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How to support a loved one who has BD who chooses social isolation?

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Gemsy

New member
Joined
Oct 8, 2018
Messages
2
Hello everyone!

I am new to this forum because I'm hoping that this community can give me advise on what to do. So this is a short version of the situation : Someone I know and care about has Bipolar Disorder, he is not doing well, he has broken off our contact and to the best of my knowledge ... he doesn't really talk with family, friends or colleagues (I think he has also been going in less) - let alone about the things that are plaguing him now. However, he did go to the doctor and has a prescription (is that how you call it in English?) so that he can start with a psychologist.

How can I show support without my care being too much?
I wonder what kind of experiences you guys have with such a situation? Like, what works for you in periods when you feel bad and don't want to be in touch with others because you can't hide how much you hurt? Does it really work best to just leave you alone then, and when you feel better again ... do you prefer to reach out on your own? Or did you feel supported if someone would maybe sent you an easy text once in a while? Or just have someone ask you how you are feeling?

He and I haven't known each other for very long at all. But in a short period we did spend quite some time together and we seemed to really connect emotionally & mentally & physically. He had already said early on that he has BD and that he was kind of in a rough patch, also due to some big events in his life in the past years - definitely not all of them good. While we were dating, he came to realize that his BD was worse now than he thought at first. He also became more determined to prioritize his well being. And he realized that our intense contact was too much to keep up.
I also want to note that ... I get the impression that he doesn't want to share his deeper, darker, sadder emotions and tries to suppress how he feels - unless he feels happy. Ofcourse I love seeing him happy, but I am really here to also know his heavier thoughts & emotions. I have never been romantically involved with someone with BD. But one of my best friends for over 10 years has BD and I realize now that her friendship & openness has taught me a lot about BD and about loving a person for all of them - not just the easy parts.

So he's going to focus on himself, on his treatment and on stabilizing. We agreed to not be in touch for a while and that I can later reach out again. He will then try to estimate if we can be in touch through texts, but I expect that we won't be seeing each other for a while.

Because he and I haven't known each other for that long, this is the first time we're dealing with this. I don't know how I can reach out to him in a way that really seriously abides by what his mind can deal with right now.

That being said, I really care about him, I hate knowing that he hurts so much, and I miss him. But my need to let him know that I care ... is also influenced by the thought that he feels so lonely and that he is keeping other people at bay as well.
Also, I have never met those other people, so I can't ask their advice about previous times when he felt like this. And obviously, I can't ask him.

Wow, my story around these questions became a lot longer than I planned!

Anyway, thank you for your responses, I'm looking forward to learning from you!

Love, Gemsy
 
Last edited:
Maladoi94

Maladoi94

Active member
Joined
Nov 26, 2018
Messages
36
Hello Gemsy! You have written this more than a month ago. Can you bring an update info about your friend? How is him now? Have you speaken to him?

First of all... you have to find out what kind of bipolarity he has... the level of his problem... because there is bipolarity that can be handled... but there can be a such kind of bipolarity that alone is very and very difficult to solutionate.

Second... this unstabble thoughts and feelings can't just arrive without a reason. There definetly was a situation that launched his current position. So... tell us what is the problem... Financially insecure? Goals that he had and couldn't be achieved? Previous relationships that went very bad? etc...
 
Maladoi94

Maladoi94

Active member
Joined
Nov 26, 2018
Messages
36
Like my diagnosis is Bipolar Disorder too... but deep in my heart i know it's wrong.

Firstly the doctors put me the diagnosis Schizoaffective Disorder... Now they tell me that there are mentall disorders that have the same symptoms but just the time shows which one is the real one... And now they told me as we see what you didnt go mentally worse... (maybe because one characteristic of the 1st diagnosis is that during the time you are becoming more "problematic") you have like bipolar disorder with psychotic symptoms... and people with bipolar disorder have to take pills like maybe always if it will be necessary because their emotions cant be handled and be normal ones... like they are always or in depression or in the euphoria... and i was drinking pills like 3 years....

Now... its one month that i gave up pills... yes... its been a month mostly without sleeping and very sad... but... i have achieved the peace! (which was designed to be achieved with pills) i achieved the peace by putting all in the right place... i have analyzed all that happened and all that will happen... now i know what to do... im full of feelings... very happy and anything can stop me... Im not telling you this to show you how great i am... no ... its because there are problems deep in our souls that cant be resolved with pills or loneliness... im quite sure that your friend doesnt want to be alone... anyone wants to be alone... you prefer sometimes to be alone when you have seen a lot of or bad people or people that dont understand you and try to change your life direction... and if you disagree you prefer to isolate....
 
M

Mary26

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 28, 2018
Messages
170
Location
USA
I can understand someone wanting to isolate themselves because they don't want to pull anyone else into their dark place but I think all humans need connection. I would gently reach out on a regular basis just to let him know you're there and it's okay.
 
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Gemsy

New member
Joined
Oct 8, 2018
Messages
2
Hi Maladoi94 and Mary26, I am sorry that I haven't responded yet, but thank you for your messages and sharing your thoughts!

An update on what has happened since between that friend and me :
There was a short period where we weren't really in touch and he also said that even if we could become friends, we still wouldn't go back to dating.
After not talking to each other for a while, there were a few weeks when we texted. He gave the impression that he was indeed doing better than at the time of my first post ; as far as I know, he was working again, still waiting for treatment, but had also planned a month with a lot of time with his family and friends - so that sounded great!
When I mentioned some things going on in my life, he realized that that wasn't the right moment for him to be thinking about certain aspects of my life. And he chose again to break off our contact.

As Maladoi94 pointed out, my friend did have big life events following each other up in just a few years that were all very impactful for him and that in my view added up to his high stress levels, perhaps personal insecurity and social 'chaos'. The things he went through are definitely enough to burn out anyone without BD, and I can only assume that BD makes things like divorce, changing jobs and emigrating even more intense.

I do still think about him and wonder how he is. But because he has clearly stated that he needed time to not think about me specifically ... I don't think I can reach out to him. So, I'm hoping that at some point he will take the initiative and we can talk again. But for now, I think that friendship has ended. On the positive side, as said, he was back to work, back in touch with family & friends and by now hopefully getting the help he wants from health care professionals!

I deeply appreciate Maladoi94's sharing your experiences and I hope that the choices you have made to take your care of yourself are still paying off!

And I thank both of you for emphasizing that a person's choice to be 'left alone', does not mean that they actually 'like' loneliness or isolation. But that it is really more a coping mechanism to - if I understand you correctly - prevent negative emotions from tainting social relationships. If my friend and I get back in touch, I feel more confident now that I could ask him how he looks back on this period of his life - to learn from him how to respond in the future.

Thank you!
 
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