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Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Bipolar Disorder (Children and Adolescents)
Confronting Someone with Bipolar Disorder
My fiancé’s father was bipolar and depressive. The last twenty-four years of his life he lived with his son. He passed away two years ago. Now, I believe my fiancé is showing signs of bipolar disorder. He went to see a physician. He only said he was having trouble sleeping and job stress. His mood swings are becoming unbearable. What can I do when this behavior arises? He won’t admit he’s “Totally bipolar,” whatever that means.
Hello and thank you for your excellent question.
One of the first and most difficult steps in seeking treatment is admitting there is a problem. For a lot of people, that is extremely scary because of what "having a mental illness" may mean to them. However, without admitting there is a problem, most will not seek treatment, and their illness will continue to affect their lives and those around them. It then becomes a relational problem, not just for the person concerned but for their families, friends, and fiances.
Therefore, depending on how comfortable you feel doing this with your fiance, I would suggest talking to him about how "unbearable" it has become for you and how you would like to see a therapist "together" to talk about and solve this issue. I emphasize the "together" because many feel that they are alone or will become alone in their struggles with mental illness.
Hope that helps.
Best wishes to you and your fiance!
Nicholas Lofthouse, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University