How to make the best with living with: Bipolar Spouse
Being married to someone who has bipolar disorder can be very tough sometimes, you never know when their emotions will change for the worse and how they will act in various circumstances. Their mood swings can make your days great and sometimes unbearable many people end up giving up and opting for divorce, however you can choose to make your marriage work.
Rachel and her bipolar husband live in Texas; they have been married for 26 years. At age 42 and almost halfway through their marriage, Rachel’s husband was hospitalized and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The diagnosis didn’t come as a surprise since she knew of her husband’s long family history with the condition, however it helped shed more light on the situation.
Rachel says that the diagnosis made it a lot easier since you know the cause, but everything remains the same. There are great months that while others, the disorder shows up unexpectedly. She continues to say that she is aware of the many divorce cases and abusive marriages where one partner is bipolar.
Rachel says that her husband is a “rapid cycler” you never know how he will behave on a daily basis. Many days, Rachel says that she feels tired, frustrated, and often wonders why she is still with her husband. However, she looks at the many years they have been together and how they have brought up their daughter successfully; this gives her the strength and ability to look at her husband and their marriage in a new perspective and in a more understanding way.
How to deal with your spouse’ bipolar moods: Top tips to help you survive and thrive in your marriage
1. Relax– When things get tough, take a step back, and breathe. Know that it’s the disease that is the problem, not your spouse. Always keep this in mind, Rachel advices
2. Join a support group– Taking care of a sick person can take all your focus and strength as you try to meet all their needs and be there for them. However, you also need to take of yourself. See a therapist, join a support group, or get help from friends and family. Rachel has never considered joining a group but asserts that she could have benefited a lot, she gets her support from friends
3. Get away from your spouse– Rachel says that avoiding your spouse when their moods are out of control can keep you sane. If you can avoid him/ her do it, however awful it might sound, it can help you keep sane
4. Laughter is the best medicine– If you can use humor to make the situation bearable, go ahead. Rachel says that this trick works great for her. She says that making her husband laugh helps get him out of his mood swings
5. Implement rules and needs– Rachel has made his husband understand that taking medicine is compulsory. If you can make your spouse take his meds as he is supposed to, you are ok. Rachel says that theirs is a fight; it’s like taking care of a child. If she refuses to take his meds, Rachel takes drastic measures such as leaving even if just for one night to show her husband how serious she is. This usually works, she says
6. Recall why you fell in love with your spouse– When it gets tough, its often easy to give up, however remembering the love that you two share can help you persevere and not give up, Rachel asserts
7. Have a marriage philosophy– Growing a philosophy can help you focus on your husband and not the disease. Acknowledge that despite the disorder, your spouse is the person you fell in love with. You would not want them to leave you if it was you in their shoes.
8. Identify triggers– When your spouse is in his normal mood, look for environmental factors that might be activating his symptoms. Certain environmental stressors and soothers such as problems in your marriage can activate mood swings. Identify the soothers and use them to maintain a better mood for both of you. Marriage therapist Tracy Todd of Alexandria advices
9. Understand your spouse’s needs– Ask your spouse what he needs when he in a good mood. Use thoughtful tactics, strategies and techniques to get him to tell you his needs to know how can help him when the time comes
10. Keep the communication lines open– There are days you won’t feel like talking to your spouse, however you need to continue communicating to help manage the stressors.
Rachel’s experience has given her a better and more understanding perspective for both the people with bipolar disorder and their loved ones. She continues to say that she would hate to be in his head and can’t bring herself to imagine how her husband feels. Christian Counseling is here to help you if you are needing marriage counseling in Broken Arrow & Tulsa.