View Full Version : Need general advice dealing with bipolar (ex) bf

12-03-12, 12:49 PM
Hello everyone,

I've been reading up on bipolar disorder but I'm still very new to it, so pardon my ignorance. I've been with my boyfriend for about 6 months. He has been diagnosed as bipolar (but I don't remember when - before we were dating.) He is NOT medicated. While we've been dating, he has had what I've taken to calling "episodes" though they may not be episodes in the medical sense of the word. An episode typically starts out as a conversation or argument. My boyfriend will get more and more upset until he is yelling and screaming. These rants are usually connected to the dysfunctional way he was brought up. (He was abused as a child.) The episode at its mildest is just ranting (though the things he says can be disturbing and he seems out of control.) At its worst, he has done things like threatened suicide, thrown my things outside his house (we were having an argument that time, obviously), and gotten in his car and driven like a maniac even though he'd been drinking.

There were 4 episodes during the first 5 months we were dating. After the suicide episode, roughly 5 weeks ago, he realized that each of these episodes had been brought on by drinking. He vowed to stop, and he he made an appointment with a psychiatrist (or psychologist, I'm not sure) He did stop drinking. Since that time, he's been in what I'd call "limbo" - he's having trouble finding a job and has been getting progressively more depressed about it. He's a hardworking and social person and sitting at home all day is not his thing.

Fast forward to the fifth and most recent episode:

Recently, some of my friends were in town and I didn't see my bf at all. My bf drank again without telling me. (He said that he thought that since I wouldn't be around, and since he'd just be at home alone, he thought it wouldn't be a big deal. Later he realized this was a huge mistake.) We were on the phone and got into an argument. I decided I'd had enough and told him I was coming over to get my stuff. In retrospect, I could tell he was "off", and I should have just stayed away until he was calm. But, I went over, and one of my friends came with me for "moral support." We went in and my bf said later that he was really embarrassed that she came and wanted to talk to me alone. He asked her to leave repeatedly and she didn't. I told him I didn't want her to, he threatened to call the police - obviously things were escalating. It is worth noting, though I don't at ALL think this is an excuse, that my friend was egging him on at first and making him even angrier on purpose. As I collected all my things, he kept trying to get her to leave, and he eventually began trying to "scoot" her out of the room and then began pushing and shoving her. She was scared out of her mind, as was I, and we eventually left without anything getting worse. We actually called the police but after talking with an officer, she decided not to press charges.

I vowed to never talk to him again, that I was done with him, etc. I know he's mentally ill, but I can't continue to deal with this - that is what I've told him. I thought it would be easy after what he'd done to my friend.

However, he called me the next day and, as I predicted, was back to normal and was horrified by what he'd done. It really is a Jekyll/Hyde thing. He's a totally different person when he's in the middle of an episode. In the conversation, he confessed to drinking, admitted that he shouldn't have physically touched my friend, and that his mental state is out of control. I told him that I would support him and not cut him off, because he is desperately lonely and borderline suicidal, but that I could not continue to date someone who I was afraid of.

For the first time, partially I think because I broke up with him, I think he's being truly honest with himself about just how bad he's gotten. He says this is the worse his bipolar/depression has ever been, and he knows now that he absolutely cannot drink, ever. (I really don't think this will be an issue for him, as he quit quite easily the first time, and drank this last time mostly out of boredom.) He is also going to explore going back to school so he can get a job he truly enjoys. He's going to look for volunteering opportunities in the meantime so he doesn't spend every day sitting at home. And, he has that appointment in January and says he's willing to try any medication the doctor recommends. (In the past, he said he would never take mood stabilizers again because he didn't like the way he felt, or rather didn't feel, on them.) In short, I feel like he is finally doing the right things to help himself get better, rather than just wallowing.

Some of my friends (especially those who were here this weekend during the big blowout) and my family are concerned that with my boyfriend's extensive history of dealing with this, and his abusive childhood which has really scarred him, that he'll never truly be okay - that he'll go through periods where he's fine, and that he'll slip back into behavior like this. They think I should cut off contact with him and never consider dating him again, even if he gets better.

I guess I'm just wondering how to support him, how to explain to my friends (who now hate his guts, for understandable reasons) that I'm not cutting him off completely, and how to know if there's a chance of us ever having a real relationship again. I know there is no "cure" for bipolar, but can you reasonably hope that someone will get better and will learn how to manage their disorder? If they haven't by now (he's 31), will he eve? And how will I ever know that he's going to be okay and that he won't just have another episode? Has he been through too much, and is he facing too much, to ever not have "issues"? Am I insane for dealing with this?

I am just heartbroken and torn apart by this and need any information about bipolar that I can get. Thanks in advance.