When you’re a supporter to a loved one with bipolar disorder, there can be many feelings that you have to learn to cope and deal with. Along with positive feelings such as compassion and
understanding…Unfortunately, there are also negative feelings with which you also have to deal as well.
Some of these negative feelings can include:
…and frustration. Frustration is one of the top negative feelings that supporters of a loved one with bipolar disorder express to me. Here’s what some of them have told me:
“I love my wife. But I hate her bipolar disorder. It makes her do things she wouldn’t normally do. And it makes me do things I wouldn’t normally do, too. I hate the way I have to act just to try to control her. I hate the way I feel, too. I really resent her when she gets depressed and won’t even get out of bed. I know it’s just her bipolar acting up, but sometimes I still feel like she could get out of bed if she really wanted to, I can’t help it, so I say stuff to her.”
Another supporter says: “My boyfriend just withdraws from me when he gets depressed. He doesn’t want to go anywhere. He won’t do anything. Nothing I do is right in his eyes. He says he just wants to be left alone, but I don’t believe him. He says he doesn’t want to talk about it, but I still try to get him to talk anyway. Then I get mad at him when he won’t open up. It seems like I’m mad at him all the time these days.”
Another supporter says: “Bipolar disorder changed my daughter. She used to be real outgoing. Cheerleader, head of her class, good student, active in church, lots of friends, everything. Then she started having all these mood swings. She even started drinking and doing drugs. I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know what. Then she tried to kill herself. I hated that it took that to really make me listen. Now I’m scared all the time – I don’t know what to do to help her.”
Still another supporters says: “My wife has so many mood swings, and I just don’t know
what to do any more. I’ve tried to be a good supporter, I really have. But it just seems like I can never do the right thing. Everything I try just doesn’t seem to work. I just can’t keep up with her. I am so frustrated!”
I’ve asked some supporters what they do to deal with their frustration. Here’s what they said:
“I just take a time out. Really. I literally walk out the door and go for a walk around the block.”
“I go for a long drive. A real long drive. I don’t go anywhere specific, just drive aimlessly, as long as it’s really long. Anywhere just to get out of the house for awhile.”
“I go talk to a friend. It’s like literally crying on someone’s shoulder. Everyone needs a good cry now and then, right? I find that after I cry it all out, I can go back home and face another day of the neverending frustration.”
“I yell into a pillow. Really. I put the pillow over my head and scream as loud as I can. It really helps me.”
“I take a shower and scream in the shower as loud as I can. The noise of the shower helps to drown out my screams. But I feel better afterwards.”
“I write in my journal. I don’t care about things like spelling or grammar. It doesn’t even matter what I write – I just keep writing and writing until all the frustration is out on the paper and I feel better. Then I stop writing.”
“I go to the park and watch the children play. It’s to remind me that even though there are bad things like bipolar disorder in the world, there are still some good things in the world, too.”
The one main thing you need to know about dealing with frustration is that you do need to deal with it. If you just stuff your feelings, you can make yourself sick physically, and then you won’t be any good to your loved one or yourself. Maybe you can use one of these suggestions.
Well, I have to go!