Q: Dear David,
Thank you for your forum for questions regarding bipolar and relationships.
I was diagnosed with bipolar II in 2000. I have been out of work twice (
both times for eight weeks for depression) I have been stable on a mixture of
mood stabilizers and at times antidepressants.
About 18 months ago my husband lost his job and I returned to work
full time for our medical benefits. He has since found work but is not making
the money he was making before. I really want to cut back my hours (about 20
hours) because I am feeling overwhelmed much of the time raising two teenagers.
He thinks that because of the income he lost as a result of his being laid off I
should continue to work so we can rebuild or savings. Our house is always a
mess , I would like to spend more time with my aging parent and be able to
spend once in awhile getting together with my friends.
How can I make him realize how important it is for me to stay healthy for our
You really have several choices for yourself here......you can continue to
work until the level of stress becomes too great for you to work in which case
there will likely be a heavy toll on both you and your family, or you can
anticipate this "trigger" as you already feel "overwhelmed" and head it off
before things get too out of control. Try to sit down with your husband and
explain it too him in this manner- for individuals with bipolar disorder, stress
will eventually influence your mood state which will influence your day-to- ay
job performance. Your ability to work needs to be based on your mental health,
not your husband's earnings otherwise you will soon be forced out of working
altogether by your own health needs. Since you have been out of work
before, you know (and I believe) that your best advocate in these circumstances
is your doctor in justifying the need for a break. Try bringing your husband to
your next appointment and ask your doctor to help back you up in explaining the
need to 'stay healthy for your family's sake'. Good luck.
David Schafer, M.Ed.
Published June, 2006