How long, in your opinion and preferably if you have actual experience beyond what you glean from Wikipedia in the next 2 minutes, before you tire of your bipolar friend or family member? No matter how much you love or admire or want someone with bipolar disorder, it becomes a drag.
Then we don’t have any supports other than what we can shake down from Blue Cross and other providers whistling past the graveyard. It’s not enough. We need the people we love and respect in our lives and we know we are on borrowed time. People think after 6 months or so you should be cured but this illness only gets controlled and less explosive…but it doesn’t go away.
When we see you have checked out for self-protection or because we suck too much energy out of you or because you can’t keep investing in something that has no pay-off and no chance of government bail out, we lose all our management skills and we may as well be taking Flintstones Chewables. It’s crushing.
It’s happening to me now. But I didn’t see it coming and I can’t remember how much tolerance time I got before people got sick of it and pulled away.
How long were you able to be supportive of a bipolar?
Welcome to the SDMB, fatova mingus. We put threads asking for advice and anecdotes about mental health in IMHO, so I’ll move this thither for you. (No biggie, even longtime posters sometimes guess wrong about what forum to post in.)
While I occasionally want to smack him with something along the lines of a large hardcover book, I haven’t disowned my Mr-Up-Mr-Down brother and don’t ever expect to do it, and it isn’t even because we’ve got relatives who make his mood swings seem easy to deal with.
My mother-in-law is bipolar and I’ve been ‘supportive’ for the 15-something years I’ve known her. Even though she takes medication, she is not ‘cured’ and never will be. It’s a lot easier to deal with her when she is depressed than when she is manic. It’s the money-making enterprises (that never work out) that I find hardest to deal with.
I had to walk away from a longstanding friendship because my friend (mostly manic Bipolar I) refused medication. His brother was also bipolar, had been up to that point hospitalized dozens of times, and I now believe my friend was terrified the same was going to happen to him.
An incident happened in which I was dragged against my will. After extricating myself, I told my friend outright I could no longer be friends with him. That was almost 10 years ago. He still tries emailing me every so often, and I still automatically delete anything from him.
Like many mental illnesses, it really depends on the severity of the illness, the self-awareness of the individual, and their willingness to pursue treatment. Because I have bouts of depression, and I know what it’s like not to be in charge of what my brain does, I tend to cut others a lot of slack. But I do try to set boundaries and standards. Your mental illness does not mean that you get to use me or abuse me. Your mental illness does not mean that you get to put me or others in danger or expect me to stand by when you put yourself in danger.
What’s happened in friendships where I’ve given up, it’s almost always because I wasn’t getting a response from the other person, and it took a long time to wear me out. A couple of times, when I stood hard on my expectations and limits, my friend walked away, and I chose not to pursue it.
fatova mingus, it may not be that you’ve been permanently abandoned. It may be that your family and friends need the chance to recharge. You recognize that it’s very stressful dealing with a person whose behavior falls so far outside the norm. It might help to discuss this topic with them in as forthright and unaccusing manner as possible.
I believe that the two worst things that can happen to a person and their family are schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. There are some diseases that are not compatible with a happy marriage or family life, and bipolar disorder is one of them, even if it’s treated. You never know when treatment will start to fail.
And don’t get me started on parents getting their toddlers diagnosed with bipolar disorder so they can get SSI for them. :mad: OF COURSE they’re “rapid cycling bipolar”; they’re toddlers!
This - 100%. From my work concerning disability claims, I am amazed at how commonly - and loosely - the term bipolar gets tossed around by folk in and out of the mental health profession. It can be a profoundly limiting impairment. Or it can be a convenient excuse.
And this is why I believe that if you’re dating someone and you find out they’re bipolar, END THE RELATIONSHIP IMMEDIATELY. Life with someone who’s bipolar can be incredibly draining and miserable, and it’s definitely no environment to bring children into.
Not a PC answer, but it is my opinion a lot of people who claim they’re “bipolar” do not suffer from a legitimate metal disorder. They use it as an excuse for being lazy, manipulative, selfish, and, well… bad.
Take my cousin for example. She is 47 years old and has never held a job for more than 2 months; she gets fired from every one. She is *extremely *manipulative, lies about everything, and has bled her parents dry over the past 30 years. I’ve known her my whole life, and am convinced there is nothing mentally wrong with her. She is simply a bad person.
Last year I was talking with her at a family party. She was sharing the usual “woe is me” stuff: she has no money, she filed for disability and was rejected, her parents are paying for her apartment and new car, etc. etc. etc. Nothing was her fault; she was a victim of everything and anything. And then she casually mentioned she was “bipolar” to top it all off. She explained how being bipolar is the root cause of her pitiful situation. I was waiting for her to explain how being bipolar caused her to be chronically lazy, a pathological liar, and manipulate her parents and other family members out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. But that never came.
Which brings me to one of my pet peeves: there was a time when we said a person was either good, bad, or crazy. But in today’s PC climate, there is no such thing as a bad person; bad people are automatically defined as crazy. I believe there are many people who are not crazy and simply bad.
I dunno, how long before you get sick of someone with cancer?
I’m more in favor of evaluating each person on a case-by-case basis, rather than stereotyping them.
I’ve known many different types of Bipolar people. One is my uncle who killed himself, and we didn’t get along very well prior to his death. Another is a good friend who is well-medicated and I could not imagine life without. A third was a lovely girl dating my SIL who just could not keep her shit together.
I’m generally all about fighting against the stigma of mental illness. You abuse me or otherwise make my life routinely miserable? I’m going to put some distance between us, and depending on the offense I might just cut you out of my life completely. But not everyone who is mentally ill is abusive, or deserves this kind of blanket judgment. And even the most messed up people can find their redemption in recovery.
I think my mother was bipolar. But she would never have gone to a shrink. Mental illness is anathema in our culture. Anyway, she was awful and it damaged and destroyed our relationship.
You bet I’ll be prejudging before I go into a relationshp. I must have been already, because I ended up with the most serious, steady, sane man in the world. Sometimes he is a bit boring, but I never mind because he’s a rock and will always be there and not be crazy.
Are they medicated? My aunt is bipolar and often off her meds. I can tolerate her for an hour or two at family gatherings, but that’s it. I could never be friends with or date a bipolar person. I don’t find frequent delusions of grandeur an admirable quality. And mood swings give me whiplash.
Fortunately, my boyfriend is the most steady, even-tempered, laid-back person I have ever met. =)
I don’t think she has any disorder. I think she’s just a bad person.
Unless you believe every bad person, by definition, has a disorder. If you believe that, I do not share your belief. I believe many bad people have no disease or disorder whatsoever. They’re just… bad.