Reviewed by Laura Angers, LPC
Being the partner of someone who has bipolar disorder is not always going to be easy. There might be times when your bipolar girlfriend will lash out at you or act differently than usual. Not everyone has the patience and strength to be in a relationship with someone who has bipolar disorder, but if you love your girlfriend very much, it’s certainly something that you can make work. If you want to be in this relationship for the long haul, then you might be wondering what you can do to help support your bipolar girlfriend.
Keep reading to learn about several things that you can do to help support your bipolar girlfriend. These support methods should help to ease the burden on your girlfriend in various. It’s practical advice that people can also use when they have a bipolar husband, bipolar boyfriend, or bipolar spouse. Once you know more about the supportive roles that you can take for your girlfriend, it will be easier to move forward together. Just know that even when you are ready to be as supportive as possible, you will have to navigate tough times.
Educate Yourself About Bipolar Disorder
Educating yourself about the bipolar disorder will go a long way toward helping you to be a more effective partner. Most people have preconceived notions about bipolar disorder based on portrayals of people in films or books. While some films do a pretty decent job of representing the bipolar struggle, many miss the mark. It’s good to take the time to learn about bipolar disorder, how it impacts people’s lives, and what your girlfriend really has to go through each day. Your girlfriend will also be diagnosed with a specific type of bipolar disorder that will tell you what to expect.
You can easily look up scholarly articles about bipolar disorder online when you have the time. If you’d like to delve into the topic deeper, there are also many books on the subject. You’ll feel more capable of helping your girlfriend out when you know more about her condition. It’ll also make it less likely that you will be caught off-guard by something she does due to bipolar disorder.
Help Your Girlfriend Remember To Take Her Pills
One of the most important things that your girlfriend needs to do as someone with bipolar disorder is to remember to take her pills. Your girlfriend likely takes antidepressant medications, and she might even be on anti-anxiety pills, depending on her specific struggles. Some people with bipolar disorder also need to take anti-psychotic medications, but not all of them do. Regardless, you should know that your girlfriend needs to take her medications on a schedule each day so that she can maintain the right balance. If you can help her to remember her pills each day, then that will be helpful.
You don’t have to be pushy about the medications, but just giving her subtle reminders that it’s time for her to take her pills will help out. Sometimes your girlfriend might need something to eat to go along with her pills since some people get nauseous when they take medications on an empty stomach. Offer to make her something to eat or to go grab lunch to take her pills. If you get used to this type of routine, then it’ll make things easier for her in the long run. Many people set alarm reminders on their phone for stuff like this, and it won’t be hard to keep things on track if you’re trying your best.
Be A Supportive Presence
Being a supportive presence in your girlfriend’s life is going to make a world of difference. It might sound obvious, but just being a good and loving boyfriend could mean the world to her. Sometimes people go out of their way to treat those with mental illnesses differently. You should indeed acknowledge your girlfriend’s unique struggle, but it’s also true that she likely just wants you because you’re a good boyfriend. Show her affection, compassion, and love that comes from a sincere place in your heart. Form good memories and do things together so that you can have a great relationship.
There might be times where your relationship will have problems due to her bipolar disorder, but you can weather those storms when you’re a supportive person. If she has tough days and can’t do certain things, try not to blame her and understand that her condition sometimes makes things different. If you’re able to be supportive without getting overly hurt if she has mood swings due to her disorder, then you’ll be in a good position. This doesn’t mean that it’s easy to shrug off mood swing issues, but it does mean that you can be supportive and understand that the things that she says aren’t always coming from her heart.
Another way to be supportive is to try to help your girlfriend to make good choices. Sometimes people with bipolar disorder will make erratic choices when they’re in a mania or hypomania period. These are times when they have an unusual amount of energy, and they might wind up leaning toward self-destructive behaviors. If you can be a presence in her life that tries to keep her on track, then that will be a good thing. Consider how you can help her avoid making bad choices by being supportive.
Just being someone ready to listen is also going to help your girlfriend to feel more at ease. Sometimes a person with bipolar disorder needs an individual with a bit of empathy to let her vent. She might need to talk about things with someone that she trusts, and you can be that person for her assuming that she wants to open up to you. It might also be good for you to form bonds with other people in her support system. Working together with her family members and close friends to provide her with support will be more effective, after all.
Depression is something that you have to watch out for. Bipolar disorder is characterized as someone who goes through highs and lows when you get down to it. One good method for staving off depressive episodes is to ensure that your girlfriend is getting enough exercise. Exercise is a natural antidepressant that also happens to be very good for your body. You can work out together so that you can both start to achieve your fitness goals.
Of course, there might be days where working out is impractical due to a busy schedule. You don’t have to be overbearing about getting your partner to exercise, but encouraging exercise is beneficial. Go to the gym together and try to work out multiple times per week. If you both don’t like the gym, then do what exercise you can at home. Go out for a run or get a treadmill or exercise bike that you can use at home. Do yoga together, try out Crossfit routines, or do some light strength training. Just try to find good exercises for both of you that you’ll also have fun with.
Ensure That Appointments Are Kept
Some people with bipolar disorder will make bad choices here and there when it comes to keeping appointments. You don’t want your girlfriend to shrug off important things such as going to the doctor to get a check-up. It’s also going to be crucial to get her to try to go to her treatment sessions. Many people with bipolar disorder benefit from seeing therapists because they can work through various problems during those sessions. If you can support your partner by getting her to keep those appointments, then it’ll be a big help.
Your partner might think she doesn’t need therapy if she’s doing okay, but you might think otherwise. Sometimes taking a depression test will show that your girlfriend is still struggling with depression in various ways. Therapy can help her cope with issues like this while also learning how to make the best choices. A therapist can be a beneficial ally that will make your girlfriend’s life a bit easier. She just has to go to the sessions so that she can see these benefits.
These days, it’s actually possible to go to online therapy sessions that are quite convenient. If your girlfriend doesn’t like taking the time out of her schedule to drive to a therapist’s office, then suggesting online therapy might be a good solution. It’s a convenient and affordable option for anyone who wants to get therapy. If your girlfriend could use the extra help, then offering her solutions like this might work out quite nicely. Either way, just be there for your partner and try to get her to keep all of her appointments. She’ll have an easier time maintaining good mental health this way.