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Q:  my gf or 1 1/12 yrs who has bipolar recently packer her things and left the state of Fl.  we had spoken about moving in together etc....she did not even tell me...i found out by going to her apt...i was supporting financially....y would she do this...her mom said to pursue her music carreer and in fact it was her mom who asked me if i can handle bipolar...apparently not....what happens if she comes back....what do i do....she wont even respond to my emails..........

Dear A,

It sounds as though your girlfriend is in the midst of a manic episode.  During such episodes it is not unusual for someone with bipolar disorder to experience a burst of unremitting energy, often feel ecstatic, make unwise decisions, engage in dangerous activities and have an unrealistic view of what's possible.  They don't see themselves as ill, or view their reckless behaviors as problematic.  It seems as though your girlfriend's mother has had some experience with this type of episode in the past and perhaps she has attempted to intervene without success.  Under ideal circumstances, those persons closest to the patient can guide the cooperating patient (also ideal) to seek psychiatric help involving medication adjustments to respond to the manic phase.  Again, this is all under optimal circumstances.  You are in a very difficult position.  Know this....the mania will subside within weeks to months on its own.  One question is, what damage will be left in it's wake?  Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict when and if she will re-establish contact with you.  If this type of manic episode has happened in the past without any effort to intervene, it is also likely to happen again in the future.  You must consider this for yourself.  Do you want to deal with this and if so, how?  There is a very excellent book written by Julie Fast called, "Loving Someone With Bipolar Disorder", 2004.  I highly recommend reading it if  you are planning on staying in this relationship.  Good luck.  You are not alone.

David Schafer, M.Ed.
Staff Psychologist

Published July, 2006

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