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Preparing your SO for an episode

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So, I'm getting depressed for the first time with my bf, and am trying to prepare him for it. 


How did you prepare your significant other for an episode if you knew it was coming on?


So far, I have had a sit down conversation with him about what to expect, but I'm not really sure he understood me...



I told him that I might get agitated with him and try to fight about things that don't really matter, but not to get mad about it and to just humor me.

I told him that I'm not going to want to do...much of anything, but to push me to do stuff.

I told him that I'm going to want to be left alone, but that I wanted him to know that when I'm alone, I'll probably be wanting to be with him.

I told him that I'll start seeing shit that isn't there (that's the SZA part coming out), and that if he notices me freaking out, to ask me what I see, and to try to laugh about it.

I told him that I'm really just not going to be myself, and to try to wait it out, because it's not going to be permanent. 


But, I really want to know what others have said to their SO's before an episode starts or what you've done to help them understand what's going on with you...

Edited by mambo_kT
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My husband was with me long before I got my dx three years ago. But it has really only been this year that we have really figured out how to work around this shit as you are talking about. I think two things are important and necessary

1. He had to understand the disorder. Meaning he has to get that it is an illness not a choice. He has to know all the brain chemistry this is a real illness all physical in the brain type stuff. Otherwise it is really hard for them to not get hurt by our behaviors sometime. I think books and articles help a lot in addition to you explaining it. Books and articles show that you are not alone and he is not alone and that it is a real disease.

2. You have to communicate about what is happening in you. AND he has to HEAR and adjust to it. This is very hard for me because I feel like I should just buck up and make dinner even though I feel very fragile and it might end in a tantrum or something like that. I generally feel like I should be able to deal and I feel silly or babyish or all diva princessy saying I can't handle certain things (like cooking or you know turning the lights on) so I try to deal and it generally all goes to hell in a hand basket.

When I actually tell him what is going on in me as clear as I can and he sensitively hears me and is supportive and protective then we are fine. Even if we are just hanging doing things together and I am struggling but trying and he KNOWS that and knows to go real gentle with me then we are okay. When he understands that I need space and patience and love then it is okay.

Obviously it doesn't always work. Sometimes I am too off to communicate well. Sometimes he isn't his best self and just isn't connecting to my place or pain in the moment and at these times I feel that it is best to damage control and minimize interaction so you don't fuck up your relationship. Seriously what has worked best for me when I feel he isn't getting it is to just be sick. I mean that is what it is anyway. But when you are sick nobody blinks an eye when you stay in bed or lie on the couch or ask for a cuddle or some alone time. It is just okay. So saying "I just really don't feel well" is not a lie at all. It is the truth and sometimes that is what makes more sense to your SO because they know how to handle that kind of illness. Make any sense?

So that is what I think has worked for us...educate, communicate, and just be sick.

Sorry to hear your heading into a depression. Hope it turns around for you soon.

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The Bipolar Survival guide has some good chapters, maybe NAMI might have some resources too? I got my Boyfriend to watch Stephen Fry's documentary on Bipolar, I did put a link to it here ages ago where you could watch it online for free. It made it easier to watch other people talk about it, Carrie Fisher spoke about her experiences and since Boyfriend is a total Star Wars geek, he could relate. It also shows how different the illness can manifest and how people deal with it.

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It sounds like you've laid out a good framework for your boyfriend by telling him what might happen and how he can best help you.  It might also help to take him to a therapy session.  I think one thing to stress to your boyfriend is that he cannot fix you, he can only be your partner and help you through this.


I'm sorry to hear that you feel like you're headed into a depression.  I hope its mild and short.

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When I know I am heading into an episode, whether it be manic or depressive, I usually try to write my husband a letter telling him what is going on and what I need. I felt silly the first time I did it, but I've noticed that he folds them up and carries them in his pocket so he can take it out and read it if shit gets bad. Of course, I don't always realize what is happening, so he doesn't always get a letter, but I know he keeps them so he can read them again. I think having something concrete to look at and not have to try to remember what I said is really helpful for him.

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I remind my husband that I might be symptomatic, and not realize it. Since he has to live with me, he needs to be aggressive about letting me know something is wrong if I can't figure it out myself. Other than that, I just want an ear to listen, and a body to hug.

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