Tim and Monika (names changed) met during a recreational retreat in Florida. Tim was awed by Monika’s enthusiasm for adventure sports and her spirited personality. At times, he would be overwhelmed by her disposition but he chose to silence his intuition and convinced himself that he had fallen in love with Monika. Shortly after the trip, Tim proposed to her and she accepted.
Today, Tim and Monika complete 25 years of marriage and one might wonder what is so special about them? Well, soon after they married and returned from their honeymoon, Tim noticed that Monika had gone into her shell and was nowhere close to being what she was a few days ago. Tim tried talking to Monika but she would exasperate him by oscillating between extreme depression and happiness. After much pestering, Tim convinced her to see a physician and it was then that Monika got diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
It was a dealbreaking revelation for Tim. He knew about this disorder as his dad too suffered from it as long as he was alive and he had seen his mother caring for his father. Tim weighed his options for a while and once he was clear, resolved to give his everything to this marriage and ensure that it lasts. And it did.
Tim followed some steps taken by his mother for dealing with his father, added his own wisdom and discretion to those steps, and started a new journey with Monika.
Like Tim, millions of people live with spouses who have bipolar and unfortunately, most of these marriages do not last long. However, with some planning, strong willpower and a sincere intention, one can definitely make this institution work. Listed below are a few steps that can help a person married to a partner with a bipolar disorder to navigate through difficult times and emerge stronger as a couple.
Never stop communicating
A person struggling with a bipolar disorder may vacillate between extreme happiness or mania and extreme sadness. It is important for both the partners to sit together and devise a road map. The spouse with bipolar disorder should be encouraged to share his or her triggers and how they feel during those phases, how they would want the other person to behave, etc. This knowledge can be illuminating for a partner trying to work with a spouse with bipolar as one can be prepared in advance and not feel disoriented during an emergency. This can happen when both the partners communicate well.
Keeping a track of doctors’ appointments
It is extremely important that a person suffering from bipolar disorder does not skip medication, counseling or doctor appointments. The other partner can help by keeping a schedule of the activities and if possible, accompany the spouse to counseling and doctor sessions. The two of them might have to undertake some couple/family sessions as well.
Accepting, accepting and accepting
If one has made up one’s mind to work through the marriage, irrespective of the partner’s bipolar disorder, it is essential to be practical, yet, optimistic. One must completely come to terms with the fact that life is going to be different with a spouse who is struggling with this disorder. There will be phases of intense activity followed by suffocating silence and that one cannot do much about all this. While it is human to feel dejected and tired, one must overcome these emotions and reassure themselves and the partner that both of them are together in this.
Road to recovery
Marriage is a tough work and if one of the partners has a mental illness like bipolar, working through a marriage can get nerve-wracking. However, if giving up on someone you love is so easy, then may be you are only a fair-weather friend. Working through this institution through every single day, trying to make life normal for the family, cherishing the phases of normalcy and love, and helping the spouse through the episodes of intense hurt, anger, resentment, extreme positivity and irrational happiness can get exhausting, yet, the efforts are worth it.
If you or your loved one is struggling with a mental problem, the Florida Depression Helpline can assist in finding the depression rehab centers in Florida that offer coping mechanisms to manage stress. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-267-5177 or chat online with our experts for further assistance.