Monday, May 4, 2009

Loving a bipolar person...

Bipolar... A disorder that is caused by an imbalance in the brain. I guess I could go deeper into it but the definition in full is here for you to have a look at if you like. But in truth, this weekend I was approached by a friend with a question. A question concerning a young lady he was falling in love with. So what is the problem with that? They get along well, she is beautiful, he is a nice looking young man and they are both doing well. Sounded perfect to me. I asked him what I was missing.
She, the love of his life is, well to say the least, VERY bipolar. "And?" I said. Then he began to explain things to me. She is sometimes so far away in her thoughts that he can not reach her. She wanders off aimlessly, not having a clue as to what she wants nor what she is looking for. In restaurants, she sits sometimes, seemingly for a lifetime, staring at the menu. Now and then she glances over the top and with a red face, smiles at him. She cuddles next to him on the couch as they watch a movie. She plays a bit with him and laughs. He of course follows her lead and the next thing you know, they have forgotten the movie is even on. {Nothing wrong with that of course.} Suddenly, as if by some unseen force, she pushes him away and begins to watch the movie again. {{So, she changed her mind... that happens to us all.} She then gets up from the couch and goes out to the kitchen. He waits for her to return but after a few minutes, he wonders what is keeping her. He finds her in the kitchen, staring out the window. When she turns to look at him, tears are in her eyes and he knows, the night has just begun for them.
I listened to him and felt every word he said to me. He spoke of his fears and wondered if a person really can or even should start up a serious relationship with someone that is Bipolar. I had to really take a moment to think my answer through. His pain was obvious and he simply stood there shaking his head. There were other things he spoke of like her suddenly becoming angry and yelling about truly, nothing. He loved her so much but sometimes wondered if he was taking on more than he could handle.
I asked him,"Do you love her with all of your heart?" Of course he does but sometimes, she is almost emotionless and other times, she can not seem to get enough of him or of their love-making. How was he to deal with it all? My answer was simple to that question. LOVE HER... love her with tenderness and compassion and spirit. Love her in her bad times and good times. Try and understand that she can do little to change the way she is. If she could, perhaps she would. I told him that if she found a "safe place" with him, she would love him for the rest of their lives. I also told him that yes, she would be High Maintenance. She would require space and time and that to try and deny her such things, she might simply leave. I explained a little more about her being bipolar and told him a few things he might do to help her when her "moods" swept through.
Let her know you are always there for her but do not smother her. Walk with her slowly when she needs to walk slow and run like it is his last day on earth when she wants to run. Nothing he told me of her was anything that I do not deal with every minute of my life. Living with a loved one that is Bipolar is no doubt a challenge at times. There will be times when you wonder if they even care you exist. Days that they will want to be alone or will cry for no apparent reason and to touch her/him might be something that he/she will not allow. Encourage her and show her that the way she is doesn't change the way he feels. When she is in a Low, let her try and settle it in her own mind. When she cries, let her cry. It doesn't mean he did anything wrong and chances are, she couldn't give him a reason why she was crying if he asked her. When she can not seem to make a choice from a menu, talk to her and remind of of things she orders a lot. She will then feel at ease and choose something.
Above all else, never let her feel like an oddity or as if she were too much. She will find that "safety" in him and though neither may ever know why some things happen, to walk beside her through the highs and the lows is the greatest show of love he could give to her. Don't get angry with her when her moods swing fiercely from high to low and back to high again in just a few minutes. If she is with him, then she trusts him and loves him as much as her mind will allow her to. Living with someone that is Bipolar is not a walk in the park. But... life can be awesome and life can be beautiful for them both. Simply take it one moment at a time because that is how her life happens daily. The rewards can be great and the love, splendid. I think they will do fine...

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