Let me ask you something: When is enough not enough? In other words, do you sometimes
feel like you’re giving all you can, but it’s still not enough? Do you sometimes feel like it’s
That’s what Mark told me about his wife Dianne one day while I was working out at the gym.
You see, Dianne has bipolar disorder, and Mark is her main supporter. Usually, Dianne is pretty good about taking her medication, going to see her doctor, and doing all the other things to keep her bipolar in check. And usually, she treats Mark pretty good. But sometimes, she gets in these
awful moods, Mark was telling me, and then she takes them out on him.
She doesn’t go into a full-blown episode or anything, but it’s like she just has a “bad day,” and just doesn’t act like herself. Then, no matter what he does, no matter how much compassion he
shows her, it’s just not enough. She gets really angry, for example. Taking it out on him, Mark gets on the defensive, and before you know it, they’re in a fight. He usually doesn’t even know what they’re even fighting about, but there you have it – they certainly are fighting!
And sometimes Mark can’t control his temper, so even though he knows he shouldn’t fight back, he does it anyway, which just makes matters worse, because Dianne just gets madder and the fight just goes on. But then Mark tries to end the fight, even admits he was wrong, and Dianne just keeps fighting. No matter what Mark does, it’s not good enough. She’s just in this bad mood, and she just keeps taking it out on him!
He says that it’s just so frustrating for him. He tries to show love and compassion for her, but it’s like it’s not good enough when she gets like this. He just doesn’t know what to do when she gets like this, so he was asking for my advice.
I’ll be honest, at first I didn’t know what to say. Then I explained to him that sometimes a person with bipolar disorder is going to have a bad bipolar day. That’s just going to happen sometimes.
It’s just really tough when they take it out on you. And, unfortunately, sometimes that will happen as well.
Because when we’re not at our best, we tend to take it out on the person closest to us, and for someone with bipolar disorder, that’s their supporter. I explained to Mark that it doesn’t mean
that Dianne doesn’t love him, or that she is even doing this on purpose, but that it’s part of her disorder.
Sometimes, when someone with bipolar disorder has a “bad bipolar day,” they take it out on those around them. They just aren’t themselves. However, this can leave their supporter
feeling like no matter how much they do, no matter how much compassion they show, that it’s just not enough. What I told Mark is the same thing I’ll tell you: Don’t take it personally. It’s just a bad day. They happen.
Try to keep your loved one separate from their disorder and remember what they’re like when they’re not manifesting symptoms of their disorder, and try to have more patience with them than usual.
Well, I have to go!