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Partner just told me diagnosed with bipolar

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Partner just told me diagnosed with bipolar

Postby river » Wed Jun 30, 2021 6:45 am

Hello, I've been with my partner for nearly 2 years and a few days ago he told me he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 18 years ago in his mid-30s. He was initially on meds for a few months but none since then. He self-manages with a healthy lifestyle and shared that he's been fairly emotionally stable for 15 years, and feeling more ok the past 5 years.

Just after we met he told me about a traumatic event he experienced 20 years ago. That he went from a high-functioning highly educated professional to losing everything and was then diagnosed with PTSD (but now I know, it was bipolar) and put on disability. He also recently revealed that he was hospitalized many times and was suicidal in those first few years.

My partner is a lovely person. Confident, fun, caring and handsome. And we've had a lot of relationship challenges. One issue is single women. No cheating at all but a lot of them in his life, many who are interested in him, which is difficult for me. Another is his need to be sociable so much. Every day. He is also very into our relationship, is very attracted to me, and we've been in couples counseling. The women issue has improved.

I am now concerned though he's in a mild manic stage. He recently shared before that triggering traumatic event he just worked and focused on his relationship. Whereas since that event he's only had short-term relationships and has been very lonely at times.

I'm also challenged by his anger, which is mild if I stay calm. But the main issues for me are his fluctuating emotional connection to me and his lack of concentration and memory, which is pronounced. I feel unsupported in practical life things and then I also help him with his life as well. I had been seriously thinking about leaving him (before he told me) even though I love him.

Now it's heartbreaking to me. He is sad I may leave him because I now know about the bipolar diagnosis. I respect all people. We all have our stuff. Me too. I can very sensitive and can be over-reactive at times to stressors. I am concerned though that behaviors I thought were more adaptable with time, maturity and counseling - like needing so much other people attention, and not helping with practical matters - may be beyond his cognitive abilities rather than him just maturing out of being a charming bachelor or being lazy..., for example? I didn't understand because he was so brilliant and hardworking before that traumatic event so I made the wrong assumption he had got into a rut being on disability for years and lost confidence.

I respect the use of meds is a very personal and sensitive topic. I do want to understand though if lithium - prescription and/or low dose lithium ororate - can help with cognition (concentration, memory)? I don't understand if lithium "restores" one back to a brain state before it was altered by bipolar being triggered? He proudly talks about his previous self a lot. I respect he's rejected any medical treatment and right now doesn't think he needs it. That's his choice. But I don't know how to sustain a relationship with him with these current challenges.

Thank you. Any answers or comments would be really appreciated.
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