Bipolar? This Simple Gesture Can Mean Much

Hi, how’s it going for you today? I hope you’re having a great day.

You know, I get so many emails and comments from supporters complaining about the way their loved one treats them. That’s why this email was such a surprise to me:

Dave, I know that it’s more normal to complain about your loved one’s behavior if they have bipolar disorder, but I just wanted to give you the other side of the story. My husband has bipolar disorder. But because he does this one thing all the time (between episodes), things aren’t so bad when he is in one, because he’s used to being a certain way. It’s such a small thing, now that I’m writing about it, but I think if more couples practiced this, things would be better for them. What I’m talking about is simply being polite to each other. I don’t know how hard it would be to start doing it from scratch, because my husband and me have been doing it naturally for so many years, even before he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. But that’s it – we are polite to each other.

It’s easy once you’ve practiced it as much as we have. It’s things like “Please” and “Thank you” and “Would you mind…” you know, things like that. For me, it’s a sign of respect, and I’m polite to my husband in spite of his bipolar disorder out of respect for him. For him, his politeness carries him a long way when his emotions tell him otherwise – like when his bipolar is acting up and he gets moody or irritable.

I know this is a really simple suggestion for your readers, but maybe they could try it. I know that it works for us, and makes a big difference in our relationship, despite his bipolar disorder.

Anyway, maybe you could pass on this suggestion.


Wow, this was sure a different email, don’t you think? That something as small as being polite to each other could make such a difference.

But MaryBeth has a point. Being polite to each other is a sign of respect, and everyone likes to be respected.

Some people lose respect for a person who has bipolar disorder. So if your loved one is being affected by stigma, or not being shown respect from other people, it can make a big difference to get it from you. And what a simple way this woman suggests, too! Just be polite to each other. Like you would be to a stranger or any other person. Your loved one deserves at least that, as do you.

Common courtesy is what I’m talking about. You know, like the old Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

I know it can get kind of frustrating at times dealing with a person with bipolar disorder… But maybe you can try this woman’s suggestion of just being polite to each other, and see if it makes a difference.

Well, catch you later.

Your Friend,


  1. I just want to say that this is a great suggestion. I know that this is a little far fetched, but marital relations are helpful too. The closer that you feel to your loved one, the easier it is to overlook the fact the are “crazy”. I am the bipolar part of my marriage, so I can say I’m crazy. Anyway, besides making an effort to be polite, making an effort to be married is important too. Date’s, flowers, little kisses, afternoon delights, it lightens a bipolar day, or mood,and also has some medical standing too. The love endorphines cause good feelings, whick are good for battling the downs. It doesn’t take much to release those love endorphines either. Just a suggestion anyway!

  2. I think that is wonderful if it works for you! Unfortunately I have been very polite since we got together and always try to treat my (bipolar) husband with respect since that is how I was raised but whether he is in an episode or not, he gets annoyed with it. I think it is more of a personality thing and how he was raised but being polite just gets my husband irritated but I think it may work very well for some couples. :o) Jean

  3. Hi Dave!

    After reading today’s email, I felt I had to respond.

    I have been blessed with the gift of bipolar and I have to say that being polite to each other has been one of the saving graces of our marriage. I always try to be as polite as I can be, to let him know that I appreciate all that he does to help me stay stable. The appreciation goes a long way When I am having a really bad bipolar day, I always apologize to him for my “behaviour” when I can. He is more willing to be a good supporter when he knows that I am aware of what’s going on and that I don’t take his help and awareness for granted.
    It’s tough having bipolar but thinking back to my pre-medication days, I think it’s tougher to be the supporter. At least when I have a bad day, I know what’s going on in my head and it makes sense to me. It doesn’t make sense to anyone else which I believe makes it more difficult for someone to be supportive.

    Thanks for your daily newsletters Dave. I appreciate them and the information you take the time to share with all of us.

  4. I have to say that my husband (who is the bipolar one)and I (the one who feels crazy) are almost always polite to each other. When his politeness slips it is one of his sure signs that he is heading into an episode. We have been dealing with his episode this time since August. It is trying to say the least. I am standing by him even though he says he does not love me any more and that he does not want to be with any one at all right now. Well then why does he keep picking me up and having me around? I know it is his bipolar and the past few days he has been down right nasty to me but I know it is his illness. I guess his rudeness is just one of the many personality changes that go with his bipolar and here I am frustrated and hurt but keeping on….best of luck to all who are…..dealing 🙂

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