I am not a relationship counsellor and my track record of widowed, divorced and multiple other relationships of various lengths does not put me in the expert category either. All I can do is share the few things that I have learned.
There are, in my opinion, a few ground rules required to make a relationship with a person with Bi-Polar work. Since in most cases I was the one with BP, they apply to me most of all.
- The person with BP has to do something about controlling their illness. Take their meds, take care of their mind, body, spirit and build and use a support group.
If they are not willing to do this it is a huge waste of time because they are just a walking time bomb and will explode at some point even if they use all the right words and say that they won’t, they will.
I am Bipolar and for most of my life I have confused that with needing to self-medicate and explore every addiction under the sun. The road to sanity was long, hard and sometimes seemed never ending. I struggled through years of finding meds that worked, but once stable found I was an emotional wreck. Something I learned medications could not fix, medications do stabilize my moods and make life better. Medications do not deal with my mental anguish and emotional turmoil. That could only be accomplished by realizing that I am made up of body, mind and spirit. It was through growing and exercising my spirit that I was able to remove my mental anguish and control my emotions. These things were not accomplished overnight, nor in a weekend, but over a period of decades. There were ups and downs, as well as major setbacks.
I was all things to all people, I wanted to please everyone. Or, I do not want anyone near me and I pushed everyone away. I had no idea who or what I was or wanted. I mostly felt I wasn’t good enough or I should be better than this. Mainly I was a dreamer, who thought that out of nothing I would be miraculously put into a position of great importance. Believe it or not, I almost pulled that one off. There was no reality in my life, it was all just smoke and mirrors. Over time, and due to hard work, reality began to seep in and that glossy façade I had built to protect myself slipped away. I came to understand who I really was and that was just a very sick man. But this was the perfect place to build from as it was an honest appraisal of myself.
I quit lying to myself and began to open the key to life – Know who you really are and become at peace with yourself.
We will talk about my other two guidelines over the next few days.
- It is not about them, it is about you – why are you reacting instead of responding. This one takes a lot of study and practice. However the benefits are a pretty good relationship. It eliminates the he said, or he did this or that. So what! Why are you reacting?
3 Deal with your individual issues through healthy support. Secondary issues like addictions and emotional issues are just that secondary issues. They are not weapons to be used on your partner.
Keep to the path, the hard one. The easy one does not go anywhere.