I am a 45-year old Bi-Polar woman, I am living with a 60-year old man, he is Bi-Polar also. We have been together for 4 years now. I love him very much, but he is a drain on me. He spends most of his time in bed while we are home. I find it very hard to get myself motivated. I have been very depressed and suicidal, our finances are not good, and I can’t hold down a part-time job because of my illness. I could use some tips on dealing with this situation.
Being bipolar yourself is difficult to handle sometimes on your own, but to add the ebbs and flows of another bipolar that could or could not be cycling at the same time can make it even more difficult. First and foremost is your mental stability, because if you are not stable there is no way you are going to be of help to him.
For instance, my husband would go into a bad depression cycle, take himself out of work and then self-medicate with alcohol. All the while I was struggling to keep myself a float because I made his mood mine. He was depressed therefore I had to be depressed, which is the trap a lot of bipolars fall into. I had to make the conscious decision to keep my routine, make sure I was taking my meds, and doing things that kept me stable. I had to do these things especially because we had young children at home.
So the first thing I would recommend is setting a sleeping schedule. Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning. This helps to ensure you are getting a good night’s sleep plus it inhibits the desire to stay in bed all day. Plus once you get out of bed take your meds and when you go to sleep take them, that way your meds are on a scheduled routine as well.
Second, make a to do list of things to accomplish in a day. Make sure your list is long enough to keep you busy for the day, but not too long that it is overwhelming. Making the list overwhelming will be counterproductive and add to your level of depression.
Third, make sure you are getting in some sort of exercise. It could be as simple as parking in the back of the parking lot of a store and walking to the store. Get yourself moving in some way so you get your blood pumping. It is a proven fact that exercise produces endorphins that is helpful for the mind.
Lastly, make sure you are doing something for yourself. It doesn’t have to be something you go spend money on but as simple as taking a long hot bath with candles and a serene setting. I personally go and get my nails done once a month, which is something I do for me; giving me a tangible thing showing I am taking care of me.
Taking care of you is of utmost importance and lead by example. Once he sees you doing things in a routine pattern he is more likely to join in, usually something simple at first, then will blossom to something bigger.
I have found that taking these steps ensures better management of my bipolar and helps everyone around me and their moods.