The bipolar on relationships

A few days ago, my partner was really stressed out about a number of things.  I wasn’t particularly having a good day either.  I also forgot I had done something (common side effect of my medication) and he wasn’t thrilled about that.  In the end, he said “Tara, you have your support groups, doctors, etc to get you through this and I have nothing”.

He was right.

People with mental illness can go through any number of the following negative experiences including:

  • Mood swings.
  • Withdrawal from everyday life
  • Fear
  • Stress
  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Anger

But do you know how your partner is impacted by your mental illness too?  It was honestly the first time in years I really thought about it.  Did you know they can experience some of the same symptoms?  There are many support programs for those of us with mental illness and hardly anything for our partners.  Now our family doctor has sat down with him in the past and explained what I would go through but I would really someone to see how HE’S doing.

Some studies show that initially when a mental illness is diagnosed, the partner goes overboard trying to be a caregiver and eventually becomes exhausted or burnt out.    Many of these couples end up in “couples therapy” because there are not many other options.  Locally, I know of one support group that offers help to the partner (COPE).

Over the next little while, I am going to dig a little deeper into this and see what is out there and why there isn’t more support available. There.  I have another mission.

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