It takes certain (survival) skills for any relationship to work, but in a relationship where one person has a mental illness, such as bipolar disorder; there is added stress upon the relationship. 

 

Let’s look at the responsibilities of the person with bipolar disorder:

 

  • Take responsibility for your disorder.
  • Your disorder is your responsibility, and not your spouse’s.  Make sure to take your medication every day and on time, and to refill all prescriptions when necessary, so you don’t run out and have to skip a day.  Always go to your scheduled appointments (and on time) with your doctor, psychiatrist, therapist, etc.

     

  • Take care of yourself.
  • Make sure you take care of your own basic needs – eat right, get the right amount of rest for you (most people with bipolar disorder sleep around nine hours per night), exercise, bathe regularly, etc.  Also make sure you do things that you enjoy and that make you feel good about yourself; such as: journaling, gardening, model cars, reading, writing, etc.  Do things that relax you as well, such as: watching tv, laying down quietly listening to soft music, meditation, etc.

     

  • Take care of your spouse.
  • Don’t forget to take care of your spouse’s needs as well, such as the need for love, attention, assurance, and well-being.  Remember why you married them in the first place, no matter how long ago that was.  Try to keep the original fires burning.  Do something special for them; show them that you love them; show your appreciation for everything they do to take care of you. 

     

  • Don’t take your spouse for granted.
  • You may say, “They know that I love them.”  Well, they still need to hear it!  You can never tell someone, “I love you” too many times.  Tell them, as often as you can.  Your spouse needs to be reassured of your love. 

     

     

    If you have bipolar disorder and you are the head of your household, you also have other responsibilities.  Even if you are on Social Security Disability, you still have bills to pay.  Make sure that you pay your bills, and that you pay them on time. 

     

    Don’t put any undue stress on your spouse, especially financial stress, as this will also put pressure on your relationship.  If they are the one handling the financial responsibilities, make  sure they know that they have your full support, and offer to help where you can.

     

    If you have children, you also have responsibilities as a parent.   Just because you have bipolar disorder does not relieve you of those responsibilities.  Make sure you take your role seriously.  Don't make your spouse do everything in regards to the children.  Help out wherever you can.