Dating / Mental Health / Relationship Advice

My Boyfriend Has Mental Health Issues

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I haven’t covered this particular problem yet – and it’s one that hits close to home.  How do you handle a relationship when your partner is dealing with a mental health issue?  In this case, a follower states that his boyfriend is bipolar and not on medication for it.  He says that his boyfriend either thinks life is perfect or that it is crumbling and that he may even be suicidal.

I personally have dealt with serious depression and anxiety at points in my life, and more than once it has aligned with a relationship I was going through.  The depression and anxiety were my problems, but of course, they seeped into my relationships and made me very difficult to deal with.  My first thought is this.  Mental health problems are extremely serious and need to be addressed as soon as possible.  In other words, they should be a priority for the person dealing with them more than a relationship should be. If your boyfriend was dealing with these issues before he met you, I hope he made you aware of them and you knew what you were getting into.  For those of us who deal with mental health issues, it doesn’t mean we don’t deserve love, but we should always be upfront before getting into a relationship and let the other person know that this is something I’m aware of and working on.  If the other person is willing to be patient and supportive, you have a real winner on your hands.

BaLeck to the actual question.  You’re already in a relationship, and whether you knew it or not, the fact that your boyfriend is bipolar is becoming a serious issue.  In this case, it seems like the bipolar boyfriend is in denial or unwilling to get help for his problem.  My advice would be to approach this person calmly (ideally when he is in a good mood). Express to him that you really care for him (or love him, if you’re already there) and that you are concerned about his moods.  Tell him that you can see how his moods are making it difficult for him to get through life normally.  This should not come as a shock to the person. I would say that you just want to support him and help him be happy consistently.

At the end of the day, it is up to him as an adult (I’m guessing you’re 18+ here) if he is ready to accept his condition and seek help for it.  Many times, I have avoided getting help for my own problems for many reasons.  We all deal with things in our own time in our own way.  But I have never had a problem with someone I care about telling me I may need help.  And whether I agree or not, I always think about it later.  So that’s my advice, the best thing you can do is communicate the issue and let him know you support him getting help and will be there for him.  And for you (the follower), if he does not want to get help and this relationship has become too draining or toxic, you also need to prioritize your health and happiness.  It is unfair for your boyfriend not only to avoid getting help but to expect you to stick around for the roller coaster.  If that is the case, I think it is perfectly acceptable to step back from being “boyfriends” and tell him you can only be his friend until he takes the steps to get better – and that you can help him with that.

There are many resources online if things are really bad and you are worried he will harm himself.  Please Google “The Trevor Project” as one of those many resources.

– Lex, Esq.

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