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How do you communicate with someone who is bipolar?

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How do you communicate with someone who is bipolar?

Postby dp33 » Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:14 pm

When someone is bipolar and untreated how can you communicate with them and be friends?They are so unpredictable.They can be so amazingly nice one day and throw you in the trash the next day.The automatic reaction is to tell them off and never see them again for the rest of your life.I have seen someone who would always lose friends and boyfriends because of her behavior.So my question is what should you do?Do they really mean the things they say when get angry?Which is the real person?The one that is nice and generous or the one that gets angry and pushes you aside? In my situation my initial reaction is to leave them and never talk to them again because they say hurtful things but I can't. Is it good to just not talk to them for a while and then get back to them later.Do they appreciate you still being friends or do they prefer that you leave them and never bother them again?
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Re: How do you communicate with someone who is bipolar?

Postby Crawling » Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:41 pm

Hi when I am Manic I get really euphoric, highly aggressive, generous, promiscuios, secretive (in order to hide my pychotic and abnormal symtoms) and seem to develop a vipers tongue which spits out words I would be incapable of thinking even if I hated the person they are spat at I just cannot do it. I push my partner away when I am like this because I know I am going to hurt him. I feel trapped in my own skin and cannot stick staying in the house. If I think I am being judged I push that person away, but I push people I care about away because I can be sat in a bar and someone who is just sat there, not even having noticed me can be pissing me off to the point I want to attack them. I can no more control the above than I can control crying when I am depressed. I may be able to learn to with meds and therapy but at the moment I cant.

When I am depressed I feel worthless like all I can do is hurt people I want to die and I dont want to inflict my prescence on others whom I care about. The truth is neither of these extremes are me and I dont mean to hurt anyone when I come back from a episode I am racked with guilt. They have now discovered that people with bipolar also feel greater emotions than a normal person even when not in a episode. Most people cannot stick being in my life or getting close to me but anyone that does I am so grateful to that there is very little I would not do to repay them, it means more to a person where eveyone walks away than you know. As for talking to someone when in a episode http://www.camh.net/About_Addiction_Men ... ilies.html has a lot of useful advice hope this helps and she will be really grateful.
you cannot choose the hand you are dealt, but you can choose how you play the hand.

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Re: How do you communicate with someone who is bipolar?

Postby hope7951 » Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:45 am

Lots od people give smypathy and go along with delusions. This makes both people feel good, but does nothing to help with the problem. I've been taught through NAMI to be frank, honest and calm with people. To listen to what they think is real and then calmly explain the truth to them and that they have an illness which is shading their preceptions. I tell them they need meds and therapy to help them distinguish the difference and that even though they may not agre, that is okay but encourage them to get help and meds and see what happens. I also tell them not to do anything that can't be undone during this time when they feel different from their normal self. I tell them this is a genetic illness that 3-5% of people have and while you feel either indestructable or like you don't want to live that the feelings are delusions and not real. I tell them to wait to act on things as they will feel differently once the illness is treated. i tell them I don't expect them to like what I am saying or appreciate it now, but once they are not under the effect of the illnes, they will be happy not to take the coarse of action they feel they must right then so urgently. I get them to a safe place and if nothing else is avialble, put them in a cool bath in a darkened room with soft music and encourage sleep.
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Re: How do you communicate with someone who is bipolar?

Postby Crawling » Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:18 pm

http://www.pamf.org/teen/healthinfo/ind ... 167725-sec another good link on speaking to someone who is manic.
you cannot choose the hand you are dealt, but you can choose how you play the hand.

Diagnosis
Bipolar 1 with extreme psychosis and catatonic states. And co morbid schizophrenia (I guess that means scizoaffective)
Borderline personality disorder

aripiprazole
sodium valproate
sertraline
clonazepam
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Crawling
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Re: How do you communicate with someone who is bipolar?

Postby dp33 » Sun Dec 19, 2010 6:26 am

Thanks for the links. I'm assuming that when they are acting normal you could give them your opinion on some bad decisions they have made? I haven't talked to my friend in a year.She left her long time boyfriend and father of her child who apparently is a good guy twice and each time she found some loser to go out with only to break up with them very quickly.I just want to tell her that she leaves her boyfriend for a bunch of losers when she can do so much better.If she can't go back with him fine but don't go out with a bunch of idiots with no future.At one point I was interested in her but not anymore but thats another story. However I would like to be friends, but she seems to push people away sometimes.
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Re: How do you communicate with someone who is bipolar?

Postby Crawling » Sun Dec 19, 2010 9:11 am

You can tell her but she probably already knows. While manic I go for abusive men it is a form of self harm so bear in mind what she is doing it is because she hates herself and does not think she deserves to have a nice guy, so she pushes those who are nice away in order to punish herself, I think you will find she knows how much of a loser these guys are that is the point she does not have to feel guilty when the bipolar hurts them. You might want to try convincing her that she deserves better instead if you really want to help her. Dont push the meds (you are waisting your breath) she will go on them only when she is ready too and as she has a illness that she cannot control taking or not taking meds is what gives her conrol about this part of her life.

I dont reccommend getting in a relationship with her but you allready know this over the years before I knew what was going on I hurt (when I say hurt I mean damaged) so many nice guys. I am also a abuse victim and nice people see me and try to save me but they cant they just destroy themselves trying and then I have to live with the guilt even if I tell someone no and dont try to save me they still do which is why I run away because otherwise they get hurt be a friend try to understand anything said while manic is not true and keep your heart closed. The thing you have to remember is even with meds this girl will always have bipolar and even with meds she may still go on episodes so if you want to get in a relationship with someone who has bipolar you have to be prepared to help deal with the bipolar.
you cannot choose the hand you are dealt, but you can choose how you play the hand.

Diagnosis
Bipolar 1 with extreme psychosis and catatonic states. And co morbid schizophrenia (I guess that means scizoaffective)
Borderline personality disorder

aripiprazole
sodium valproate
sertraline
clonazepam
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Crawling
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Re: How do you communicate with someone who is bipolar?

Postby dp33 » Sun Dec 19, 2010 5:44 pm

Very interesting. I just want to add something that is very important. I don't know for a fact that she is bipolar as only a professional can determine this but she displays every symptom of it perfectly, and many others have often said amongst each other that she might be. I do know she took pills for depression. However if not bipolar then she does have some mental illness and the problem of having trouble to communicate is still there. Also during the year that I haven't spoken to her maybe she has sought help and is treated.

I know getting into a relationship with here is not a good idea although a part of me thinks I can help her, the superman part of me and this is very dangerous as I will probably get really hurt and end up really hating her which I don't want. Its just that this is such an amazing person when acting normal.
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Re: How do you communicate with someone who is bipolar?

Postby Crawling » Sun Dec 19, 2010 7:00 pm

My current partner is so strong it is unbelevable. we have been together 6 years and I have had bipolar for 10 years so he has seen a lot of episodes but it was only recenly diagnosed so I am still not on meds yet. I look at him and think he deserves so much more but I know it would be the end for me if I lost him but I have not told him that because I dont want him to feel obligated to stay. Yet sometimes I do horrid things to him and push him away but he waits and just says he knew someone as great as me was going to have a pretty high cost and he will wait as long as it takes. Which makes me even more sad because I dont deserve him. But hopefully once I get meds I can stop hurting him and maybe start to deserve him I try my best but I cant help hurting him when manic anymore than I can help crying while depressed .

You are correct the advice on talking to someone manic or depressed should hold even if it is something else. I have had many who have a inner superman try but the problem is and I realized this a long time ago the only person who can save me is me. The same is true for your friend, you need to remember you cant save her. I hope she has sought help during the year break you have had and I really hope things work out well.
you cannot choose the hand you are dealt, but you can choose how you play the hand.

Diagnosis
Bipolar 1 with extreme psychosis and catatonic states. And co morbid schizophrenia (I guess that means scizoaffective)
Borderline personality disorder

aripiprazole
sodium valproate
sertraline
clonazepam
User avatar
Crawling
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Re: How do you communicate with someone who is bipolar?

Postby Dark Passion Play » Sun Dec 19, 2010 10:09 pm

dp33 wrote:Do they appreciate you still being friends or do they prefer that you leave them and never bother them again?

I'm not bipolar, but one of my best friends is. I can't speak for anyone other than him, but he was extremely greatful when me and my husband stayed friends with him after the first time we saw him in a full-blown manic episode. I know as someone who's mentally ill myself and sometimes very hard to live with that I treasure everyone who's stood by me after I gave them good reason to leave. L (my bipolar friend) has pushed me away sometimes, and I leave when he's acting that way, but I always call him up again in a day or two. When he's really manic or really depressed he doesn't mean the things he says, anymore than I mean the evil things I say sometimes when I'm struggling.

dp33 wrote:I'm assuming that when they are acting normal you could give them your opinion on some bad decisions they have made?

Well, I guess you could, if they genuinely don't realize they did something wrong. When L is in his right mind he knows he did stupid things while manic or depressed and is very apologetic. Reminding him that he did bad things when he was out of control would be really cruel, IMO.

hope7951 wrote:Lots od people give smypathy and go along with delusions. This makes both people feel good, but does nothing to help with the problem.

I don't think giving someone sympathy is ever wrong. Going along with delusions is definitely wrong, though. Calmly repeating the truth of matters is definitely the way to go.


dp33, I think it would be great of you to renew the friendship, if you can. But have boundaries. And stick to them. One of my big boundaries with L is that I won't be alone with him when he's all the way 'up' (manic). He's not violent, but he makes me really uncomfortable sometimes and can trigger my own issues. I've taught myself to be OK with just leaving him when he's like that. He's a grown-up and it's not my or my husband's job to follow L around and try to parent him.

Crawling wrote:The same is true for your friend, you need to remember you cant save her.

Yeah. I always remind myself that there are chemicals going haywire in L's brain (i have a funny sort of visual to go with it too). It's not his fault, nor is there anything I can do about it.
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Re: How do you communicate with someone who is bipolar?

Postby dp33 » Mon Dec 20, 2010 2:27 am

This is all very helpful advice. Its a long story with her but I will keep it very short. This person was a co worker of mine for almost 2 years. We are not best friends but we worked beside each other daily so I consider her as a friend. I know she like me at one point but I kept my distance. When she quit I lost contact with her. We talked a few months later through inernet and she thanked me that I thought about her well being etc. We lost contact again for a year until I called her up and again she thanked me for calling her etc. She said she was doing good. I asked her if she met someone and she said she has someone but for now she wants to focus on her career. I asked her if she wanted to go out for dinner one day on a weekend and she happily said yes and she gave me her landline number. I called her 3 weeks later and soon as she heard my voice she was angry and told me in an angry tone she can't she is with someone now. Her anger then changed to happiness and she told me I did good by calling. After the call I was left confused as she gave me mixed answers. I think she was lying. Maybe she was mad I took 3 weeks to call, but I told her I was busy plus she told me she wanted to focus on her career right now. Honestly I wasn't that surprised that it happened. I will call her again and she will again probably be happy that I thought about her but this time I will not ask for any dinner dates. Most people tell me not to bother with her she is screwed up. I feel bad for this person. I just want ton know that they are doing well.
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