After all, is it the person who is bipolar, or is it the relationship?Regardless of these semantic problems, let’s go with the first definition and discuss the issues that arise in relationships with people who have bipolar disorder. Thirty years ago it was a term from international relations, describing a situation such as we had during the Cold War where two states, the US and the USSR, had the majority of geopolitical power because they were the only two real players.
A great article did appear in bp Hope, showing that these relationships can succeed: Marriage and Bipolar Disorder.
I also like this short piece by Dr Jim Phelps on Relationships with Bipolar People.
For the Ancient Greeks, it was Athens and Sparta whose relationship was bipolar.
Frankly, the older interpretation might make more sense.
Once an episode is over and we are “ourselves again”, coming to terms with our bipolar behavior is very difficult and produces huge shame and sometime a crippling cognitive dissonance when we try to reconcile what happened when manic with how we are when we are well. It is important to carefully examine this self-deception when well again in order to be more likely to recognize when a manic episode is starting.
Bipolar disorder is NOT multiple personality disorder. Also, it is important that when well we work towards becoming number 4, not the manic self we may enjoy because of the feelings of confidence and achievement.
But in a sense there are several bipolar selves, and understanding this can be a powerful tool in better managing bipolar relationships: 1. On the other hand, it is also important to let go of the manic and/or depressed self once well.
They are sick phantoms – caricatures of the real you.
It can be difficult to find good resources on the subject.