Bipolar Disorder: Not the Cause of Every Problem in a Relationship

Bipolar Disorder: Not the Cause of Every Problem in a Relationship

I wish more people would understand Bipolar Disorder.  I once got in a fight with my husband that had nothing to do with me being Bipolar.

First, he said that I was in the wrong in the fight because I had a small amygdala. Which is a little factoid that I read somewhere about people with Bipolar Disorder and made the mistake of telling him. I think we were fighting about where to eat, so my amygdala or lack thereof really had nothing to do with the topic at hand and neither did my Bipolar Disorder.


That’s not the only time my Bipolar Disorder has been mentioned as the cause of a fight. The reality is that Bipolar Disorder has made my relationship harder, but every problem in my relationship is not due to Bipolar Disorder. (Thankfully!)


Most of the time, people with Bipolar Disorder have the same range of emotions as everyone else. It’s really hard to educate a partner in a relationship about Bipolar Disorder, but it shouldn’t be. I’ve had my husband into doctors’ appointments with me on countless occasions and have explained to him what my diagnosis of Bipolar I entails, but he still doesn’t necessarily understand the intricacies of the disorder.


Yes, there are warning signs. Yes, there are significant ups and downs during the course of a Bipolar’s life, but the ups and downs are not constant. Most of the time, most of us with Bipolar Disorder are ok. Attributing every single little problem to Bipolar Disorder is not the way to go. In fact, Bipolar Disorder is actually the wrong name for it; if you consider that the depression and mania of a patient with Bipolar Disorder are also interspersed with long periods with no problems whatsoever, you could actually call it Tripolar Disorder.


Most of us with Bipolar Disorder struggle more than others, but we are also mostly highly-functioning creative adults with incredibly individualized and unique perspectives on life. We may or may not have small amygdalas—lizards get by fine with smaller amygdalas—but those of who have suffered and come through bouts of depression and mania understand more about the world we live than most and have the advantage of being survivors.


It’s just too bad that more people don’t understand this. Bipolar Disorder, or manic depression as it was once called, is just now being understood by the general public.

image courtesy of flckr user joelorigami