Loving A Bipolar Spouse

Kanye and KK are always in the news. I’m not a fan of either celebrity. I don’t watch any of the KK shows or buy her products. Kanye’s music is not my cup of tea although I appreciate the hard work he may put into it. We all have preferences. However, when Kanye was diagnosed with Bipolar I paid a little more attention to them. Although I’m sure some of the drama was for ratings on KK’s behalf, it was interesting to see that even with MILLIONS of dollars, BP can really impact marriage and relationships.

It is DIFFICULT to love and be married to an individual with Bipolar. If you love a bipolar person, you need to know that there is ALWAYS work to be done. Mostly, the work should be done by the ill person, but you have to put in work too. You must be diligent and as patient as you can. Don’t forget to take care of yourself or even stand up for your rights, but know that it will not be easy. Even what seems like simple things are harder if a BP person is off the meds or drops therapy or does not get enough sleep. Conversations between spouses can sometimes be tough no matter who they are. I mean, you have two people with differing opinions and that sometimes ends in a back and forth that can get uncomfortable depending on the topic.

However, if there is a bipolar person involved, it becomes another level. Why bring KK and Kanye into this discussion? Just to show that no matter what lifestyle you have, no matter how much money and support you have if the person with BP does not take the meds, get therapy or put in the work for their self care, MARRIAGE WILL NOT WORK. If you have BP and you are reading this I am not saying you are not doing enough. I am not saying it is ALL YOUR FAULT. I know sometimes you feel that you do, do and do and get no recognition but it’s not about that. Just know treatment can never stop. If you are waiting for that moment when everything is “normal” you will never be satisfied.

Living WELL with BP means managing the symptoms and mood episodes constantly. It is not easy or simple and takes real work. There are no two experiences that are alike so they can’t even follow a pattern – they have to craft their own. The only real steps after getting a diagnosis is to find the right medications with a psychiatrist and your physician – they may have to try different combinations. They may have to take mood stabilizers. Some people may even need antipsychotics. Psychotherapy is a must – this is a fancy word for talk therapy – it really helps for the ill to have a SAFE SPACE to talk about all their running, sometimes unusual thoughts. BP people sometimes have thoughts that will be hurtful to hear if you are on the receiving end. Psychotherapy gives people with BP a place to say it all out loud without shame or guilt – and they need to- and filter them all before coming to the people they love to talk about it. That way it will be far less hurtful for the non BP person.

People often forget about Psychoeducation. A good therapist can help the BP patient identify mood episodes, navigate stress, solve problems and develop healthy habits. It is not good for the ill to depend on their loved one. No matter how strong, loving and educated the spouse is, it is unfair to lean on that person for BP – it is just too much for anyone to handle alone.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy is probably one of the most well-known types of talk therapy. Its goal is to help people manage coping strategies and thought processes. CBT techniques can help people diagnosed with BP rethink the way you think (seriously), so you can recognize thoughts that serve you well and let go of negative or destructive thinking.

CBT can help people with BP:

  • address impulsivity
  • stay grounded during mania
  • practice self-care and self-compassion during depression
  • take action when your motivation and energy are low

If the person you love is doing more research, reading and practicing ways to deal with BP than you – the patient, it’s time to get CBT so you can participate more in your own well being.

Here is a great visual to show you what a good therapist can do with CBT

BP people have a huge list of strategies they have to keep up with:

  1. They should keep track of their well being. It would help if they jot down notes on their mood, sleep, and causes of stress. Keeping a log may seem tedious and silly but it really helps to organize all those racing thoughts and emotions.
  2. Tracking mood can help identify symptom triggers and give the BP sufferer a sign that they might be having a mood episode. Identifying mood episodes early means the BP person will feel more in control and centered while it is happening and it helps their loved ones not get the brunt of it.
  3. Stay on top of medication. They HAVE to take their meds on a routine by using a pillbox, setting up reminders on the phone or make it a ritual like taking it every time you have meals or when you brush your teeth.
  4. This ones is hard for everyone much less BP patients but they MUST develop a daily routine. They should create a calming morning and evening routine. Since lack of sleep can trigger mania, SLEEP IS KEY to good health for BP sufferers. Unfortunately good sleep hygiene is one of the hardest things for them to have.
  5. They must participate in stress relieving activity. During COVID I think a lot of people with BP fell out of habit of finding healthy ways to manage stress. Taking walks, biking, meditating indoors/outdoors, swimming or gardening is always a great way for ANYONE but especially people with BP to manage stress.
  6. A support group can help some patients. As long as the BP person can focus on their own problems it is good to talk about it with other people with the same symptoms. You can find support through your therapist, doctor, psychiatrist or:

What of Kanye and KK? Well, to us outsiders, it looks like Kanye stopped taking meds and KK decided that it was a deal breaker for their marriage vows. The statistic for marriages involving a person who has bipolar disorder is SOBERING. BP hope estimates 90 percent of marriages with a BP spouse end in divorce. So with all the nannies, millions of dollars and their luxurious lifestyle if they can’t make it work – it is really telling that it takes the commitment of the BP patient to truly have a good strategies and take self care seriously.

https://www.bphope.com/caregivers/partners-for-life/

Published by bridgey1967

Loyal. Funny. Sensitive. Loving.

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