How Do I Convince My Friend To Get Help For Bipolar Disorder?

September 23, 2010 Natasha Tracy

It is often the case that those around a person with bipolar disorder spot the disorder before the person themselves does. That’s pretty understandable as our actions are always louder from the outside. Not to mention our brain, which is supposed to be paying attention to our behaviors, is the thing that’s sick. So, you know, we miss stuff. Crazy tends to obscure reality.

But what if you think a person has bipolar disorder and the person won’t listen? In this case, there are really only three things you can do.

I’ll illustrate using my fictitious, suspected bipolar, Joe.

I Told Joe I Thought He Was Bipolar, But He Wouldn’t Listen

Understand that no one wants to be bipolar. I am bipolar and I don’t want to be bipolar. The societal stigma around mental illness is strong and it’s extremely hard to admit that we might be one of them. People don’t even want to admit to grey hair, so admitting to a mental illness is generally right out.


Use Logic When Talking to Joe About Bipolar

People are scared to talk about mental illness and everything tends to get emotional before the first word is uttered, but if you’re trying to make Joe come to a realization, you can’t afford that. If you’re emotional, Joe is going to get emotional. That will not help.

Try to educate yourself about bipolar disorder before you start the talk. Print off the diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder and figure out why you think Joe fits that diagnosis. Confirm your thoughts with others around Joe and enlist their help. Name specifics.

An example would be:

Joe, I think you might have been exhibiting hypomanic symptoms two weeks ago because you barely slept for a week straight and didn’t eat. Then, right after, you got really depressed and didn’t leave your bed for days.

Use logic and reason when talking. Try to take the emotion out from your end as there will be more than enough coming from Joe. (More advice on this conversation will be in a future article, but until then, avoid saying these things.)

Joe Didn’t Listen. He Still Refuses to Get Help.

Honestly, that is Joe’s right. We crazies don’t have to see doctors. True, I would recommend seeing a doctor, but this is a free country which means Joe gets to be as crazy as he wants to be. Joe has to see a problem before he sees any value in a solution.

Now there is only one question that matters: is Joe a danger to himself or others.

Joe Isn’t Endangering Anyone

In most cases, Joe isn’t doing anything except ruining his life. Well, that’s his right. If you’ve talked to Joe and tried to encourage treatment without success, it’s time to decide if you want to stick around and watch Joe possibly self-destruct.

Sorry, but you can’t change anyone, bipolars included.


Joe Is Endangering Someone

If you really think this is the case then you have to call in the cavalry. You’re going to call his doctor, or a helpline or even 911. If there’s serious danger, you have to take serious action. It’ll be really unpleasant and might destroy your relationship, but in extreme cases that may be the only option.

Some Bipolars Don’t Want Treatment

People with a mental illness are just like everyone else – some of them want to change, some of them don’t. Some heroin addicts want to change, some don’t. Some people with bad fashion sense want to change, some don’t. But you can’t change any of these people unless they want to change.

No matter how much you care about Joe, this might just be something you’re going to have to accept.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or GooglePlus or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter or at the Bipolar Burble, her blog.

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2010, September 23). How Do I Convince My Friend To Get Help For Bipolar Disorder?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 18 from

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate, and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar. She's also the host of the podcast Snap Out of It! The Mental Illness in the Workplace Podcast.

Natasha is also unveiling a new book, Bipolar Rules! Hacks to Live Successfully with Bipolar Disorder, mid-2024.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleX, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube.

April, 28 2018 at 10:11 pm

So true everthing I have read. I am going through this with my 35 year old daughter. I have come to the point of cutting myself off from her due to the abuse. It is killing me. Like everyone else no matter what you do its not good enough. One minute they love you and the next the phone is being blown up with the most awful and hurtful texts. She thinks we are all crazy and there is nothing wrong with her. I am now at a loss.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Natasha Tracy
April, 29 2018 at 10:08 am

Hi Marianne,
I'm sorry you're experiencing that. I know it is very hard on parents.
I've written a book on bipolar and depression that you and your daughter may find helpful:…
Also, there is a book for people in your situation that you should look up (not associated with me or HealthyPlace):…
Hopefully, you find those helpful.
- Natasha Tracy

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 22 2021 at 4:35 am

I really know how you feel as my daughter is 50 this year and I have suffered from her abuse and hatefulness and she is like it with her two sisters and brother. And tells other it our fault she won’t listen to anything we say . I’ve had this since she was 13

February, 14 2017 at 6:15 am

The article is accurate in that people cannot be forced to seek treatment, but remember we also make choices to stay in the abuse bipolar people deliver. If the people who claim to be "supporting" bipolar people would really practice tough love, by refusing to loan money, refusing to tolerate abuse, and refusing to deal with the child-like selfishness and lashing out, etc. of bipolar people it would force them to deal with their illness. I have seen too many people on this forum and in my family who actually facilitate the unhealthy behavior and do not hold people accountable. It hurts but if you care, you should set strong boundaries and sometimes we need to cut people off to show them how horrible they are as a result of their lack of willingness to address their illness. It is all about choices.

Joan simons
November, 27 2016 at 5:05 pm

Sounds like my life. My daughter to a tee. She hates me and tells me I'm useless and the worst mother and grandmother. I've never done anything for her. She has always had to do everything Alone. Then she calls me all the time and things can seem normal till I don't jump to her music. When she verbally abuses me, I walk away..and she blames me for being nasty as I didn't respond to her verbal abuse towards me. Then the silent treatment begins again. Eventually it gets better till the next episode. She makes terrible choices in men and always seems desperate and how things never work out for her. I feel sorry for my grandson who is 9. He deals with her UPS and downs on a daily basis and her threats about killing her self when she gets in one of her moods. It's a terrible way to live. I am concerned and have tried talking to,her about getting help. All I get are lthrats of killing herself if she gets any clue that I might have talked to someone about her behaviour. I love her but I don't like her much at times. I really think she is sick. I don't know what to do.

allison osterwald
September, 8 2016 at 9:04 am

I need help, my daughter has several issues but is refusing to accept anythings wrong with her behaviour.
She is 27 and has been verbally abusing me and blaming me for years on and off for everything and anything.
She is a beautiful girl and should you meet her you would think she is the nicest, kindest person you could meet but when it comes to me - I'm the person she wipes her feet on.
Her behaviour can change in an instant, one minute she helps me (as I have fibromylagia) and the next she's dragging my grandson away from me (he is autistic) and leaves.
Within minutes she starts texting me abusive txts one after the other. She tells me I'm dead to her, I'm useless, the worst mother/grandmother ever and I'm to stay out of her life forever and I'll never get to see my grandson ever again, this goes on for days sometimes weeks and then she slowly works her way back into my life, it goes well for a while and then it starts all over again.
I don't know what to do!

Dennis Thompson
July, 27 2016 at 1:02 pm

I need help in what I can het my wife of 37 yrs for(bipolar). I have talked with my therapist about bringing her along to one of my sestions. Which I have done 3 years ago. With a different therapist. She would not talk about her having any problems . she just focused on my issues. She tells her kids her sister in-laws her friends. That I have a problem. But now that I have put a name to.her condition. I brought it up to my oldest son. Who studied schycology in college agrees with my assessment. He and I tried to talk to her personal physician at the request of my therapist. But a general.practitioner knows nothing about it was a waste of time. So here I am asking for help on how I and my family get her to seek help on her own.
Any help is appreciated.
Thank you.

July, 26 2016 at 4:06 am

I've been with a guy for over 2.5 years. His mother and brother have been diagnosed with BPD. He may have it as well, as his mood will go from perfectly fine, too SUPER depressed and refusing to even speak to me or anyone else in literally 30 seconds. He'd say he was having "a lot of anxiety" and "dealing with a lot of stuff". He'll go through periods where he can't sleep, periods where all he wants to do is have sex or talk about it, then times where he doesn't want it at all for days. (he's 26 hears old) We had an episode so 6 months back that he wouldn't get out of bed for days and kept saying he hoped he would never wake up.
I have mentioned to him before that he may have BPD seeing as his mom and brother both have it. His response is always "I'm not nearly as bad as them."
This may be true, but he still has pretty bad episodes that have cause us to have break ups, him to abuse anxiety prescription drugs, and cause family strife.
I want to help, but he's a big boy and doesn't think he's bad enough to seek help. I'm unsure as to what my next steps should be.

June, 1 2016 at 11:02 am

My half-sister was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I over 20 years ago. I relate to several stories here. My sister was in and out of treatment for several years but kept going off her meds. She was married and has 2 children, now grown, but 6 years ago she went off the meds and in a severe manic cycle, left her husband and children, did somethings at work that got her fired (after 17 yrs of employment), ended up homeless. Her extended family including me has tried to help her the last few years, including financial support but she is in denial that she is bi-polar, says she'll never take meds again, they are poison, and she has been fired from 2 jobs, has lost everything - her car, her possessions, is on the street. I've been told if I give her money, I'm enabling her, and she gets angry and cuts off any relative who tells her she needs to get treatment and meds. The public health community and organizations like NAMI - the message is "don't give up" "listen" "be an advocate" "fight for your loved one". It is destroying my life. How can you advocate for someone who REFUSES to get help, won't consider voluntary commitment and treatment? Listen? She's been in a manic cycle for 10 months and she's totally self destructed but blames everybody else and goes into a rage if you suggest she needs professional help. Listen to the constant rantings and ravings about how everyone has done her wrong. I am terrified for her; my husband says no more money, no more has almost torn me to pieces. I feel the mental health system in this country, particularly for the indigent/homeless is so pathetic. We treat people like they are throwaways. And yet, what is the alternative if someone absolutely refuses help? My sister hasn't become a danger to others and she hasn't tried to kill herself. I feel this world is failing the most vulnerable members of our society and there are no good solutions. There are mentally ill people who are committed to becoming as functioning as possible, who will do everything possible to get better and manage their lives. I just wish my poor sister was one of those people. I've just started professional therapy for myself because I'm distraught and cannot get any relief from this emotional pain. Mental illness can destroy lives beyond the person who has the mental illness.

April, 26 2016 at 12:09 am

My wife has been diagnosed with bipolar parnoid schizophrenia for 40 years and has had 3 relapses because of not being medication compliant. The last one started in 2013 and is still going on. She has had 6 hospitalization in that time. My daughter and i have guardianship and conservatorship over her but despite that we cannot get any doctor or hospital to give her the IM's because they said exactly what you said, a person has the right to be mentally ill unless they are a threat to themselves or others. That is what the legal system has come to, why the distinction? Just let them kill themselves or kill others after all the revered constitutional gives them the right to be mentally ill. Today we got a 1013 issued by the probate court. At this moment she is being evaluated but the hospital says all they can do is keep her for 72 hours, no medication against her will. She will be back home again destroying our home, starving herself to say we are starving her, throwing out the telephone landline and making threats of bodily harm to us. When she is on meds she performs every life at a very high level evening working as a paralegal in Guiliani's office, District Attorney, southern district NYC. But we have this great legal system that puts up road blocks and prevents people who cannot help themselves (or their love ones getting them help) from getting the help they desperately need. What a country, what compassion! What a great judicial system! We ought to export this to the third world after all, they are a backward people! Lawyers! Away with them!

April, 16 2016 at 5:42 pm

I don't know what to do. I feel absolutely lost. But it feels like out of nowhere, starting from about 3 months ago, my husband has numerous breaks with reality. His anger and rage are completely unwarranted, and I am mostly fearful because we have two small children. Everything that is wrong in his life, things that he forgets to do, his extremely bad eating habits, his deteriorating physical appearance, really everything bad in his life, he somehow finds a way to blame me. Everything and anything is my fault. And everything I do for our kids and family, he completely ignores. He has started to be VERY verbally abusive and now, almost daily, in front of our kids....telling me that if I just did the things he told me to do that he wouldn't have to act like that in front of the kids. It is an impossible situation. And because he is the breadwinner, he threatens me that I will be out on the streets. I just want to protect my kids. I dont want them to be around this monster anymore. And I have tried numerous times to talk to him with kindness and concern and going to talk to a professional for some help, but he absolutely refuses to go and says the only problem he has in his life is me. I am scared and frustrated. Any assistance is appreciated.

March, 17 2016 at 9:18 pm

My stepdad did a lot of meth in his younger days and in recent years. He always seemed crazy on meth would say and do a lot of crazy things.. Last few years he swears he's sober not on meth. Exactly a year ago he flipped out on my mom said he wants a divorce never loved her she's a POS isn't gonna pay rent or bills goes and buys a new car and gets another apartment leaves my mom and sister fending for themselves in the apartment they all got together very expensive my mom couldn't pay even half that by herself... We all thought is was meth again. He came back to his normal loving self wanted my mom back they moved into his new apartment and the new car was repoed he lost his job too.. Ruined all his credit.. It was a nightmare.. Wouldn't help or respond to his kids at all.. Year later right now he's doing it again!!! Telling my mom he hates her wants a divorce etc etc.. Never loved her yada yada. Talks about vampires and using salt to keep the vampires away.. Crazy!! It all starts when he decides he wants to lose weight and go to the gym day and night wakes up early to go and goes till late after work.. So we are thinking bi polar.. Mom swears it's not meth. He goes thru this for a month or 2 than he's back.. What the hell can we do so my mom and his kids can have normal life and he doesn't ruin their lives again and lose everything!!! I understand you can't lead a horse to water..... But he has responsibilities as a dad and a husband. We fear that he'll get angry if we tell him he needs help..

November, 10 2015 at 8:32 pm

What you wrote really hit home for me.
We are now into his third manic episode. He doesn't believe that he has bipolar.
I am so calm, rational and understanding with him. He has such an amazing soul. Even when he's manic, he's only ever hurt me emotionally.
He lied about taking the medication. He lied about a lot of things. Because he knows that I know him well enough to recognize mania.
It's at that point where he needs to accept the bipolar and accept the treatment, or I need to take myself out of his life.
It breaks my heart to even think about it.
How can I remain to watch him self destruct over and over again?
How can I plan a life and have children with someone who has had a yearly manic episode which results in the loss of his job and a month in a psychiatric ward and then months to recover?
I don't believe in god. I don't. But I'm begging of the universe to show him the way to accept the fact that he has bipolar.
It is not a weakness. It doesn't make him any less of the great person that he is.
They put him on lithium, and he would would rather be dead than be on lithium.
I've tried to convince him that there are other medications and when he is not sanctioned in a psychiatric ward, he can have an amazingly large amount of control and input into his care.
I'm trying to stay strong and unemotional. Because this isn't about me. I know he will be back. Soon.
One more thing. I have experienced mental illness, I have taken drugs. But I really really feel for those with bipolar. I can not imagine being in my body and yet having such an altered state of perception and reality. I can not imagine my brain turning on me like that and allowing me to believe the extraordinary things that people in the thrusts of a manic episode can believe and say. I know it's not the basis of you. There's no shame. No embarrassment and no change in the way I love you.

June, 11 2015 at 8:18 am

When I got with my now husband he warned me that he is very selfish, I didn't think anything of it really. But over 5 years I have seen so many things mood and anger swings and his verbal abuse, telling me to shut up when I speak and tells me I'm stupid all the time. I do love him but I'm feeling so hurt and I am always afraid to speak. I never can tell what sort of mood he is going to be in when he wakes up, he never speaks not even a good morning. I feel like I am treading on egg shells. We work together and my staff have even noticed it.
Even his parents said to me before we got married ( do you no what your letting yourself in for? )

March, 17 2015 at 1:33 pm

Sorry Bonnie
My reply was meant for a different person...

March, 17 2015 at 1:23 pm

Hi Bonnie
Have you tried reading "I Am Not Sick, I Don't Need Help
By Xavier Amador. It's available on-line at Cavershams for $23.50. It's written by a psychologist. His brother Henry (a schizophrenic) wouldn't take his medication either so he came up with a way to talk to his brother to get him to comply. There's also Youtube videos on line about this author talking about his techniques

Bonnie Orr
December, 6 2014 at 7:11 am

My son was diagnoised with BiPolar disorder when he was 16 years old. He has been taking medication for that since then. For the last 8 years, he has been taking klonipin. He also takes methodone for back pain, gabapitin for fibermialgia, merinol for anziety and panic attacks and muscel relaxants for back spazams and he uses an inhaler for bad lungs. He is 25 years old and thinks that he will never be able to be off these medications. He is very hard to be around so most of the family has given up on him. At this point, I think he is experiencing a drug induced psycosis. He is very confused, has a hard time communicating his thoughts. He wants so bad to be ok but I cannot convince him that he is overmedicated. His thoughts about me have turned. He told me yesterday that he was very concerned about me. That I needed a doctor because I was a cronic lier and he wants to help me. I wrote his doctor to suggest that he be reevaluated but the doctor just continues to perscribe all of the medication. I truly believe that he needs to go into an institution for evaluation but he will not think of it. That would mean that he would have to give up on all the drugs he is addicted to and he truly believes that he can't function without all of the medication. He is so drugged up that he cannot make a good decision. It is so sad and is killing me. I have researched what I can do to help and the bottom line is I can't help him because mentally ill people have rights. I am seriously considering taking legal action against his doctor. More than anything, I love him and I so want him to be able to have a good quality of life. Are there any ways that I can get help with this?

August, 20 2014 at 11:07 pm

a friend of mine is having bipolar disorder and he is refusing to accept that he is diagnosed with it.
he is one clever person, very high IQ and highly cultivated. he is running a company and was able to close a 200,000$ deal in the middle of his case.
he is being over confident, God like overconfident, am not sure if he is enjoying this situation.
few months back we used to put him the medication in his food without him knowing and his case was very much stable and resumed work and went back to his family.
things got stable for 3 to 4 months and now he s suffering again and his case is worse.
he was told that the medicine was put in his food so now he s avoiding eating at home. he is writing stuff using very clever and advanced language skills, but read them and u can tell he is not normal.
he feels something is wrong but refuses to admit and he goes on weed to escape.
he has answers and counter arguments to everything u can tell him or face him with.
i dont know how can we convince such a person that he needs help. he seems to be enjoying his realy smart abilities in giving very clever strong counter arguments to everything you might tell him.

July, 29 2014 at 9:25 am

I live in California and am married to someone that is bipolar. He has been diagnosed for many years. When my husband became violent with me during a manic episode I called the police, they thought he was on drugs because of how irrational he was acting (he was not, tox results came back neg), at the hospital the ER doctors thought he had brain trauma because of how he was talking and how aggressive he was (no brain trauma found), eventually my husband was tazed and had a major heart attack because of this. He still thinks it was the fault of everyone else but him. They never even sent him to be mentally evaluated, even though he was a danger to himself and to me, they told me to deal with it, i married him. There have been many other occasions to where he has been sent or he has tried to put himself into a hospital, they all have released him within a few days because of how he gets so aggressive, he even took all of his blood thinners and then cut his wrists, telling the doctors to just let him die he doesn't want to live any more, all they did was wait until his blood was clotting again and then released him. He cant get mental help, they just throw him away. I couldn't stay with him anymore, he was destroying me. He still does not believe he is bipolar, he goes into a manic aggressive episode 2X's a month, like clock work, his depressive episodes are detrimental to his own safety, but he cant get help. What can I do? Just sit back and wait for him to die?? Even his doctor has tried to get him help but he is released within a few days. Does anyone know what can be done? Before all of this began so severe, my husband was such a wonderful person, loving, caring.....I do love him and it hurts that I can't be with him. But self preservation will win with me every time.

July, 26 2014 at 8:54 am

I wrote for help.I come from a very large fam.They have all given up except myself and one brother.My other brother have a bipolar disorder.I was told I was frustated, I'm past frustated,Im completely stressed out and breaking out. I'm sad and cry because I know he doesnt want to be bipolar and I feel sorry for him,it breaks my heart.He is very smart though.He receives a pension and social security, so after he was diagnosed he goes to a different doctor, different city and different hospital when he is at the depression stage,when he doesnt eat and wants to sleep then he goes and get med.Otherwise he doesnt sleep ,Is up all night calling us ,gets in his car and drives and drives at high speed. He went thru a church walls and drove on the runway at a big commercial airport. The police just takes him to a hospital and they keep him a couple of days and he gets release. And every time we are told he is no danger to others. Every time my phone rings ,I'm scared to death that he got in a terrible car accident and hurt or kill other drivers. I'm helpless, I still love my brother and cant help him. He tells us we are the mean and selfish and we dont serve him arms and foot.That we are all wrong and nothing is wrong with him.He also suffers from congestional heart failure.I dont want to abandoned my broher and at the same time ,I cannot help him and Im getting sick from the stress.As another writer said he is in his own world and hates the fam. for not serving him hands and foot

June, 30 2014 at 5:49 am

someone is covertly gaslighting your mom
EDUCATE yourself.

April, 24 2014 at 6:56 am

My mother has been very difficult to handle over a lot of years. And it doesn't seem to be getting any better. I have looked online to try and figure out what exactly the problem is and I have found that she falls under several discriptions for several different illnesses.
Her behavior is out of control. It is hard to explain and I don't even know where to start. No matter what the situation is, if she doesn't get her way, when she wants she throws a fit like a two year old. Screams, yells, cries, etc. For example, my husband was in a band. My parents were in town for a show. At the show she pushed to know the exact show schedule, and was not happy she was not consulted about the schedule. Sunday morning at breakfast she pulled me away from the table and asked me about again, I told her not the right place, she cried thru breakfast. Get back to my house, she is still crying and I asked her to stop crying. And she blew up. Screaming at me and my husband in my own house. Calling me names, and insulting me and my husband. I eventually had to force her to leave. All because she didn't the answer she wanted about the schedule. And this is just one scenerio when she reacts like that. It happens all the time.
I had to cut her out of my life for about a year, because I couldn't take it. I let her back in, and with me she hasn't flipped out towards me directly, but I speak with my Dad and she still does it.
She has threatened to kill herself on many occassions. I also think she is suffering from empty nest even though I am 35 and my brother is 36 and haven't lived at home for years. She is obsessed about the my high school years, and relates everything back to that.
My Dad gets blamed for everything. And she even, makes things up that aren't true. Like helping someone on the side of the road put coolant in their car, but she can't even air up her own tires.
She pushes herself on everyone in her life, that other members of the family have cut her out.
And this is all just the tip of the iceberg. And I really don't know who much more I can truely handle. It has been rough the past 5-6 years, and she doesn't she that she is the common denominator in her all of her problems. And thinks that every single person in her life needs helps.
Everything is always about her, and how it impacts what she wants. Everything I do for fun, or every trip I make she brings it right back to herself, and how lonely she is, and how they don't go anywhere, or do anything. She is NEVER happy, and is ALWAYS crying or stress about EVERYTHING.
She went to marriage counseling with my Dad and according to him, she made herself the victim in every situation, but he did just sit there and let her do it. He would much rather let her do what she is going to rather than face the music. He is definitely enabling her.
I get quilt trips from her just for trying to live my life the way I want to. I can't be the only thing that makes her happy.
My husband and I have a great marriage, and rarely fight about anything. She is the thing that causes friction in our marriage. I would love for her to act normal, and react normal. And not be jealous of my life for once.
Any help or thoughts would be so helpful.

August, 20 2013 at 8:23 am

I feel for everyone dealing with a bipolar person. I myself have been with my boyfriend for almost two years and am convinced he is Bipolar. Due to his angry outbursts, irrational arguing (about nothing), negative outlook on everything, name calling and belittling me when I confront him on a lie he's told to me or someone else (which is a chronic thing for him), he's very manipulating, and the worst is out of the blue he will be talking to me or someone else and then it's like he snaps into his past, gets angry, and starts accusing you of something he went through with someone else years ago and then calls you every bad name in the book. He talks so fast and nothing makes sense... It is so sad. I have found out that it runs in his family and the ones who got help and took meds had improved 90%. I am at a loss as I love this man with all my heart but its killing me and my kids. My next step is to talk with his doctor and find some counseling for myself that will help me understand and handle it better as it makes me feel worthless and unloved.....

June, 13 2013 at 11:55 am

Good luck, I know how trying this is and how heartbroken and helpless you must feel. My DIL refuses to get help and after 11 years of dealing with the uncontrollable rage, hate and anger, my husband and I are giving up on her, my son and grandchildren.
You can not make them get help, especially when they are so self absorbed that their problem is always caused by the people around them. They can be very manipulative and you need to learn that the more enabling you become, the more they will never get help.
I can imagine what you are going through. My biggest concern would be your children and how they are handling it.
Our reason for breaking our relationship is both the mental and physical abuse that is progressively getting worse. Somehow my son thinks that the children won't be involved and he loves them dearly and doesn't want to give up on her.
We hope he will someday realizes the damage and scars her actions have made on the kids along with himself. We pray that he leaves her which would force her to get help. Only then maybe some progress can be made towards the start of healing.

May, 26 2013 at 1:24 am

I have been with my fiance now for 7 years and I have long suspected her of being bipolar. We have lived together for almost all of the 7 years and we have 2 kids together, she is 30 and I am 28. However, she rejects all notions of herself having the possibility of a problem like bipolar.
I want to start by saying that I love this woman and want to spend the rest of my life with her, so I will do everything I can to help her better herself and I will not give up on her without a fight.
When I read stories from people who have, or have a close relationship with someone who has a bipolar disorder, I see the same behaviors mirrored in my fiance.
Some of the behaviors I immediately recognize as being associated with bipolar like, mood changes that would last for days and on occasion weeks. During these times she is emotionally on edge, where even simplest things will set her off and even mentioning the absurdity for her outburst only adds fuel to the fire.
For example, she asked me to use my desktop computer, which I was currently using, so i suggested that she use our laptop instead. She immediately became angry and maintained a very emotionally aggressive mood for the rest of the day.
Some behaviors I originally attributed to other causes like it was just part of her personality. For example, the symptom "Racing speech and thoughts"; where i have watched her change her mind on something, going back and forth between two options, 3 and 4 times in only a few minutes with unrelated dialog in between. An exaggerated example of her speech would be Kramer with too many CaffeLattes.
The behavior has majorly affected both her social and professional life; ending most of her friendships in anger & most of her jobs mot lasting longer then a few months.
For the 3rd time now in our 7 years she has decided to break up with me. I'm given unspecific reasons for her wanting to call it off like 'I am not the same person she fell in love with.' The previous time we split up she had been in love with me>no longer loved me>and got back together because she loved me all within a week and a half time. With our current split up(which thus far has mirrored the last one),i am told that she is not in love with me anymore, where only a week ago she wanted to have more children with me. All 3 times, it is as if she goes into phases where she emotionally shuts down only to reboot a week later.
I want her to be able to stop these patterns of social destruction before it is to late but I don't know how to go about helping her if she won't even consider that she might have a problem.

March, 22 2013 at 10:33 am

i know what you guys are going through. i have bi-polar. i have my up and downs. i have my good days and my bad days. its hard sometimes because alot of people pick on me

stefanie menzie
March, 4 2013 at 11:04 am

A lot of what I read says, if they won't get help you should move on. How can I do that if its my daughter. I just can't. Dont know if I could live with myself. Bipolar schichoprenic. Her father had it too. I divorced him when she was three,not knowing what any of that was back then. She is now 28. Her fathers family disowned him long ago. Lives homeless somewhere in a major city now from what I understand. I am so worried for her. She will not get help. I realoze I can't help her. How do I help her and myself. I also have another daughter with no mental illness. We are all worried. Feel like my family is drifting away.

Natasha Tracy
February, 13 2013 at 6:37 pm

Hi Adriana,
I'm very sorry you're in that situation. It sounds very difficult.
If you live in an unsafe environment though, where choking and knives are involved, you _must_ contact the authorities right away. You do _not_ deserve to be in that situation and you _need_ help - right now.
I can understand that being put into someone else's custody would be frightening to think about, but that may be what's best for you right now. That may not even happen. But you have to tell people what is going on at home so that you - and your parents - can get help.
Remember, things can get better but only once we reach out for help.
Please call a help line right away:…
There are people who want to help you. Talk to them.
- Natasha

Adriana Apodaca
February, 13 2013 at 5:55 pm

Hi I think my mom is bipolar and she has tried to choke me and also pull a knife on my father. I am very scared for her and my father and I. I have told my father about her condition and he feels like he can't do anything about it. I have also told my mother about her problem and she refuses to get help or even admit that she has a problem. I am scared for her well being and myself
I want to tell her doctor but I am afraid that I might get in trouble by my family. Please tell me if I should tell someone like her doctor because I cannot take another one of her episodes. I am only sixteen years old and I am afraid that I might be put in child protective services. Please help anyway possible thank you.

December, 3 2012 at 7:49 pm

I am in a relationship for a year, and in the year ny boyfrind whom is great for about 3weeks of a month the he wil brake up and blame me, som of his reasin is I don't listern when he speaks, I talk to other people, I fall a sleep. Without him this only happend once, I don't reply to quik on his bbm, he says I only think of myself, he blames me that I am mad, he always have to be right, if any of these issues arise, he delete and block me. He moves out the room, or chace me away this normally last for a week, I mention it that mabe bipolar could be the reason he blames it on my PMS I read some up on bipolar, and they said that marawana can be one of the causes. I truely want to help him but he just don't want to even talk to me anymore
WHAT CAN I DO? We ate good together for 3weeks of n month

October, 1 2012 at 11:51 am

I know what your going threw. I have been married 9 years and now she tells me im bipolar manic I wont go get help. i have destroyed my marriage and now im seeing a man. isnt that crazy. she tryed to get me help no one could get me to. i am out of control and i wont listen to her or any one. they told my wife . she could not do any thing intil i do something wrong . i have violent temper and she thinks it will be to late. but she can not do any thing cause no one will help not court. not doctor not day mark no one. she even prays about it. and waits intil something happens to me.

May, 13 2012 at 7:26 am

Hey, flip side...I have anorexia nervosa and also have been diagnosed schizoaffective and am refusing to go to therapy and am getting off meds. Everything folks on her have said rings a bell with me because people around me, the very few that still bother with me, are frustrated with me. I do see it in them. I'm not deliberately torturing them or manipulating them and hate seeing them suffer and feel helpless.
I did go to treatment. Lots of treatment. It didn't help. Hospitals, doctors, therapists, meds...nada. The available "treatment" doesn't seem to work at all. The treatment people threatened to put me in the state hospital, that is, my insurance resources are exhausted and I have no family...this is the place where society disposes of those they don't want around anymore, those that embarrass the mental health practitioners and institutions because they don't fit the mold or the stereotype and aren't "happily ever after" success stories and don't write recovery testimonials. We are hidden.
I can see that others are frustrated, too, because they've heard my stories about the injustices I faced in the mental health system and why I choose to refuse therapy and am getting off meds. Most of my current friends (I tend to lose them) have heard my stories of gross human rights abuses in treatment and just plain disrespect and they agree that what's out there for me in terms of so-called treatment, in a word, sucks.
Every now and then I look for a therapist and I can hear people around me sigh with relief. I am on public get the call after phone call and the answer is no, I don't take Medicaid, or occasionally no, I do not treat severe cases the likes of you. I am on a two-month waiting list at a community clinic. I am scared to go, really scared. I think I have maybe a month more to wait. These people have legal power to have me locked up...then within about six weeks I could become a ward of the state, lose my dog, lose my housing, lose my credit cards and control over my finances, lose access to a computer and the Internet, and of course my freedom just to walk the dog and be in sunshine and go to places like church and the library. I don't want to turn into the drugged person that I used to be that sat in front of the TV all day and smoked and had hand tremors and pimples and was treated with utter disdain and disgust and was no happier than I am now. Even my ex-friends would consider this a tragedy.

Natasha Tracy
October, 29 2011 at 3:23 pm

Hi Melinda,
You can only help someone who wants to be helped, that's true of everything including mental illness. Until your girlfriend recognizes a problem, she's not going to be interested in looking for a solution. You can try to help her see the issues, but in the end, she's the only one who can say whether she considers those a problem.
You may have to decide if you can support her the way she is and wait for her to be ready to get help - if she ever chooses to.
- Natasha

October, 29 2011 at 9:36 am

My girlfriend has many traits of bi-polar disorder. I have known her for over a year, and we have been together ever since. I am slowly starting to realize more and more that she needs help, but every time I gently try to bring it up, or a fight gets escalated for no reason (mostly because it's all in her mind), she refuses to even discuss it.
I have spoken to her sister about things that have happened with her, and she agrees with me. She says this is how she has always been. Is this something you could have your whole life but never notice?
I have done research, I have looked up places she could go talk to someone, but she is a compulsive liar, and I feel that if she "talks" to someone, she won't tell the truth.
What should I do?

May, 7 2011 at 2:45 am

Sorry about the last post. My pointer jumps and I forgot to change it. Please ignore all areas up to approached. And add after lung problems:
When he saw what she had done he just flipped out upsetting her very much.

May, 6 2011 at 7:10 pm

ch getting dust out of the house is important. When I approached hiI need some advice on my bi-polar husband. He lays in bed all day demanding we wait on him since he worked all those years to put food on the table we OWE it to him. When he is up he is still demanding no matter how close he is or how far away we are.
Since I go to school my daughter-in-law helps me clean the house when they visit. Last night I forgot to tell her his computer room was off-limits to everyone. He is very secretive about this room, but his e-mail sent my e-mail a virus and now I am getting ads about on-line dating and he has about 15 pictures hanging on his wall of naked women so I know what he is up to. Anyhow she went in and cleaned and dusted his desk not throwing away anything just getting it straight and dusted. I have not been allowed to dust it and he has severe lung problems whim about her getting so upset he yelled at me and told me he was so tired of all my
sh- -. Any suggestions before I go crazy myself??? Thank you

Natasha Tracy
February, 28 2011 at 3:17 pm

Hi Thad,
I'm not sure what kind of feedback you're looking for, but I have a couple of general comments.
"Cutters" or people who self-harm do so for several reasons, for some it's to distract from the (worse) pain they are feeling inside, for some it's a way of externalizing the pain and there are many other reasons too. Cutting, or self-harm, is a way of releasing endorphins so, neurologically, inducing that pain does make sense. (Of course, you are not to blame for that behavior. No one "makes" a person self-harm.)
Yes, genius can come with insanity. Insanity can come with genius. I understand that. Our brains are wired differently and sometimes that comes with positive effects. I know of someone who suffered brain damage and seizures and seems to have come out _smarter_. It's a brain wiring thing.
Unfortunately, mental illness does run in families so having a mother be so ill that she committed suicide would certainly put someone at a high risk for having their own mental illness.
It's hard to convince some people to get treatment; sometimes it's impossible. You can't beat yourself up about that and you can't beat yourself up about saving yourself either. You aren't good to anyone, yourself, your friend, your family, if the illness destroys you too. We all want to help people, I do too, but we all have boundaries, and those boundaries keep us safe. You deserve that.
Congrats on kicking drugs. That's something many people don't do.
If I have a chance I'll take a look at your doc on Scribd.
Thanks for dropping by and your comments.
- Natasha

Thaddeus DeLuca
February, 28 2011 at 3:27 am

N, As I said, your love story came off a bit melodramatic-but hey what do I know about Lesbians (I do not mean that in the perjorative sense); my wife was a cutter too, she has since stopped; I don't understand cutters but my wife said it was the only way to relieve the pain (emotional/psychic pain that I inflicted). As for my friend Dave (unfortunately the flip side of the coin called genius is insanity;somehow the coing got flipped. And as I said, "Just being so close to the flame of insanity/b-polar depression...I got burned badly, and had to whithdraw from his presence for fear of joining him in the far away land he lives inside his head." Every time we had a plan to get him addmitted to hospital-he took off in his Lexus; I didn't see him until a day and a half later. Sad, but true. His mother comitted suicide (she was bi-polar, and her husband-the Jerk-pusher her over the edge; she did the deed with a bottle of Valium). I gathered up his musical equipment for storage and sale of some items, but the really good stuff (Les Paul guitar w/P90 soap bar pickups, et. al.) to give it back to him if he ever comes back from LaLaLand-he likes it there. I felt like a heel, but I had to save myself and get back to my wife and kids. If you get a chance read my submission: Conversations with a Mad Man-it tells the whole story in detail. I respect your opinion having delt with mental illness. I Kicked OxyContin-Cold Turkey in December of 2004-it very nearly killed me, the rehab gave me Suboxone (wich has Narcan in it) which threw me into complete withdrawal with no turning back. NY State Troopers took me out in handcuffs and I spent the night in a padded cell, then 10 days on a Detox Unit of a Hospital. The episode of "Sleep Paralysis," and a Near Death Experience (I left my body and went into a great blinding white light of love & serenity, but was sent back. Freaky Deaky, Huh? Your feedback would be helpful. Bye, Thad

Natasha Tracy
January, 27 2011 at 9:38 am

Hi Diana,
That certainly sounds very exhausting. Living with such unpredictability is like that.
I can't comment on your boyfriend's (sorry, I'm not sure how you refer to him) mental status, but I wouldn't necessarily assume he's bipolar. He may simply have some very serious anger issues. A doctor/therapist would have to take a look at the whole picture to make a determination.
Honestly Diana, this isn't about him, it's about you. You need to make some decisions. You need to draw some lines. You need some boundaries. This person is _hurting_ you and _scaring_ you. That is not OK, no matter what the reason.
Yes, I would say your boyfriend needs therapy but if his family has made an ultimatum about seeing his grandchildren and he hasn't gotten help it seems pretty clear that he _doesn't_want_help_. You can't make a person want help.
You need to decide if you can live with his behavior. I certainly couldn't, but that's a choice you have to make for yourself. Decide if you want him in your life. Decide in what capacity. What behavior will you accept and what won't you? Then communicate this to him.
Right now you are letting him and his anger run the show. That isn't right on any level. You deserve better. Don't let someone else's problems destroy you.
You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him go to therapy.
- Natasha

January, 27 2011 at 7:08 am

I have been dating a man for 8 months and I fear he has BiPolar Disorder.
He was the best guy ever, we started dating in the Spring, all was great until the winter.
He has the most irrrational anger and rage, and the anger is unrealistic, he has pretty much lost every person in his entire family as they have given him an ultimatum to get help or he will not see his grandchildren or anyone else until he does so.
They told me they put up with this for 30 years. He blames me for this also as I reached out to them during one of his rages. I was scared,and I'm scared for him, he already had bypass surgery a few years back and almost died from a Staph infection.
Each time he has the rages, he breaks it off with me, insults me, says don't call me ever again, uses my past against me and then I find myself being the one to need help. BUT after its passed, he is the most loving man on earth, until the next rage, and I can feel it coming, I know its coming when it gets closer. he also told me at the beginning of our relationship that I would see a bad side. At the time i couldn't picture anything bad coming out of his mouth as he was so funny and loving.
How do I help this man, I love him, even if I can't be with him.
and his male friends have all told me to dissapear when he has the bouts, leave him be, he'll be back, always comes back, some of them said its sometimes days and others sometimes months, and he has done some crazy stuff to them as well.
I exhausted.

Natasha Tracy
September, 30 2010 at 12:15 pm

Hi Heather,
It's no doubt it's a really tough situation. I don't think anyone can argue with that.
I'm glad I caused some thinking, that's one of my goals!
- Natasha

Heather Whistler
September, 30 2010 at 12:12 pm

Hi Natasha,
Thanks for your reponse. I agree that staying calm whatever approach you take when talking to someone who is struggling with mental illness is definitely key.
I think my problem with the free will idea in the case of an acute and sudden psychotic break (vs. ongoing alcoholism or bipolar symptoms that aren't quite as severe) is that the affected person actually isn't choosing to stay sick; he (or she) honestly doesn't know he's not well. It's not about denial or stigma at that point---it's that the delusions, hallucinations, and/or paranoia feel like reality. I don't have any good solution for this problem---I just think it's a sad and frustrating situation, and one that takes a big toll on the mentally ill, their families, and society as a whole.
You're right that sometimes you have to accept that someone who is suffering may not be willing to get help, and at that point you have to decide what your boundaries are. As you put it, you have to decide whether you want to stick around and watch your friend "self-destruct."
I also wanted to point out that, in your example, you can call your friend Joe's doctor (if he has one) to let the doctor know what you've observed even if Joe isn't endangering anyone. It may cost you your relationship, but that might be a price you're willing to pay if you think it will help him in the long-term.
Again, thanks for the post and the response. You really got me thinking!

Natasha Tracy
September, 30 2010 at 8:06 am

Hi Heather,
I can understand the upset. Free will is an upsetting concept, really, particularly in the area of illness. I could never understand why my father would throw away his family over alcohol, but the truth is, he got to be as drunk as he wanted to be.
And you are right that people aren't thinking logically. Unfortunately that is the nature of this and many other diseases. But honestly, that doesn't mean they don't have the right to refuse treatment if that's really what they want to do.
I certainly appreciate that your husband responded to your communicating the effect he was having on you. I suppose I consider that part of logic. It's a bit more of a bomb though because as soon as you start involving emotion, this can ramp up and get out of control really quickly and trigger the mentally ill person. Not to mention you might not be able to communicate this type of information without getting really emotional yourself, possibly inflaming the situation. Instead of listening, the ill person just runs, or worse.
But, of course, if it worked for you, that's great. There are many challenges when someone we love gets sick and you know your partner best so obviously you knew what would work for him.
It's definitely something to think about. Thanks for bringing it up.
- Natasha

Heather Whistler
September, 30 2010 at 6:17 am

While I totally, totally hear you on not being able to change someone, the attitude that "he gets to be as crazy as he wants to be" upsets me. When my husband had his first manic/psychotic episode, he didn't WANT to be crazy, he had no idea that he WAS crazy. Had he been thinking clearly, OF COURSE he would have gone to the doctor and gotten help for himself.
I found that logic wasn't the thing that convinced him to get help. It was telling him how his behavior was hurting me. He still thought he was fine, but he recognized that I was not fine, and that by going to the hospital, he'd be helping me. So that's another tack someone could take when trying to convince a friend/loved one to get help.
You can read more about our story on my blog:

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