Leaving someone you love or care about is never easy, but things become much more complicated when the person in the relationship with you is struggling with bipolar disorder, or manic depression. Bipolar disorder is a mental illness which affects everything from social activity to mood. The instability caused by bipolar disorder can lead to very difficult breakups or falling outs, and is emotionally draining. When coping with the effects of bipolar disorder, the most important thing you can do is help your loved one find the help and treatment they need. This is the best way to support your partner, and to prevent more damage in the long run to the relationship as well as to the individual.
Report any threats, even if they are said lightly, or signs of self-abuse immediately.
Find support and information. Speak to friends and family, especially your partner's family, if you are concerned about his mental health. Offer to help find a specialist, emphasizing your support and desire for your partner to get the help he needs so that he can become healthy. If you continue to be in the relationship without seeking help, you are only enabling and worsening the negative effects of an untreated mental disorder.
Tell the friends and family of your loved one your intentions to leave, before you leave her. Ask them to be extra watchful for signs of destructive behavior, to be there to look after her and help in your absence. This might be hard to face up to, but making sure your partner has a network of support will prevent further damage.
Practice what you want to say beforehand. Rehearse with a supportive friend. Make sure you are making your needs clear, and that you brainstorm some responses to challenges posed by the breakup.
Plan a time to speak to your partner. Having a plan in mind will make it more official and will reduce the stress and chaos caused by postponing the talk, or waiting for the right moment. The longer you postpone, the more damage you will cause to both yourself and the person you care for. Remember that there is only so much you can do for another person. Since you are not a medical professional or licensed counselor, your support only extends so far. The right thing to do is to help the person get diagnosed and find treatment and support with professionals.
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- Find support groups or discussion online. There are many others out there who are going through similar situations.
- If you suspect that the person you are leaving is critically close to endangering themselves or others, report it immediately to a medical professional.
- woman in solutude and depression image by Allen Penton from Fotolia.com