With Valentine’s Day approaching, many people are feeling pressure to either be in a relationship or to give the most romantic gift. For those with mental illness, holidays like Valentine’s Day can mean lots of stress, anxiety, anger, etc. If your significant other has bipolar disorder, there are many ways that you can be supportive of them this Valentine’s Day.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, bipolar disorder is “a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks”. There are several diverse types of bipolar disorder, and each person experiences it differently. One blogger wrote about his experience with his wife who has bipolar disorder. He described his marriage on the International Bipolar Foundation as this:
“My wife told me about her bipolar diagnosis at 21. She told me about her issues cutting, the suicide attempts, and the hospitalizations…I took it upon myself to become an expert. I read every book I could find, researched on the internet, found online support groups for spouses of people with bipolar disorder…our marriage may not be normal, and it may not be easy, but it has been worth it.”
Sometimes the best support we can give is our absolute time, energy, and attention. A perfect gift for your significant other this Valentine’s Day could be something as simple as showing them your support and showing them the research you’ve been doing. Most people with a mental illness truly appreciate when their loved ones take the time and effort to understand them better. A woman with bipolar disorder described her relationship with her boyfriend on Psych Central:
“He lets me be me and I can trust him with all that I am. He listens and holds me in the dark, tells me it will be okay… we face this illness together, side by side. He cannot save me, but he can hold my hand, keep me from falling, keep me from flying.”
Simply being there for your loved one and allowing them to be themselves is the greatest gift you could give. This Valentine’s Day, consider getting to know your significant other more by learning about their disorder and finding ways to express your understanding of what they are going through.
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