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Is anyone familar with bi-polar characteristics?

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Hey everybody. I'm back with a difficult topic. I need to talk with somebody because its really concerning me, but I can't talk about it with my parents or close friends. I'm really sorry if this is long, but I'm kind of freaked out right now.


Some background....I have known my girlfriend,who is 23, for about 5 months. She has a mom with severe bi-polar, and obsessive compulsive disorder. my girlfriend has virtually no relationship with her mother, although she tries. It is a very hard thing for her to talk about with me, and she doesn't like to talk about it unless I pry it out of her, which I hate to do....


...But here's what i know. During the latter part of Highschool, and during the first two years of college, things really got bad. She was teased pretty badly in school, and Nothing she could do was ever good enough for mom, who's verbal abuse was terrible. I'm still not clear if there was physical abuse or not, but it sounds like mom slapped her around a little bit, as well as made physical, and economical threats against her. After community college, her dad...(who split a few years before this) moved her out of mothers house while mother was working. As expected mother didn't like this. During the last two years of college, my girlfriend lived with her dad. When I learned about all of this, my girlfriend told me that at one time during community college she considered scuicide because the depression and degradation by mom was too great to overcome, and that she had no confidence or self-esteem. I don't know how close she came whether she only thought about it or actually tried it, but that really freaked me out. (she also said she's glad she didn't because she wouldn't have found me, and that I'm the only person she's ever felt extremely close to.)...(her dad is a doctor, and was frequently away for school and work for extended periods, so she has not been real close with him either, until the last few years when she was living with him.


Today I was at her house, and mom was trying to call. Fearing the call would bring more threats, she did not answer like normal. Because of the obsessive compulsive, mom kept trying to call every 5-10 minutes, which is also relatively normal. After about 3 hours of the calling, mom (who lives 2.5 hours away) was knocking on the door. My girlfriend answered the door and spoke with mom outside because I have not yet met her mother, and her mother does not have desire to meet me....Anyway, the conversation sounded calm. Mom sounded upset about us not answering the phone, but did not seem to get angry. The conversation was short because my girlfriend had to leave for work. I got to speak with my girlfriend for only a few minutes after the conversation, and it sounds like mom came to say that she has heart problems and is not expected to live much longer. Today, my girlfriend acted more upset that mom hijacked our time together, than worring about her mom's health problems...but I'm sure it just hasn't sank in yet, because she has spoken before of how she'd like to establish some kind of relationship with her mom because she is not in good health, and that she'd be upset if mom passed away and they still didn't have a good relationship.


Thats the background, now for my concerns:


My girlfriend is on medication for depression, resulting from the dark years in college. She has not shown signs of bi-polar in front of me in the five months that I've known her. But when she gets in a bad mood, it takes her all day to cheer back up and get over what she is upset about. I don't know if bi-polar is hereditary, or if the depression medication should be warning me of a rocky future??? I also don't know when bi-polar will show up in a person. Is it linked to depression, and when does it show up in people??? I 'd like your insight on these questions please .


During all of this, she earned excellent grades in all four years of college, and she still is a real go-getter. She has never been angry with me, and I've only seen her get upset with her dad once, which was not in an intense enough nature to concern me.


The comment she made about the scuicide still concerns me. She seems fairly stable now, and I'm not worried about this, but I can't help but think about the future. Our relationship is going great right now, but I realize that we are relatively green as far as relationships go. I'm an extremely loyal person, and I don't plan on breaking up with her solely because of health concerns, but I'm afraid that if somewhere down the road that we did break up for some reason, if it would throw her back into depression, and look toward scuicide. I will stress again that I have no reason to believe that a break up is imminent. We are extremely close to eachother and say that we love eachother many times a day....

Your comments on the above paragraph please.


Also, I'd like to talk about these concerns with her, but at the same time, I don't want to let on that her comments are still concerning me... in fear that in the future, she won't come talk with me about her other problems or concerns...if this makes sense? Any advice here?



Again, I'm terribly sorry for the length of this, but I'd really appreciate some thoughts and advice here.


Thank you

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Sorry if you already addressed this, but is she seeing a professional? If not, I think she should do that. She is lucky to have you in her life. The best thing you can do is be there for her and listen. My ex has major family problems which effected his mental state. He never talked to anyone professionally, which has hindered every one of his relationships. Personally, I think he is bipolar as well. But, I never pushed him to see anyone.

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Okay, well that is very good for her. Because even if you are there for her, you are not a therapist. I dont think I am being very helpful, but just talk to her about what is going on with her and her mom. Dont fear that a break up will make her think about suicide. You already said you are a loyal person and that is the best kind of person she should be with. Knowing that you dont run when things get bad, will make her feel better

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Oh yeah, been there done that, now the relationship is waaaaayy over..... I never knew he was bipolar till after we were done... he would pick fights with me and be totally irrational, I could never understand what I did to upset him....


I hope things work out ok for you, I think I would have been more understanding and supportive of Jack (ex) If only I knew, but he never did tell me, a mutual friend did tell me..... and I miss him... only wished I could have helped more.....


Good luck with that and take care

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its kinda funny because during my journey i've had to read and learn about all sorts of things - medical wise that i never knew PTSD, BP, etc.


and because there are so many things associated with my behaviour over the while people are told me that i range from NARCS, to Bi Pol, everything


and its really not that complex


i simply had poor cognitive skills [to see and kill those nasty guilt germs], learned behaviours [lies] that removed self-worth


any inability to understand that saying words [courage, trust, honesty] and saying u believe in them and understand the impotrance of them doesn't mean u are actuallly doing them


add in male vanity as u age, the desire to allow be with a woman that never loses fer belief in me in every way [HONEY, TONIGHT I WOULD LIKE 5 ORGASMS AND I BELIEVE WE CAN DO IT - LOL]


throw in unsolved mysteries [past marriage], accepted and acknowledge destruction of the best relationship i ever had, depression and addictions and what resulted from that


well, thats a ton - and that's all it is - i know that and am remove the crap



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Hey there,


I have worked with patients with bi-polar and I have a family member with bi-polar as well.


Yes, bi-polar is highly genetic. It tends to run strong in families but that does not mean your girlfriend is doomed.


"Is it linked to depression, and when does it show up in people??? "


It depends, it is on an individual basis. However, Axis I disorders tend to show up in late teens and early 20's. Sometimes earlier. It has also been thought that once a person has a predisposition to having an Axis I disorder, stress and discontent can bring forth the disorder much sooner and in full force.


Depression is only PART of bi-polar. The other part is what is called mania. Hence the name BI-Polar. And they can run in cycles. The severity and speed at which these cycles change depends on the individual. There are two types of bi-polar...Bi-polar I and Bi-polar II. Bi-polar II is not as severe and the mania a person experiences is hypomania meaning the person experiences mania for a shorter duration compared to Bi-polar I. The cycles can be different as well.


With the depression part...


The person gets extremely meloncholy. I mean really sad. My grandfather would lock himself in his room for days and not speak to anyone, not even my grandmother. The person may get tearful, lose/gain weight, lose/gain a lot of sleep, lose interest in activities he/she took great pleasure doing. And feeling suicidal is not uncommon either. Actually, I believe suicide intent or attempts must have happened in order to receive the diagnosis.


With the mania part...


The person feels extreme euphoria, like he/she is on top of the world, like the person is invincable and can accomplish great things. The person feels he/she does not need to sleep and/or and can go for days without doing so. But also, the person can feel extremely agitated, irritable. Pick fights for no reason, say hurtful things and be somewhat of a bully. Also, the person makes very rash decisions such as spending sprees, sexual promiscutity, reckless driving. My grandfather bought a house and a car when my grandmother was away on vacation and without talking to her about it.


Also, to receive a bi-polar diagnosis, the person must have a least one overnight hosptialization due to suidice ideation or attempt or due to the manic state.


"I'm afraid that if somewhere down the road that we did break up for some reason, if it would throw her back into depression, and look toward scuicide. I will stress again that I have no reason to believe that a break up is imminent."


I really would not think about that at this point. You have not crossed that bridge and I would only worry about it when you do. You do not want a dark cloud hovering over your relationship and if you stress about this, that will happen. Plus, others don't force people to committ suicide or push a person into doing so, there is such a thing called free will.


I believe your girlfriend felt suicidal due to matters that were out of her control which most likely put her into depression. It is hard to say if her depression was due to external forces or due some biological issue. I am not qualified to make that call. I think it is great that she is seeing a therapist.


I feel bad that she is estranged from her mom, people with bi-polar can be a force to be reckon with. I was scared of my grandfather for a very long time due to his "irrational" outbursts and swearing. I was too young to understand. My grandmother had one heck of time dealing with my grandfather but she HAS and she has for over 30 years and never stopped loving my grandfather.


That is great you are showing your concern. I would just be there for your girlfriend for whenever she needs you and be as understanding as you can.


Hang in there.

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Thank you so much kellbell. It is nice to know a little background on this. It is still scary stuff, but hopefully with lots of encouragement she'll be fine.


So, are the terms mania and depression the make up of manic depression? Our family is friends with another family...the mom/wife of the family has manic depression. I think she takes lithium to control it, and she does fine most of the time. When they tried to experiment with other meds, she went into the manic depression, and went on a spending spree and argued with her husband all the time.


Is Manic Depression bi-polar then?

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Is Manic Depression bi-polar then?


Yes, "manic-depression" is the "old" name for bipolar disorder. Lithium is a common drug treatment used, but it isn't the only one. Mental health therapy has come a long way in the past few decades.


I can't really add too much to what kellbell said about bi-polar, except that is it a really personal disorder - meaning that for each person it is very different. I can truly empathize with your girlfriend (as I have bipolar disroder myself). And good for you wanting to learn about it and stand by her - not an easy task.

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"Is Manic Depression bi-polar then?"


Yes, the terms are interchangable.


My grandfather took lithuim for quite some time but he has been on soooo many meds, such as Depakote and many others. He also underwent shock therapy when it was more prevelent years ago. It is not so much now, it is done as a last resort and done very humanely. Years ago, it was quite barbaric. But try not to worry, I highly doubt your girlfriend or her mom will need shock therapy, in most cases, people respond very well to medication and therapy.


I recommend that you search Google and perhaps go to the library and check out books about bi-polar.

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