe that there are many instances where a high sensitivity to rejection is biological. But if you think there is more that you could add, or even if you think there is more that I could be missing, I would appreciate hearing it.

Thanks,

rjw5241975
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replied December 31st, 2007
Supporter
i can add - are you afraid that you can't live up to any woman's expectations? or are you sure that you can't? does that fear/reality then trigger the obsessive behavior?

just so you know i'm not saying this is what you do... i'm just exploring.
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replied August 30th, 2009
Bi Polar Breakups
I am going through this right now... I have OD'ed on my meds twice in as many weeks. I cannot control it... I don't want to turn myself in, I just want to stop!
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replied July 27th, 2010
I would like some insight, I was in a 20 yr relationship with my ex-boyfriend who I strongly believes has NPD (Narcisstic Personality Disorder), he is in his 50's and his gf is in her 30's. She is a very highly educated professional, he is like special ed, retired from the gov't. I was the enabler with him, I now am trying to find myself. He is dating this bipolar woman who I think is desperate for a man, and I think he being a narcissist wants her for her status and money, she is not attactive and not his type of woman at all physically. I wanted to know how do you think it will work out a bipolar person dating a full blown narcissist? they have been together almost a year and had a few break-ups. I went back with him a few times and found out that he way seeing both of us. She did not minid and wanted to share him with me. I was through. I wanted to know from this site what you all think about their future.
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replied September 20th, 2011
Hi RJW524

I have been searching the internet for ages. I suffer exactly the same way as you do at the end of a relationship. I have done the same thing at least 5 times. At least a couple of the girls that I was with I wasn't even bothered about until they dumped me. One girl, I dated for about three weeks. We were mates and then it turned into more. I remember when she said she didn't think she was ready for a relationship and i thought to myself "I don really care". But a couple of weeks later I started to lose it. I became obsessed with her. Ringing, texting, messaging on FB, begging, it was awful. And i didn't really like her until she dumped me. My behavior carried on for about three months until she just ignored me completely. My last girlfriend I really liked. She had been married and I think it just moved to fast for her. We had 3 amazing months and then she said that she wasn't sure if she was ready for a relationship. I took it well for about 1 week and then again I completely lost it. I did all the same things as before. This girl was special and by acting like this I have lost her for good. Now I am consumed by guilt for what could have been and the way I have acted. i have made her dislike me. I have never been nasty to any of my exes. Just begged and acted desperate with all of them.

Matt
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replied February 12th, 2012
rjw534 and chewythecat,

Really good to find your stories here today. It does help to know that there is someone out there suffering the same pain. I rally identify with your stories, and I know how amazing intense the pain can be. I hope that one or both of you are still in touch with this column and that you will reply, and that that reply will reach my e-mail. This is an amazing difficult problem that dr.'s do not seem to be able to understand or help with. Maybe we could help each other somehow.

Briefly, my story is very similar to yours, except that I’m not 47. I had my first severe depression/breakdown when my high school girlfriend went off to college, and have had 4! more since then. Same/similar crap, immensely painful upon breakup, panic, terror of aloneness, begging pleading, calling her/them incessantly to try to see them again. One thing I know is the more you try to reunite the faster they run away. but the real point it the immense pain, and what is it all about? I too can rationally k now that these women were not so spectacular, and that the relationships ere not so spectacular that I should panic like this. A few where really not women that I was all that interested in, fairly short argumentative relationships, where I wanted the companionship and sex, but it my heart knew I could do better. but that didn’t matter one they started to pull away. Just full on terror and disability. Strangest thing, and very hard to describe the amount of pain. So needless to say, I have seen lots of shrinks and pdocs, and have been hospitalized - twice. Taken a total of 27! medications, and I tell you I don’t know if things are any different, except I try only to get into calm mature relationships, if any.

Diagnosed with different things, but mainly BPII and bipolar depression. Although I also feel there are panic disorder, attachment disorder and borderline. I also have read mountains and mountains of books and articles and am still unclear on the real problem. My mother and parents were very emotionally distant and still are, and they admit to leaving me alone for long periods of time as an infant. But there is also bipolar in my family, including my father who is BP I. So is this childhood abuse response or BP? I’m starting to think I will never know.

Anyway, after 10 years of trial I am now on lithium and lamical. I have a amazingly hard time getting up before noon, am out of work and have lots of "panic attacks". I am smart and well educated - MS degree and have had very successful careers at times, but then I suffer a close and loose it all again. I am a good looking guy and athletic and smart, people don’t know why I have such problems with relationships dissolves on relationship breakups, all I know is I do. It seems to take about 2 years to resolve for me as well. I don’t know if I can do it again. Unfortunately I cannot tell you it has gotten better with age, but it scares the hell out of me. I don’t know if I can take it again. Lots of information and data, no answers. Would love to hear from you. - Soul
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replied February 12th, 2012
rjw534 and chewythecat,

Really good to find your stories here today. It does help to know that there is someone out there suffering the same pain. I rally identify with your stories, and I know how amazing intense the pain can be. I hope that one or both of you are still in touch with this column and that you will reply, and that that reply will reach my e-mail. This is an amazing difficult problem that dr.'s do not seem to be able to understand or help with. Maybe we could help each other somehow.

Briefly, my story is very similar to yours, except that I’m not 47. I had my first severe depression/breakdown when my high school girlfriend went off to college, and have had 4! more since then. Same/similar crap, immensely painful upon breakup, panic, terror of aloneness, begging pleading, calling her/them incessantly to try to see them again. One thing I know is the more you try to reunite the faster they run away. but the real point it the immense pain, and what is it all about? I too can rationally k now that these women were not so spectacular, and that the relationships ere not so spectacular that I should panic like this. A few where really not women that I was all that interested in, fairly short argumentative relationships, where I wanted the companionship and sex, but it my heart knew I could do better. but that didn’t matter one they started to pull away. Just full on terror and disability. Strangest thing, and very hard to describe the amount of pain. So needless to say, I have seen lots of shrinks and pdocs, and have been hospitalized - twice. Taken a total of 27! medications, and I tell you I don’t know if things are any different, except I try only to get into calm mature relationships, if any.

Diagnosed with different things, but mainly BPII and bipolar depression. Although I also feel there are panic disorder, attachment disorder and borderline. I also have read mountains and mountains of books and articles and am still unclear on the real problem. My mother and parents were very emotionally distant and still are, and they admit to leaving me alone for long periods of time as an infant. But there is also bipolar in my family, including my father who is BP I. So is this childhood abuse response or BP? I’m starting to think I will never know.

Anyway, after 10 years of trial I am now on lithium and lamical. I have a amazingly hard time getting up before noon, am out of work and have lots of "panic attacks". I am smart and well educated - MS degree and have had very successful careers at times, but then I suffer a close and loose it all again. I am a good looking guy and athletic and smart, people don’t know why I have such problems with relationships dissolves on relationship breakups, all I know is I do. It seems to take about 2 years to resolve for me as well. I don’t know if I can do it again. Unfortunately I cannot tell you it has gotten better with age, but it scares the hell out of me. I don’t know if I can take it again. Lots of information and data, no answers. Would love to hear from you. - Soul
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