Marriage is tough work, but if your spouse has a mental disorder, it can make things even more challenging. If your spouse is Bipolar or is Manic Depressive, you may feel that you are going crazy as well. Take a deep breath. Your marriage can survive even if your spouse is Bipolar, as long as both of you are willing to work on it.
Here's what you need to do to keep your sanity intact when your spouse is Bipolar.
- Accept the situation. If you choose to be with this person in spite of his mental illness, you must be willing to do the work. For the spouse diagnosed as Bipolar, you must be honest with your spouse about your condition and work with her to seek treatment.
- Educate yourself. Read up on the disorder so you know what to expect and what you can do to help you cope.
- Get professional help. Bipolar Disease is a difficult mental disorder but it is manageable. It may entail a combination of therapy and medication. Even if you are a trained professional, you will need help to deal with the problem. Your love and support will help you partner see him through his bad days, but the underlying condition must be medically dealt with.
- Get support. It's difficult enough to be married, but to have a spouse that has been clinically diagnosed with a disorder makes it even more complicated. You may feel you are married to two different people, and in a way, it's an apt description. You need to get support from your friends and family and maybe even from a group comprised of families living with someone with Bipolar disease.
- Consider seeing a counselor for yourself. Living with someone who is manic depressive is emotionally stressful. Get help for yourself if you get overwhelmed. You may seek a therapist, trained counselor or even a religious pastor.
- Don't allow your spouse to self medicate. All medication should be taken under the strict supervision of a doctor. If you find that your husband is self medicating, call your doctor right away. You may even need to hide his meds until his episode is over.
- Keep forgiveness a constant. When your spouse as an episode, he may say and do things that he has no control over and it may hurt you. In order to be able to move on, you will need to open your heart and forgive constantly.
- Avoid having children. Living with someone Bipolar can be unpredictable, wherein any type of stress can set him off. Adding children to your equation will only add to both your stress. It's difficult enough to raise children, let alone in a mentally unstable environment.
- Know your limits. Sometimes, you may need to leave your spouse especially if the mental illness becomes too uncontrollable. You will need to take care of yourself by taking breaks or time away from your spouse. If after all your efforts, you find you still cannot handle the situation or don't want to for the sake of your own mental health, then it may be time to move on.
Bipolar marriages have a very high divorce rate, only about one in ten survive. You may choose to beat the odds as long as both spouses are willing to accept and acknowledge the problem and are willing to work on it.