Dis nie ‘n grap om met ‘n bipolere maar getroud te wees nie. Dis nou as jy praat uit die oogpunt van die maat sonder ‘n gemoedsteuring EN praat oor ‘n bipolere maat wat NIE hierdie breintoestand bestuur nie – met medikasie rondspeel, in ontkenning bly en nie homself empower deur die tekens te leer ken en sy snellers uit te skakel nie. Dit, se alle logika, moet ‘n resep vir groot ongeluk en baie frustrasie wees.
Maar dit kan anders wees, vertel Michelle Barnes.
Sy is baie gelukkig getroud met haar Jay. Sy glo ‘n huwelik met ‘n bipolere maat het eintlik ekstra voordele. Jy kry immers ‘n hoogs intelligente, interessante en baie ekspressiewe maat wat die lewe met oop senuwees beleef en alles baie intens ervaar. Verveling sal jy nie ken nie.
Hulle bedryf ‘n ondersteunersgroep in Claremont al twaalf jaar lank.
Dis hoe hulle dit uitgewerk gekry het
Counselor Michelle Barnes is married to a bipolar mate.
“Jay is a wonderful, wonderful husband. Every evening when we cuddle while watching TV I absolutely know the small dramas we’ve been through are insignificant in comparison to the much, much joy and love we have. However, we do have rules to help us make our marriage work this well. Here they are:
We have a psychiatrist
We don’t believe in home diagnoses, or in tweaking medication on our own. This job belongs to our psychiatrist. We also keep up an open, close relationship with him. The more we communicate about how Jay is the better he can help us manage.
We focus on the positive
Jay is very intelligent, like all the bipolar people I know. He is expressive, intriguing, spontaneous and considerate, too. I keep the whole picture in mind, which keeps me from focusing overly much on the bipolarity.
I know Jay’s patterns of behavior well and recognize when he is in the grip of an episode
He is one of those bipolars who suffers not from highs and lows but from lows and very lows. His high is still depression, while the highs of other bipolar in general is more like bingeing – drinking episodes, gambling, speeding, intense religious practices, spending sprees, intense periods of promiscuity, high-risk business deals and ventures, and dangerous adventures.
I manage it
Happy relationships do not just happen. They require input. A bipolar relationship requires just a little more guidance.
We talk much about where we are at
The more open and honest we are the more our understanding of each other grow and the more we trust each other
I choose carefully when to talk
It is of no use to have a discussion when a bipolar person is in the grip of an episode. He will simply not take in what you are saying. You have to wait until he has quieted down.
I never blame him
He can really not help his brain condition. I understand and accept this.
We set limits
We both know there will be more episodes but in our relationship bad behavior is not tolerated. Jay trusts me enough to allow me to call him to a halt.
I am pro-active
I don’t wait until Jay gets himself in a fix. As soon as I notice something is up I talk to him in a very soothing tone and get him to a calming environment where there is nothing that can get him worked up any further. I see to it that he gets enough sleep. I do all I can to protect him from himself during an episode (Other bipolars may need stronger interventions, such as withholding money and cards for those who go on sprees or taking car keys away for the time being.)
I know Jay’s triggers
An incident is usually preceded by certain activities and/or warning signs, such as too much excitement and, too little sleep, stress and things like alcohol. We try to keep triggers to a minimum
If things go out of control I keep calm
I don’t shout or fight back and I don’t overreact. I take care to keep my voice down, I tell Jay I can see he is upset and I ask what I can do to help him.
Jay cultivates self-management
Jay has excellent insight into his condition, just like most other bipolars once they are diagnosed and educated about bipolar depression. Most – Jay as well – can with practice manage to handle many of their episodes on their own, if they are made aware of signs early on. When I notice Jay seems to building up to a mood I mention it tactfully. Often this is enough input from me, and he manages his mood himself.
(vertaal vir die Carter Center)