This week has been a real eye opener. A good friend of mine has been dating his girlfriend for about two-years now. She has bipolar disorder. From my observations and learning more about her history, I believe she has type 1 bipolar disorder.
I’ve only met her a few times, and from those brief meeting she seems like a really nice person. So when I heard from my friend that she has been hospitalized, my heart went out to them both. Her story isn’t very different from many of us suffering from bipolar disorder.
She left in my friend’s car to the city. She left in a hast, not really telling anyone where she was going. Over a few days’ time no one knew where or whom she was with. She gave her parents a call telling them where she had parked my friends’ car and where the keys were. Unfortunately, once my friend went to retrieve his car, it was nowhere to be found.
Later, she told her parents that her purse was stolen with the car keys inside.
Eventually, the police, tow companies, and hospitals were called to try to track her down and my friends’ car. It took three or four days before my friend’s girlfriend was found, although the car has yet to be found. Long story short, she was picked up by the police. She apparently was screaming up and down the streets lost and incoherent. The police brought her to the hospital where they placed her on a 30-day stay, against her will.
She had lost her voice due to all the yelling. My friend couldn’t do much to help her as she is on 30-day lockdown at the hospital.
He came over to our house, and my husband and I tried our best to be supportive in his time of need and confusion. He, over the last two years has done some research on bipolar disorder, but it became very clear to my husband and I that he was in denial and a bit uneducated on the subject. Me having type 1 bipolar disorder and my husband and I going through our own ups and downs with my disorder, we tried to help him understand the complexities.
He was under the impression that amino acids were the way to manage bipolar disorder. He and his girlfriend were into the holistic approach to manage the disorder. Which in her case is not working out so well. His girlfriend is not for western medicine in managing her disorder. My friend told me in the last nine years that she has had nine manic episodes. But she doesn’t like taking medication, and doesn’t like how it feel when on medication. So she has chosen to withdraw from medication management.
This last manic episode, she has lost memory of her actions and seems scared. Although she stated clearly that she doesn’t want to be dosed or medicated while she is in the hospital.
I personally have made the choice to discontinue my medication two times. Both times led me into serious manic episodes, and I got myself into a bit of trouble. I finally came to the decision to get back on my medication not just for my sake and well-being but for the sake of my family. I understand lots of people feel that medication is not for them, and I totally respect that.
Although, in my friend’s case I believe an intervention is necessary to at least help her find a bit of stability. Her family has expressed their exhaustion with her lack of management of bipolar disorder. Their constantly bailing her out of trouble, and my friend seems exhausted himself with the whole ordeal.
I think my friend has finally come to terms that this disorder is out of his capabilities to help her manage. It takes a strong partner to be able to be with someone who is constantly out of control.
For me and my husband, I feel we are a couple who are a bit uncommon when it comes to our strength in managing my bipolar disorder. We communicate frequently, my husband comes to all of my doctor’s appointments, we both try very hard to recognize symptoms as they approach, and combat them head on to prevent any serious complications or disruptions in our life.
Not saying we are special, but it is very hard to manage symptoms from both ends.
As for my friend, he is hanging in there. As for his girlfriend, only time will tell how she chooses to move forward. I pray for them both, and hope they both can survive as a couple after such a difficult manic episode.