Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place!

Living on the plains of eastern colorado, or any rural area, is not an easy place to get a diagnosis or treatment for any mental illness!  My boyfriend had probably been bipolar since his teens, but it came to a head when he was living here with me.  Thank God we did find one counselor who actually had an idea of what she was dealing with!  She is actually a substance abuse counselor, but has a wide knowledge of mental issues as well, since the two are often intertwined.  Naturally the bf did not want to admit that someting was actually wrong, and we went through hell trying to get him help, but  the story does have a happy ending in that we DID get help, he did get on some meds that work even tho they do have ****** side effects, and we did get him on disability so that he can get financial help with the meds, which run about $1200/month!  The sad thing is that he cannot go back to work or he will lose the prescription coverage that he cannot live without.  This seriously damages  his self-esteem, and since his disability is not readily apparent, often people often think that he is a lazy bum just milking the system!  ARGHHHHHHH! 

ALSO, It has put a serious strain on our relationship--the meds have changed his personality somewhat in negative ways as well as the desired positive.   It has dulled his once sharp sense of humor, stifled his creativity, almost silenced his ability to communicate freely, put some extra weight on his once awesome body, and subdued his once very healthy sex drive--all of which were a large part of what attracted me to him in the first place!  I dare not say much about this to him, or he will feel the need to get off the meds, which means he becomes a raving lunatic in a matter of days.  He does periodically take a couple days off meds, which is scary (but also fun if I am to be honest!)  and at least he does have the sense to get back on them before he loses control.   We have been together for the past 7 years, off and on--his mental illness and the problems with the meds,  and the toll it takes on both of us have caused him to moved back and forth btwn me and his parents several times, which is really hard on me emotionally to put it mildly.  There is not a support group within about 200 miles, and no psychiatrist either, unless you count the one who comes in once or twice a month pretty much just to monitor meds for all these patients in a two or three county area--he certainly does not have time to actually do any therapy with them!  not his fault, he is doing the best he can under the very frustrating circumstances, but still, it is far from an ideal situation!

Add to all of this the backwoods, hick, ignorant attitude that is prevalent in this rural area and you can imagine how difficult this can be!  Also, law enforcement here is a joke, its like mayberry mixed with the keystone cops!  they have NO clue as to what mental illness is, let alone how to deal with it!!!  Not so much their fault, the city and county do not fund any training in these areas.  No, we are strong people who do not succomb to mental illnesses out here!    Thank God they are sometimes bright enough to realize that they need some guidance and they call the counselor lady in to help.  I know of at least one situation where they did not do so, and a cop ended up shooting an obviously mentally ill man largely due to the fact that they did NOT HAVE A CLUE AS TO HOW TO DEAL WITH HIM!!!  Thank God my bf didnt run into them much when he was so whacked out, I am sure there would be a good chance they would have shot him too.  Fortunately even when he was out of control he trusted me enough that I could usually calm him down, even when he was really paranoid. 

ok now for a lighter view of this, looking back I have to laugh at how much time and patience it took to convince him that I DID NOT remove his kidneys or his hipbones while he was asleep--he would stand on a chair in front of the mirror saying "I KNOW WHAT YOU DID!  At least give me the money you made selling my body parts on the black market!  Didnt you think I would notice the scars???  Look at this, dont tell me you cannot see them!"   or sitting up all night with him while he went on and on about the meaning of life and our place in the universe etc.  He is highly intelligent, so when that brain of his went into overdrive he came up with some deep ****! 

Today we are able to laugh at a lot of what we went through, but at the time it was pretty overwhelming to say the least!  I am glad that things are better, but there is still room for a lot of improvement!

classicrockcowgirl classicrockcowgirl
46-50, F
6 Responses Jul 15, 2007

The book, as I mentioned on a commented on in another story "the Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide What you and your family need to know" By David J. Miklowitz is a book recommended to me by my therapist. It's a very good interactive book that opened by eyes and gave me a greater understanding about bipolar in a way I didn't have before. I think it's a helpful book for anyone suffering with all types of bipolar disorder. I got mine through

im 32 years old i have bipolar been on meds serquel and celxa for my depression and mood its helps i sleep alot cause i get depressed i recently lost my mother in 2005 she was bipolar too so is my sister its hard to deal with sometimesi have my up s and downs but who dont with bipolar some times i can have engery and sometimes i get these moods that i dont understand thanks melinda good l uck

Keep strong. Bi-polar is in fact a discouraging disease. I myself have put on weight, due to meds. I know venting helps, which everyone has done at one point or another. Yes, in men there are sex drive changes. Also due to meds. I have also joined the disablity pool. Which could be part of his dismay as well. The feeling of not being able to work could be very hard for a man. <br />
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Just some thoughts, could help??

I am sure he thinks you are a saint for standing by him....I know. it is hard to be with someone who is like this....and it takes alot of strength to make the relationship work; sacrifice...and egos have to take a back seat in a truly loving, altruistic based relationship that is sheltered in a deep love. Good for you guys.

What you two are going through is brutal - get all the help you can. At the very least, Google Bipolar web sites - there are dozens of good ones. The side effects you described are normal. The thing is, you can't be his girlfriend and his nurse, shrink, substance abuse counselor, and prescribing physician. No relationship can withstand that. Besides, it's his problem; he needs to take ownership of it. The attitude of "earth people" is another matter; you can't really worry about that.

I hope you can find the help you are looking for. Recently, more and more therapist are setting up online therapy sessions for people more comfortable with talking online, or who don't have access to therapy otherwise, so if you wanted to try therapy you could look ingot that. Good luck, and thank you for the story!