Many supporters of a loved one with bipolar disorder feel, at times, as if their loved one is lying to them.  If you feel this way, you need to know that you are not alone.  This is a common feeling for supporters to experience.


Bipolar disorder is a chemical imbalance of the brain.  The major characteristic of the disorder is mood swings – from "high highs" (a sense of euphoria, or extreme happiness) to "low lows" (a sense of depression, or extreme sadness).  At their extreme, these mood swings can become bipolar episodes.


When a person with bipolar disorder goes into an episode, they can exhibit unusual behavior, or risk-taking behavior, that they would normally not exhibit.  Some of the behaviors exhibited during a bipolar manic episode are the following:  excessive spending (or shoplifting); risky sexual behavior (or promiscuity); reckless driving; gambling; substance abuse; etc.


With the advent of a manic episode and the above listed behaviors, come consequences of such behaviors; such as: financial; interpersonal; personal; medical; and, possibly, legal ones. 


One of the problems that arise is that, many times, the person with bipolar disorder has no memory of what happened during their bipolar episode – so, for example, when they wake up in jail or in the hospital, they may not know how they got there or why they are there.


When it comes to you, their supporter, they may say or do things during their episode that you remember quite well, so that when the discussion of the event comes up, you think they are lying about it.  You may even feel anger at your loved one, or accuse them of denying that the event ever happened.  You may think your loved one is trying to get out of the consequences, even if it is as small as a simple apology to you.


Your loved one, however, may not have any idea of what you're talking about!  They may get defensive at being called a liar or even get angry with you.  They may actually not have any memory of the event at all, which is common for someone in a bipolar episode; so, in fact, they are not lying to you, as much as it may seem that way.


On the other hand, there are some people with bipolar disorder who will take advantage of the fact that they have been in a bipolar episode and will lie on purpose to try to avoid accepting the consequences of their behavior and actions.  This is wrong and, if it is happening to you, your loved one must be held accountable.


Whichever the case, lying is very common when it comes to bipolar disorder, so if you feel as if your loved one is lying to you, chances are that you are, indeed, experiencing this phenomenon.


If you have a loved one who has lied to you, you must first distinguish whether they have lied to you on purpose or simply have no memory of the event.  In the former case, they must be held accountable while, in the latter case, you must be understanding and forgiving, as you will get nowhere but frustrated if you are not.