View Full Version : Bipolar disorder

07-17-2013, 10:34 AM
I would really like to hear from anyone that has experience with bipolar disorder, whether you have it yourself and how you've managed it, or it's someone you love. I realize this isn't really an addiction, but it sure has a lot to do with addiction!

I've opened up to a very few friends about this before, but my boyfriend is bipolar... diagnosed and treated years ago (like 15+), but no longer medicated. We've been together over 5 years now and it is just getting worse and worse. He has always fought me on medication, saying it made him a zombie and he hated it. I've tried telling him things are much different now as far as meds, but he believes he manages it just fine by smoking obscene amounts of weed. But even that is losing its effect. He has NO money management skills, I'm catching him in lies and sneaky behavior (some of it he doesn't even know I know about - and denies, denies, denies if I bring any of it up), lashes out in anger over any and everything - big or small, it's the same reaction, and his disrespect for me is now being noticed by others. I also do NOT want to send our daughter the wrong message on how a woman should be treated. The longest he's held a job since we've been together is 2 months. It is insane the things I have put up with, because I love him and I see better in him than he sees in himself.

He is 42, and had a heart attack a year ago July 20, and he's been very worried about his heart but refuses to see the bipolar as any sort of issue. This is my leverage - he has no job and no insurance, so he has to look into state help, and I'm telling him that the stress caused from his bipolar spiraling out of control is not good on his heart, and that he needs to have that addressed if/when he can get assistance.

I have admitted before that my relationship with my alcoholic mom carried over to every other relationship I've had... this is no different. I gave him way too much control over my life in the beginning, did everything for him, and he ran me into the ground. I fell for all the "poor me, I've always gotten the short end of the stick" stories, and now I see that it is really partially a lack of effort coupled with a disease that is not within his power to control. I've stopped being submissive and it is not sitting well with him. I finally told him today that we both know what the real problem is (to which he replied, "You'll have to tell me, I guess I don't know...?") and if he will admit it and gets help, I'm here until the end. If not, I can't do this anymore. He finally said I was right, which is two steps farther than I've ever gotten with him before (usually I get an "I'll look into it," and he never looks into it).

Anyway... I know all about boundaries and holding to them if his end of the bargain isn't kept. lol (Obviously.) I've promised myself that if I have to dip into the few last financial backup reserves I have, he cannot and will not be in the picture. But I would appreciate any and all pieces of advice or experiences that you can throw at me... knowledge is power. If you need more info, I'm happy to oblige.

I've heard several times before, "He's worthless, leave his @$$" and "You deserve better than that." That's not what I'm looking for. I fully agree I deserve better, and one way or another, I will receive better... but for it to feel right to me, I have to go through hell and back before I give up on him. lol See... I'm not stupid, I just care too much. :)

Thank you!

07-17-2013, 11:08 AM

I can't say much but I will let you know what I know. I have known at least two people who have bipolar disorder. One was a girlfriend and one was an AA sponsor. The girlfriend was being treated with lithium. I did not guess that she had this problem until she told me (she was also an alcoholic in recovery). She said that she wished she had been diagnosed and been on meds earlier because it would have saved her from going thru a lot of distructive and risky behavior. When I knew her she was going back to nursing school (at the age of 40), which she successfully completed, and she is a nurse now.

The sponsor had a major breakdown about 20 years ago and was not even able to work for 5 years. When I knew him he had been sober ever since the breakdown and was a leader in AA. He has been on meds for bipolar for a long time and he is a strong proponent of them.

I am in no way an expert, but my general belief is that bipolar disorder is a very serious thing, and to try to deal with it without treatment, such as medication, is hard for me to understand. Often with things such as depression and bipolar disorder, different types of medication have to be experimented with in order to find the correct prescription for that particular person. I have a history of some type of depression/anxiety and do take something for it. My brother has the same thing and has been on meds for about 15 years. There is some other family history as well.

Take care Erin, I hope he does see a doctor about it.

07-17-2013, 11:44 AM
Thank you for your response, Phil! I totally agree, when looking at him and how his life is going, I wonder how he could think he has a grip on this without medication. But one of the symptoms (not sure if this is the right word or not) of bipolar is thinking you are so far above everyone else and you know more or better, so why would he think a lowly doctor that has studied the disease would be able to help him? lol I'm not even hoping for a complete turnaround or for "perfection," just something more manageable would be wonderful. It's just crazy how it started out with a "freakout" occasionally in the beginning, and now it's more like the "freakouts" are the norm with the occasional bout of sanity. :) I'm glad to hear about your friends' experiences, it seems to me that a bipolar brain is basically always a whirlwind, and the meds would make life much more enjoyable for him.

Thank you again, Phil :)

08-12-2013, 12:50 AM
I'm 6 months sober and am loving being part of the AA fellowship. I have sponsor and I'm on step 4. This weekend I was really exhausted and kind of let my program slip. It didn't take long for me to get really miserable and full of self pity and I ended up having the same kind of weekend that I used to have with a hangover. I couldn't face going to work yesterday and my sponsor told me I needed to take constructive loving action and pray for an emotionally sober day. I just couldn't. I tried but it just wasn't happening. I felt like I had lost my connection to my higher power then I started to panic that it wouldn't come back. I feel much better today after going to a couple of meetings and speaking to friends in the fellowship but I just wondered if any of you who have been around for longer ever get this? I worry sometimes that maybe I don't believe enough. How do we know when we really really believe in a higher power?

Shelby Lynne
08-26-2013, 12:56 PM
This is my first post, ever... (on any site!) so I apologize in advance if I don't follow the rules very well?
I have Bipolar II disorder, along with MDD (major depressive disorder) and adult ADHD. My husband is an alcoholic, I am very much co dependent (trying to change that) and I also have some addiction issues of my own. I am in no way an authority on the subject, but can try to give you some honest (and sometimes gut wrenching) insight into "my" issues... maybe somehow that will help you with your boyfriend? Of course, please keep in mind that my opinions are mine alone, I can only give you my perspective.
Let me know what questions you have, or what specifically you'd like to know?

08-27-2013, 05:53 AM
Shelby, I am so honored that your first post on this (or any) site was extending help to me! Thank you! I understand that your opinions are only your opinions, as are mine. But they will probably still be helpful, because I don't know many other people personally dealing with this issue themselves! I'll PM you. :)

Shelby Lynne
08-27-2013, 06:31 AM
Sounds good, Erin. I'll be here! ANY questions, thoughts, etc are welcome... I've been dealing with this brain/emotional issue since puberty (am now pushing 50), and it honestly helps me keep grounded if/when I try to help others. Hopefully, something in my head can help you.

My favorite quote... "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think!" (Winnie the pooh)

08-13-2014, 04:25 AM
I absolutely agree that we need to recognize that other people families with bipolar disorder can give more informed opinions than the average person, but that experiences with drugs and treatments are still person-dependent.