Using the system described in Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder:
How has bipolar II disorder affected our relationship and me personally?
The severe episode of anxiety/depression last year led to horrible mood swings, which caused fights and tension, and a mutual loss of trust in our marrital bond. It was so bad that I thought I might lose my darling wife to suicide or divorce. I realize my paniced response was probably not helpful most of the time, but I felt I had to try something to save her. This led to me to feel extremely helpless. Despite this inner pain, I still retained some hope that we’d get through it and grow stronger individually and as a couple. There were many days this hope whithered and became really faint, but as long as I could get her to agree to the treatment plan including therapy and medications, I could hold onto that hope.
The hardest thing I find daily is:
The unpredicable mood swings which can sometimes fluctuate throughout the day. These mood swings often destroys my wife’s concentration/attention to fullfilling her critical role as homemaker, loving mother of 4 kids and amazing life-partner to me. Seeing my soulmate suffer, without insight into the condition, and therefore without an optimal treatment plan, is the hardest thing for me.
What I’d love to change right now:
Obviously, I would love for my wife’s obliviousness / denial to be replaced with insight and acceptance! Given that this is more realistically a longer term goal, my immediate desire is for my wife and me to agree on an acceptable strategy for a feedback dialogue that doesn’t lead to tension and fights.
What do I need to find happiness in my life?
Good question – my happiness seems strongly bound to my wife’s happiness and our intimate connection together. I don’t think that’s such a bad thing, if bipolar II disorder wasn’t hurting us. Clearly, I also need my own hobbies and outlets for my stress, which would also reduce the dependence on my wife happiness, albeit only slightly.
If things do not change, what future do I see in my relationship?
If things do not change, the future of our relationship is likely to be filled with ongoing periods of tension and fights – my hope is that these periods become less frequent and less intense, so it doesn’t rip our family apart.
What is going well?
It is always important to celebrate and remember the positives, not only the stressful negatives in any situation. Right now, as long as I stay away from topics about mood swings or the crisis last year, our relationship has been really strong, intimate and loving. When her hypomanic state does not involve agitation or anxiety, it can be quite energising to be around her. But this is the fine line that needs to be balanced. I think I have been able to become less reactive and more understanding and compassionate for her inability to notice the problem.