Bipolar II disorder and romantic relationships

“Having my boyfriend there at the consultation gave him some insight into where I'm at and what's happening to me He was also able to give another person's perspective on my behaviour and moods at different times, which I think was helpful for the psychiatrist. it's a bit more objective. Then afterwards I didn’t have to recap everything we discussed to my boyfriend either!”

-Yumi, 25 years old, diagnosed 1 month ago.

Many young people with bipolar II disorder (BPII) say they find it hard to tell their partner about their diagnosis for the first time. This is often because they worry about what their partner might think about BPII, or because their partner does not know enough about BPII and will not understand.

A recent UK survey of over 1000 adults who had had mental health problems in romantic relationships found that:

  • 77% of people with mental health problems actively tell their partners about their mental health and only 5% of those people went through a break up after telling them about their condition.
  • 74% of partners of someone with a mental health problem said they weren’t fazed” or “wanted to understand the other person’s situation when they were told.

You may like to bring your partner along to consultations with your clinician, even if you have not been with your partner for a long time. Clinicians usually recommend this soon after your diagnosis and when you are first deciding on treatments.

If your partner goes to a consultation with you they will know more about BPII and the available treatment options. This also makes sure that you, your partner and your clinician are all “on the same page”. People with BPII also seem to find it easier to stick to treatment when they have the support of their partner and family.

Like family members, partners can also take part in the decision-making process. You may both find this helpful. Remember though, as long as you are well, it is your choice whether or not your partner plays a part in decision-making about treatment or goes with you to consultations with your clinician.

To find out more, go to: How can family members be involved in decision-making about treatment?