My head's all a-jumble, please help me.
December 11, 2011 9:50 AM Subscribe
Relationship with bipolar SO--please help.
posted by anonymous to human relations (27 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
We are both under 30. We’ve been dating for two years, are living together, and SO has been diagnosed with ADHD and bipolar (not sure if it’s I or II).
He’s unmedicated and not in therapy, and refuses to consider either. To be fair, he has tried both in the past, found therapy unhelpful and hated the side-effects of the drugs. I’m completely unfamiliar with the territory. I don’t want to pressure him to try something that actually won’t work. However, it’s been excruciating and frustrating and maddening to watch him waste over six months of his life and seek no help. In addition, when we would talk about it, he would often say things like, “You need to make me go to the gym/study/be productive.” This made me feel like he honestly believed he could get out of this pattern if only *I* were good enough to help him out of it. He has since told me that that was the depression talking and he doesn’t actually believe that, but it made me feel so helpless for months on end. I am not confident that I could do that again if he enters another depressive episode.
He has a night job at which he has access to alcohol, and he takes liberal advantage of that access. He admits that he is self-medicating, but he says that he’s not actually an alcoholic (he’s a heavy user but not addicted). I think the night job and the drinking contributed to the depression, but he won’t consider stopping the drinking, since he doesn’t think it’s excessive. To be fair again, I’m not sure if he actually has a “problem,” either. However, he definitely drinks a lot, and I just think it would probably help him to treat his body better.
He also has a non-serious but cosmetically unpleasant medical issue that would probably hurt his chances at most job interviews, which makes leaving the night job difficult. This issue is easily fixed if he would make the necessary appointments to do so, but a combination of the depressive episode, the ADHD, and (I believe) an avoidance of the issue have stretched this out into months. He has lived rent-free, first with his roommate and now with me, since the issue arose so that he could save money to pay for it. I’m getting really fed up with not at least having some idea of the total cost of the procedures, simply because he can’t pick up the phone.
Lastly, since getting out of the depressive episode he’s been making some violent comments. These aren’t directed toward me, more toward people in general. For example, he says things like, “I hope the political unrest comes to a revolution, because if it does I am grabbing a gun and shooting people.” I honestly don’t know if he’s saying these things because he’s still somewhat depressed, or because he’s switching toward manic, or because he actually believes them. He also has a history of non-violent, but disrespectful language toward me. I’ve gotten better at asserting myself when things like this happen, but I think I reinforced some bad behaviors early in the relationship, and progress has been slow.
Even with all of this, most of the time he’s attentive, sweet, and caring. I’m just so confused. Is the bad stuff coming from him, or the disease? Do I really have no right to expect him to ever be an adult because of his disorders? To ever be able to take care of an errand on his own? He really really wants kids, but I just cannot see myself having kids with him if all of a sudden he could go depressive and for months I’m left completely alone in raising them. Could medication and therapy actually help him, if I can just get him to go? Or is he right that I just have to wait it out when he has an episode? Do the violent comments mean I should be taking immediate action, like calling a hotline or something? Is there anything I can do to save this?
I’m sorry this is so jumbled. I feel like I’m so far in that I can’t recognize what’s acceptable and what’s not. Really any advice is helpful at this point.