It takes two to Tango, but it takes at least three to know if a bipolar is telling the Truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. (Or the truth as near as truth can be known.) The sooner you learn this, the better off they are!
It’s not that someone with bipolar disorder is deceptive on purpose (although nobody is above being deceitful.) Deceit just happens whenever their perspective is altered… which makes figuring out what really happened nigh unto impossible without verification sometimes.
Granted, everybody comes to the table with their own unique perspective – a prism of colors. That’s the beauty of our differences! When all of our perspectives are combined, we’re more likely to see all the facets of a situation.
But what I am describing is not simply “different” points of view. It’s another dimension altogether – more like…say, the Twilight Zone.
We wouldn’t be having this discussion right now, except that it’s not always obvious to OTHERS that your bipolar’s view is coming from the 3rd dimension. Take a gifted mind, and extra stamina, and you’ve got yourself someone who can generally outlast and outwit everyone else at the table – even when they are dead wrong!
SO, since bipolar disorder is a disorder of perception, if ever there was a time where you need God’s wisdom that says “a matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses” (Deut 19:15, Matt 18:16) it’s when you’re trying to verify a bipolar’s perspective. You are just ASKING for trouble otherwise. Any bipolar worth their salt will be absolutely convinced they have a corner on reality, and everyone else is off. And YOUR problem will be they are usually bright enough to run circles around most minds (including yours) and persuasive enough to convince most hearts that they KNOW what’s really going on around here. As their loved one, you may feel like you’re spittin’ in the wind to tell them or anyone else otherwise. But if you live with them, you KNOW when they are off. Don’t sell yourself short.
So what can you do??
“Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, so you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.” Prov 3:3-4
The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition..” II Tim 2:24, 25
These verses are my guard rails. The easiest thing in the world is to argue with a bipolar whose perspective is off, or cave. And it’s even easier to become unkind. Don’t. If you know your loved one is off, don’t cave OR be mean. Kindly hold to what you know to be true. They need a lighthouse – and assuming your brain chemistry is healthy – Tag, you are IT. Hold steady, so they can find safe harbor.
But give yourself a break, too. Don’t beat yourself up if you get lost in their maze – again. If they weren’t so convinced and convincing they wouldn’t have earned their diagnosis! I’ve seen my man easily dupe professional doctors and counselors who do this for a living. For years. I appreciate the ones who are humble enough to admit they can’t tell what’s going on. So don’t feel stupid when you can’t figure it out either.
What else can you do to help? Go to their psychiatrist appointments WITH THEM. Use your voice to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, kindly. You don’t have to yell, rant, plead. Just tell it like it is/was. Others, including the health care community need to hear your voice to help your loved one. If your doctor doesn’t use more than one opinion to determine what’s going on, then he/she doesn’t know what’s going on. Period. With that kind of overconfidence, somebody is going to get hurt.
Your loved one needs your voice, if they are willing and able, find their way back to a healthier perspective — real reality. In the end, they will have to humble themselves, in order to accept that their disorder (again) has discolored their perspective significantly in the WRONG direction. You can’t make that choice for them. It’s theirs, it’s hard. It’s humiliating. It’s scary… to once again realize their mind has deceived them, and others.
Your kindness and truthfulness helps.