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Relationships and bipolar



Thank you to all who attended the May meeting and contributed to our group discussion on relationships and bipolar. Here are some notes from the discussion:


Challenges:


  • Relationships with mental health professionals can be difficult due to power imbalance.

  • Relationships with employers: e.g. disclosing your diagnosis before or after the interview.

  • Relationships with family & friends: being treated like a child when unwell or recovering.

  • Romantic relationships: being diagnosed during a relationship can be damaging particularly witnessing a traumatic episode of mania or severe depression.

  • There's a balance between apologising for how you acted when unwell.

  • We may sometimes feel quicker to anger which can exacerbate conflict.  

  • Holding onto grudges can be unhelpful and forgiveness is important.

  • Addictive behaviours can negatively impact relationships e.g. dependency on drugs or alcohol, or obsessive tendencies such as reading or watching television when done to excess.  


Things that can help:


  • Prepare for appointments by making a list of questions and take a mood scale with you.

  • Ask a friend or family member to go along with you for support.

  • Taking an advocacy worker with you can ensure that your voice is heard.

  • Confide in someone at work when starting a new role, rather than waiting for them to find out during an episode and explain how bipolar affects you with the help of a mood scale.

  • Enable Scotland can help people return to work and advise about reasonable adjustments. 

  • Documentaries or TV shows about bipolar disorder can be helpful explain to people how you are feeling (although there are still unhelpful portrayals in some sources). 


People shared the following tips: 


  • Maintain open and honest communication. 

  • Talk about problems rather than letting them build-up. 

  • Build relationships with those who can offer support (e.g. counsellors/psychologists). 


Please click here to read the feedback from a previous group discussion on relationships

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