Bipolar Disorder and Relationships

Maintaining relationships while managing bipolar disorder is tough. Here are personal stories, practical advice and tips to make relationships a bit easier.

Highlights

‘Going Public’ With Your Bipolar Disorder: Insight on the Impacts

Natasha Tracy
May 7, 2018

Publicizing your bipolar diagnosis can lead to both support and negative comments or “attacks,”. Here’s how you can handle the good and bad.   I happen to be a very public person and I very publicly have bipolar disorder. Everyone who reads me, everyone who reads my book, anyone who sees anything to do with...

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‘bp Magazine’ Celebrates 50 Issues as it Salutes World Bipolar Day

bp Magazine
March 23, 2017

The annual observance on Thursday, March 30, raises awareness about bipolar disorder, which affects an estimated 6.3 million American adults. BUFFALO, NY, MARCH 23, 2017— Awareness and education around bipolar are also missions of award-winning bp Magazine and its online community. The glossy consumer quarterly just celebrated its milestone 50th issue. To help break the...

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Blogs and Articles
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Bipolar Disorder & Pretending to Be Something I Am Not

Dave Mowry
December 22, 2020

Everybody pretends sometimes—glossing over ugly truths, exaggerating, even lying. That’s different from “bipolar pretending,” where acting like you’re “okay” is a matter of survival. My bipolar disorder has impacted every part of my life. Specifically, from the time before I had my worst breakdown, which started my lost years, up until today. And I realize...

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5 Reasons to Reconsider Your Relationship with Your Smartphone

Jennifer Nelson
December 21, 2020

With bipolar disorder, we’re more likely to become overdependent on our digital devices. Here’s how personal tech can affect our moods—plus tips for self-protection. Are we too attached to our digital devices? That question has been debated for almost as long as the iPhone has been around, giving rise to the first National Day of...

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Ringing in the New Year Alone

Julie A. Fast
December 15, 2020

It won’t be hard to say goodbye to 2020, given all the challenges it brought. But New Year’s Eve itself might be difficult, especially if—like me—you are single and anticipating an emotionally charged time with potential mood swings. That’s why I am planning ahead for what to do—I want to ring in the new year...

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Navigating disclosure—The tricky topic of timing

Melody Moezzi
December 8, 2020

When to disclose your diagnosis is a choice only you can make, after careful consideration In my previous column, I discussed considerations around whom to tell about a bipolar diagnosis. This time, before diving into questions of how to disclose and how much to disclose in upcoming columns, I’m addressing the tricky topic of timing....

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Crossing the Line? Disclosure versus Self-Exposure When Writing about Bipolar

Julie Whitehead
November 19, 2020

Those of us who write about our lives with bipolar have different motivations: enhancing public awareness, sharing information, combating stigma, providing hope and inspiration… While composing my memoir, I’m wondering about what to share and how—intention vs. impact, social value vs. personal risk. And when is it “too much”? Writing about Bipolar & Being an...

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3 Reasons I Take Issue with “Bipolar Disorder”

Brooke Baron
November 18, 2020

As we learn more about our cognitive disorder, the brain/mind, and mood, it’s natural that the names of various diagnoses will evolve, or change. But I am not convinced that “bipolar disorder” is a good representation of what I (and others with this diagnosis) experience. Here’s why. In 1980, the DSM-III changed the name of...

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Bipolar & Relationships—Turning back, not away

Stephen Propst
November 18, 2020

Sharing and then respecting each other’s boundaries is a good way to begin the process of turning back to one another, not away. In the 30+ years I’ve lived with bipolar—and worked with countless others who do—I’ve found that people are more prone to back away or out of our lives. Similarly, we may find...

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The Importance of a Supportive Partner When Living with Bipolar

Andrea Paquette
November 12, 2020

One of the most important decisions we make is the person we trust with our hearts and choose to spend our lives with. For a relationship to not just survive but also thrive when one partner lives with bipolar, there are a few foundational requirements. Here is what I have learned so far … We...

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Love and Being ‘Worth It’

Carin Meyer
November 11, 2020

When Carin Meyer’s bipolar symptoms take over, she questions her very value as a human being. Her husband’s support helps her find balance. When the sun is warm and I am fly-fishing on an Alaskan river, I concentrate all my energy on catching fish. Each time I fish, my husband—who knows I love fishing more...

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How I Keep Loneliness at Bay During the Holidays

Carrie Cantwell
November 10, 2020

I’ve found that the holiday season can stir up strong feelings of loneliness. With so much emphasis on family, I’m repeatedly reminded of personal losses and how bipolar has disrupted my past. Now, I turn to specific coping strategies that allow me to experience the holidays with more gratitude and cheer. I often find myself...

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6 Ways to Stay Positive While Reconnecting

Dr. Irene S. Levin
November 4, 2020

Rifts in relationships with loved ones, friends, and coworkers can arise with bipolar, especially in the aftermath of an acute mood episode or prior to diagnosis and treatment. Take heart—there are practical steps you can take today to repair those close ties. In time, you may even strengthen your bonds and find new, supportive communities....

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How much should you disclose?

Melody Moezzi
October 27, 2020

How much you choose to disclose depends on your individual circumstances, but just as importantly, it depends on who you are, what you believe, and where you want to go. A few years ago, I took a leap. After nearly a decade working as a full-time writer, I applied for a position as a creative...

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Explaining My Bipolar to My Children

Julie Whitehead
October 27, 2020

Talking about my bipolar disorder with each of my children was difficult. Once each was old enough for “the talk,” they had sharply different reactions. Here I share my story and some tips that might help you navigate your own family discussions. Difficult Conversations about Bipolar Disorder The discussions I’ve had with my children about...

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Encounters with the Police, Survivor’s Guilt, & Advocacy

Sasha Kildare
October 15, 2020

Recent events in the news have reminded me of my own experiences with the police before receiving effective treatment for my bipolar diagnosis, and they have brought up hard feelings of guilt and frustration. Here’s my story and how I am trying to bring about positive change. Encounters with Police Weren’t My Worst Problem Recently,...

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I Am Not Disabled

Julie Whitehead
October 13, 2020

When people ask whether or not I’m “disabled” because of my bipolar, I choose my words carefully and answer with confidence. Because language, identity, and empowerment are not only important but also interconnected. Legally Speaking… After you receive a diagnosis, it is easy, I’ve found, to start to overidentify with it. This is why it’s...

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Documentary Shares Musicians’ Mental Health Struggles

Robin L. Flanigan
October 9, 2020

With empathy, honesty, and humor, Orchestrating Change follows the fascinating story of Me2/Orchestra, the world’s only classical music organization created for people living with mental health conditions and their supporters. Orchestrating Change, a moving new documentary that debuted on public television’s WORLD Channel (formerly PBS World) this fall, shines a spotlight on Me2/Orchestra—the world’s only...

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Bipolar & Forgiveness: I Beg Your Pardon

Robin L. Flanigan
October 1, 2020

Mood symptoms such as overspending, hypersexuality, anger attacks, and self-isolation hurt those around us. A simple apology is just the starting point of making things right. When Our Actions during Bipolar Mood Episodes Harm Others Olivia S. of Colorado got up one morning to unexpectedly find two of her four grown children in her living...

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Focusing on Whole-Body Health after Hospitalization for Bipolar Depression

Meg LeDuc
September 29, 2020

After changes to my medication resulted in a depression requiring hospitalization, I am learning to accept uncertainty and grief with strength—and strengthening my body and mindset in the process. Grief, Bipolar Depression, & My Running Routine My running playlist is a pretty cheesy collection of tunes—anything to amp me up and get me down the...

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Bipolar illness starts in the gene pool, but factors such as early trauma, limited social support, and how you cope with stress count, too.

All in the Family? Genetics & Bipolar

Jennifer Nelson
September 28, 2020

Bipolar illness starts in the gene pool, but factors such as early trauma, limited social support, and how you cope with stress count, too. Anthony B., a 55-year-old artist from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, joined the US Navy when he was 17. Two years into his service, his commander sent him to a Navy psychiatrist because of...

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Climbing Back Up from Being Too Sick to Work

Susie Johnson
September 24, 2020

Naturally, my journey with bipolar has had its ups and downs. It took time, faith, family support, and a lot of persistence to come to a place of mood stability and genuine happiness. In the depths of my bipolar depression, I never could have imagined living the life I now treasure. My Lifelong Dream Since...

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